Just Say No to These Three Enemies of Clear and Direct Writing

Just Say No

Whenever you write anything, you have a desired message to communicate to a desired audience, whether it’s writing an ad to persuade a customer to buy your product or writing a recipe so that others can make and enjoy your best dish.

Your goal, then, is to inform your audience, not to impress them. What does it matter if they love the words you use but don’t act on the message those words are intended to convey? That’s all you want–to get your message across as clearly and persuasively as possible. Anything that hinders your goal should be eliminated. Thus, you should just say no to the following three enemies of clear and direct writing.

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The Secret Key to Killer Content: Taking Time to Think

The Thinker

Have you ever had these thoughts?

  • “I wish my blog had content this good.”
  • “How does he come up with this stuff?”
  • “Boy, I wish I could write like that!”

Now for the big questions:

  • Why aren’t you writing content that good?
  • Why isn’t your content profound?
  • Why can’t you write thought-provoking content that rocks the blogosphere?

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The Unexpected Trap of
Writing for Social Media

Social Media Trap

Attention is a rare and precious resource. It’s arguably more difficult than ever before to demand someone’s attention for any length of time.

Attention is now something that cannot be taken, only given. As marketers it is crucial to understand these facts in order to better perform our jobs in a digital world. We must now optimize on numerous fronts. We must be witty, pithy, catchy, exciting, controversial, bright, unexpected, or some combination of all.

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Free Video Debunks Product Launch Hype

Check out this great free video from Jeff Walker (no email registration required) that debunks the whole Internet marketing guru product launch thing. If you haven’t heard of him, Jeff is the guy who devised the product launch system back in 2005, and I think he’s a little concerned about how it’s now perceived.

Many people are surprised when I say that I was one of the first people who bought Product Launch Formula (now off the market) in 2005. That’s because I don’t use the techniques like the “gurus” do. I use launch techniques on a continual basis that build sustainable businesses, and that’s how the whole product launch strategy works outside of the online marketing niche (actually, it’s working for Teaching Sells, too).

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A 20-Step Process For Finding Your 1,000 True Fans

Wired Magazine’s Senior Editor Kevin Kelly wrote a great post this week called 1,000 True Fans, and it’s been getting a lot of attention around the blogosphere. Kelly essentially argues that to be a success online, you don’t need a huge audience. You just need 1,000 true fans… who are willing to pay you.

He goes on to demonstrate that these 1,000 true fans are not at the end of the long tail, but rather closer to the curve that separates the long tail from the head of the tail:

To raise your sales out of the flatline of the long tail you need to connect with your True Fans directly. Another way to state this is, you need to convert a thousand Lesser Fans into a thousand True Fans.

I guess I feel a bit vindicated… this is the exact argument I made in the Teaching Sells report 5 months ago. It’s nice to be in such esteemed company. :-)

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Introducing the Copyblogger
Writing Job Board

For those of you looking to hire writers, I’m happy to announce that Copyblogger now offers job listings. And for all of you out there looking for a new gig or a freelance project, I’m hoping that this will help hook you up.

There’s already some pretty cool jobs listed, and if you have a current need for a writer, you can post your job listing (freelance or employment) for 30 days on the Copyblogger job board free of charge (but only for the next two weeks). Copyblogger readers include some of the savviest writers around, so this is your chance to reach them.

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SXSW, Twitter and the End of Copyblogger

SXSW Interactive

Just a quick note to let you know I’ll be making my annual pilgrimage to Austin for SXSW. I won’t be presenting (work, ugh), but I would love to meet some of the people I’ve gotten to know online. So, if you’re going, make sure to look for me.

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The “Gun Across the Chest” Method for Copy That Closes the Deal

Cowgirl with gun

We’ve all seen the iconic imagery of outlaws and lawmen alike, trying to catch some shut-eye with a gun beneath the pillow just in case. One wonders how good that sleep could possibly be.

If it were me in that situation, I think I’d take a different approach.

It seems to me that any intruder might be a little more persuaded to move on if you slept with your gun across your chest, handle firmly in hand. Someone might stop and think about whether you have a gun under the pillow, but a gun across the chest leaves no room for doubt.

A gun across the chest in proactively persuasive.

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Made You Thunk: Engage Your Readers With Typos and Misquotes

Typo

This post is by Nick Cernis.

There’s a famous adage: “With great power comes a high electricity bill.”

Writers enjoy a multitude of tools to exert power over their readers. If you’re a purist, you’ll despise the very thought of the weapon I’m about to offer:

Sometimes typose suck you in.

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Catablogging: Blog-Based Ecommerce and Affiliate Marketing

Catablogging

Back in the early 20th century, a guy named Richard Warren Sears was a master at writing copy that worked. He was in the mail order business, and he sold to the market he knew best—rural America—because he grew up on a farm himself.

He started out selling watches along the railroad lines, and soon discovered the power of writing profit-pulling copy for a multitude of products. Ol’ Rich had a way with words that made his wholesale wares irresistible at even marked-up retail prices.

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