Snarky Doesn’t Sell

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the push for mass adoption of business blogging, and how the generally snarky tone that pervades the blogosphere would work out in conjunction. I started to write an article explaining why snarky will kill sales materials, and how it may not even be a good idea for a conversational business blogging voice (even if you’re naturally sarcastic and cynical).

I then started to think about what really bothered me about the whole snark thing. And it boils down to this: some people are trying to be “blog snarky” when it’s not really who they are offline.

They’re not naturally sarcastic and cynical, they’re just pretending to be. So they end up saying things online they would never say to a person’s face, thereby dragging down the level of discourse just a bit more.

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This Article Rocks… I Guarantee It!

Copywriting 101

There you have it. You just can’t go wrong reading this article.

I’ve guaranteed your satisfaction. Those are powerful words, right?

But what does my guarantee really mean? What if you think this article is actually marginal at best? There’s no money to return. And I can’t give you back your valuable time if you feel it was wasted.

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Long Tail Wind

I don’t believe I’ve ever seen the main theme of a business book gain such huge traction – before the book is even released – than The Long Tail by Wired editor-in-chief Chris Anderson.

In case you’ve not caught this hugely prevalent meme, I’ll let Chris explain it himself:

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How to Influence People
(And Sleep Well at Night)

Senores y Senoras, nosotros tenemos mas influencia con sus hijos que tu tiene… pero los queremos.

Translation: “Ladies and Gentlemen, we have more influence over your children than you do… but we love them.”

I always thought this introduction to the Jane’s Addiction song Stop on 1990’s Ritual de lo Habitual was poignant. It’s an interesting way to open an album, but the message is also important.

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“Kids Eat Free” and Other Irresistible Offers

Copywriting 101

The sign says it all – “Kids Eat Free Every Monday and Tuesday.” It’s out in front of a Mexican food restaurant on my way home.

That’s called an offer. It’s not the restaurant’s main offering (which is trading Mexican food for money). As far as that goes, this is probably the third best (out of four) Mexican food joints in my hometown.

But every Monday and Tuesday night, the place is packed. They’ve made an appealing offer that caused people to take action.

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Now Featuring Benefits!

Image of Man Wearing Victorian Headphones

One of the most repeated rules of writing compelling copy is to stress benefits, not features.

In other words, identify the underlying benefit that each feature of a product or service provides to the prospect, because that’s what will prompt the purchase.

This is one rule that always applies, except when it doesn’t.

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The SEO Debate is Alive and Well

ProBlogger’s Darren Rowse chimes in with an excellent, balanced addition to the growing debate over traditional SEO as applied to blogs. This is the topic that I commented on with SEO Copywriting is Dead, which built upon a couple of posts by Nick Wilson of Performancing and was pushed further along by Steve Pavlina.

Darren is always a diplomat, but here his even-handedness is especially welcome. While demonstrating both sides of the story, I think he actually makes a stronger case for writing for humans first.

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Blog Pimping

“Pimpin’ ain’t easy but it’s necessary.” – Ice Cube

Chris Garrett at Performancing writes today about “blogging for hire,” meaning a new corporate job description, or maybe a consulting gig, as a company blogger. Think Microsoft’s Robert Scoble, but at firms of all sizes and across all industries.

In fact, Chris inspired this post title when he mentioned Hugh Macleod “pimping wine and bespoke suits.” Chris isn’t being derogatory at all, but if you’re offended, blame him. :)

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The Structure of Persuasive Copy

Copywriting 101

We’ve seen that the purpose of each element of copy is designed to get the first sentence read, and from there keep the reader engaged step by step to the conclusion.

We know to keep things clear, concise and simple so that our writing communicates with ease.

And we definitely understand the make-or-break importance of an attention-grabbing headline.

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How to Write Headlines That Work

Copywriting 101

Your headline is the first, and perhaps only, impression you make on a prospective reader. Without a headline or post title that turns a browser into a reader, the rest of your words may as well not even exist.

But a headline can do more than simply grab attention. A great headline can also communicate a full message to its intended audience, and it absolutely must lure the reader into your body text.

At its essence, a compelling headline must promise some kind of benefit or reward for the reader, in trade for the valuable time it takes to read more.

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