Finding That Big Idea to Drive Your
Promo’s Success

The Big Idea. As you saw last week, it’s a great way to improve your promotions. But where the heck can you find Big Ideas?

The reality is, Big Ideas are all around us. And today I’ll give you some strategies for finding them.

However, this subject really is too big and too important to be able to cover in a couple of articles. What I gave you last week and what I’ll give you today are good, solid overviews to get you started understanding the Big Idea.

But the best place I know of to get a thorough understanding of the subject is the first module of AWAI’s Masters Program for Six-Figure Copywriting.

If you’re a member of COS, you should check it out after reading what I’m about to reveal. If you aren’t a member, I’ll tell you in a little while more about this next step in your copywriting career.

But let’s get back to the subject at hand.

The best place to get a Big Idea …

It’s pretty common for beginning copywriters to think their clients expect them to “know everything.” But this couldn’t be further from the truth. Your client wants you to ask questions. In asking these questions, you could easily come up with the Big Idea that’ll drive your promotion.

Who do you ask? The head of the company. The product developer. The head marketer. The “guru” behind the product (the newsletter editor or writer, that sort of person). Ask about how the idea for the product came up. Ask for any interesting stories about the product. For instance, did they have to go someplace as part of their product development? Here’s an example of a Big Idea that came from that source …

15 Rivers to Cross … and only 7 bridges
Here's how we were able to bring you …


In spite of bandits, jaguars, baby dinosaurs, and high water … at a price that will make a happy bandit out of YOU!

I used to think that the only way to have a real adventure was to be an astronaut or something. But that was before my recent trip to the Hidden Valley in Honduras, where the alluvial soil is six feet deep and everybody and his brother carries a six-shooter for bandit insurance.

The Big Idea? Smoking these cigars is a mere step away from danger and adventure. The copywriter got the story behind the promotion —and that forms the Big Idea — from talking to his client.

Let the product tell you …

Learn as much as you can about the product you’re promoting. Now, I know this sounds a lot like “talking to the client.” The best starting point to learn about the product is the client. But go far beyond that.

Investigate every aspect of the product you can. If it’s an alternative health promo, research its components in both academic articles (use Google Scholar) and popular literature. This is how I found a remarkable Big Idea for one supplement I wrote about.

Or if you’re doing financial copy, dig deep into the subject so you know it thoroughly. Besides coming up with tons of material for your promo, you could easily come up with a story that forms the basis of a Big Idea. (Like Mike Palmer’s True Wealth “Secret Currency” story from our last issue.)

This strategy works for any niche you are writing for. So never shortcut your research.

The Masters Program reveals many more strategies for finding the Big Idea that I can’t go into here. (It would take up far too much space.) But let’s take a look at one that AWAI members learned about at this year’s Bootcamp.

Use Jen and John’s “secret” …

I know you’ve committed yourself to learning everything you can about copywriting so you can become an A-level copywriter. And this means reading tons about this subject.

This is how it should be. But Jen and John talked about a secret route to finding the Big Idea that few copywriters know about that goes beyond this.

Their secret comes from human psychology. Ideas form in the background of your awareness. They are fed from all your experiences — books, interactions with other people, lectures, TED Talks, and the like. These build together, interact, and become something different and often better than the original content.

This is, in fact, the basic idea behind a book they recommended (so do I). Where Good Ideas Come From: The Natural History of Innovation by Steven Johnson gives numerous examples of how innovation came as a result of this behind-the-scenes percolation process.

So, Jen, John, and I recommend that you feed this process. Read your copywriting materials, certainly. But also make sure you expand into other fascinating areas of learning and knowledge.

This was how Mike Palmer came up with the Mayer Rothschild Big Idea for the True Wealth “Secret Currency” promotion. It came from his interest and extensive reading of history.

Getting there faster …

Is there any way to stimulate and accelerate this behind-the-scenes percolation process? Yes, there is. But that’s complex enough that it’s the subject of several other articles.

But if you want to learn about it sooner, it’s covered in great depth in Module 1 of The Masters Program for Six-Figure Copywriting. This new revision of AWAI’s original Masters Program has been thoroughly updated for current copywriting strategies and latest, online niches.

I feel a bit like a proud papa when I talk about it. Not only was I one of the working copywriters who contributed to it, I also helped revise the overall structure.

As I mentioned earlier, it covers the absolutely essential topic of the Big Idea in greater depth than I’ve seen anywhere else. And this is only one of over 31 Masters-level topics covered in depth.

The general categories include:

  • Writing Concepts (Module 1)
  • Principles and Structure of Selling (Module 2)
  • Crafting Great Sales Letters — Masters Level (Module 3)
  • Advanced Online Copywriting (Module 4)
  • Copywriting Masters (Module 5)
  • Focus and Inspiration (Module 6)

I told you that I was a bit like a proud papa (no, make that a lot like one). But this is an outstanding program that will advance your understanding of copywriting beyond the basics. And it will advance your copywriting career to levels attained by today’s Masters.

To learn more about AWAI’s Masters Program for Six-Figure Copywriting, click this link.

Please drop me a line at to let me know what you think of the Masters Program — a great step toward your copywriting success.

The AWAI Masters Program

The Masters Program for Six-Figure Copywriting

Advance into the ranks of A-level copywriters with copywriting secrets taught directly from the copywriting legends themselves. Learn More »

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Published: November 19, 2012

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