Is Your Business Getting Enough Love?

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Like everyone else on the social web, I just read Seth Godin’s new book Linchpin. It’s a big book, not so much in number of pages, but in number of ideas.

One core theme is the idea of emotional labor — bringing more human feeling and connection to your work, some essential part of yourself that can’t be automated or outsourced.

It strikes me that this gets to one of the key distinctions between different models for doing business online.

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14 Lessons Learned from One of the World’s Highest-Paid Copywriters (Lessons 1-5)

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This is part one of a three-part series on how to profitably translate advice from old-school marketing guru Dan Kennedy to a new online environment.

Dan Kennedy is the Sovereign of Sales Letters. (Or maybe that’s the Duke of Direct Response.) He knows exactly how to deliver a marketing message with maximum clarity and zero confusion. As he’ll readily tell you, he’s one of the world’s highest-paid copywriters. His classic book The Ultimate Marketing Plan promises low-cost ideas and high-profit results.

This book delivers on both counts, and it’s well worth the read. But it was written in 1991, and at first seems like it’s more relevant to a restaurant or dry cleaner than it is to an online marketer.

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Is Reading Blog Posts Worth Your Time?

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If you’re a regular Copyblogger reader, you get good advice about five times a week. Excellent advice, really. Stellar.

Especially on days when I’m posting. (Preens.)

Wait, what was I saying again?

Oh, right. You get really good advice, for free, five times a week. Very frequently, this advice would cost you upwards of $150 an hour for a consultant to tell you the same thing.

So when was the last time you actually put any of that advice into action?

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Does Writing for People Work for SEO?

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Hang around web writing circles for any length of time, and the inevitable “write for search engines or write for people” debate comes up. It’s a bit strange, really.

Last time I checked, it’s people who use search engines, not some other life form. So you’re always writing for people.

Obviously, the debate stems from the fact that search engines are powered by computer algorithms. But as search engines have gotten smarter, writing that pleases people and satisfies spiders is not that far apart, if at all.

Let’s look at four factors that work well for SEO and see how well they cater to the needs of people.

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The Art of Shameless Self-Promotion

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I’ve found it just doesn’t pay to crow too much about what I’ve accomplished.

Sure, I celebrate when things go well. But I’ve found that talking too much about my achievements leads not only to criticism, but to disappointment.

There’s always going to be someone who’s done more or worked harder. And until they carve my name into the side of the moon, I see no reason in puffing myself up. The minute you get a big head is the same minute that reality smacks you and you realize that you aren’t as cool as you think you are.

So self-adulation is something I try to stay away from. But self promotion? That’s a whole different story.

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SEO Copywriting: The Five Essential Elements to Focus On

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When I first started Copyblogger in 2006, I was almost militantly against on-page search optimization. Seems strange, since I’d been a successful student of SEO since 2000.

It was because I saw all these people fretting over keywords like it’s 1999, and yet they had no links. Their content was weak. Their sites weren’t trusted.

You can’t optimize something that’s dead in the water. So my initial goal was to get people to focus on content that attracted attention and links first. Only then do you have something you can make better (that’s what optimize means, naturally).

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Landing Page Makeovers 2007-2009:
Where Are They Now?

Landing Page Makeover

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

It occurred to me late last year, as I was readying yet another Landing Page Makeover, that the end of one year and the beginning of the next was a good time to do a “Where are they now?” post. So first things first, I went back and contacted all makeover participants from the very beginning of the series.

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Does SEO Copywriting Still Matter?

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If there’s any one thing that can be said about SEO with certainty, it’s that it manages to cause a lot of confusion.

For example, it seems like many people’s idea of SEO was formed 10 years ago, and hasn’t bothered to change with the times. Even an online veteran like Robert Scoble is completely clueless about modern best practices for search engine optimization.

So, before we go any further, let me answer the question posed by the headline …

Yes, SEO copywriting still matters.

Here’s why.

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Third Tribe Marketing is Live

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Those of you who subscribe to the Internet Marketing for Smart People email newsletter found out on Monday what Brian and I have been up to for the past few months.

We knew it would be cool, because, well, we designed it to be cool.

We wanted to build something people would really get value from.

But still, when we saw what people were doing inside after the first day, we all looked around at one another and pulled a Keanu.


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The Alfred Hitchcock Secret to
Compelling Content and Copy

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The McGuffin has been a powerful storytelling device for a long time. It was Alfred Hitchcock who popularized both its use and the name that sounds like it should be on a dollar menu.

The McGuffin has a cool job: to keep the plot, character, or situation rolling along. It draws us into the story and drives the action. The McGuffin is often an object of high value, which everyone covets. It can be ambiguous, entirely undefined, generic, or left open to interpretation.

Remember the suitcase in “Pulp Fiction?” Classic McGuffin. Though it showed up a few times throughout the film, and was important enough to get a handful of people peppered with bullets, we never actually saw what was in the suitcase.

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