Multiple revisions make better content.

Every draft is another chance to get it perfect. But once you stop, you are stuck with what you’ve got.

Sometimes I publish fast – when you’re prolific and you like to publish, it’s easier to tweet out an idea than write a list of dozens of revisions. “Done is better than perfect” can be good advice for a short video.

But if you want to create something high quality, sometimes the quickest path is through high quantity.

woman reading articles
More options gives you better options

In his web-famous blog post ‘How To Become An Idea Machine,’ James Altucher recommends writing down 20 ideas a day. Most people, he says, can get to 10 ideas.

But if you push through to 20, something really interesting happens.

You don’t mind the bad ideas coming in – you’re just looking for volume. And because you don’t have a filter of quality, judging each idea before you write it, somewhere around idea #13 and idea #18 you will come up with a shocking and brilliant idea.

“It’s like part of your brain is opened up and a constant flow of stuff, both good and bad, gets dropped in there,” he says. “From where? I don’t think about it and I don’t care. But I use it.”

Having more options to choose from will increase the quality of your final choice.

Creating a large volume of possibilities gives you a higher chance of finding that diamond in the rough.

If you are writing a headline for an article, or a subject line for a newsletter, try writing 20 options (or ask ChatGPT to do it for you).

“The first draft of anything is shit.” – Ernest Hemingway

Author Jessica Stilling says, “For many published authors I know, myself included, a completed novel takes them about 10, that’s right, 10 drafts, and at least a year of real editing.”

I went through 7 drafts of my book Marketing Yourself before I finally published. I only had one top-to-bottom rewrite. But the best short story I ever wrote taught me the importance of volume copywriting.

‘The Perfect Ending’ was my first and only winning fiction piece. At 3300 words, I wrote it in 2006 with the express purpose of winning a $500 prize. To make it as good as I could, I rewrote the story from scratch, three times.

First I wrote the story. Then, I wrote it again. After reading the drafts and taking off a few days, I wrote the story again, from the beginning. Then I went through all three drafts to pic out the bits I liked the most. Editing that together, I made a prize-worthy piece.

I also discovered I don’t have the stamina for fiction writing. To write good content of that quality required a quantity I couldn’t produce. So I turned to non-fiction. (You can find that story deep in my Collected Works.)

Your first draft won’t be your best draft. When you are writing, imagine how much better your work could be if you try again and start from scratch.

Your best idea may not be written yet.

One of the world’s top copywriters is Mike Pavlish. He has been a professional copywriter since 1988, and has written more than 300 promotions for the internet, direct mail, print, and television. Over his career, his copywriting has sold more than $810 million in products.

He goes through a structured 6-revision process to find different improvements before he publishes. That’s how a professional treats creating content.

Only amateurs stop at the first try. A better option could still be waiting for you to create it.

“When you think about your goals, don’t just consider the outcome you want. Focus on the repetitions that lead to that place. Focus on the piles of work that come before the success. Focus on the hundreds of ceramic pots that come before the masterpiece….Setting up a system for putting your reps in is more important than choosing a goal.”
– James Clear

If you are creating content online, write a list of 20 ideas for your next project, and don’t stop until you get to 20.

You will see the effectiveness of this method yourself – like polishing a stone, every revision of your idea will add to the lustre and shine.

Interactive Copywriting Workshop This Month

magnetic messages masterclass

If you’d like to do the hard work that makes your marketing easy, let’s do some volume copywriting together.

Join me for my next virtual workshop, and I’ll guide you in a series of copywriting exercises to dig past the first draft and discover the messages that matter.