Fight Copywriting Flab:
How to Tone Your Writing Muscles

Muscle

My flabby, jelly-like gut is not, as it might first appear, due to an excess of cake and beer. It is in fact due to a simple and chronic lack of exercise.

What was once washboard tight is now better suited for collecting belly button lint. The only six-pack this body sees comes in cans.

What has this gruesome image of manly imperfection got to do with writing, you ask?

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Are You a Courageous Blogger?

Courage

What does it take to be a leader in your niche?

Courage.

You need the courage to alienate the wrong people in order to resonate with the right people. You need to stick to your convictions when people tell you you’re wrong simply because your knowledge doesn’t mesh with their opinions.

Blogging by consensus is a recipe for failure. Your success will be determined by the execution of your vision. Think about it… if your audience is more qualified to write your blog than you are, why should they read what you say?

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Landing Page Makeover Clinic #2: StartBreakingFree.com

Landing Page Makeover

Our first makeover focused on the high visibility SEO-focused site, SEOmoz.org. Rand was looking to generate paid subscriptions from “cold” prospects, visitors who generally didn’t have a SEOmoz relationship already established.

Today’s makeover is for Brian Armstrong’s book, Breaking Free. Although his page is converting at a pretty respectable rate, he’d like to sell more books, and why not!

Here’s the background:

  • The Goal:
    Increase total ebook and print book sales of Breaking Free. (The author didn’t give me a specific here, so let’s use a modest bump of 1%.)
  • The Problem:
    Of the total visitors to the website, only 0.24% purchase. (However, 7.6% of those who actually visit the landing page do, in fact, purchase.)
  • The Current Landing Page:
    http://www.startbreakingfree.com/breaking-free/
  • Page/Ad that Generates the Click-Through:
    There’s a link to “Book” on the blog.

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Get Anyone to Read Every Word You Write With These 7 Steps

Reading Long Copy

Here’s the secret to successful writing according to Stephen King:

Take out the bad parts.

While those 5 words sum it up perfectly, some people don’t really get what concise writing is all about. Some think that communicating less information and having a low word count is the mark of great writing.

That’s not it at all.

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Conversations with Parrots and the
Dangers of a Swipe File

Parrot

Ever try talking with a parrot?

It seems like any time anyone comes across a parrot, they try to strike up a conversation to see if the bird will talk back. And it can be quite amusing when they do.

For a bit.

The problem with conversing with a parrot is that the bird has no idea what its actually saying, or why its saying it. Parrots have no clue about context, and therefore make for bad conversation. The truth is, no one really wants to speak with a parrot.

But you knew that.

What does this have to do with copywriting, you ask?

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Two Techniques That Help You
Embrace Brevity

Embrace Brevity

Editor’s Note: Last week, Muhammad Saleem submitted an article to Copyblogger on how to incorporate brevity into your writing. I decided to break up the article into two parts, and demonstrate that with the use of:

(1) a descriptive headline;
(2) a short anecdote,
(3) a famous quote from Strunk and White, and
(4) a link to another article about Steven King

you can communicate a salient point in only 59 words and still provide additional information via links.

What follows are Muhammad’s techniques and examples of how to say more with fewer words. Enjoy. – Brian

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IKEA Content: How to Lose Your Readers in Two Minutes or Less

IKEA Sign

I clearly remember that first day I wandered into an IKEA megastore.

A line from that famous Eagles song came to mind: “Welcome to the Hotel California… You can check out any time you like, but you can never leave.”

The Selfish Path

IKEA, a Swedish-based retail chain that specializes in low-cost household items, designs its stores with only one way in and one way out. The path to freedom mazes shoppers through the entire store, most of which is completely irrelevant to the shopper.

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The SEOmoz Landing Page Contest:
Entries Judged by Live Multivariate Testing

SEOmoz

Last week, quite a few people wondered if they’d get to see any real-life results based on Roberta’s critique of the SEOmoz Premium Membership landing page. We already knew the answer, because Rand, Roberta and I had cooked up a more elaborate plan weeks ago. We had to keep quiet until today, but now I can reveal the scoop.

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How Successful is Your Landing Page?
The 3 Key Metrics You Need to Know

Image of Landing Page graphic

We’ve spent a lot of time exploring the copy and design techniques that drive successful landing pages. But do you know how to best measure your success?

That’s the focus of a most excellent article I read in Practical Ecommerce, Measuring Conversion Success: What are the key areas to watch when trying to keep visitors’ attention?

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Link Karma

Link Karma

Jakob Nielsen says to write articles, not blog postings. Good, forward-thinking advice Jakob! I’ll start doing that, and recommending that others do the same, a year-and-a-half ago.

John Place tells you how to disagree and persuade without offending. Good advice for dealing with critical comments.

Questions about dating, relationships, love and sex, or just want to see how to use blogging and online video in one of the most lucrative niches around? Check out Dan and Jennifer.

The Three Little Blogs: A Cautionary Tale – Nice story telling, thanks for not making me one of the pigs… err, blogs.

Can you draw a better Googlebot than Rand Fiskin? Enter this contest and win some absolutely fabulous prizes. OK, win a prize… let’s not oversell it.

Did you know that Perfomancing Metrics blog statistics is back? They have both a free and low cost paid service. Check it out.

Any other interesting links I’ve missed? Drop them in the comments.