Six Ways to Instantly Find the Right Words

how to start writing

Have you ever known what you want to say, but just can’t figure out how to say it? It’s certainly worth the extra effort to get it right, because the how will make the difference in the way your what is received and acted upon.

Some people are never short of words. Personally, I have good days and bad. Yet there are definitely ways to to get yourself out of the ditch when it comes to finding the right words and getting started.

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Is Beer the Key to Remarkable Blogging?

Remarkable Beer

Many people feel that their blog topics are too common and mundane to be remarkable. The truth is, most businesses and topics are viewed as commodities, so it’s crucial to find an angle that sparks interest and separates you from the pack.

Let’s look at the history of American beer—an industry filled with similar tasting, and some would argue completely unremarkable, products. You’ll see that products that are very similar to others can be distinguishable and remarkable, simply by telling the right story, using the right words, and better serving the right audience.

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Landing Page Makeover Clinic:
10 Tips for Better Book Sales

Landing Page Makeover

Since Brian likes me to cover the “conversion” beat for Copyblogger, I’ve been actively collecting spot-on quotes, resources, tip lists, etc. to help you make the most of your online sales/marketing copywriting efforts. So let’s start with a pretty good quote about our favorite topic, landing pages.

A landing page is communications, not advertising. Landing pages are where you communicate valuable information. Advertising gets people to click to your landing page, but once a prospect is there, the landing page should focus on communicating the value of your offering to the buyer.

I pulled this from Web Ink Now, David Meerman Scott’s blog, Web Landing Pages: Required for Search Engine Marketing. I like this quote a lot, although I’d add it’s where you communicate value AND direct a specific response/action from the visitor — even if that action is to click through to another page.

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Writing Headlines for Regular Readers, Search Engines, and Social Media

When writing headlines for an article there are three different kinds of readers that you can optimize for:

  1. You can write for regular readers.
  2. You can write for search engines.
  3. You can write for socially driven sites.

In an ideal situation you would be able to write a title that fits all three categories but that is rarely the case. There is a marked difference between the different kinds of readers and that’s why you need to market your content to them in different ways.

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The Copyblogger WordPress Theme Now Comes in Three Columns

Quite a few people commented and emailed asking if the Copyblogger theme came in three columns instead of only two. I basically thought these people were out of luck, but lo and behold, the guys over at Open Source Candy modified the theme to have 3 columns and they are offering this 3 column version to anyone who wants it. Check it out—they’re using a color-changed and tweaked version of it themselves.

Download the Copyblogger 3 Column Theme

I’ve updated the Copyblogger Theme page so that everyone will have a choice between two columns and three. Many thanks to the guys at Open Source Candy for doing this!

Friday Night Links

Friday Night Lights

A couple of remarkable riffs on my blog subscribers post—one for small businesses and one that elaborates on the original extremely well.

People look forward to and remember stories, even if you’re trying to sell them something.

Confidence is the root of success… in person and in your writing.

How do you measure the value of a link?

Digg auto-bury got you down? Try these alternatives (nice theme mod, btw).

Jason Calacanis’ VC-funded Mahalo is either the sock puppet of Web 2.0, or the Boo.com of Web 2.0. Your choice, but those truly are the only two alternatives.

Are You In Love With Your Own Writing?

writing for yourself

My Gran used to say we were given two ears and one mouth for a reason. Some people act like it’s the other way around.

We’ve all had the experience of a friend calling on the phone “just to chat”. They jabber on long past a socially-acceptable point, and your ear gets sore from the phone against your head. You try to find reasons to curtail the never-ending torrent of small-talk about them, but we all love our friends dearly and don’t want to offend.

So why are you seriously considering strangling yourself with the phone cord just to get some respite? Are you really looking forward to the next “chatty” call?

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And the Winners of the Copyblogger Copywriting Contest Are…

The votes are in and the scores have been tallied. So, I guess it must be time to reveal the three winners of the first ever Copyblogger Copywriting Contest.

First off, I’d like to thank everyone who submitted an entry. We received a lot of great submissions, and it’s almost unfortunate that we can only have first, second and third place winners.

Secondly, I’d like to thank Darren Rowse and Seth Godin for volunteering their time to judge. They both shared great insights on their top choices, which we’ll see below.

And last but not least, I’d like to thank Squidoo for providing the $10,000 in free advertising that will be divided up among our winners. I’d especially like to give a shout-out to Megan Casey at Squidoo for her assistance behind the scenes.

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The Real Secret to Getting Tons of
Blog Subscribers

RSS Buttons

It’s still the question I get asked the most.

Despite writing on this subject several times, and basically spilling the beans on every tip and tactic I know for converting site visitors into regular readers, people seem to think I’m holding out. Most every time I speak with a fellow blogger on the phone, or meet someone in person, inevitably some variation of the following question will arise:

OK, so level with me… how’s you get all those subscribers? What’s the real secret?

No one wants to believe that there’s no magical secret. They’d rather fantasize about some forbidden copywriting technique that drives subscriber attraction. If I’d just share the magical words that make the difference, they’d immediately put those words to use.

OK, I give up. I’ll tell you the real secret.

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“Keep it Simple, Stupid” Applies to Your Landing Pages, Too!

Image of Landing Page graphic

There’s an old direct marketing axiom that states too many choices paralyzes your prospect into complete non-action. But does that behavior apply to landing pages? Marketing Experiments Journal did a recent study on the topic, Landing Page Confusion: How Does Having More Than One Objective to a Page Affect its Performance?

They tested their hypothesis using real-world companies to illustrate 5 fundamental principles of landing page design. They reviewed an online electronics retailer, large national newspaper, and a paid subscription site. Some pages started out better than others, but all had room for improvement.

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