Buckets and Chunks:
An Exercise in Writing Everything Down

Bucket of Gold

This is a guest article from Ryan Imel of Theme Playground.

Sitting down in front of a blank screen, you type out a string of words followed by a period.

You pause.

You backspace it all away.

Another, new string of words. Pause…

Lather, rinse, repeat. You get the idea. Why is it that at times writing comes easily, like a fire hose, but at other times it barely trickles out? Part of the reason may be that you’re losing all of your best ideas (read: best potential articles) in between those sit-downs at the computer.

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Link Karma

Link Karma

Steve Rubel jumps on the value blogging train. Good for him… he’s a smart guy with great insights, and I’m happy the extraneous stuff is going over to Twitter.

Here’s a podcast I did with the guys over at Internet Business Mastery about copywriting and conquering fear.

Hate your job? Chuck hates your job, too.

The downside of being a professional blogger. Thank goodness I’m not one, although this still sounds like my life.

43 Guru Tips on How to Write Titles: The Ultimate Guide.

Worried that you can’t tell a story in a blog post and keep the reader’s attention? Head over here and take notes.

Go from freelancer to guru with this series of posts from Tony Clark.

John C. Dvorak says we’re in Bubble 2.0, Marshall Kirkpatrick says it’s different this time. They’re both right.

Doc Searls says to look beyond advertising, and he’s right on. The Internet is a direct medium, and advertising in many cases is morphing into compelling, persuasive content that prospects actually value. Now all you need is something to sell.

Problogger has a new design. Sweet.

The Dangers of Humor

tragedy and humor

I’ve wanted to write this article for over a year, and yet only alluded to the issue for the first time earlier this week. The reason I’ve put it off is the reaction I get whenever I warn clients and friends about employing humor in their writing.

They never want to believe me.

Every good copywriter will tell you to avoid trying to be funny in a written conversion situation, and that’s the gospel truth. No matter how funny you are (or think you are), you’ll hurt your conversions simply because some people won’t get it and they’ll be distracted from the path you’re trying to keep them on.

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Three Easy Ways to Expand Your Creativity

creativity

Imagination is more important than knowledge. ~Albert Einstein.

Remember when you were little and the best gift of all was a large cardboard box? That box could be anything from a small family home to the vanguard of an intergalactic attack fleet. With a few hastily drawn lines in permanent marker and a wild imagination, we could go anywhere and be anything.

If you were given an empty box to play with today, would you find as many fascinating uses as you could back then?

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Check Out These Copyblogger Commercials

Last fall, Robert Bruce made a very cool video that I dubbed the official Copyblogger commercial. He’s done it again, inspired by my 10 Steps to Becoming a Better Writer and a bottle of Mirror Pond Pale Ale (the beer actually co-stars). Check out both videos below, and make sure to download Robert’s cool collection of selected poems entitled The Well-Lit, Freshly Paved, Six-Lane Boulevard To Nowhere.

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Three Ways to Spice Up Any Blog Post

red hot chili pepper

Is your writing all meatloaf and mashed potatoes and no jalapeño and oregano? If so, you may be focusing on format and forgetting about what Ernest Hemingway called vigorous language.

We’ve talked a lot lately about how to structure your writing to make it accessible. While an easily digestible format is a critical part of effective content presentation, you don’t want to leave out the succulent seasoning.

Remember, beyond bullet points, numbered lists and compelling subheadings, it’s still the words themselves that matter most. It’s how you say it that will determine whether your audience sings your praises or heads for the hills, so don’t forget to add some zing to your language.

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Landing Page Makeover Clinic #3: HelenGraves.com

Landing Page Makeover

Our third landing page makeover is for Helen Graves, a business coach who works with solo entrepreneurs, mostly female in the 30-50 age bracket. She would like to increase the sales of her CD info-products to her newsletter subscribers and site visitors.

Here’s the background:

  • The Goal:
    Sell 50 CD-info products within a single 4-week period. (Without accurate traffic numbers, this may be an unrealistic goal.)
  • The Problem:
    Current promotions – solo email, ads in newsletter, and site link – have generated a total of 5 sales. (Tracking statistics, however, are currently unreliable.)
  • The Current Landing Page:
    http://www.helengraves.com/createsuccess.htm
  • Page that Generates the Click-Through:
    http://www.helengraves.com/resources.htm

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Don’t Like Top 10 Lists? Tell a Story Instead

Stories Target the Mind

Storytelling reveals meaning without committing the error of defining it.
~Hannah Arendt

Storytelling is the most powerful way to put ideas into the world today.
~Robert McKee

It’s all storytelling, you know. That’s what journalism is all about.
~Tom Brokaw

If you tell me, it’s an essay. If you show me, it’s a story.
~Barbara Greene

Don’t say the old lady screamed—bring her on and let her scream.
~Mark Twain

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7 Things You Need to Know About
Writing Lists That Work

Lucky Number 7

One sure-fire way to get attention from socially driven sites is to write a really good list. If you look at the current popular articles on CopyBlogger you’ll note the following:

And this recent extremely simple list scored 109 comments and counting. People love lists.

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How to Steal Great Content Ideas

Great Content Ideas

Bad artists copy. Great artists steal. ~Pablo Picasso

“There’s nothing new under the sun,” is a saying I’m sure you’re familiar with. Yet how is it that we’re dazzled daily by the exciting and unique perspectives of emerging new voices?

The truth is, outside of cutting-edge theoretical science, there is nothing new. And even then, one might argue that scientists are merely discovering relationships amongst things already known.

And that’s the key to stealing great content ideas—discovering a relationship between your subject matter expertise and things already known. Don’t worry… it’s not really stealing, but the instant improvement in your content is almost like cheating.

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