Be different, get one free

Where do ideas come from and how do you know they are likely to make good adverts? 

In have occasionally mentioned my recent book on writing adverts.  I am not going to do that again (except in passing) as you might well feel that this is degenerating into a set of adverts by me about me. 

But I do want to pursue the theme of how one gets the sort of ideas that can either pull in more sales than ever before or enable you to draw in people who would never otherwise dream of using your services or products. 

I made the point in the last post that simply by fitting advert writing around your everyday work you are unlikely to come up with some really exciting copy that will achieve one of these two aims (i.e. either lots of sales or reaching people who have never responded before). 

However there is a second point: where do new ideas come from? 

My book on advert writing gives lots ideas, but I am already committed not to mention that again, so here’s one easy way that you can pick up a completely new idea and run with it. 

Read an unusual and stimulating magazine or website that is outside your normal range of reading material. 

Thus I don’t mean an educational magazine or a website that you would glance at anyway, but something that you would not normally be reading.

My choices as a way of keeping the creating juices flowing are New Scientist magazine and an American news and commentary website, Quartz.  From time to time I take in other sites and magazines (the Economist occasionally, for example) but those two usually do the trick. 

The point is that they take me outside of my normal area of reading and thinking.  Occasionally they give me ideas I can use directly, but most of the time they simply stimulate my brain by taking me into new zones which start new thought processes. 

Of course, there are going to be other ways of doing this, and you might find your own, but one of the benefits of buying an actual magazine is that once you have bought it, it sits there on your desk, by your bed, on the coffee table or wherever, and says, “Look you have just spent several pounds buying me – surely you are not going to leave it at that?” 

And so you pressure yourself into being outside the comfort zone. Then the advert you write as a result of such an activity will be different from your normal adverts – that is the whole point. And there is no guarantee that it will work, of course. 

But that’s not a problem, because what you can do is take out a four email programme, and slip one of your new experimental adverts into the series. 

And here is a special offer which I’d like to make, just to encourage you to take on this journey into the unknown (no matter where you get your ideas from). 

If you are taking out a 4 Email campaign with us and making one of those four emails an experimental piece, we will automatically give you a fifth advertisement free of charge.  All you have to do is send in at least one of your regular style adverts, and the “different” piece, with a note that this is in response to the “Be different get one free” advert, and it will be sent out to the list of your choice free of charge. 

The four email series mean you can send emails to the list of teachers of your choice for around £50 a time.  There are details on our website, or you can call 01604 880 927 or email 

Tony Attwood 

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