Copyblogger Weekly Wrap:
Week of September 19, 2010

image of bubble wrap

This week, I finalized my plans to join the Blogworld hullaballoo in Las Vegas, which is where I’ll be winning my fortune at the blackjack tables, or possibly losing my house, or possibly not even playing blackjack at all. Blackjack is the game where you hit the ball on the rope until you wrap it around the pole, right?

Now, I try to be understanding, but you wouldn’t believe how hard it is to get Copyblogger to buy you round-trip first class airfare and a $3000 per night Sky Loft suite at the MGM Grand. The negotiations were intense. “But I write the wrapup,” I argued. “Who are you and why are you hiding in my closet?” Brian retorted.

And so it goes.

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Follow Your MAP to
Greater Writing Productivity

image of hand drawing a diagram

When you hear the word “outline,” do you give a little shudder?

You’re not alone. For so many of us, the outline evokes painful memories of five-paragraph essays, clumsy thesis statements, and prayers for snow days.

Outlines tend to make writers, especially younger ones, feel confined and boxed in, forced to quell their creativity for the sake of structure.

It’s time to let those middle school nightmares go. An outline can be so much more than where Roman numerals go to die.

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The Responsible Blogger’s Guide to
Dealing with Big Brother

image of surveillance video camera

“What should I be doing better with my blog?”

That’s one helluva question, isn’t it? As someone who blogs to support a thriving business, I think about that question every day.

There are a lot of answers, many of which involve sexy topics like traffic, subscribers, and getting one zillion followers on Twitter.

But when’s the last time you sat down and answered the question above with:

“I should be paying more attention to blogging ethics.”

Not so sexy.

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7 Ways the iPad Can Bring Back
Your Writing Mojo

image of iPad device

The iPad is here. And it’s here to stay.

There is a sea change going on within the mobile computing industry. And despite the cool, slick look of these devices, it’s not the hardware that makes them useful. It’s the applications (apps). Apps are little engines of innovation driving the current (and future) trends in computing, publishing, print, and media.

There are apps for everything you can imagine. In fact, the latest count shows there are more than 250,000.

But did you know that there are even apps that can help you get your mojo back if you need some writing inspiration?

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Why Being Too Diligent About Your Facts
Can Hurt Your Content

image of scientist examining liquid

Once upon a time, the world was flat.

Now it’s round.

Who knows? Maybe some day we’ll find out it’s square.

It’s hard to come across a cold hard fact anymore.

Drink 8 glasses of water a day. Drink 16 glasses of water a day. Don’t drink any water; get all your water from fruits and vegetables.

The contradictory advice goes on forever. There’s almost nothing you can nail down with absolute certainty.

Even your own content.

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Copyblogger Weekly Wrap:
Week of September 12, 2010

image of wrap

Nope, I didn’t get fired. I’m back in the saddle around here, ready to summarize things for you and put them into an easily digestible, bullet point form.

So why the layoff on the weekly wraps (now twice as delish with half the calories)? Well, it was summer. Brian and Sonia wanted a break from removing libelous statements from my scribblings, and I wanted time to pursue my hobby of reworking large companies’ marketing slogans.

For example: BP: Well, at least you know who we are now.

No? Okay, fine… here’s what happened this week on Copyblogger and around the web:

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3 Reasons to Tell Readers Why

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You know you’re right, right?

Everyone should fall in line and accept what you know in your heart to be true.

Sorry, that’s not how people work.

So much of persuasive writing comes down to proof. And so many people fail at persuasion because they offer assertions without giving people reasons.

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How to Blog Like Bond. James Bond.

image of martini glass

When it comes to being a badass, few can hold a candle to good old 007.

Calm, cool, and collected under pressure, Bond is known as much for his seductive personality as he is for his incredible ability to get himself out of any situation in one piece.

What he isn’t known for is writing a successful blog.

But everyone’s favorite fictional, womanizing secret agent has more to do with writing killer copy and running a great site than you might think.

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The Freakonomics Guide to Making Boring Content Sexy

image of orange with skin of an apple

It’s easy to write about certain topics, like celebrities, or technology, or even social media. Everybody wants a piece of it.

But what if your passion is botany, supply chain logistics, or cognitive psychology?

How do you get noticed with a compelling story when your subject is … well … boring?

In the summer of 2006, an economics book was on the New York Time Bestseller list. The title was provocative and promised to be anything but a boring read.

Even my hero Malcolm Gladwell said, “Prepare to be dazzled.”

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How to Build Credibility with Your Sales Copy

image of woman swearing on stack of bibles

When visitors are making a decision about whether or not to buy, their “shields are up.”

They’re watching carefully for any sign you might be a jerk, a crook, or just not able to deliver on your promises.

They need you to soothe their unspoken anxieties and objections.

This doesn’t have to be a daunting task. In fact, a powerful way to make this happen is something you’re probably already doing on your blog.

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