Your mission: to liberate ideas
Where are ideas?
I mean, before they appear in your head…
Where are they?
Speak up there at the back.
Yes, you’re very right – they’re everywhere.
But today I specifically want to remind you that a lot of ideas reside in other people.
In fact, some of the best ideas in the world are hidden away inside the people you spend a lot of time with…
Your friends. Your family. Your work colleagues.
Even weird Tony who sits by himself in the corner…
That’s right – him over there.
There’s a chance he’s got your next big idea stuck in his head.
Thing is, those people might not realise they have good ideas in them.
(Especially weird Tony.)
And it’s not really their job to get them out, either.
Sadly, it means these ideas could go uncovered for decades, a lifetime even.
And that’s why I want to remind you, as a copywriter, you should also be a liberator of ideas.
It’s your job – nay, your duty – to liberate ideas.
But don’t worry…
If ‘duty’ sounds like a lot of responsibility, idea liberation also saves a lot of work on your front too.
Ideas are hard
You see, to have your own ideas is bloody hard work.
It takes a lot of walking around, staring inquisitively at things and generally doubting your very existence.
Often, you’ll find yourself rocking back and forth quietly in the corner of a room thinking you’ve run out of ideas.
You wonder if you’ll ever have another idea again.
You start to think that Ogilvy guy was really just taking the piss about the whole big idea thing.
Yeah, let’s face it: coming up with ideas is hard.
Ultimately, it’s why you get paid as a copywriter.
I mentioned a minute ago there are ideas hidden in other people…all waiting to be liberated.
If only you could somehow get them out. You’d be saved. You’d have an almost infinite well-spring of new ideas.
See what I mean?
Duty schmuty – you should be desperate to liberate the ideas stuck in the people around you.
Doing so will save you from going mad.
Solo rhymes with polo
There’s no real reason or rationale behind that subhead. But I like it. And I’m writing this, so it’s staying in the piece.
I’m my own editor, OK?
But anyway, the point here is:
One of the best ways to discover new ideas is to get out from behind your desk and speak to people.
When you talk to your friends…
Even weird Tony…
When you tell them about the thing you’re working on, you’ll often be surprised by what they say back to you.
Just recently I was discussing a project with someone and hadn’t quite figured out a headline.
But in our discussion, this person essentially spoke the perfect headline to me.
They had no idea they’d just crystallized the idea so well…
But because I’m used to spotting these things and liberating such ideas, I saw it shimmering there in the ether, grabbed it, and I ran with it.
That headline became the springboard I needed to find the right lead and get myself three or four pages into the letter I was working on.
And it all stemmed from me being able to liberate an idea my friend didn’t realise he had.
So, I recommend next time you’re wondering where your next idea is going to come from…
Rather than try to scrape it out of your own tired mind…
Go on the hunt and start quizzing the people around you.
Weird Tony might just inspire your ass.