Ever since copy was renamed ‘content,’ I have had the feeling that people buy content in the bulk aisle in the creative supermarket and pour out a cup or a pound as needed.

The fact that the content might not be absolutely on point seems to be ignored, just as long as it fills the area between the visual and the logo. It seems a bit of a tragic waste of space not to craft the copy to tell the story in the most exciting way possible.

Advertising and marketing copy must be well written in order to be read. It is not just a lump of content, nor is it one step up from Lorem ipsum. Copy can be an art form. One of the greatest copywriters was a man called David Abbott who reigned during London’s Mad Men period but was not mad at all but a charming and funny man. His theory of copywriting included these thoughts, “Use your life to animate your copy. If something moves you, chances are it will touch someone else, too. Think visually. Ask someone to describe a spiral staircase and they’ll use their hands as well as words … Don’t be boring.”

David Abbott, who on his death in 2014 was a lifetime member of the One Club and winner of numerous Clios, also believed that a copywriter should do their research first, and then write. If you break the flow to look up a fact, you break the flow for the reader, too.

Another great copywriter, Tony Brignull, believes that copy should have a tone of voice – you could call it brand awareness or brand recall. He said that the most important thing is that successful companies are memorable for how they sound. What companies today make a point of this? Brands like Apple, Google, Target, and UnderArmour; they make sure their ads sound distinctive and are unmistakable for any other brand. That’s good copywriting.

Although the rule is said to be that copy should be written to be read at a fifth grade level, I believe that it should be written for an intelligent fifth grader, one with a sense of humor and an appreciation of verbal style. And if your target audience graduated from fifth grade, or perhaps has a master’s degree, make sure you speak to them as equals.

Why is this sort of writing so thin on the ground? Quite simply, because it is difficult to write a compelling sales pitch, backed by facts, and delivered with polish and emotion or humor. It’s hard, it takes time, and it takes an informed audience to appreciate it. So take this as a plea for more people to aim for excellence in copywriting. Above all, remember David Abbott’s guide: above all, “Don’t be boring.”