Picture of the puppy who is helping improve Sarah Russell's copywriting
Not a gratuitous picture of a cute dog. The puppy who is helping me become a better copywriter.

We’ve just bought a puppy. Lots of things about her give me pleasure, but the most surprising is how she is helping me become a better copywriter.

Nell is my first puppy.  I’ve had other dogs, but always adults from a rescue centre.  The last one was terrifically naughty and, while a joy in the house, a nightmare out on walks.  So I’m determined to train Nell to have impeccable manners.

Within days of getting her we’d enrolled at puppy school.  Dog training is now a major part of my life – with some unexpected consequences.

Training Nell is making me a better copywriter.

Nell is learning basic commands like sit, down and come.  It’s important that I teach her using language she understands in a voice she’ll respond to.  Sound familiar?

Use the right language…

It’s a waste of time saying, ‘I’d prefer it if you’d get down from the sofa Nell.’  She doesn’t understand that.

But if I say, ‘Off,’ Nell gets off.  (Usually.)

… in the right tone of voice…

Nell isn’t going to come to me if I give the command in a stern tone of voice.  That’s not very inviting.  No.  I have to call her in an engaging, encouraging way, so I’m more interesting than whatever she’s doing.

… with benefits included

And there has to be something in it for her.  A benefit.  Which for Nell is food – any food, all food, as long as there’s food.

Who knew?  Puppy training and copywriting are similar disciplines.  While I’m training Nell I’m reinforcing some of the basic rules for successful copywriting.

When you use the right language in the right tone of voice and include benefits, you’ll get the response you want.


P.S. I first published this blog in 2012, on an earlier version of my website. While a lot of things have changed in five years, the basic principles you should follow if you want to become a better copywriter have stayed the same. As they always will. Because while technology develops, we all grow older and our businesses grow, we’re still people. Talking to other people. Or dogs.


Hello. I’m Sarah Russell, a freelance creative copywriter.

I don’t work for food (alright, not just food).

Thank you for reading my blog. I hope you found something to help or inspire you, or to make you smile.


Email me at: info@sarahrussellwriting.co.uk 

Call me on: 01873 776 153

Connect with me on: LinkedIn 

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