The Real Secret to Getting Tons of
Blog Subscribers

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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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Winning Copy Appeals to Basic Instincts

Sharon Stone in Basic InstinctHow do you get somebody to do what you want them to?

You can just ask of course. That will work with some people. A more successful approach though is to appeal to their human nature. Show what’s in it for them.

We are simple creatures really. Scott Adams of Dilbert fame calls us “moist robots”. As accurate a description as any!

Press the right buttons and you get a predictable, automatic reaction.

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Is it OK to Write for Digg?

Digg BaitingThis is the first post from Digg power user Muhammad Saleem, who will be offering tips about creating content that appeals to users of social media news sites.

Back in January, Ethan Kaplan proposed a new term to describe certain sites:

Made for Digg (MFD), just like Made for Adsense sites, these are sites that are specifically formatted as Digg bait…

While people often argue that there is something inherently wrong with content that is specifically designed to be consumed by socially driven sites, I was probably one of the first people to go on the record arguing to the contrary, and the reasoning behind my stance is simple. For content to be successful on Digg, i.e. for it to be classified as “Digg bait,” it really has to appeal to the community and it has to incite a passionate response from the users, whether the response be good or bad.

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The Copyblogger Theme for WordPress

When Brian rolled out the latest design for Copyblogger, he promised to chain me to a computer and whip me until I was able to resurrect the old design as a ubiquitous WordPress theme.

Copyblogger Theme for WordPress

Today, I’m happy to announce that the chains have come off, the welts on my back are beginning to heal, and you, my friends, have a brand new toy—the Copyblogger Theme for WordPress.

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Check Out This Spam From a PR Flak

I don’t usually do things like this, but this is too delicious. Here’s an email I just received from someone named Tami Queen:

Countless accounts of “PR Flaks” who have spammed bloggers, mis-targeted pitches or just plain gotten blogger relations wrong fill the Internet. Don’t risk finding your next pitch blasted on your favorite blog!

As a Public Relations professional, it is your job to find every opportunity to get your organization covered and be an expert on the inner-workings of the media. However, the explosion of the blogosphere has left many confused and wondering: How do bloggers operate? What type of approach will get my news covered? How can I integrate blogs into my overall PR strategy?

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Did Alanis Morissette Get Irony Right?

Alanis MorissetteMany people struggle with irony in their writing, despite the media fable that everyone born after 1965 lives a life so deeply entrenched in irony that we can’t handle a direct assertion. Many bloggers are sarcastic and snarky (nastier forms of irony generally intended to deride a specific person) simply because it’s an easy substitute for a fully developed writer’s voice. Irony is a bit more subtle, and that’s why it can cause people trouble.

When it comes to “not getting” irony, there’s one person who comes immediately to mind for many—Alanis Morissette. More than a decade later, her hit song “Ironic” from the 1995 album Jagged Little Pill is still the punch line of scores of irony-related jokes.

If you’re not familiar, Morissette’s song describes various life situations followed by the two questions “Isn’t it ironic?” and “Don’t you think?” The perceived problem with the song is that most if not all of the given examples do not constitute either situational or literary irony.

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Copyblogger Copywriting Contest
Now Closed

Thanks to everyone who submitted an entry for the first ever Copyblogger Copywriting Contest. The response has been great, and now Seth, Darren and I need to work our way through the submissions to pick the three winners.

Results will be announced soon!

Quick and Easy Sunday Links

Seal the Deal, Part II: 5 Tips for Designing the Ultimate Landing Page

Image of Landing Page graphic

In my first post on the subject for Copyblogger, Seal the Deal: 10 Tips for Writing the Ultimate Landing Page, I devoted most of my time to copywriting tips since, well, I’m a copywriter. I craft the words.

Unlike direct mail, however, the web is a strongly visual medium. Good design helps support the content, leading the visitor’s eye from here to there and directing them through your message layer by layer, step by step.

This is especially so in the formatting of an effective landing page. That’s why I’ll devote myself to the overall look, feel, and formatting of effective landing pages for this post.

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