About the author

Demian Farnworth

Demian Farnworth is Copyblogger Media's Chief Content Writer. Follow him on Twitter or The Copybot. In the meantime, subscribe to his podcast: Rough Draft

The Disgustingly Simple Rule for Web Writing That’s Often Hard to Swallow

how to make your web writing easy to digest

Editor’s note: This post was originally published on January 14, 2009. We’re bringing it back today because clear, concise writing on the web never goes out of style.

In 1964, Richard Hofstadter wrote a Pulitzer-prize-winning book called Anti-Intellectualism in America. This rich, thorough book exposed the thread of anti-intellectualism that runs through the culture of practical America.

For example, even though the founding fathers were sages, scientists, and men of cultivation, the Federalists attacked their curiosity and idealism as too trivial for important affairs.

Did you know there’s a thread of anti-intellectualism running through good web writing and design? In fact, web usability demands mindless writing and design.

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8 Conversion-Boosting Ways to Personalize Your Content

how to get personal

Quick quiz: What would you be willing to give up to receive information that interests you?

Chocolate for a month? Your smartphone for a day? Sex?

Sounds crazy, but according to a July 2013 study by Janrain, 25 percent of adults would be willing to give up chocolate for a month to receive content tailored to their tastes.

Twenty-one percent said they would give up their smartphones for a day. And yes, there were people who said they would give up sex to receive information that interests them. Thirteen percent, in fact.

And not just for a day. Nor a week. No. They would give up sex for an entire month.

A month.

Think what that says about the pleasure people get out of personalized information — content that adapts to the right person at the right time.

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10 Ways to Piss Off David Ogilvy (Free Poster)

tip of the day - don't make David mad

You won’t like David when he’s angry.

Sure, he may be a gentleman with brains, but this English oven salesman turned chef turned farmer turned advertising giant has a temper.

For example, when he sat down to write only to find he had no ideas, he said, “I get bad-tempered. If my wife comes into my room I growl at her. (This has gotten worse since I gave up smoking.)”

In a note to the heads of his offices before planned visits he wrote, “Waiting for food puts me in a foul mood.”

But it seems he reserved his strongest moments of outrage for advertising.

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Here’s How Henry Rollins Writes (Slightly NSFW)

Authority Rainmaker 2015 keynote speaker Henry Rollins

Prolific is a weak word to describe Authority Rainmaker 2015 keynote speaker Henry Rollins. In fact, most words fail to capture his many dimensions.

In August of 1981, young Henry got his start, joining the seminal punk band Black Flag. Following the band’s breakup in 1986, he started 2.13.61, a record label and publishing company. Shortly after that, he formed the breakthrough Rollins Band.

He went on to become an author and spoken-word artist. Endless work in print, film, radio, and television followed.

But you might find yourself wondering why The Writer Files would showcase a punk icon. Simple …

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Master These 10 Print Magazine Tips to Create Irresistible Online Content

Is your content good enough for print?

Fans of the Internet love to mock print magazines.

They love to gloat and preen as the gate to Big Media’s kingdom has been thrown open — and the gatekeepers are torn from their thrones and tossed in the moat (the pockets of their blazers stuffed with rocks).

We watch from a distance as the city burns to the ground. Like there is nothing redeemable about these institutions.

That’s unfortunate. Because they actually have a lot to teach us.

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6 Beautiful Ways Artificial Constraints Can Improve Your Creativity and Life

how to use limitations to boost your creativity

Like accumulating capital, hard work has its own momentum. If you want to master digital media, then produce it often.

Maria Popova, the woman behind Brain Pickings, publishes three substantial blog posts every weekday, typically about substantial books she reads. Each post is an elegant display of her ornate knowledge and polished creativity.

And when I was asked to host a show for our digital marketing podcast network, I immediately jumped on the opportunity. Here was a chance to organize my work, tackle a new challenge, and consistently produce a new type of digital media.

Yet — I was warned — it was essential I dismissed any optimistic notions about the quality of my show.

During a kick-off call with the rest of the Rainmaker.FM podcasters, Robert Bruce, our overlord, said, “Your first 100 shows will be crap.”

It was meant to encourage us.

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