The #1 Secret to Writing Great Copy Is . . .

Copywriting 101

Using words that work with the people you’re trying to persuade.

Don’t reinvent the wheel. Study and draw inspiration from great copy that works.

I’m not talking about copy that you personally think is great. It’s a mistake to judge advertising like regular people do – as entertainment. Madison Avenue has a great gig producing short entertainment pieces called commercials that often don’t sell much of anything.

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The Social Media Killer App

This blog is all about marketing with words in a social media context. From the interactions with our readers, to the ways in which ideas spread and promotion is performed, we are communicating with prospects and gaining attention in ways that are alien to most veterans of one-way, pay-to-play marketing media.

I get the feeling, though, that even the proponents of business blogging and other forms of social marketing still see it as an “us” and “them” situation. Meaning, a relatively small group actually blog, tag, share, etc, and the vast majority just discover and consume, with maybe the occasional comment. That’s certainly the case now, and the mentality is a throw back to the mainstream media.

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The RSS Imperative

There’s been a huge amount of discussion about America Online and Yahoo’s plans to start using a system that gives preferential treatment to email messages from companies that pay for delivery. As is typical, there are arguments both for and against the idea of “email postage.”

Some of the arguments “against” may be missing the point.

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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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