What is the Modern Day Medici Effect?

Medici Effect

At the beginning of 2008 I wrote a post called The Content Crossroads: Supernatural Success at the Intersection of Ideas. The point of the article is that innovative content often comes about when you connect two seemingly unrelated ideas or topics to come up with something fresh and new.

While there’s a lot going on in that post, a fundamental aspect of the piece involves what’s known as the Medici Effect, thanks to Frans Johansson’s excellent book of the same name. Poets, philosophers, scientists, architects, painters and sculptors from all over Europe and elsewhere came together in Florence, Italy, between the 13th and 17th centuries thanks to the patronage of the wealthy Medici family.

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How to Change the World
Using Social Media


The right message at the right time can start a movement that changes the world, in both big and small ways. And social media has the ability to spread that message and organize that movement in ways not possible in the recent past.

Of all the psychological triggers that lead to persuasive messages that spread, one stands above the rest when it comes to social media. In fact, this one element of influence drives the entire concept of social media.

What is it?

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Marketing Meltdown?
It’s Time to Optimize Your Efforts!

Landing Page Makeovers

Are we having fun yet?

I won’t bore you with the usual discussion about the grim state of today’s business economy. You’ve heard enough of it from politicians and pundits alike. But what I will tell you is that if you hope to survive, and yes, even thrive in dicey times you’ve got to play it smarter than ever before.

That means doing more of what makes you $$$ and less of what doesn’t.

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Image by Hugh.

10 Ways to Avoid Writing Insecurity

Writing Insecurity

Face it. There are few things as intimidating as the blinding white of a blank page.

It makes no difference if it’s an empty sheet lying on our desk, or a blank screen, aiming between our eyes. Defeating “nothing” by subjecting it to “something” with our words is what gives a writer breath.

Whether to pay our bills or please our muse, eventually words must spill. Here are ten tips to help plow past writing insecurity.

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The Ultimate Productivity Toolbox for Writers

Productivity for Writers

You know, a lot of writers and other creative folks don’t spend a lot of time chasing down the latest productivity tools and tips, and with good reason. Most of us are too busy actually writing and making stuff.

Go figure.

But there is an amazing selection of free or low cost applications out there that can help us create things better and faster. It’s just a matter of finding them.

Well, you’re in luck. The Ultimate Productivity Toolbox for Creative People assembles the best stuff all on one page. It’s the hard work of former Lifehacker contributor Tamar Weinberg, who joins Lateral Action today as Associate Editor.

Check it out now or bookmark it for future reference.

Do These 3 Common Copywriting Mistakes Keep Your Readers from Buying?

Talk to the Hand

Congratulations! You’ve built a great blog with high-quality content. You’re getting decent traffic, and your readers might even be using social media tools to recommend your stuff. Life should be good.

But no one’s buying. Or barely anyone, which is no fun.

So why isn’t that great content translating into more sales? Let’s look at three common copy mistakes that keep your readers from becoming customers, and how you can turn that around.

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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.

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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.

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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.”

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