Goodbye 2006, Hello 1997…

From the Wikipedia page for the Dot-com Bubble (1997-2001):

Lead up to the bubble:

In 1994 the Internet came to the general public’s attention with the public advent of the Mosaic Web browser and the nascent World Wide Web, and by 1996 it became obvious to most publicly traded companies that a public Web presence was desirable…. These concepts in turn intrigued many bright, young, often underemployed people (many of the so-called Generation X), who realized that new business models would soon arise based on these possibilities and wanted to be among the first to profit from these new models.

Now, what effect do you think Time Magazine’s Person of the Year will have on 2007?

Time: Person of the Year -- You

Good call by Darren — Linkbait of the year. Check out the unbelievable buzz over at Techmeme.

Be happy that you’re an early adopter. :)

The 37 Signals Approach to Copywriting

To me, Web 2.0 darling 37signals has always served as a great example of a company that “gets” copywriting. They built their highly-successful business using a longer-copy format with a powerful centered headline that instantly sucked you into the page to learn more.

Earlier this week, 37signals introduced a new home page. While the text no longer scrolls as far down the page, it’s still “copy intensive.” I personally find the page to be aesthetically pleasing, so I was anxious to see what kind of testing had been done to justify changing winning copy, especially after I saw the new two-word headline:

Work Well.

You can see a side-by-side comparison of both the new and former home page copy here (the new is on the left).

Now, I’m not saying you can’t have an effective two-word headline. Joe Sugarman made a fortune selling gizmos and sunglasses using pithy two and three word headlines that were high on the novelty factor. But I wonder whether the new 37signals headline empirically beats the old one, which has been updated and is now the first subhead:

Over 1 million people and small businesses use our web-based applications to get things done the simple way.

It seems to me that the specificity and strong social proof of that heading would beat the pants off of “Work Well” in the lead spot. But who knows, right?

That’s what testing is for.

[ Continue Reading… ]

7 Essential WordPress Hacks Video Series

Yaro Starak Interviews Me at Entrepreneur’s Journey

I did a podcast interview with Yaro Starak of Entrepreneur’s Journey last week. Yaro asked some great questions, to which I gave my typical rambling responses.

[ Continue Reading… ]

Affiliate Marketing Disclosure Now Required By Law?

I’ve been involved in affiliate marketing off and on for about 8 years, and the trend towards disclosure of affiliate links in the blogosphere has been a strange situation for me. It’s not that I want to hide the fact that I’m being compensated, it’s just that if you are an ethical marketer that focuses on providing value, most people don’t really care outside of the Internet marketing world.

I haven’t done much affiliate marketing on Copyblogger, but I hate the use of (aff) following the link. It’s just bad, distracting copy, so I try to find some other way to reveal the affiliation in a way that makes sense. Other times I just give my readers enough credit to know what’s up (such as with links to books).

[ Continue Reading… ]

21 Traffic Triggers for Social Media Marketing

What does it take to have a huge web traffic breakthrough?

In order to produce a single piece of content that brings in dramatic amounts of traffic, you should aim to fulfill an existing psychological need. Aiming at root needs can be more powerful than simply stimulating desire, because you need people to feel compelled to share.

For example, you’ll see plenty of advice telling you to praise Apple or bash George Bush if you want to get on the Digg home page. But why not dig a little deeper?

Try examining the underlying needs that are being addressed by popular content. Then develop something unique that strikes a subconscious chord and satisfies a genetically-programmed craving that gets people talking, linking, bookmarking and Digging.

[ Continue Reading… ]

Is it OK to Steal Someone’s Design?

UPDATE: This issue has been resolved thanks to the quick action of the owner of the sites in question and apologies have been made. I have no interest in creating an enduring public record of this. So I have deleted the details in order to bring this to an end.

The Force That Drives Social Media Traffic

The power, the force, the overwhelming urge that causes people to spread the word about your content comes from the consumers of the content themselves, and not from your copy.

Copy cannot create desire, it can only take the hopes, dreams, fears and desires that already exist in the hearts of a mass of others, and focus those already existing desires onto a particular piece of compelling content you hope to see go viral.

This is the blogger’s task: not to create desire—but to channel and direct it.

The above is an adaptation of the opening paragraph of Breakthrough Advertising by Eugene Schwartz, which many consider to be the Copywriting Bible. The original text naturally refers to channeling mass desire to a product, and how an advertiser can never create desire; he can only take advantage of desire that’s already there.

When it comes to social media marketing, the same concept holds true for attracting attention and traffic as well. It’s all about the psychology of existing needs and desires, and finding a way to speak to them.

Introducing the New SEO Book Sales Letter

As promised earlier in the week, Aaron Wall of SEO Book is unveiling today the sales letter that I rewrote for him. But first, I wanted to briefly discuss some of the changes and why they were made.

[ Continue Reading… ]

How to Write Exquisite Subheads

Something terrible is happening to your reader…

You’ve hooked them with your headline, and captivated them with your opening.

But this is a longer piece of writing. You’ve got a lot to say.

Somewhere along the way, an awful transformation has taken place.

You reader has become…

A scanner.

[ Continue Reading… ]