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As naturally creative beings we can easily feel tempted to unleash our creativity onto our copy.

Pro copywriters are aware of this temptation but they restrain themselves.

They don’t re-invent the wheel. Instead, they borrow ideas from advertising pieces they know work. It SAVES TIME. And it usually produces BETTER RESULTS.

They turn to the copywriting greats for inspiration. They look to see what advertising pieces have worked for them in the past.

So start collecting examples of marketing pieces that follow that formula.

Be sure to catalogue these pieces into product/service, market and type of appeal. That way you can easily find the Swipe File pieces that fit best with your copywriting project.

Sure — it may take some time to do especially considering that some of your Swipe File pieces may be in books, however it’s well worth the effort.

Here’s what many copywriting courses don’t tell you:

  1. Often, the most brilliant ideas come from copy promoting a product that’s vastly different from the product that you’re writing about. I’ve found amazing inspiration for a dieting ad by adapting headlines that advertise Viagra.
  2. Many old classics do still work. Times have changed and so has technology but buying motives haven’t.
  3. Source inspiration from industries where the businesses live or die by the effectiveness of advertising and industries that are advertising pace-setters such as direct marketing companies.
  4. This may ruffle a few feathers but here’s another source for great copy ideas… SPAMMERS. I’m certainly not condoning spam and I’d highly recommend that you NEVER, EVER, EVER spam however you will find that the copy that spammers use is often highly innovative and cutting edge (the legitimate companies, with legitimate messages, of course). After all, it has to be in that game.
  5. And –- even more inspiration can be found in copy promoting products that have stringent advertising regulations including health, beauty and porn.

Just Some Examples:

I wrote a five page sales letter based on a famous Wall Street Journal direct mail piece that for many years was the highest pulling direct mail piece ever. The lead generation letter I wrote targeted Managing Partners of Accounting Firms and it worked.

A skincare company client regularly borrowed from some of the most successful headlines and big ideas used to promote anti-ageing products in the USA.