The Vicious Cycle of Poverty
(Or Why Jessie Won’t Go to College)

Blog Action Day - Poverty

This post is my contribution to Blog Action Day, joining thousands of other bloggers to write about one topic for a single day. This year’s topic is poverty.

It’s not yet dawn as Jessie prepares breakfast for her younger brother and sister. Her father has already left for work, so it’s up to her to feed her siblings and see them off to school.

Jessie then attends a full day of high school before returning home to prepare dinner and put her brother and sister to bed. Then she does her homework.

Jessie’s father works 12-15 hour days as a truck driver. Despite his hard work, day in and day out, his paycheck doesn’t quite cover all the bills.

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Why You Should Stop Looking for Inspiration

Inspiration

Inspiration. As writers, we constantly seek inspiration to perform our craft. We want to blow away readers with something incredible – a fantastic never-told story, an intriguing blog post concept or a new theory that makes people pay attention. We want our words to change the world.

And yet, as writers, we struggle. We can’t find inspiration, or we grab it only to have it wriggle out of our grasp. It’s lost, and we have to find it again.

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How to Write a Story That Sells

What's Your Story

One of the best ways to sell is to use a narrative format, which is a fancy way of saying tell a story. Stories are engaging and enjoyable, so they don’t feel like a sales pitch.

Plus, if done well, a story will prompt prospects to convince themselves to take the action you want. This is because compared with more direct attempts at persuasion, well-crafted stories allow readers to draw the conclusion you want on their own, and people rarely second-guess their own conclusions.

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9 Little Known Traits of Successful Bloggers

Purpose

We all know the “rules” of blogging. Produce consistently high-quality content, position yourself as an authority, cultivate relationships with your readers and other bloggers.

But some of the best and most popular blogs have traits that might surprise you. Here’s how being negative, angry and stupid (in the right ways) can create breakthrough success on your blog.

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Are You Blogging With Purpose?
(If Not, 5 Ways to Fix That)

Purpose

When you sit down to write a blog post, what’s your purpose?

Are you just trying to fill space so your blog doesn’t go without being updated for more than 24 hours?

Are you interested in promoting a product, or convincing your reader to buy something?

Are you trying to express yourself through your blog, and make a meaningful statement?

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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. :)