What a Bestselling Author Can Teach You
About Hooking Your Readers

image of fishing hook

Pulled away. Distracted by Twitter, e-mail, Facebook. Every reader has it happen several times a day. Will your readers be any different?

Not unless you hook them.

And the secret to hooking your readers comes from the storytellers of the world.

A storyteller can’t rely on the copywriter’s standby WIIFM, because, well, the only thing that’s in it for the audience is the storyteller’s ability to engage their interest.

That’s why they’ve made an art of hooking the reader, and why screenwriting guru Robert McKee has crystallized that art into one key lesson.

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5 Essential Blogging Tips from the
Father of Chinese Philosophy

image of Chinese calligraphy

Confucius, the father of Confucianism, died more than 2500 years ago, but his teachings are still relevant — not least when it comes to blogging.

Here are five classic Confucian quotes that are vital to remember if you want a successful blog.

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10 Surprising Books That Will Transform Your Writing

image of antique books

You don’t have to look far to find a list of the best books a writer should read. A benefit for new writers, no doubt.

Unfortunately, those of us who have been around for a number of years often own every book that tends to make these lists.

Not only do we own them, we’ve absorbed them into our bloodstream.

It wouldn’t be so bad if the list changed from year to year.

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The First Rule of Copyblogger

image of a man throwing a punch

Are you guilty of spamducation?

Spamducation is a white paper, special report, video, podcast or manifesto that claims to solve a pressing reader problem, but is in fact a thinly disguised ad. Jon Stribling describes them as “compelling headlines and disappointing content written by amateurs or second-rate copywriters.”

The content is too often a lame version of work done by a real expert. (You know, someone who cared enough about the topic to actually learn a lot about it.)

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10 Secrets to More Magnetic Copy

image of a magnet

Whether it’s a cover letter for your resume, a sales pitch to a client, a blog post, a Twitter tweet, or an internal business proposal, all of us need to write in a way that draws the reader closer to us.

We need writing that’s compelling, interesting, and unique. We need writing that’s magnetic.

Some think that magnetic writing is all about talent. But a few simple techniques can make any piece of writing more compelling.

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10 Ways to be a Copywriting Jedi

image of a young Jedi

Do you remember the doubt on Luke Skywalker’s face when he first held the cool metal of an inert light saber? Looking up at Obi-Wan, he believed it when he said, “I can’t go with you to Alderaan.”

Last summer, we felt just like young Skywalker as we waded waist-deep into the bog of online writing. There was much to learn, forces at work looking to sway us to the dark side, and at times, it was hard to believe in ourselves or our path.

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Four Things 50 Cent Can Teach You About Connecting with Your Audience

image of rapper 50 Cent

I spent most of 2007 hanging out with Curtis Jackson, better known as Fifty Cent. Together we wrote a bestselling book about hustling, fearlessness, and power.

I’d like to share a couple of insights that arose from that collaboration.

After the remarkable success of his first two commercial albums, Fifty Cent stood on top of the music world. But his very success was starting to corrode his musical ability.

His sense of connection, so vital on the streets, was fading in this new environment he now inhabited.

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Here’s Hard Data for Headlines that
Spread on Twitter


Many bloggers already know that Twitter is one of the best ways to drive traffic to your blog.

When I talked to Guy Kawasaki about my book, he called the Tweetmeme Retweet button “the most important button on the web,” because of the enormous traffic-driving power it possesses. With one click, any of your readers can spread your post to hundreds or thousands of their followers.

As a marketer, I, of course, see this as an opportunity for optimization. When I see a powerful tool, my first impulse is to figure out how to make it even more powerful.

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Does Speech Recognition Software
Really Work?

image of a hands-free headset

One of my favorite posts from around the web last week came from our own Associate Editor Jon Morrow. He recorded a 20-minute video post for Problogger about how he works with speech recognition software to do all of his blogging.

I do an awful lot of writing every week, and I’ve been thinking about trying speech recognition out in order to speed up the process. But like most people, I was afraid it was going to be more trouble than it was worth to get it working.

Jon’s video made me realize how simple (and inexpensive) it will be for me to make it happen.

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10 Things to Be Grateful For

image of a turkey dinner

I’ll admit it. I have a soft spot for Thanksgiving.

First, because it’s an excuse for me to bake for three days. (If you need a last-minute recipe for the world’s best chocolate cream pie, I’ve got you covered.)

And second, because it reminds me to quit grumbling and start noticing all of the amazing stuff I’ve got in my life.

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