The Alfred Hitchcock Secret to
Compelling Content and Copy

image of Alfred Hitchcock

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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How to Quit Hitting the
Snooze Button on Your Blog

image of man with alarm clock

Conversation in social media is supposed to be “open source,” right?

We’re supposed to gain energy and excitement from being open to the entire internet, to ideas that come to us from literally every corner of the globe.

But too often “social media” turns into a predictably closed circuit of the same people having the same conversation.

Finding your own tribe can be a wonderful thing. It can also make your blog unbearably boring.

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Who Do You Trust for
Online Business Advice?

image of scorpion

Do you know this story?

A scorpion needs to cross the river. He asks a friendly-looking frog to carry him across.

“Do you think I’m stupid?” asks the frog. “You’re a scorpion. You’ll sting and kill me.”

“No I won’t,” says the scorpion. “That would be completely against my self interest. If I sting you, I’ll fall in the river and drown.”

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Could Your Blog be Ruining
Your Business?

image of sign saying Business Closed

Many of you began blogging to get more business. I’m sorry to tell you that many of you are doing the exact opposite.

Your blog isn’t getting you more business — it’s actually sending business away.

How did that happen?

A blog is supposed to create more interest in what you do or what you sell. It’s supposed to bring you more credibility, more readers. It’s supposed to show off your expertise. All that should be great for business. Where did it all go wrong?

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How to Do 500 Times Better than AdSense

image of U.S. penny coin

Right around a year ago now, I made my first cent online. It was literally a cent — $0.01 — and it showed up in my Google AdSense account after a certain number of people had viewed an ad for dog food or a shiatsu massager or whatever on my old humor blog.

That first cent was exciting, because it proved that you really could make money online in the way it seemed that everyone said you could — by creating sites populated with ads, and then sitting back and letting the earnings pile up. Then, if the gurus were to be believed, it was only a matter of time before I would be living in Hawaii, while bikini girls used the Mona Lisa to wax my Lamborghini.

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How to Become an A-List Blogger

image of four ace playing cards

If I asked you to define what an A-list blogger actually is, what would you say?

I’m sure the usual thoughts like “thousands of subscribers,” “lots of comments,” and “large influence” come to mind.

While these may be things that many of us agree on, they aren’t really about the blogger, they’re about the blog.

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37 Seconds to Great Storytelling

image of story stamp

We tell you about the power of stories quite a bit. And now we’re able to see what happens in our brains when we encounter a compelling story.

But how do you learn to tell these types of stories? Often, just by studying great ones.

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Want to be a Better Writer?
Get Your Ego Out of the Way

image of vain man

Raise your hand if you’re a writer.

Now, raise your hand if you have a nice-sized ego.

And now, raise your hand if you lied on that last one and kept your hand down.

The thing is, writing and a big ego kind of go hand in hand. And if you haven’t quit, gone crazy, or offed yourself yet — which I know you haven’t because you were just raising your hand — then like it or not, you have a big ego.

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How to Blog like Shakespeare: Writing
for Three Audiences at the Same Time

image of shakespeare using a laptop

William Shakespeare is the shorthand we use when we want to describe a great writer. He stands for the pinnacle of writing ability.

One reason is that he mastered the art of writing for completely different audiences. He appealed to the ultra elite, to regular theater-goers who never missed a performance, and to the illiterate mobs in the cheap seats. And he managed to satisfy each audience magnificently.

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Three Quick Steps to Clear Writing

image of diamond

“Few appreciate brilliance, but everyone appreciates clarity.”

I came up with that line on Twitter, and thought . . .

Why waste it there?

Here’s the quick and clear guide to clarity in writing:


Short words are the rule that makes your exceptional words sing.

Short sentences make powerful points faster.


Write like you talk, except better. Better words, better arrangement, better flow.

Know the rules of grammar, then break them like people do. But better.


Clarity comes from deeply caring if people truly understand.

Do you?

About the Author: Brian Clark is founder of Copyblogger and CEO of Copyblogger Media. Get more from Brian on Twitter.