6 Ways To Improve Your Copy – Finding Ad Copy Inspiration

Viewmaster AdvertisingAny online marketer should be constantly examining ways in which they can improve their ad copy. The best way to find new inspiration for ad copy is to look at other ads and examine the trends that the industry is following.

Don’t limit yourself to modern advertisements either – there are a lot of lessons to be learned from the early days of the advertising industry as well.

You may well remember the Viewmaster – the company began in the late 1930’s, and what household hasn’t had one of these gadgets at one time or another? From it’s humble beginnings in 1938, who would have expected that the Viewmaster would still be on the market more than 75 years later?

Viewmaster trivia: Did you know that the military was a big buyer of the Viewmaster? During World War II, they purchased thousands of viewers to help teach artillery spotting and aircraft identification.

There’s still many Viewmaster advertising images that you can find online, so take a look around, and see if you can find ideas for your own advertising.

If you’ve been dealing with some writers block for your ad copy in recent months consider using some of the following to help you drum up ideas for your next advertisement;

Tough Out Commercials

Although most people prefer to go grab a beer from the kitchen when the commercials come on, a true marketer sticks around to keep an eye out for some ingenious copy when the opportunity presents itself. Instead of fast forwarding on your DVR, pay attention the next time that commercials come on. Pay attention to the words that are used, examine how commercials entice users to take action.

Sometimes just sitting through the commercials isn’t enough, especially if you want to retain the things that you notice! Keep a notebook handy on your couch-side table to scribble down things that you notice from various commercials and help to drive those points home.

Pay special attention to local commercials that have been running for long periods of time. Those are the commercials that have proven to be give a positive return on investment, and have been created on a small budget.

Commercials can be an excellent source of inspiration for ad copy. Instead of ignoring them, pay attention to how they could potentially improve your own ad copy!

Turn Off Adblock

Although ads might be annoying, you’re not a true marketer unless you run without it. The internet advertising landscape trends can change on a whim, with ingenious new ideas rearing their head often. Paying attention to these ads can help you to come up with your own interesting ideas, and are a great source of inspiration for any marketer.

At the very least, make sure that you have a second browser installation setup without Adblock installed, so that you can regularly set aside some time to take a look at advertisements. While this is better than nothing at all, you’ll likely miss some ads that you would see in your day to day browsing.

Learn From The Pros

Ogilvy On AdvertisingThe Copywriter's HandbookThere is an almost unending number of high quality books and guides written by some of the largest names in the business.

Whether you are a new hire or a seasoned advertising veteran, it is never a bad idea to brush up and review the advice from those that have done it best!

Copywriting is a skill that will serve you in many different ways in your online marketing – with good knowledge & skills, you’ll sell ice to Eskimos – without it, you’ll have trouble selling dollar bills for a penny. So it pays in the long run to learn the craft of copywriting.

Some of the more popular options include;

  • “Oglivy on Advertising” by David Oglivy
  • “The Copywriter’s Handbook” by Robert W. Bly

Both of these books are highly regarded in the industry. David Oglivy is considered by most to be the “godfather” of modern direct response marketing, and his work still inspires some of the largest copywriting campaigns of today.

Examine The Competition

It seems basic but so many online marketers forego it. Take a look at the paid advertisements that your competition is running. Everything from AdWords to their media buys – if they have been running the advertisements for any length of time they are likely to be a profitable advertisement. Make sure to only use the advertisements as inspiration and never copy them directly. Learning what is working within your niche can help you to better strategize and optimize current advertisements to get over that ROI hump.

Pick Up A Reading Habit

Start reading again! I have an inkling that most online marketers do most of their reading on the internet. While that can be worthwhile, you are leaving a lot on the table by not paying attention to the oldest style of advertising in the book – print ads.

Magazines in particular are a great source for inspiration when it comes to ad copy. Whether you are looking at full page ads, half page ads, or smaller ads that you’d find in the back of your local newsletter, they all have something that you could potentially learn from.

Print ads adhere to different rules than online ads, but they all utilize the same basic principles. They allow you to take a look at a different side of the industry and think about how you can apply the same strategies to your own ad copy.

Pay Special Attention To Calls For Action

By looking at advertisements outside of online websites, you’ll find some truly unique ways to call people to action. In fact, you might find that mind print ads and other advertisements actually call readers to take action online.

There are many ways to find inspiration for your own online copy. Every marketer can, at times, run into a bit of writers block and lose some creativity. The best way to spark that creativity is to take note of the work that others have done and find a way to apply it to your own campaigns.


Copywriting, in one form or another, is the lifeblood of any online business. On its surface it seems like a basic skill – but copywriting can be extremely difficult. After years of writing blog posts, advertisements, and marketing materials it can be difficult to come up with fresh, insightful material that connects with your audience. Every so often, you should seek out the work of other copywriters to see what trends are working in different industries, and help you to refresh your own pre-conceived notions of what “good copy” truly is. Take some of these steps to heart and see if your own ads don’t see an uptick in performance.

About Ryan Bozeman

Ryan Bozeman has been involved in the internet marketing industry for 7 years, operating SEO and advertising businesses. Today, he owns and operates CopyThrive, a website dedicated to providing step by step marketing guides.


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