9 copywriting ideas to get you started
Ian Lurie Nov 30 2009
OMG I CAN’T THINK OF WHAT TO WRITE!!!!!!
We all say it. Truth is, it’s not that you can’t think of what to write – you don’t want to think of what to write. Every day you’re bombarded by potential ideas for articles and blog posts. Here are a few I’ve used time and again:
- Answer the common question. What question do you hear the most times per week? Answer it. In painful detail. Your painful detail is my clarity, because I don’t do what you do every single day.
- Brag about yourself. It’s perfectly OK, once in a while, to explain why you’re so damned great. The trick is to back it up with hard facts, and use the example to teach. My article about StumbleUpon is a damned great example. That’s a joke. Sort of.
- Review a bunch of related posts/sites. Smashing Magazine has turned this into an art form. They don’t just list stuff – they list it and explain specifically what you can learn from it. Every article is one fantastic example after another.
- Point out your own mistakes. Then prevent them. I’m an endless font of mistakes. Writing about how I made them, and how I’ll try to avoid them in the future, could keep me busy for years. You’re probably more perfect than I am, but give it a shot.
- Make a list of lessons you’ve learned. This is as helpful for you as it is for your readers. It still works great though.
- Make a list of things you hate. This one only works if you’ve grown up cynical and sarcastic. If it has, though, you’re set, lemme tell ya. I write lists of marketing practices that piss me off,
- Make a list of things you love. Write down things people do that you like. What’s your best customer? Who do you most like working with? Why? List it all, and you’ve got a great article.
- Connect two dissimilar things. Sometimes, a great way to teach is to link two unrelated lessons: Links are like votes; marketing is like World of Warcraft; a comet is like a hot fudge sundae (read Lucifer’s Hammer to learn that reference – it’s dang clever).
- Use reverse psychology. If you teach fitness, give folks 10 reasons they should give up exercise. If you’re a cyclist, give 10 reasons not to wear a helmet (Best reason – you can save money on books).
Ian Lurie is CEO and founder of Portent Inc. He is co-author of the 2nd edition of the Web Marketing All-In-One for Dummies and wrote the sections on SEO, blogging, social media and web analytics. He's recorded training for Lynda.com, writes regularly for the Portent Blog and has been published on AllThingsD, Forbes.com and TechCrunch. And, Ian speaks at conferences around the world, including SearchLove, MozCon, SIC and ad:Tech. Read More