How to Avoid Insulting the
Intelligence of the Reader

dumb reader

Imagine I was telling you the story of Goldilocks and The Three Bears.

Imagine I told you about Goldilocks, and how she found this house of the three bears. And how she ate their porridge. And how she sat in their chairs.

And… Are you getting impatient yet?

You should be.

Because like most people, you’ve already heard the story many times before. And when you tell a story that your readers already know, your readers do two things in rapid sequence.

  1. They try to stay engaged, hoping the story will somehow reveal some hidden mystery.
  2. They realize that there’s nothing new, and they start to nod off.

In short, you’ve insulted the intelligence of your reader.

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The “What Not to Wear” Guide to Breakthrough Blogging

What Not to Wear

What in the world does the cheeky cable fashion show What Not to Wear have to do with effective blogging?

Have I finally pushed this analogy thing too far?

Nope… this one is easy. But you’re going to have to read the rest to see for yourself.

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Is Your Blog Ginger or Mary Ann?

Ginger and Mary Ann

It’s a debate as old as the hills. Who’s hotter, Ginger or Mary Ann?

It’s pretty clear that the Gilligan’s Island creators thought Ginger had it hands down. A redheaded Marilyn Monroe knockoff in sequined gowns and high-heels, Ginger Grant was what used to be called a “starlet,” whose sole reason for existence was her sex appeal.

Mary Ann Summers, on the other hand, was the girl next door. A Kansas cutie in pigtails and cut-offs, she was down to earth, sensible, and could make a comfy hammock out of coconut vines.

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12 Tips for “Psychological Selling”

psychology

Many copywriting and marketing gurus teach simplistic ideas about psychology. They insist that people can be fully understood and manipulated with a checklist of motivators or pyramid of needs.

What nonsense! I can’t even figure out why the guy at the pet store puts 75 cat food cans in one bag and a tiny box of treats in another so that I lurch to my car leaning to one side. How can I possibly summarize human psychology in a few bullet points?

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What Fight Club Can Teach You About Innovative Content

Tyler Durden

Besides being innovative content itself, the Chuck Palahniuk novel and David Fincher film Fight Club contain several lessons about creativity and getting remarkable things done. In fact, I found at least 8 rules you can use to create more innovative content (or more innovative anything).

Of course, these types of tips are better suited for my new project, Lateral Action.

So, head over there for Tyler Durden’s 8 Rules of Innovation. This post is the tie-in for those of you who noticed Lou, Jack and Marla are all named after characters in Fight Club. :)

Do You Want to Make Serious Money as a Freelance Copywriter?

Copywriting Success Summit

Well, you seriously can.

Some true copywriting pros and I are putting on an amazing event for freelance copywriters called Copywriting Success Summit 2008. And no… you don’t have to fly anywhere or get a hotel room… it’s an online event for copywriters who want to grow their business to the next level, or for those looking to get in the business and succeed.

This is the first-ever online summit dedicated to helping copywriters win high-caliber clients, better market their services, and earn an executive income in the world of no-hype copywriting. I’m proud to say we’ve got an all-star line-up.

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How Good Are Your Critical Thinking Skills?

Critical Thinking

If you can’t think critically, you can’t think creatively. And if you can’t think creatively, you can’t produce compelling content and copy.

To think creatively, we need to step outside the framework of what we see or hear. We have to observe, ask questions and analyze so that we can open up new thoughts and ideas on old matters or commonly-accepted arguments.

Just what is critical thinking? It generally means analyzing statements and determining their validity in support of a conclusion.

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How to Stop Being Afraid to Sell

Fear of Selling

There’s a well-loved myth out there in the content net world. The story goes that you just have to do something reasonably remarkable, distribute passionate content about it on the Web, and you’ll automatically be assigned your designated 1000 True Fans who will support you in style for the rest of your life.

You don’t have to do anything scary. Like sell, for example.

Now if that works for you, that’s terrific. So does it?

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Seven Tricks for Magical Copy

Spine X-Ray

Magicians are skilled manipulators of perception. They can make people think something is moving when it isn’t or see things that aren’t there. Diverting attention this way and that, they can hide cards and rabbits or make objects appear from thing air.

Sales copy is a little like that, depending on who writes it. Diverting attention with a little smoke and mirrors often draws readers inwards towards a sale. It’s persuasive copy, written to get people believing in the buy.

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Are You a Spineless Blogger?

Spine X-Ray

Have you ever sat for what seemed like hours, writing and rewriting, trying to communicate an idea, but you just feel… lost?

You write a paragraph, only to decide that’s not what you really want to say. So then you rewrite it to something you’re reasonably happy with, but then you can’t figure out what comes next.

You sit there thinking about it for awhile, becoming increasingly frustrated with yourself. Finally, you just walk away, trying to find some perspective, but when you come back, it seems like your ideas are even more muddled than before.

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