Copywriting–Generating Ideas

May 3rd 2011       Sally Ormond       content generation, copywriting tips, freelance copywriter, Idea generation, swipe file

Ideas to boost sales


Copywriters are always having to come up with new ideas. Whether it’s for blog posts, client projects or for their own web copy, fresh and original content generation is a part of their daily life.

I’ve been working as a freelance copywriter for several years now and I would be love it if i could just sit at my desk in the morning and create an unlimited number of original ideas without any effort.

Wouldn’t that be great? Just think how easy it would make anyone’s life if they could simply produce idea after idea after idea. Never again would a project stump you, you’d write oodles of great blog posts, newsletter and email content would flow freely.

But the real world isn’t like that. In the real world we all suffer from writers’ block. How many times have you sat in front of your computer, stared at the blank screen only to realise your mind is equally as blank?

We’ve all been there – even me.

So how do you break the spell?

Well one way is to create a swipe file.

Idea generation – the swipe file

Now before you recoil in horror, a swipe file is not a means to plagiarism.

Your swipe file is a way of generating inspiration.

No doubt you get bombarded with emails and mail shots all trying to sell you something. Most of them you’ll bin or delete, but one or two may catch your eye. They are the ones to place in your swipe file.

If they caught your eye the chances are they also caught someone else’s.

Study it – what was it that made you read it? Was it the layout, headline, content, use of images?

This type of analysis will help you understand what techniques make people read something.

Make a note of them and gradually you’ll build up a reference library of great headlines, techniques etc., that will help you strengthen your own copy.

This ideas file (whether in physical form or held on your computer) will help trigger your creativity when the dreaded writer’s block strikes.

Remember though the material in your swipe file is there for inspiration and not to be copied.

Do you already have a swipe file? If so, what piece of marketing really caught your eye and why? Leave a comment and share it with us.

Tags: content generation, copywriting tips, freelance copywriter, Idea generation, swipe file
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