Global advertising spending is forecasted to exceed $563 billion in 2019. Digital advertising alone generates over $330 billion in revenue. If you're the creative type and love marketing, turn your passion into a business. There are thousands of companies that pay for ideas; you just need to think outside the box and get in front of the right people. From starting a marketing and PR agency to working as a copywriter, there are several ways to sell advertising ideas.
Explore the Advertising Industry
An original advertising idea could be worth millions. From fashion brands to creative agencies, companies worldwide are seeking skilled copywriters and marketing professionals with unique ideas. In fact, ad spending worldwide is expected to grow by 4.4% in 2021. According to AdAge, more than $1 billion was spent on advertising in 2017 by just 105 companies.
Before pitching your idea, research the advertising industry and come up with a business plan. Would you prefer to work as an independent contractor and team with companies that pay for ideas, or would you rather start your own business? For example, you could launch a marketing and PR agency and sell your advertising ideas directly to clients. Another option is to start a copywriting business and pitch your ideas to marketing agencies or individual clients.
Make sure your goals are realistic because popular brands and large companies are unlikely to accept unsolicited ideas. First, you should build connections in the advertising industry and promote yourself. Also, be aware that it's not enough to pitch ideas, and you should also make a plan for executing that idea. Study the brands in which you are interested and see what their previous ad campaigns look like and for what they stand. If you're targeting a large company, consider reaching out to its ad agency rather than its marketing department.
Define Your Niche Market
The more you know about a topic, the easier you'll come up with advertising ideas. For example, if you're passionate about sports, you know more about this industry than a fashion enthusiast. You're aware of what types of commercials work best, what advertisers are looking for and what the public wants. With this information, you could submit a Super Bowl commercial idea to Bud Light, Doritos, Pepsi, Verizon and other popular brands.
Someone who is passionate about everything education related, on the other hand, could brainstorm and pitch commercial ideas for school development. Contact private schools and universities in your area and create an advertising campaign to help them build brand awareness and increase their reach. For example, Columbia University's one-minute TV spot "A Double Magic" was created by Outside the Frame, a media production company. It uses hyper-lapse and time-lapse clips to tell the story of Herman Wouk, a Pulitzer-Prize-winning author who studied at Columbia University.
Define your niche and target market and consider your hobbies and skills as well as your previous work and professional experience. Research the industries in which you're interested, study the most popular brands in your niche, watch their commercials and see how they promote themselves. Brainstorm advertising ideas that align with the mission and values of the company you're targeting. Also, consider the latest industry trends, such as the rise of mobile advertising and augmented reality.
Companies That Pay for Ideas
If you have an advertising idea for a specific brand, reach out directly to the company or the agency managing its ad campaigns. You have greater chances of success with companies that have their own advertising teams. If they like your ideas, they might pay you for them or even make you a job offer. Be aware, though, that most corporations and popular brands work through agencies.
Always sign a nondisclosure agreement before sharing your advertising ideas; otherwise, they might use them without your consent. To start, research local agencies and try to find out which clients they serve. Then, try to come up with advertising ideas that meet their customers' needs and strategic objectives. Contact the agencies in which you're interested, pitch your idea and wait for a reply.
Another option is to enter competitions held by companies that pay for advertising ideas. InnoCentive, for example, offers cash rewards to individuals who come up with creative solutions to different challenges. These challenges are not necessarily related to marketing and promotion, but they do require creative ideas. You may also sign up for advertising contests such as the Communication Arts Advertising Competition, the One Show, New York Festivals Advertising Awards, Telly Awards, Young Ones Student Awards and others.
Build a Career in Copywriting
Copywriters earn around $62,170 per year depending on their experience, location and for whom they work. If you're just starting out, expect to make slightly more than $31,000 per year. A senior-level copywriter, on the other hand, can earn over $121,000 a year. In this role, you'll write marketing materials and website copy, brainstorm advertising ideas and create ad content for a living.
As a copywriter, you can either work on your own or for advertising agencies. Many corporations have in-house marketing teams, so you may apply for a copywriting job. Another option is to work for magazines and other publications, or you can start out in a creative agency to gain experience and launch your own copywriting business later on.
Most employers require aspiring copywriters to hold a bachelor's degree in marketing, advertising, PR or other related fields. However, if you have strong skills in this area, you may land a job without formal education. The copywriting industry is highly competitive, so be prepared to get rejected a lot. Build your portfolio, set up a website, post writing samples and promote yourself online to boost your chances of success.
Start a Marketing Agency
Are you passionate about marketing and brands? Do you find inspiration everywhere around you? Perhaps you have years of experience in advertising? Then you should consider starting a marketing agency.
It's better to choose a niche rather than promote your business as a full-service agency. This way, you can offer highly specialized services and charge higher rates. Plus, you don't want to stretch yourself too thin from the beginning. As a marketing agency, you can sell advertising ideas and other services directly to customers and build your own brand.
Determine whether you want to work remotely or open a physical office. The first option involves lower costs and allows you to run your business from home. However, if you're planning to work with corporations and large companies, you may need to travel to their offices to discuss your ideas and how to execute them.
Meet the Legal Requirements
Whether you decide to start a marketing agency or work as a freelancer, you must register your business and pay taxes. Most professionals who specialize in these areas operate as sole proprietorships or limited liability companies. The first option is suitable for freelance copywriters and self-employed individuals in general. A limited liability company has its advantages, though, as it protects its owners from liability.
The next step is to obtain an employer identification number from the IRS. If you opt for a sole proprietorship, you may skip this step and use your Social Security number to pay taxes and open a business bank account. However, if you plan to hire employees or withhold taxes on income paid to a nonresident alien, you do need an EIN. The same applies to sole proprietors who have a Keogh plan.
You may also need business licenses and permits to launch your agency and sell advertising ideas. The exact requirements vary from state to state. Generally, it's not necessary to hold a specific license for offering marketing services; a general business license should be enough. If you're planning to open a physical office, you may also need a certificate of occupancy (which is usually the landlord's responsibility), a zoning permit, signage permits and other documents.
- Statista: Global Advertising Market - Statistics & Facts
- Statista: Growth of Advertising Spending Worldwide From 2000 to 2021
- AdAge: Samsung Overtakes P&G as World's Largest Advertiser
- Columbia College Today: Majesty and Humanity
- InnoCentive: InnoCentive Challenges
- CareerExplorer: Copywriter Salary
- Entrepreneur: 7 Steps to Becoming a Professional Copywriter
- IRS: Apply for an Employer Identification Number (EIN) Online
- IRS: Do You Need an EIN?
- Rocket Lawyer: Why Start an LLC? Limited Liability Company Advantages and Disadvantages
- Outside the Frame: Columbia University - A Doubled Magic
- Forbes: Digital Advertising Trends to Watch in 2019 and Beyond
- New York Festivals: New York Festivals Advertising Awards
- Communication Arts: Communication Arts 2019 Advertising Competition
- Dexigner: Advertising Competitions
- Entrepreneur: Tai Lopez's 7 Steps to Start Your Own Marketing Agency
Andra Picincu is a digital marketing consultant with over 10 years of experience. She works closely with small businesses and large organizations alike to help them grow and increase brand awareness. She holds a BA in Marketing and International Business and a BA in Psychology. Over the past decade, she has turned her passion for marketing and writing into a successful business with an international audience. Current and former clients include The HOTH, Bisnode Sverige, Nutracelle, CLICK - The Coffee Lover's Protein Drink, InstaCuppa, Marketgoo, GoHarvey, Internet Brands, and more. In her daily life, Ms. Picincu provides digital marketing consulting and copywriting services. Her goal is to help businesses understand and reach their target audience in new, creative ways.