Tag Archives: outline

The Hourglass Scaffold – My idea of a Copywriting Plotline for Short Marketing Copy

Note: This is a tentative skeleton as to the template that I used to write marketing copy. I am not endorsing this on a guru level in terms of how marketing copy should really be written, as this is just merely the approach that I am most comfortable with. This approach would best be used for a 100 words or less sort of marketing copy, as advertised in daily newspapers such as The Standard or Metro HK.

People always talk about the weather.

I prefer to start off with a somewhat neutral topic. When you say hi to a stranger, the first question would usually be “You alright?” or “How are you?”, followed by “Nice weather isn’t it?”, or “This is some horrid weather.” The weather question is neutral, though it is something that everyone deals and faces with.

Personally, I prefer the hourglass shaped approach. Start with a general or commonly understood idea, or something that is currently of the “now” in society. For instance, if you are writing marketing copy focusing in on an upcoming guest speaker talking about tips to be rich before 30, you can begin with a commonly known statistical fact of the now, such as “one in three people residing in the Wan Chai district of Hong Kong are millionaires“.

Teaser vs Jumping right in with marketing information.

This is debatable, in terms of starting off with a general point, but I believe in giving a bit of a “tease” for the audience to continue on reading. If I immediately start off with the five Ws and 1 H in the first sentence, it’s not so much a creative copy isn’t it? You’ve already stated the meat and potatoes of the information you intend to convey to the audience, though not in a way you could exercise your creative copywriting potential, balancing out conveying information with your creative spin on writing. In addition, by starting off with a common yet hot statement, this serves to garner the attention of a larger audience than just jumping in with the key information.