Does Your Tagline Create Clarity or Mystery?

Mystery Box

1,000 songs in your pocket.

Sounds great, doesn’t it? You may recognize that marketing message from one of the biggest companies around today.

Or you may not.

It doesn’t matter if you recognize who crafted that tagline, because you know what you’re getting right away—1,000 songs in your pocket. You don’t know how that happens or why, but it’s irrelevant. You know at a glance that whatever the product, it’s going to give you tons of music in a small package you can carry around.

Now that’s smart.

Read More…

The Four “P” Approach:
A Persuasive Writing Structure That Works

4 Ps of Persuasion

More than half the battle of creating compelling content and copy is solid structure. Disorganized writing inhibits understanding, and without understanding, you’re not going to get a warm reception when you ask for action. Plus, without structural guidelines to follow, you end up leaving out information necessary to your case or promotion.

There are plenty of popular writing structures. One is the inverted pyramid that some journalists favor, which is fine if your goal is to allow the reader to leave mid-story, but not so good if you want people to stick around while you make the case for your call to action.

Read More…

Where Have All the
Freelance Writing Jobs Gone?

Freelance Writing

Two or three times a week, struggling freelance writers will email me questions. The messages are usually something along the lines of:

  • “I’m having a hard time finding writing gigs now. What am I doing wrong?”
  • “I keep sending out queries but nobody’s getting back to me. What else can I do?”
  • “Why hasn’t anybody gotten back to me? I sent out a ton of stuff a couple of weeks ago.”

Read More…

Kurt Cobain: Entrepreneur?

Kurt Cobain

If you want to start a business, or you’re struggling to grow one, you might want to check out this article I wrote for Lateral Action – The Kurt Cobain Guide to Startup Success. You’ll likely be surprised at how deliberate the success of Nirvana’s breakthrough album Nevermind was.

And since Nirvana was in the music business (a form of content), every blogger and copywriter can use Nirvana’s story as inspiration to create more compelling and innovative content themselves (hopefully you’ll have a happier ending).

Check it out here.

The Lazy Blogger’s Guide to
Finding Great Post Images

Lazy Blogger

Writing a great blog post is a lot of work. There’s the planning, the headline, the writing, the rewriting, the rewriting, the rewriting.

As the cliché goes, a picture is worth a thousand words. So why not let your images do some of that writing for you?

Read More…

Magazine Headline Remix:
PC World Edition

PC World

We’ve already used Cosmopolitan and Details Magazine for blogging inspiration. Let’s switch to a more technical topic to see if we can use the headlines on the cover of a computer magazine to come up with relevant content for a variety of blogs.

So l stopped by the grocery store and snagged a copy of PC World. It wasn’t until I got home that I realized there was something strange about this month’s issue.

Read More…

How Three Drag Queens in a Bus Lead to Better Blogging

Priscilla, Queen of the Desert

Remember The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert? That was the 1994 Academy Award-winning film about three drag queens driving across the Australian outback in a large bus they’ve named Priscilla.

It’s amazing what you can learn about blogging from the way-out-there – and it’s amazing what it can do for your success online. So let’s see what we can learn about effective blogging from Priscilla.

Read More…

How to Write With a Distinctive Voice

Voice

Let’s face it, most people can’t write their way out of a paper bag. Further, most bloggers are boring writers, and most journalists are so heavily edited that any personality they’ve added to a story has long since been weaned out by the editorial process.

I want to let you in on a secret, though: it’s not really that people are boring, but that too many have been taught that you shouldn’t write the same way you talk. I blame our educational system, actually, with those 5th grade teachers who drilled us on adverbs, pronouns and the minutia of grammar, coupled with too many boring, tedious academic books that we all suffered through while in college.

Read More…

10 Cool Links for Bloggers and Copywriters

Link Karma

We’ve been doing a bad job at linking out lately. I could give you plenty of excuses, but that doesn’t change the fact that it’s my job as editor to make sure we’re following our own philosophies, and linking out to others is definitely part of the Copyblogger culture.

So to kick off what will hopefully be a returning regular feature, here are ten cool links to free stuff that will benefit both bloggers and copywriters.

Read More…

Three Ways to Grow Your Blog Community in an Economic Crisis

Panic Button

The economic news has most people pretty freaked out. There are rumblings about the next Great Depression, TV news gets more hysterical by the second, and everywhere you look, you’ll find someone immobilized with panic because the sky is falling.

The economic crisis creates real problems, both practical and emotional, for large numbers of people. So what’s your role? You’ve put yourself forward as an authority with your content community, so how are you living up to that challenge?

Read More…