When you’re learning about copywriting, there’s no need to reinvent the wheel.
Great copywriters have existed for hundreds of years. Claude Hopkins’ Scientific Advertising, still considered a classic of the field, was originally published in 1923.
If you want to become a great copywriter, or even just a better one, it makes sense to learn from the masters. That’s why we put together a list of the 43 best copywriting quotes we could find.
This is advice from the best — Eugene Schwartz quotes, David Ogilvy quotes, Joanna Wiebe quotes, Leo Burnett quotes, insights about emotion in copywriting, calls to action, instructions, and lessons learned from hundreds of years of cumulative copywriting experience.
Here’s our list of the best copywriting quotes of all time.
The best copywriting quotes ever written
1. “Let’s get to the heart of the matter. The power, the force, the overwhelming urge to own that makes advertising work, comes from the market itself, and not from the copy. Copy cannot create desire for a product. It can only take the hopes, dreams, fears and desires that already exists in the hearts of millions of people, and focus those already existing desires onto a particular product. This is the copy writer’s task: not to create this mass desire – but to channel and direct it.” – Eugene Schwartz
2. “If it sounds like writing, I rewrite it.” – Elmore Leonard
3. “Copy is not written. Copy is assembled.” – Eugene Schwartz
4. “When I write an advertisement, I don’t want you to tell me that you find it ‘creative.’ I want you to find it so interesting that you buy the product.” – David Ogilvy
5. “Your job is not to write copy. Your job is to know your visitors, customers and prospects so well, you understand the situation they’re in right now, where they’d like to be, and exactly how your solution can and will get them to their ideal self.” – Joanna Wiebe
6. “Nobody reads ads. People read what interests them. Sometimes it’s an ad.” – Howard Gossage
7. “Make it simple. Make it memorable. Make it inviting to look at. Make it fun to read.” – Leo Burnett
8. “Metaphors are a great language tool, because they explain the unknown in terms of the known.” – Anne Lamott
9. “The secret of all effective advertising is not the creation of new and tricky words and pictures, but one of putting familiar words and pictures into new relationships.” – Leo Burnett
10. “We have become so accustomed to hearing everyone claim that his product is the best in the world, or the cheapest, that we take all such statements with a grain of salt.” – Robert Collier
11. “A big reason so many businesses compete on price is because they can’t prove what value they offer, so they’re stuck with the one selling point that’s a breeze to communicate: cheapness.” – Mish Slade
12. “Every product has a unique personality and it is your job to find it.” – Joe Sugarman
13. “People will do anything for those who encourage their dreams, justify their failures, allay their fears, confirm their suspicions, and help them throw rocks at their enemies.” – Blair Warren
14. “Here’s the only thing you’re selling, no matter what business you’re in and what you ship: you’re selling your prospects a better version of themselves.” – Joanna Wiebe
15. “The mind thinks in pictures, you know. One good illustration is worth a thousand words. But one clear picture built up in the reader’s mind by your words is worth a thousand drawings, for the reader colors that picture with his own imagination, which is more potent than all the brushes of all the world’s artists.” – Robert Collier
16. “Instead of representing the buyer’s expectations, needs, wants, and concerns, many personas are built around a profile of what the business would like its ideal buyer to be.” – Jennifer Havice
17. “A business man is no different from any other kind.” – Robert Collier
18. “To properly understand advertising or to learn even its rudiments one must start with the right conception. Advertising is salesmanship.” – Claude Hopkins
19. “The very first thing you must come to realize is that you must become a “student of markets.” Not products. Not techniques. Not copywriting. Not how to buy space or whatever. Now, of course, all of these things are important and you must learn about them, but, the first and the most important thing you must learn is what people want to buy.” – Gary Halbert
20. “The very first thing I tell my new students on the first day of a workshop is that good writing is about telling the truth.” – Anne Lamott
21. “It has long been my belief that a lot of money can be made by making offers to people who are at an emotional turning point in their lives.” – Gary Halbert
22. “There is your audience. There is the language. There are the words that they use.” – Eugene Schwartz
23. “Decide the effect you want to produce in your reader.” — Robert Collier
24. “Brevity doesn’t mean bare bones or stripped down. Take as long as you need to tell the story.” – Ann Handley
25. “What I am doing here is taking the reader by the hand and leading him exactly where I want him to go. It seems like a small point and, maybe it is, but is the little touches like this that keeps the letter flowing, the reader moving along, and, it relieves him of the burden of trying to figure out what he is supposed to do when he finishes reading a particular page.” – Gary Halbert
26. “There is a secret every professional artist knows that the amateurs don’t: being original is overrated. The most creative minds in the world are not especially creative; they’re just better at rearrangement.” – Jeff Goins
27. “The word block suggests that you are constipated or stuck, when the truth is that you’re empty.” – Anne Lamott
28. “So, before you begin the writing, be sure you know the purpose or mission or objective of every piece of content that you write. What are you trying to achieve? What information, exactly, are you trying to communicate? And why should your audience care?” – Ann Handley
29. “I’ve learned that any fool can write a bad ad, but that it takes a real genius to keep his hands off a good one.” – Leo Burnett
30. “Tap a single overwhelming desire existing in the hearts of thousands of people who are actively seeking to satisfy it at this very moment.” – Eugene Schwartz
31. “Good advertising is written from one person to another. When it is aimed at millions it rarely moves anyone.” – Fairfax M. Cone
32. “In writing good advertising it is necessary to put a mood into words and to transfer that mood to the reader.” – Helen Woodward
33. “The vast majority of products are sold because of the need for love, the fear of shame, the pride of achievement, the drive for recognition, the yearning to feel important, the urge to look attractive, the lust for power, the longing for romance, the need to feel secure, the terror of facing the unknown, the lifelong hunger for self-esteem and so on. Emotions are the fire of human motivation, the combustible force that secretly drives most decisions to buy. When your marketing harnesses those forces correctly you will generate explosive increases in response.” – Gary Bencivenga
34. “All the elements in an advertisement are primarily designed to do one thing and one thing only: get you to read the first sentence of the copy.” – Joseph Sugarman
35. “What matters isn’t storytelling. What matters is telling a true story well.” – Ann Handley
36. “Copy is a direct conversation with the consumer.” – Shirley Polykoff
37. “You sell on emotion, but you justify a purchase with logic.” – Joseph Sugarman
38. “In an online world, our online words are our emissaries; they tell the world who we are.” – Ann Handley
39. “The greatest thing you have working for you is not the photo you take or the picture you paint; it’s the imagination of the consumer. They have no budget, they have no time limit, and if you can get into that space, your ad can run all day.” – Don Draper
40. “Make your copy straightforward to read, understand and use. Use easy words; those that are used for everyday speech. Use phrases that are not too imprecise and very understandable. Do not be too stuffy; remove pompous words and substitute them with plain words. Minimize complicated gimmicks and constructions. If you can’t give the data directly and briefly, you must consider writing the copy again.” – Jay Abraham
41. “It takes a big idea to attract the attention of consumers and get them to buy your product. Unless your advertising contains a big idea, it will pass like a ship in the night. I doubt if more than one campaign in a hundred contains a big idea.” – David Ogilvy
42. “Probably the biggest thing or biggest ‘aha’ moment I had with the process of copywriting was when I realized that copywriting was more than just being creative. I used to think, ‘Wow, let’s come up with something great and wonderful,’ and I didn’t start becoming successful, in my own eyes, until I said, ‘No, my clients are not hiring me to be creative; they’re hiring me to deliver a control.’” – Carline Anglade-Cole
43. “Marketers have a tendency to try to abstract their messages to the point that everything can be said in two to six commonly used words, which somehow gives us the comforting sense that we’ve created a polished marketing message. As if that’s the goal. Let me leave you with this: polish doesn’t convert.” – Joanna Wiebe
How to become an amazing copywriter
Reading copywriting quotes is a start, but there’s so much more you can do to level up your copy — and get more attention, more sales, and a better response to everything you do.
You don’t even have to be an amazing copywriter to write great copy! In copywriting history, many of the greats have argued that they are poor writers. But they are very good at selling with their words.
If you want to become an amazing copywriter and write great copy, you can read more copywriting quotes. Or you can:
- Check out these 10 amazing copywriting examples
- Read one of the top 10 books about copywriting
- Learn the secret to great marketing copy (hint: great writing isn’t it)
- Watch this copywriting webinar and get 70% of the way there in under an hour
Great copywriting can make your website and landing pages better. It can make your social media reach farther. It makes your emails more effective.
Copywriting is also one of the most in-demand skills. I’m not saying copywriting will make you rich, but there are a lot of companies that need great copy.