Fact: you are capable of creating extraordinary things.
I hope you know that already, but if you don’t — I wanted to tell you.
Because you’re a creative — which means your brain probably goes a million miles an hour, right?
Day in, day out, you probably have more good ideas than you can shake a stick at.
Some of them good, some of them great, some of them in the “Mayyybe the world isn’t ready for grandmas with jetpacks” pile.
And, after you outline or draft the idea, you’ve probably experienced the terrifying moment every creator has more than once:
The moment of “I made this… but is it good enough?”
Short answer: heck yes it is — but first drafts are made to be torn apart and made better.
The longer answer: absolutely — but good ideas become extraordinary when you take the time to really examine them, think about the way they’ll be used by the customer, listener, or viewer, and get feedback from pros and people who’ve been in your shoes and know the ropes.
(Emphasis on that last bit. Because your mama might love everything you make… but chances are, she ain’t your customer, and hasn’t run a business like yours.)
I play in the land of ideas every single day with my clients in my copywriting, coaching, and strategic consulting work, and I’ll let you in on a little secret…
There are a few key tweaks that can make almost any idea infinitely better.
Tweaks you can make to whatever you’re working on, like… today.
And because I know you’re cool like that, I’ll walk you through my top 6 right now:
Confession: simplification is something I struggle with every day in my business (if you think my emails are wordy now? Whew! You shoulda seen me three years ago.)
I love words. I love teaching. I love making stuff. So when it comes time to put an idea together, my first instinct is to go bananas.
The good news is, if you struggle with this too you’re in good company:
Almost every creative I know suffers from what I call the urge to “kitchen sink” — a.k.a. throw everything but the kitchen sink into a program, course, book, blog post, podcast episode, or offer in order to ensure it’s jam packed with value.
But the problem with that is… value isn’t information.
Value is found in what you can help people do, change, and see within the constraints of their real life (a.k.a. how much time they have to work on stuff, etc.).
And it’s WAY easier to take in and digest new ideas when they’re pared down to just the most valuable intel.
Think about it.
Would you feel more compelled to check out a resource entitled “Bathe your cat in 3 easy steps (with demo video)” or “Bathe your cat in 30 easy steps (with accompanying eBook, PDF worksheet, and 5 step instructional video series)”?
One is exactly what you need right now. The other is… whew! A lot.
If you’ve ever:
- Been inside a Power Position coaching session with me.
- Joined one of my world-famous hot seats
- Booked in a consulting or Money Messaging Strategy call
- Did a deep dive inside my Statement Piece Sessions Creative Direction
… I will hound you on this, and I’m not even a little sorry for it.
In order for an idea to really work, you need to know exactly who it’s for, where those folks are at, and how what you’re making will help — and the entire idea should be built end to end with that in mind (not just your sales page).
It’s the difference between “Ice cream making 101” and “Ice cream making 101 for crazy busy people”. I know which one I’d be more inclined to open!
3. More focused messaging
One of the biggest principles in promotional writing is also, oddly, the easiest to forget: you need a clear problem, clear solution, and a clear promise.
We can get so caught up in making sure the headlines are catchy, the titles are memorable, and that we include every single feature of what we offer (which are rarely as important as the results/benefits it creates #justsayin) that we sometimes neglect to make sure the core ideas come across.
For example, “Our program includes 10 easy tech tools you need to implement RIGHT NOW” and “The technophobe-friendly guide to making your business run like clockwork.” are the same offer… but one is framed in a way its user can relate to.
4. Unique perspective
I tell this story time and time again, but when I started to create copy for my now-retired copywriting course The Wordshops, my first go at my sales page was peppered with all the “right” things to say about copywriting. (After all, I’d spied on the greats.)
“Increase conversions”, “Boost your sales”, “10x your whateverthefudge”.
Luckily for me, I had a coach on hand to… completely tear it apart.
Because not only was the page not me (I’d talked myself out of my usual writing style under the assumption that because I was selling something I had to be vry srs), it wasn’t even really the core idea of the program.
People don’t come to me for conversions/better writing alone – they come to me to develop their style. To get louder about the things they love. To become unmissable in their industry.
Chances are, your customers don’t come to you for the basic, paint-by-numbers solves of your industry either. When you have a clear brand, folks come to you for your unique perspective, and the thing they know only you can provide.
Otherwise… they’d go to the other guys.
Which is how The Wordshops went from being a course about “conversions” to a course about “learning the rules of copywriting so you can break them and become unforgettable”.
5. Great titles
There’s nothing I love more than a clever title. But a clear title? That wins the day every single time.
If you can do both, all the better.
(She said, fully recognizing she has an offer called THUNDER that, out of context, makes no sense. But it’s niche enough that I miiiight just get away with it this time)
Great titles for an offer, program, or series don’t just get people to click – they help them decide instantly whether the offer is for them.
Contrastingly, the wrong title can be… pretty confusing.
Let’s say I wrote a guide to writing a great sales page quickly, and it’s built for folks who love to DIY but don’t have a lot of time.
At the outset, the “The Last Second Sales Page” is a catchy title!
The problem? People might think it’s only for folks in a rush. And if “last second” folks aren’t really my audience (there’s a difference between being busy and waiting ’til the last second), I’m cutting myself off at the knees.
Something like “The 60-minute Sales Page” works much better for who I want to serve.
6. And finally: collaboration
I bet you know this already, but it bears repeating: extraordinary ideas just can’t get built in a vacuum.
Can you imagine what would’ve happened if Steve Wozniak or Jobs had tried to build Apple solo, without the other? Or if Richard Branson was determined to come up with the entire evolving business model for Virgin alone in his garage?
Just like people need ideas, ideas need people.
People to praise what’s working and show you what might not.
To share their experiences so you can avoid common mistakes.
And to help you sort out just how you can help others in the most powerful, world-changing ways.
That’s why walking through the creation process with a coach (like me) at your side, and a tight-knit community of pros on your level you trust can change… everything.
But the key to to all this is simple:
You’ve gotta show up.
You’ve gotta dare.
You’ve gotta be willing to do the dang thang – and if it doesn’t work, to work with it til it does.
Are you gonna rise to the challenge or what?
(Because really, the only good FOMO is the kind other people are having because they’re watching you rock. ;))
3 thoughts on “6 ways ideas go from “good enough” to extraordinary.”
I was cruising the downtown historic area in Sheepshead Bay and glad I happened to “stumble” across your “7 minutes” on Tom’s show. Good Job ! Cheers ~ Nice Landing Page too. Best, Bruce Stone _ Interdyne International K-9
The “unique perspective” thing is also the best antidote I’ve come across to Imposter Syndrome. I blog and podcast about folklore, and obviously so do a lot of other people, and after a while, you start seeing the same stories and legends doing the rounds on all the podcasts. I was all “oh no! why would people choose me? what qualifies me to write about this?” and then someone tweeted me to say they always enjoyed MY TAKE on the legend or myth I’d shared, or my perspective on why the belief existed in the first place. Boom! Icy 1 – Imposter Syndrome 0.
Keep it simple. Big reminder. From the first writing class I believe it was KISS but your way is kinder and more to the point without calling anyone names.