An Open Letter to Anyone Who Writes Headlines for a Living

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Howdy writer,

Remember when I said that profitable advertising was a planned and purposeful neglect of everything except making the sale … and that you should treat copywriting like a salesman?

Well, there is something else you should know: the difference between copywriting and face-to-face salesmanship is that the salesperson can’t be ignored …

She demands attention. Your advertisement, however, can be ignored. This is why effective headlines are so important.

See, an effective headline is like calling out in a crowded room, “Hey Demian, can I talk to you?” Your headline gets the attention of the right people. So you write a headline that recognizes those people.

But there’s a problem.

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How to Craft Compelling Copy

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There’s no easy way to say this … online marketing can be hard.

It’s hard to get attention. It’s hard to get people to subscribe to your email newsletter. It’s even harder to earn the kind of trust that turns a reader into a paying customer.

You’re probably all too familiar with the frustration this situation breeds. You’ve probably felt the sting of your very best ideas being ignored … your email subscriber list stagnating … your products flopping.

You might try to comfort yourself with the notion that everyone is flailing online. But you’re smarter than that.

You see certain people and companies rise above the noise. Their ideas are getting heard — and shared. Their email newsletters are growing at ridiculous rates. And they never seem to have a problem creating a product that their audience loves.

What gives?

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10 Principles for Turning into a Killer (Copywriter)

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In spite of being a literary snob, when I was first introduced to the world of direct-response copywriting … I fell in love.

I fell in love with the thought of using my writing to influence and persuade people.

I also fell in love with the idea of getting rich. (I wanted to be a wealthy snob).

But the road between loving it and actually writing with great skill (and making obscene amounts of money) is a long one. And I had one particular road block: I was the poet, but certainly not the killer

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The Surprising Conversion Power of Priming and Conformity

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Imagine it’s late Wednesday afternoon.

The sun is setting. You are pulling on some sweats after a long day at work when you hear a knock at the front door. Your child — who doesn’t open it — yells up to you that there is a strange man on the porch.

And he’s got something in his hands.

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How to Nail the Opening of Your Blog Post

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The opening four notes to Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony are the most popular notes in Western music.

Dun dun dun dum

They are stormy. Heroic. Disorienting. Short enough to be remembered. Portentous enough to be memorable.

Today you’ll find those notes everywhere. In movies, commercials, and songs when the dramatic and foreboding are needed … And we hardly bat an eye.

We recognize them, we know them, and we love those first four notes. Not so for Beethoven’s opening night at Vienna’s Theater an der Wien in 1808.

One contemporary composer of Beethoven — one who represented the consensus — said, “That sort of music should not be written.”

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11 Compound Word Errors that Might Make You Look like a Numbskull

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Even as a seasoned writer, I’m not immune to making simple but stupid mistakes. Take the word “jive” for instance …

Ever since I was kicking the slats out of my crib, I thought it meant “to agree with, to be in harmony.” But nnnnnnnnoooooo.

Jive is a language immortalized by the movie Airplane. The word that I should have been using was “jibe.”

Here’s the thing, the English language is full of pitfalls — simple errors that can alienate readers, turn off subscribers, and annoy buyers.

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