How To Use Other People’s Ideas for Fun & Profit (Without Copying)
The more you learn about copywriting (or sales and marketing in general) the more you realize that half of your job is using other people’s ideas.
Now, don’t get me wrong: I am not advocating for copying other people’s work.
Is that clear?
Okay… what I mean is that…
Business is always a process of identifying what works and creating from that knowledge.
Copywriters do this by paying attention to what really grabs their attention, turning that into a formula, and then creating completely original content on top of that formula.
Now, copywriting is a particular passion of mine. I love learning about how it works and I love the way it trains me to think differently.
And when I think copywriting, I think Joanna Wiebe from Copy Hackers.
I had the chance to talk to Joanna about her approach to marketing a brand new project that Copy Hackers has been working on, Airstory.
When I asked her how she was approaching the marketing for Airstory–which Joanna describes as what would happen if Google Docs & Evernote had a baby and let Trello raise it–she said she was really inspired by a marketing campaign that Blue Bottle Coffee had come up with.
They decided they wanted to use the idea too.
Blue Bottle had created a beautiful video “course” on Skillshare that explained the process of brewing exceptional coffee from start to finish. As Joanna told me, the result of watching it was that you couldn’t think about coffee the same way again.
In order for her to use the idea…
Joanna needed to reverse engineer it.
Her goal is to get people to rethink the way they’ve always done a frequent task: content marketing specifically and writing generally.
After all, that’s what Blue Bottle did. It’s not really about the videos, it’s not really about putting it on Skillshare. The really important part is to understand the mechanism that made that campaign go viral: rethinking the way you do a daily task.
Further, Joanna told me, the real idea is teaching people to be a better consumer of your product so that they’ll only want to choose your product in the future. It’ll be the only one that now meets their standards.
Once she knew that, she could approach marketing Airstory with the “how and what” of the Blue Bottle campaign but with her core goal being to create better writers instead of better coffee brewers.
The videos and distribution channel for the marketing campaign became what I call the “building blocks” of her marketing. But her own product, brand, and customer perspective become what the building blocks are made out of.
You can do the same thing with any successful marketing or sales assets.
What’s more: you should.
I teach our Quiet Power Strategy clients to start looking at every sales page that catches their eye or every email that moves them to click as an opportunity to create a template.
That template is inevitably made up of building blocks that you can use if you only sub in what’s particular to your product, brand, and customer perspective.
Take this blog post, for instance!
- The first building block (at the beginning) is a shocking or counterintuitive statement that seems to go against cultural norms.
- The second building block (the bulk of the email) is an explanation of this idea referencing a conversation, in this case, one I had with a successful business owner.
- The third building block (what you’re reading right now) is a call to action around how to apply this to work for you.
- The fourth building block (it’s coming, read on!) is a final call to action to check out the whole conversation.
So what are you waiting for?
Listen to Joanna explain this whole process–plus how she interviews prospects to come up with product ideas and how she’s built out two teams to support both the training side of the business and the software side of the business.
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