How to Use the Simple Power of Contrast to Become More Persuasive

Contrasting Stones

Consider these factoids:

  • Falling coconuts kill 150 people each year, which is more than die from shark attacks.
  • You’re more likely to be killed by a champagne cork than a poisonous spider.
  • Donkeys kill more people each year than plane crashes.

Will sharing statistics about the relative dangers of donkeys and automobile travel cause someone to lose their fear of flying? Not likely, but in most cases it will convince that person not to forego a tropical vacation simply because an airplane is involved. And while most of us remain afraid of sharks, we might also decide that it’s ok to boogie board in the surf instead of playing it “safe” sitting under a tree with a Piña Colada.

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Tell a Tantalizing Story to Kick Off
Your Blog Post

Stories SellWant to hear a story? Most people do, and that’s why kicking off a blog post with one is a great way to capture and hold attention.

Back when we discussed opening strategies for bloggers, telling an anecdote or quick story was one key method. We’ve talked a lot about the power of stories to connect, captivate and persuade, and that’s why they are such a great way to grab hold of a reader right away before they become distracted by something shinier.

Stories make for strong openings because they are:

  • Practical
  • Tangible
  • Memorable
  • Conversational

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Do You Have an Enemy?
Here’s Why You Need to Find One

image of Joffrey in King of Thrones

Seriously, it’s time to find a good enemy. Not sure why?

Effective marketing in a low-trust world means developing a bond with your prospects through your content marketing. One great way to do this is to share a perceived common enemy with your readers.

Now, before you run off to write that rant about the fellow blogger you love to hate, let me explain. While the common enemy you share with your readers can be a person, most likely it won’t be. It’s likely a group, thing, ailment, or a conceptual fear.

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Five Common Headline Mistakes and
How to Avoid Them

Magnetic HeadlinesWriting a great headline means crafting an enticing invitation to a prospective reader. It’s not the whole story, nor is it an attempt to convince anyone to do anything other than to keep reading.

That being said, it seems you can’t move two pages on the web without tripping across a poorly-crafted headline. While many contain one or more necessary elements, other factors are often left out of the headline, diminishing the overall power and draw of this critical aspect of your copy.

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The Benjamin Franklin Guide to Marketing Your Business Online

Benjamin Franklin PictureDid you know that Benjamin Franklin never said “A penny saved is a penny earned?”

As popular as the saying is, it doesn’t really make sense (or its meaning is not as clear as it could be). Here’s what Franklin actually said:

“A penny saved is twopence dear.”

Translated, if you save your money you can double it (or a penny saved is two pennies earned). Ahhh… sound investment advice! So maybe Ben can help you out in other business matters, even when it comes to marketing on the Internet.

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The Secret to Effective Content Promotion

Long Tail Dead Bodies
Nobody’s going to read your blog unless there’s something in it for them.
– Seth Godin

Nobody’s going to link to your blog unless there’s something in for them.
– Hugh MacLeod

Hugh published the above as The Two Immutable Laws of Blogging back in January of 2006. I tried to be a bit more specific with The 5 Immutable Laws of Persuasive Blogging in February of this year.

At the core, Hugh was dead on. My five immutable laws focused more on creating content that has something in it for the reader. This post is focused on creating a promotion that has something in it for the linkerati who you hope will promote your content.

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Why You Need To Hit Your Prospects Where It Hurts Right Now

The other night an entrepreneurial friend was drunkenly extolling the virtues of his latest scheme. A kind of mini-survival kit with several unique twists. This product would potentially help hundreds of stranded drivers every year. His problem was while most people saw the sense of it, nobody was interested in developing it with him. He couldn’t get his business idea off the ground.

We all know that feeling. Lots of nods and general agreement but no action.

Your reader really should read your advice but many won’t. Some products fail even though millions of people need them right now. There are services that are essential and executed brilliantly but nobody signs up.

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Falling in Love with the
Unintended Audience

Today’s guest post is from Carson Brackney.

I wanted to create a client-facing blog that would serve as a branding and marketing tool for my content production and copywriting business.

That’s not what happened. Instead of finding a receptive audience of potential clients, the blog attracted other writers.

My audience was unintended.

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Seal the Deal: 10 Tips for Writing the Ultimate Landing Page

Image of Landing Page graphic

This is another addition to our ongoing series of tutorials and case studies on landing pages that work.

I have a client with a deep-pocket online media budget. Google Adwords PPC, banner ads on major news sites. We’re talking some sizable money to generate traffic and turn that traffic into customers.

I bet you’re thinking a big part of their budget was earmarked for landing page development and testing. I would have thought so, too, before they became a client. But what I quickly discovered was this – there wasn’t a series of landing pages. There wasn’t even one landing page! All of the clicks, all of their costly PPC traffic was being directed to the homepage.

Literally, their best prospects were being dumped off at the front door with little direction or guidance as to how to proceed.

Yikes.

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Why Your Best Headline Could be
Too Powerful

As a geek I am a compulsive tester. I discovered how copywriting techniques really work from testing. One result that shocked me was that we can make our headlines too good. At times we write headlines that are so powerful they are ineffective.

How can this be? There is one simple concept here that can either work in your favor or devastate the results of your headline.

  • Pay zero tax in 2007!
  • Turn a Loss-Making Campaign Into a Million Dollar Profit Machine in Ten Minutes
  • Lose 10lbs Just By Playing Computer Games

What do you think when you read headlines such as these?

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