Blab and blather your way to great copywriting ideas

November 23, 2009 by Dean Rieck
Filed under: Copywriting Tips 

copywriting ideasBlah! Blah! Blah!

That’s how you get great copywriting ideas.

Stay with me on this. It sounds silly, but this could be one of the single most powerful copywriting techniques you’ll ever use.

I discovered this some years ago while having trouble coming up with copy ideas for an important direct mail package. Others may do it, but I’ve never read about it anywhere.

What is it? It’s basically a way to brainstorm ideas by yourself by talking to an imaginary person.

The package I was writing dealt with a product that I didn’t understand well. So I did tons of background research, talked to the client, took copious notes, and wrote as many headlines and bits of copy as I could.

But I had nothing. All my ideas were crap. And I became frustrated.

So without thinking about it, I started talking to myself. “Why do you need this? I’ll tell you why …” I just started rambling and began to visualize a friend of mine who would be interested in the product.

I could “hear” the questions he was asking, and I answered them as best I could. At first, I just blathered. But over the next few minutes, the product started to make sense. I stopped trying to “write” copy and I just talked about the product.

Pretty soon, I had several good ideas for headlines. I could see the potential of this, so I left the office and took a walk around the neighborhood, talking to myself, for about an hour.

Sure, I got a few odd looks, but by the time I returned to the office, I was on fire. I believed in the product. I understood it. I was ready to sell it.

I spent 15 minutes jotting down some of the best bits of dialog from my “conversation” and had a great start to what turned out to be a great direct mail package. I even used some of my imaginary dialog in the sales letter.

Why does this work? I think it’s as simple as this: writing is hard and talking is easy. When you talk, you’re not trying to get all the words right. You just relax and say what’s on your mind. This lets out ideas that sometimes won’t come out when you’re composing.

Give this a try. It works for me.

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Smart Comments

3 Comments on Blab and blather your way to great copywriting ideas

  1. Heidi on Nov 24th, 2009 2:07 pm
  2. Great post! Great advice that I will definitely use. Such a true statement and so funny… “But I had nothing. All my ideas were crap. And I became frustrated.” I wonder how often we say the “c” word to ourselves? This advice will cut down the numbers I’m sure… Thanks!

  3. Dean Rieck on Nov 24th, 2009 2:11 pm
  4. Heidi,
    If more copywriters admitted when their ideas were crap, maybe they’d work a little harder to uncrappify it and make it better.

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