How to “get” Big Ideas for Your Writing

big idea

When it comes to writing any sort of interesting copy, it all comes down to a BIG IDEA. 

If you’re looking for a truckload of clients… come at them with BIG IDEAS and you’ll nab a few willing participants even if you’ve never written a lick.

I’ll show you how in just a minute…

If you’re looking to sell your products, a BIG IDEA for copy or a video could be the differentiator. ​

First, let’s look at the Quit Job to Write.

My BIG IDEA was presenting ‘how anyone can quit their job and become a writer this year.’

That’s a “big idea” as:

  1. It’s a huge promise and/or benefit (appealing)
  2. It sticks in your mind
  3. It’s easy to grasp and understand
  4. It can last for a long time (i.e. I can use this big idea for years to come)

Big ideas are necessary so you can stand out from the crowd. Whether you’re writing an article or pitching a product to the world.

Clients want to hire you to come up with the big idea that could radically change their business.

Because, think about it…

How many different ways can you sell a car or a bar of soap? Car? Car battery? At some point, you need to present an idea in a freakin’ different way. Big ideas are the only way to resonate and get through to the ever-ADD consumers.


Here’s the common way people think they have good ideas — Sit and think. “The more I think about it, the more ideas I’ll have.”

After an hour of bad ideas, you give up and call yourself ‘not creative enough.’

Another common antidote: take a shower, go for a walk, have sex…

I admit, walking around, showering and sex have brought on some good ideas, but not consciously.

Myself included, most folks can’t sit around in an empty room and come up with ground-breaking ideas.

That’s not how the brain works.

Most of your good ideas will not come from sitting around and shouting Eureka! 

They’re going to be found in a very different way. 

Are there exceptions to this rule? Of course. But from someone who must come up with BIG IDEAS regularly for copy purposes, I’ll share with you my process.

The secret to BIG IDEAS on a regular basis.

Ones you can write eye-catching copy about. Ones to boost your commerce business or sell that sputtering listing… 


Yes, as non-creative as it sounds. Actually, it sounds pretty boring.

Research…sitting in front of Google, reading a book, talking to experts…that’s where your BIG IDEAS come from. The ‘creative’ aspect comes from taking a BIG IDEA and growing it into a compelling sales piece. 

Wanna know the most famous big idea in advertising ever? 


This was written by ad legend David Ogilvy. Ogilvy went through over 30 ideas that were rejected before coming up with this headline. Guess where Mr. Ogilvy came up with this idea? 

He didn’t. It’s one of the biggest lies in the industry. 

Ogilvy found this line in one of the manuals for the car. Actually, a mechanic made up this quote. Ogilvy was reading the car manual as part of his research, and BAM BAM! 

The “Genius” comes from Ogilvy yanking this line out of a boring manual. After which, he created a compelling, informative ad that drastically increased Rolls Royce sales. 

Why does this work?

Read a book called “Creative Thinkering” by Michael Michalko (Here’s a link, I make no money from this)

In the book, he doesn’t express anything ground-breaking-ly new…but he surfaces something we all believe.


All our thoughts, ideas, even actions come from what we ‘input’ in ourselves.

Positive people consume positive things.

Ever meet someone grumbling about “oh, the world is a crap hole, lemme tell ya.” All they are is cynical and negative? You know these folks. All they input in their minds are terrible stories about death and gloom.

Michalko demonstrates (very well I might add) that you can stimulate your brain to come up with new ideas and angles by ‘inputting’ different stimuli.

That means potentially:

  • Reading about different features and the history behind those features
  • Studying successful copy from the industry you write in
  • Poring over quotes, historical events, documentaries about core concepts in the industry or product

For example, in the car example above. Ogilvy came up with the idea by researching the background of one facet of the car. He found the mufflers in the Rolls Royce were one of the quietest around.

Likely, he studied the history of mufflers, who first built them, how they work and more. He most likely also drove a Rolls Royce to ‘feel’ his big idea in action.

What unique angles can you study to dig up a big idea for your project?

How do I do research?

There’s no playbook for coming up with BIG IDEAS. But, here’s how you can start: Let’s use an example to be concrete. 

What if you have a common service. Say a painter. You paint residential homes around town. There are 10 other painting companies you compete with. You don’t feel special. But, you are. 

  1. Pull up Google. Google will be your best friend for the next 10-20 hours.
  2. Start researching basic questions: Why do homeowners hire a painter? How much do they spend? What are the common colors? What horror stories are out there? Any government laws about painting (or, even better, about to happen)? 
  3. Watch talks given by painters (fun, huh?)…what insights do they have?
  4. Talk to your customers. Ask them simple questions like you researched
  5. Read 1-3 books about painting, residential painting
  6. Watch HGTV and listen to what homeowners say about paint, paint colors, what it does to the room

Now, you might ask: ‘Ok, WTF am I doing with all this basic information???”

I’ll tell ya. 

You’re looking for a golden nugget somewhere. Keep everything you research (even if you’ve heard it before) in a Google doc. After digesting all this information, step away for a few days. Let your subconscious take over. 

[HINT: This is when a walk or sex might generate a BIG IDEA] 

At some point, you’ll piece together an idea. You pull a bunch of data together and discover something: A house painted blue fetches 5% more in the sales price than a brown house (NOTE: MADE THIS UP). 

Suddenly, you have a BIG IDEA. 

TWO MEN SOLD THE EXACT SAME HOUSE, EXCEPT FOR ONE, SMALL DETAIL. ONE OF THEM MADE 5% MORE ON THE SALE(This 5% equated to an extra $20,000 in cash at closing because of this one, small detail) 

That headline could get cleaned up a bit, but you get the point. You have a BIG IDEA that’s different than your competitors. 

Guess what? Those people selling their homes WILL ABSOLUTELY READ YOUR SALES PIECE. 

“But what about the people who aren’t selling their house?” Write another frickin’ letter about another BIG IDEA! You can do more than one!! After awhile, it’s a ton of fun.

Come up with big ideas from home and in your PJs!

If you haven’t already…

Make sure you download my 5-step playbook to quit your job to write. (yes, it’s free). Click here for the deets.