The Most Important Element of Your Marketing Story

image of actor Charlie Chaplin

Robert wrote yesterday about David Mamet’s advice on dramatic tension, the key element that drives every compelling story.

But there’s another element that’s critical to story, and it’s particularly important when you’re telling a story that intends to persuade.

Whether you want to make a sale, gain an email subscription, or motivate a change in behavior, your dramatic story will fail if it doesn’t have one thing:

A relatable protagonist.

In other words, your story needs to be about someone we care about.

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The Copyblogger Gratitude List — Happy Thanksgiving!

image of turkey

“Shouldn’t I be grateful for something other than Tivo? And Lost?”
~ Christine Kane, “What the Hell Am I Doing with My Life”

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving in the U.S., a holiday traditionally dedicated to heroic feats of overeating, football watching, and avoiding delicate topics of conversation with family members.

But I’m told that before the development of these fine traditions, the holiday was supposed to be about gratitude.

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Will Your Site Survive the Google Shrink Ray?

image of robot with ray gun

Google likes to play a little game with those of us who do business online.

The game is called “change all the rules and see who survives.” It’s often a fun and rewarding game for Google users, but it can be painful for business owners.

In the latest version, Google has rolled out a feature called Instant Previews.

When enabled, users see a cute little magnifying glass sitting next to their search results. The user can view a quick snapshot of sites simply by hovering over links. Why do you care?

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Copyblogger Weekly Wrap:
Week of November 15, 2010

image of bubble wrap

It’s official… this will be my last year for doing this “falling back” thing with the clocks. In the spring, I’m “springing forward” and then never changing again. Of course, I’ll then be an hour late for everything over the winter, but I figure the damage will be minimal because I have TiVo.

So if I ever forget to write the Wrap or forget to repay a loan, or to shower, this is why. But remember, you can’t yell at me about it because it’s like my religion or something.

While it lasts, here’s my summary of what happened this week on Copyblogger:

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How to Make Your Website Mobile Friendly (And Keep Your Readers Happy)

image of iphone

Is your website content ready for mobile devices?

By the year 2013, forecasts predict that there will be 1.7 billion mobile internet users.

And it’s a pretty safe bet that at least a few of them are visiting your site, and seeing it on a screen that takes up just a few inches.

So what happens when readers feel cramped or have to work hard to navigate your site or read your content?

They leave.

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The Truth About Getting Rich Quick

image of maze with money at the center

“Ask your physician how to feel good, and he’ll look you squarely in the eye and say, ‘Eat right and exercise.’ Yet for every dollar spent in fitness centers, Americans spend nineteen dollars on cocaine.

“The reason? Two seconds after you snort cocaine you feel like Superman. Two weeks of diet and exercise just makes you hungry and sore.”

~ Roy H. Williams, The Wizard of Ads

Of course you want to do it the fast, easy way.

You’re smart. You’re a human being. Smart human beings want to do it the fast, easy way.

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How to Get Some Action

It was an unbearably hot night. In a run-down apartment in the seediest neighborhood of Hollywood, the gift shop manager flicked on the discount computer his dad had just bought him.

He started typing.

A small email list of friends grew to a thousand, then ten thousand, then one hundred thousand. A few months later he cobbled together a simple website.

A few years later, he was an international icon.

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7 Ways to Improve Your Writing … Right Now

image of woman checking her watch

Many of you would love to write more compelling blog posts, articles or web copy.

You’ve heard all the old advice. Practice makes perfect. Get your 10,000 hours in. Just show up and write.

And of course, that’s all a good idea. It just takes so danged long.

Meanwhile, I’ve got a couple of fast ways you can improve your writing immediately. No waiting for that pesky, tedious “practice” to kick in.

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What’s Your Story?

image of storyselling

Back in early 2009, Naomi Dunford of Ittybiz announced that she’d taken on a guinea pig. And, because it was Naomi’s guinea pig, it had a fair amount of attitude and tended to swear a lot.

This guinea pig explained its presence in the IttyBiz big picture by telling a story about what online marketing looked like from the average customer’s perspective:

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Copyblogger Weekly Wrap:
Week of November 8, 2010

image of Copyblogger Weekly Wrap logo

Earlier this week, I went to Target and noticed that they’d already put up the Christmas decorations. Have a look.

This was just a few days into November. I’m not ready to think about Christmas! I’m offended at the implication that I should be thinking about Christmas. I’m offended that they seem to think I’m dumb enough to think they’re just trying to decorate. Be honest, Target. Make the signs read simply, “Consume!”

This marketing thing has gone too far! We must stop buying things and telling people to buy things! Revolution! Let’s spearhead a return to bows and arrows and caves and river water!

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