15 Copywriting Prompts to Help You Write Better Ads and Content
Getting started is often the biggest obstacle in copywriting.
There’s nothing worse than staring at a dark computer screen or a blank piece of paper with no words in mind.
Or, the reverse happens, and your mind is bombarded with a million thoughts, like what to cook for dinner, finishing the laundry or checking off a long list of to-dos.
Here are 15 copywriting prompts that can help get you started and write better ads and content in the process.
Anytime you feel stuck, practice one of these copywriting prompts.
Copywriting Prompts #1: Write in the Voice of the Product
Pick a product, any product, and pretend like you are the product. You could do this every day and never run out of ideas. Just look around the room you are in right now. If it’s the kitchen, pretend like you’re the toaster, the coffee pot or microwave oven. If you’re in the living room pretend like you’re the TV, the lamp, or a book on the coffee table.
Now, write in the product’s voice and tell your reader why they should buy you. Focus on benefits and features and how you can improve their life. This is a great copywriting exercise whenever you’re feeling stuck and need some inspiration.
Copywriting Prompts #2: Improve Copy from a Favorite Ad
Grab any magazine, even one that has been sitting in a pile waiting to be read for months. Find an ad from a favorite brand. It could be Nike, Coke, BVLGARI, or Estee Lauder – whatever grabs your attention. Write out the entire ad word for word. Analyze what you like and what you don’t like. Then, re-write the entire ad in your own voice. The goal is to improve what is already available. Existing copy provides a valuable teaching tool, and it’s everywhere.
Copywriting Prompts #3: Focus on Benefits Not Features
Yes, the products you write about have plenty of bells and whistles. But, a list of features won’t necessarily sell a product. Buyers are looking for more than just information. They need to feel a connection and that is what will ultimately result in a purchase. How is the product going to improve or impact their life?
For example, a state-of the art umbrella may have anti-rust, titanium spokes and that’s great. But if that same umbrella has the technology to withstand hurricane force winds and keep the buyer dry in the strongest of storms, then that is the umbrella that someone is going to buy. For this copywriting prompt, look around the room again and pick any product. List the product’s features first, then write about its many benefits and how it’s going to change the buyer’s life.
Copywriting Prompts #4: Write About Something Brand New
A good copywriter can write about anything so for this copywriting prompt, pick a brand-new topic. It can be anything. Maybe something that you’ve been interested in researching for ages, like aromatherapy, or something completely out of your comfort zone. Maybe technology is confusing to you so research laptops and find out if a MacBook or Surface Pro is the best choice.
Practice various copywriting exercises to coincide with your research. Write a blog comparing the two or write a magazine ad for each. The point is that the sky is the limit. This copywriting prompt will help you write better ads and content and improve your research skills in the process.
Copywriting Prompts #5: Write About Your Favorite Memory
Copywriting doesn’t have to be all business. Creative copywriting can actually help to get your copywriting brain flowing. Write about a favorite vacation, a first date, or a childhood memory. This copywriting prompt never gets old, and the possibilities are endless. Whenever you’re feeling stuck, write about something that you love, and it will keep the inspiration going every time.
Copywriting Prompts #6: First Purchase
Copywriting is personal and so are purchasing decisions. That’s why this next copywriting prompt links the two together. People make buying decisions for very personal reasons. Think back to your very first memorable purchase and write about it. Maybe it’s the first piece of candy you bought with the dollar that your grandmother gave you. Or, perhaps the very first thing you bought with your very first paycheck from your first job.
Whatever you choose to write about, think back and recollect. What emotions did you feel? Did you feel happiness, stress or total independence? Now, think of how consumers feel when they are about to purchase the product you are copywriting about and harness those feelings. Use your purchasing experiences to get into the minds of buyers to help improve the ads and content you are writing about.
Copywriting Prompts #7: Write the Next Chapter
This copywriting prompt will help you do a little planning in the process because it’s always good to have a plan. Here are a few ideas:
This copywriting prompt is just for fun and to get your copywriting brain thinking. Copywriting can be fun and sometimes we just need a little spark of inspiration to get us going. You never know when a copywriting prompt may ignite a great idea for a future client.
Copywriting Prompts #8: Find Inspiring Places
List your favorite places to copywrite. It could be your home office, a park, the beach or a coffee shop. Then, practice writing in each location to find your strengths and weaknesses in each area. This copywriting prompt makes you a strong copywriter in any environment.
Copywriting Prompts #9: Ask Questions
A good copywriter knows they don’t have all the answers and knows when to ask questions. When writing about any product ask people who use it why they like it. Get inside the buyer’s mind and find out what motivates them. Going right to the source is often the key to finding the copy that will appeal to other potential users and helps to convert your words to sales.
Copywriting Prompts #10: The Power of Headlines
The opening headline is what grabs attention and hooks the sale. This copywriting prompt is so important it should be practiced every day. There are a myriad of ways to do this. Watch the local news and pay attention to the headlines they use to entice you to sit through the commercial break and watch the next news story.
Visit the social media pages of your favorite company and notice the posts they use to draw you into clicking on the full story. Pick your favorites and re-write them. Pretend like you’re the social media manager or news anchor and re-write the headlines to compel your audience.
Copywriting Prompts #11: Practice Being Brief
You have very limited time to grab your audience’s attention which is why learning how to create powerful headlines is crucial. Once you’ve hooked your reader, you don’t have them for very long, maybe seconds. Practicing being brief overall is also a vital skill to possess as a copywriter. In this copywriting prompt, use 4 words to describe something sad and then use 4 words to describe something happy.
Here are some examples of something sad – watching a parent die, first child moving away. Here are some examples of something fun – vacationing on the beach, a trip to Disney. You can practice this copywriting prompt with any topic to help you get to the point quickly.
Copywriting Prompts #12: Be Conversational
Buyers respond to a personal connection. Conversational copywriting speaks directly to the buyer and draws them in. Buyers want to buy a product that speaks directly to them so practice writing in a conversational tone. For this copywriting prompt, take a formal business letter and rewrite it for a friend or even your mom.
Copywriting Prompts #13: Practice Grammar
The rules are definitely more relaxed, but grammar is still needed in copywriting. Utilizing an active tone versus a passive tone, especially when it comes to the use of verbs will help propel your copywriting to the next level.
While proofreading your copy, pay close attention to the number of passive verbs you use and practice re-working them. Passive verbs include those boring words like is, are, am, was, were, and will be. Practice replacing them with more actionable and exciting verbs. Here’s a quick example that shows varying degrees of verb usage and how it can make the sentence more exciting:
There was a child in the park.
The child played in the park.
The child ran through the park like an excited golden retriever.
Practice enhancing your adjectives as well. Do you want to eat a yellow banana? Or, do you want to eat a golden, freshly ripened banana?
Words are magical and your choice of words can make all the difference and can convince a buyer to make a purchase.
Copywriting Prompts #14: Research Copywriting Prompts
You could spend hours on end researching copywriting prompts on the Internet. One click will take you to another site and the journey could go on and on. The point is that there is a plethora of information out there and it can be overwhelming. Start with these 15. If you’re feeling adventurous, a vast sea of information is just a click away.
A good rule of thumb is to devote the first 20 minutes of your day to researching copywriting prompts. Set a timer and if you don’t finish move on, start your day and go back to it tomorrow. If you’re struggling, skip it all together. That’s the beauty of copywriting, you’re free to do what you want when you want.
Copywriting Prompts #15: Find Your Copywriting Community
With most things in life, it takes a village and copywriting is no different which is why finding your copywriting community is so important. It is here you can find inspiration and ideas from others. You can share best practices, get feedback and yes even find more ideas for copywriting prompts. Join our copywriting community to find your village today! For more copywriting prompt and practice ideas, check out my new online course and these other helpful resources.