Here are some ways I’ve used in the past (or still use) to help me write better copy for ads, or even better articles for my blog.
Read books or other copy
– Some of my best copy and writing has come to me right after reading some other copy, or reading something related to the copy I’m already writing. Obviously you can’t plagiarize, I would never recommend that, but you can certainly get a better grasp on what your copy should look like by looking at other people in similar industries that have copy that’s working really well. Be sure to add your own voice and make sure it sounds like something you would actually say and that you agree with. “Good artists copy, great artists steal.”
– I love listening to Spotify or even Pandora when I’m trying to get in the ZONE and write or even send emails. Skyrim Radio on Pandora is one of my favorites, and Spotify has a ton of great “flow” or focus playlists to lose yourself with. I prefer the more ambient songs that have less vocals for when I’m trying to focus, but everyone has their preferred choice. Live stations on YouTube are also great (Lo-fi Hip Hop and Morning Jazz are great!)
Staring out the window. (But not at anything in particular)
– Okay this sounds a bit odd but any form of idle pondering can really help clear your head and let your creative mind run freely. The truth is, the best creative moments happen when you’re just thinking freely, uninhibited.
Meditation (Long term)
– There has been a ton of science done on the benefits of mediation. I use an app called Headspace that has made adding mediation to my life not only easy, but incredibly enjoyable. I must say, after meditating for over a year and a half now, the benefits have been truly great. Now this is a long term solution to helping you think more clearly, so I suggest you get started soon. Tim Ferriss has called meditation a “meta-skill” or a skill that improves all other skills. That alone is a reason to do it.
Booze (evening only)
– Okay you might think this is crazy but some of the best blog posts I’ve written were after a few glasses of Merlot. I’m not saying you should get drunk and go on a writing spree, but if you could do that coherently, I’d be fairly impressed. MAKE SURE TO REVISE YOUR WORK IN THE MORNING! Unless you’re feeling really confident.
– This one will vary from person to person on what exactly you might eat or not eat. For me, I avoid carbs like the plague, especially if I know I’m going to be sitting down and writing all day. Nothing makes me more ready for a nap than a high carb meal, sometimes even sushi will make me tired. Also I’d suggest avoiding caffeine if it even slightly makes you anxious or jittery. I’m a man who loves my tea and coffee, but I also know that if I do drink it, my creativity skills plummet, but this is universally true for most stimulants, like modafinil for example.
Test, tweak, and analyze.
– Here’s the one everyone hates doing but we all know it works the best. Truth is, good copy doesn’t become good copy sitting on your desk or in a file on your computer. It becomes good copy when it’s sent out to do a job and returns with satisfactory results. So if you want the cold hard truth, you need to test, test, test, and test some more. The greatest Ad Companies in the world aren’t great because they’re the most creative, it’s because they test more than anyone else, and they see what data actually works.