The 10 commandments of copywriting to write sales-boosting copy

There are certain rules that cannot be broken.

If you want to write great copy, the kind that gets real results, you should engrave these commandments in your mind and always follow them.

Being a copywriter isn’t easy, but it’s fascinating. You learn a lot about a variety of subjects, you work with a wide range of brands and you get to create stories.

The problem is that, like all creative work, you have to motivate yourself and there will be days when you have depressing doubts about your abilities.

The same applies to any kind of solo entrepreneur.

There will be moments when the sentence you’re looking for doesn’t come and you’ll despair.

But if you stick to these 10 commandments and take the time to think and write, I promise you it will come in the end.

I created these commandments thinking about the elements that make a piece of copy work, but also about what you have to do (or not do) to survive in this profession that is both so hard and so fascinating.

So here they are.

Free Copywriting Guide

1.  You shall have no other Heroes before your Buyer Persona

This is the number 1 commandment because it’s the most important.

A piece of copy will only work if it puts the buyer persona in the centre of everything.

Talking all the time about yourself or your brand won’t create the interest and curiosity you need to arouse in your prospects.

If you are working for the typical client who only wants to talk about themselves, you have to make them understand this:

The copy you’re about to write is not intended to please him, but to please his prospects.

Sometimes they won’t get it and they’ll insist you talk about their vision and how they like their coffee.

But your job as a copywriter is to make them understand that their prospects don’t care about that, because the only thing that matters to them is how your product or service is going to improve their lives.

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2.  You shall make for yourself a kind of idol

Writing copy is hard.

You spend many hours alone in front of your computer and you inevitably compare yourself with amazing writers who have been there longer than you.

The worst is that you can’t just not look at other people’s work…

You should study other writers’ copy to learn how to write good copy yourself. And there will be times when you feel like shit.

And it’s even worst when you come across a client who doesn’t like what you’ve written at all and it shakes all your confidence.

But you can’t let those doubts about your ability make you throw in the towel.

When you see other people’s copy and you think you’re a pile of shit compared to them, put your envy aside and start studying their techniques, their voice, their ideas, etc. with a cold mind and without thinking about yourself. (Put your ego in off mode as I call it).

And when a client tells you that what you’ve written is worthless, start writing again from scratch with the anger of a boxer who has been knocked down but is determined to win the fight.

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3.  You shall not misuse the name of your brand

Each brand must have its own voice.

It’s like with people, every time you think of your friend Chris you imagine him with his twists and turns, his grammatical blunders and his jokes.

So you have to create a brand’s voice as if it were a person.

Every time you write for a brand you should be consistent.

The brand voice has to be recognisable in all media: website, blog, and social media.

Observe how your client speaks and what terms they use. Make sure their target audience also uses those terms and understands them.

Write with a purpose beforehand so as not to waste anyone’s time.

Copy needs to entertain, yes, but above all, it needs to fulfil its objective: sell a product, build brand awareness, create a community, etc.

cta to download a Brand voice guide

4. Remember to take breaks by keeping them holy

A copywriter never really rests.

Even when you’re not actively working on a project, your mind is still making connections between seemingly unrelated ideas, looking at details of life for ideas, and drawing inspiration from overheard conversations on the tube.

So don’t get down in the dumps if you’ve only been in front of your computer for three hours, because your brain has been working for you the rest of the time.

But you should also give it something to feed on.

Read books, talk to people who know more than you do, and be open to new experiences.

And get moving. The idea you’re looking for could come to you at any moment.

But be careful, don’t confuse these moments of disconnection with procrastination.

Creativity isn’t going to find you binge-watching on Netflix, it’s going to find you working on your computer or scribbling in a notebook.

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5. Honour your buyer persona with copy that adds value

There’s a crazy amount of content out there.

If you don’t create content, it will be much harder for potential customers to find you.

But that doesn’t mean you should post content just for the sake of posting it. If it’s not worth publishing, don’t.

It’s better to publish less often, but do so when the content is of great value to your prospects, because then they will respect you and think of you when they are ready to buy.

Think about every post you write and whether you think it adds value or is at least funny.

Freelance Copywriter

6.  You shall not murder people with boredom

Sometimes the copy has value, but it’s bland.

You may think you’re offering interesting information because you’ve produced figures and statistics to back up your arguments.

That’s all well and good, but if you don’t include analogies or real-life examples that bring those statistics closer to the everyday lives of your prospects, you’re likely to bore them to tears.

It’s like when you had that cool teacher at school who made you passionate about science when you’d never been interested in it before.

Because he didn’t just teach from the book, he gave you real-life examples, engaged the class with interesting questions, and drew diagrams on the blackboard to make complex concepts clearer.

That’s why you still remember the parts of a cell.

This is how you should write copy.

Reread it mercilessly, and if you think it’s boring, start again.

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7.  You shall not commit impure acts with your copy

Every piece of copy you write should have a single, clear purpose. Every word, every paragraph, every page must have one and only one purpose. For example:

A home page – Create enough interest for prospects to stay and browse the other pages.

A sales page – sell a product or service

A social media ad – click on a link

If you don’t have your Big Idea in mind, your copy won’t have the persuasive power you need and your prospects won’t take the action you want them to.

Don’t go off on tangents and always come back to your big idea, your goal and your buyer persona.

Have you ever heard of the Rule of One? It is the golden rule of copywriting.

Focus on one thing:

  1. One Major Benefit – (that it’s the basis of your Big Idea)
  2. One Emotion – (you want to evoke in your prospects)
  3. One Story – (that engages your prospects because it draws a clear picture in their minds)
  4. One action – (depending on the goal: buy, call, subscribe, etc.)

8.  You shall not steal other people’s copy

Yes, I know, it’s tempting. You land on a super well-written website and you feel like copying whole paragraphs.

But that won’t help you stand out and sooner or later people will realise that you’re plagiarising.

Study your competition, read books about the work of great copywriters (The Copy Book, Ogilvy on Advertising, Read Me, just to name a few), study all the ads you come across and let all this information help you incubate ideas.

Copywriting is more about generating ideas than writing.

Imitate the writing style of your favourite copywriters and over time you will develop your own voice.

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9.  You shall not add false testimonies or lie

Especially when you’re just starting out and don’t have many clients, it’s tempting to write fake testimonials.

But I believe that lies have a specific smell and in the end they stink. In other words, they stand out.

In the same way, when companies exaggerate the benefits of their products, people can sense that they’re lying.

It’s one thing to embellish a product, it’s another to add non-existent benefits or exaggerate the value.

Never underestimate your prospect’s intelligence.

People can sense when they’re being taken for a ride and will write negative reviews about your business if they feel cheated.

Honesty above all.

10. You shall not covet the success of others

There will always be people who do better than you.

Or so it seems because on social media everything is awesome!!!, but who knows what’s really going on in people’s lives?

Your life is yours and it doesn’t have to look like anyone else’s. What fulfils others doesn’t have to fulfil you.

I know it’s difficult because after all our brains are wired to seek acceptance from others.

But it’s when that acceptance comes with a constant pressure to be ‘successful’ and to live the perfect life that that acceptance turns against you.

Think about what success means to you.

What makes you feel good and what makes you feel inauthentic?

You don’t have to tell every detail of your life on Instagram if you don’t feel like it.

You don’t have to be on social media if you don’t like it.

You don’t have to work 50 hours a week to buy a sports car if, in the end, all that kind of life seems like a hamster wheel to you.

Success is relative, and it’s up to you to define it in a way that makes it worth pursuing.

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Sobre Elena de Francisco

Siento un placer inmensurable aplastando textos zombis que no dan resultados y transformándolos en textos llenos de vida que provocan muchas ventas.

About Elena de Francisco

I find real pleasure in crushing zombie copy that doesn’t provoke any emotion and turning it into vivid words that convert prospects into smiley paying customers.


  1. Digitizing services

    I like the valuable information you provide in your articles.

    • Elena de Francisco

      Thank you!


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