For copywriting, read 'story-telling'!

We are all children at heart. We love to be entertained, and we love a good story. And that's what good copy is all about. That's why it should always start with something that grabs the reader's attention and makes them want to stay engaged - like all the best stories.

In so many cases, though, copy starts with the advertiser talking about themselves - and you know how boring people can be when they incessantly talk with a self-obsessed reference to 'I' and 'we': 'At United Consolidated Bank, we've got a great new account...' 'At Bingo Supermarket, we were recently voted Best Retailer of the Year...'.

Too late. You've lost me. You're not telling me what I want to hear. You're talking about you. I'm tuning out.

Make sure your copy starts off with the equivalent of 'once upon a time' - something like: 'Imagine this...' or 'You know how it feels...' statements that are relevant to the reader; statements that immediately get them thinking by stimulating their imaginations and creating pictures in their minds. Then you've got them. Then you can start selling your products.

There are a million ways to kick off your copy with an attention-grabbing introduction. Surprise your target audience. Amuse them. Entertain them. Even shock them; but be daring enough to create a beginning that makes them want to stay with you all the way to the end of your copy.

Remember, good copywriting is a one-to-one dialogue with an individual; it should be the nearest thing possible to conversation, human speech, dialogue - so it should be engaging, persuasive, irresistible and alluring

By contrast, bad copywriting is a succession of clichés, a series of trumpeting announcements - and all wrapped up in language that only exists in the hackneyed and grim reaches of Copywriting World. For example, when was the last time you used 'When it comes to...' and 'You could be forgiven for thinking...' in real-life speech?

So to learn the art of storytelling that persuades, sells, convinces and encourages action, come and join my Copywriting: an Introduction course; you won't believe how much fun you'll have - and how many stories you'll have to tell! Alternatively, check out Storytelling for Marketers.

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