The one problem with Big Ideas

This week I’ve been talking to you about Big Ideas.

I used to think that when I wasn’t making a lot of sales that my copy was to blame. Turns out, the problem wasn’t my copy, it was that I didn’t have clearly defined Big Idea.

And whenever I look at my students’ copy that’s falling flat, it’s not their copy that’s the problem – but a lack of a Big Idea.

The ‘Big Idea’ is the big, singular, sexy feature that a big segment of your audience craves and that no other product or service delivers – or at least that no one else claims they do.

It’s what you base all your copy around. And your Big Idea is generally more important than the copy you write. In fact, your copy can suck – yet still sell like crazy if you’ve got a great Big Idea.

This week I’ve been trying to stress that it’s the Big Ideas you have that ultimately determine how much, or how little, you get paid. If you’re great at coming up with Big Ideas, your copy will ALWAYS sell – and you will never have issues making money.

But if you’ve been reading along this week, and you actually tried the steps I outlined yesterday for coming up with a Big Idea, you likely stumbled on the big problem with Big Ideas: they’re really hard to come up with, even when you’ve got the formulas.
Here’s the deal: copywriting itself is fairly formulaic. If you know the formulas, you can write pretty good copy.

But the Big Idea — the heartbeat behind the world’s best copy — requires a deep knowledge of your market, what their fears are, what other products they’ve tried, and what they’re really looking for after all this time that no one else has provided them.

And then you need to know how to phrase that in a short, pithy, sexy one sentence pitch that hooks them immediately. Being able to do that is what separates the pro copywriters who make $$$ from everyone else. ANYONE can write the actual words in your copy – only the pros can come up with Big Ideas that hook readers and sell products without even needing great copy to back it up.

Luckily you can ‘go pro’ and get really, really good at this. Anyone can.

The solution is simple: you’ve got to dive deep into classic copy that converted well, understand the market they were selling to, understand what exactly that market was struggling with at the time, and dissect that copy’s Big Idea.

In other words, everything we do in CopyHour.

The handwriting exercise is genuinely the best way I know how to do this – and Big Ideas are something we cover extensively in CopyHour.

The more you identify and practice writing Big Ideas from classic copy, the more naturally it’ll come to you when you need to sit down to do it… because you’ll have more puzzle pieces to work with.

It’s really just a matter of putting in your reps with the classics and specifically teasing out the Big Idea in each one. There’s no other way.

If you’re not already a CopyHour student, we go deep on this… and I recommend joining when we re-launch in September.

If you are a CopyHour student, I invite you to read through the course emails again and focus extra hard on the Big Ideas in each piece of copy as you handwrite.

In the meantime, check out the last three days of emails I’ve sent you. Start practicing with the 9 Big Idea Prompts. And start digging through ads you love to find out how they used those prompts to come up with their Big Ideas.

Start putting in your reps – so that you hard-wire the patterns into your brain and they come out naturally when you sit down to write. I guarantee putting in these reps will make you a LOT more money as a copywriter – whether you’re an entrepreneur writing for yourself, or a freelancer writing for other businesses.

This email is long and I’ve got a little more to say on this topic so I’ll save it for tomorrow.

Talk then!

– Derek

P.S. Got any questions about what I’ve covered the last few days? Just fill out this quick survey.

I want to know if this has been useful – or if it’s left you with more questions than answers.

I’m experimenting with more of these "tutorial-style" email series and my goal here is to help you write better copy, so if you want more of this, I’d love if you helped me help you.