The Copywriter's Guide to Coming Up With Hundreds of Ideas Every Day
Copywriters need to come up with lots of ideas
Whether it’s content ideas, sales angles, or just stories to tell their list copywriters have to come up with new ideas every single day.
For non-creative people, it can be hard to come up with the many ideas we need. Even if you are a creative person, you can’t just flip on the “creativity switch” and spit out golden ideas, right?
Actually.... you can. And it’s not really that hard.
In this article, I’m going to show you a technique I use to generate hundreds of ideas every week. I use these ideas for products, articles, social media posts, and more.
The 10x10 exercise
The technique I’m going to teach you today is called “ten in ten” (10x10). That’s 10 ideas in 10 minutes. There are 4 steps to 10x10.
- Block out distractions
- Prepare to enter Hyper Focused State
- Set a timer
- Write down ideas about anything and everything for 10 minutes
Sounds pretty simple, right? It is, but let’s look at these steps more in-depth.
1. Block out all distractions
I am always connected to my phone or laptop, but one thing I’m NOT always connected to is social media. I'm a firm believer that social media is largely a huge time sink if you’re not using it correctly.
These social media companies have engineers working all day long trying to figure out how to get you to spend an extra second or two on their platform….Well, that’s what Black Mirror said, anyway...
So, what happens when you’re always connected to social media, getting notifications, and hearing beeps and boops?
You’re not getting any work done. You keep stopping what you’re doing in order to check your notifications or messages. A process in your brain, task switching, is causing you to get zero work done.
But you don’t have to let task switching destroy your productivity.
In this step of the 10x10, you’re going to block out every single distraction. This includes your phone as well as closing your office door and maybe even scheduling a block of time on your calendar.
The point is, for 30 minutes, you are going to be unreachable to the world.
There are very few people who can’t be unreachable to the world for 10 minutes. Unless you are a caretaker or an on-call doctor, you should be able to unplug from the world for 10 minutes.
And that’s exactly what you’re going to do now.
2. Prepare to enter in a Hyper Focused State
You know that feeling when you are “in the zone?” Everything is going great and you are on top of the world. You are an absolute machine. For me, it’s when I’m writing thousands of words of amazing copy in an hour.
I call this being in a Hyper Focused State.
Most people aren’t able to enter into a Hyper Focused State at will. You, on the other hand, will be able to after reading this article.
You have already blocked out all distractions. Next, you need to mentally prepare yourself to enter into a Hyper Focused State. Remember, you only need to do this for 10 minutes at a time.
And that’s the secret to the 10x10. It’s like exercising - the next ten minutes might sound tough, but it’s ONLY ten minutes. And EVERYBODY can do 10 minutes of work, right?
After that 10 minutes, you have the rest of the day to do anything…. but the next ten minutes is going to be dedicated to your 10 ideas
3. Set a timer
This step is pretty straightforward. All you need to do is set a timer for 10 minutes. Remember, during these 10 minutes, you are invisible to the world.
4. Write down ideas about anything and everything for 10 minutes
During these 10 minutes, you want to write everything that comes into your head. And I mean anything.
If you start your timer, but can’t think of anything, you can just write “I am supposed to be thinking of ideas right now but I am stuck…”
The purpose of this exercise is to ignore grammar, spelling, punctuation - all of it - and just get the ideas out of your head onto the paper.
In this step, there are no bad ideas.
Later, when you're going through these ideas you can get rid of the bad ones, but now is not the time for that.
So, while your timer is going, write down everything that comes to mind.
Here’s my 10x10. I just did a quick 10x10 and this is what I wrote down. I use Notion to record all of my ideas.
Let’s look at what I wrote down. That’s actually 27 in 10 - I can come up with that many ideas because I’ve done this a few times.
The first thing you notice is how many typos and misspellings there are. And that’s fine. As long as I can tell what the idea is, it’s okay.
The next thing you might notice is that these ideas are all over the place. I have content ideas, things I need to do later today, marketing funnel ideas… all kinds of stuff that came out in the last 10 minutes.
Sure, a lot of this stuff is probably junk. Later, I am going to go through these and tag them as “good idea,” “do this ASAP,” “maybe one day,” and “kill it.” A lot of these are going to fall in the “kill it” pile and never see the light of day.
But if I do this and only get one great idea every day, I think it’s worth it. In fact, I don’t even do this exercise every day because I have so many ideas in my backlog that I want to act on.
I already have my content calendar for Q1 2021 planned and I STILL have evergreen content ideas.
The point is, I never have a moment when I think “I wonder what content I could write” or “I want to make a product but I can’t come up with an idea.” Whenever I need a new idea, I just open up Notion and flip through the ideas I marked as good.
After doing this a few times, you’ll be able to get much more than 10 ideas in 10 minutes. And you can even focus all of your ideas on one thing. For example, all 10 of your ideas can be video ideas for your brand.
Whatever you decide, just remember to keep writing and don’t stop. Do this a few times and you’ll never run out of ideas ever again.