Image by Hugh.
Face it. There are few things as intimidating as the blinding white of a blank page.
It makes no difference if it’s an empty sheet lying on our desk, or a blank screen, aiming between our eyes. Defeating “nothing” by subjecting it to “something” with our words is what gives a writer breath.
Whether to pay our bills or please our muse, eventually words must spill. Here are ten tips to help plow past writing insecurity.
You know, a lot of writers and other creative folks don’t spend a lot of time chasing down the latest productivity tools and tips, and with good reason. Most of us are too busy actually writing and making stuff.
But there is an amazing selection of free or low cost applications out there that can help us create things better and faster. It’s just a matter of finding them.
Well, you’re in luck. The Ultimate Productivity Toolbox for Creative People assembles the best stuff all on one page. It’s the hard work of former Lifehacker contributor Tamar Weinberg, who joins Lateral Action today as Associate Editor.
Congratulations! You’ve built a great blog with high-quality content. You’re getting decent traffic, and your readers might even be using social media tools to recommend your stuff. Life should be good.
But no one’s buying. Or barely anyone, which is no fun.
So why isn’t that great content translating into more sales? Let’s look at three common copy mistakes that keep your readers from becoming customers, and how you can turn that around.
1,000 songs in your pocket.
Sounds great, doesn’t it? You may recognize that marketing message from one of the biggest companies around today.
Or you may not.
It doesn’t matter if you recognize who crafted that tagline, because you know what you’re getting right away—1,000 songs in your pocket. You don’t know how that happens or why, but it’s irrelevant. You know at a glance that whatever the product, it’s going to give you tons of music in a small package you can carry around.
Now that’s smart.
More than half the battle of creating compelling content and copy is solid structure. Disorganized writing inhibits understanding, and without understanding, you’re not going to get a warm reception when you ask for action. Plus, without structural guidelines to follow, you end up leaving out information necessary to your case or promotion.
There are plenty of popular writing structures. One is the inverted pyramid that some journalists favor, which is fine if your goal is to allow the reader to leave mid-story, but not so good if you want people to stick around while you make the case for your call to action.
Two or three times a week, struggling freelance writers will email me questions. The messages are usually something along the lines of:
If you want to start a business, or you’re struggling to grow one, you might want to check out this article I wrote for Lateral Action – The Kurt Cobain Guide to Startup Success. You’ll likely be surprised at how deliberate the success of Nirvana’s breakthrough album Nevermind was.
And since Nirvana was in the music business (a form of content), every blogger and copywriter can use Nirvana’s story as inspiration to create more compelling and innovative content themselves (hopefully you’ll have a happier ending).
We’ve already used Cosmopolitan and Details Magazine for blogging inspiration. Let’s switch to a more technical topic to see if we can use the headlines on the cover of a computer magazine to come up with relevant content for a variety of blogs.
So l stopped by the grocery store and snagged a copy of PC World. It wasn’t until I got home that I realized there was something strange about this month’s issue.
Copyblogger is accelerated by Synthesis WordPress Hosting.