How to Stop Making Yourself Crazy
with Self-Editing

stressed out man

Write. Edit. Write. Edit. Edit. Edit. Edit. Write.

Does this sound familiar? If it doesn’t then you’re probably from Mars, because most of us drive ourselves crazy with self-editing when we write.

And it’s not only when writing.

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Finding Your Village of Customers

Godin calls it a tribe. Kevin Kelly calls them your 1000 True Fans. Hugh MacLeod calls it a global microbrand.

Everywhere you look, you might notice a new kind of flexible, smart small business. They serve a relatively small number of people. Big businesses drool over their profit margins and adaptability. Their customers are knocked out by what they do and how they do it.

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5 Grammar Mistakes that Make You
Sound Like a Chimp

laptop chimp

Writing can be really no-win. It’s not fair, but it’s true.

If you obsess over every grammatical and structural point, you can come across as stiff. But if you’re lax and make a bunch of simple errors, you’ll come across as stupid.

You make one mistake and a lot of people will let it go. Two and you’re making them suspicious. Keep that up, with your intelligence taking hits at each turn, and your reader will decide that you’re actually a chimpanzee — and not one of the smart ones, either.

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Landing Page Makeover Clinic #19:

Landing Page Makeover

This is another addition to our ongoing series of tutorials and case studies on landing pages that work.

As the mom to three kids and the wife of a “brown-bagging” federal worker, I’ve bought (and replaced) more than my share of lunch boxes and bags. At the end of a typical school year, the bags that haven’t been lost are ripped, falling apart, and generally pretty disgusting. They, along with the detritus of my kids’ backpacks, get dumped into the trash at the start of every summer.

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5 Sure-Fire Sources for Headline Inspiration

fresh ideas sign

Some days headlines are a breeze to write. The perfect words flow from brain to page in a flash of brilliance.

But copywriting isn’t always that way, and some days you’re staring at that blank space where a killer headline should be, with no idea how to move forward.

It can be intimidating, frustrating, and a little bit humbling . . . and worst of all it can grind your projects to a halt.

It doesn’t have to be that way — as long as you have a few sources of headline inspiration at your disposal.

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The Dark Side of Authority

troll dolls

If you’ve seen our thoughts on authority, you know about the benefits of developing yourself as a credible authority online. Respect, trust, business success, traffic, links. All the good stuff we want.

But there’s a downside.

Whether your blog is large or small, you’ve dealt with these unpleasant creatures. The ones who, for whatever reason, get their enjoyment out of what they can knock down, rather than what they can build.

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Here’s Where Brian is Speaking in the Coming Months


I always forget to mention I’m speaking at a conference until sometime around the day before. To the extent some of you might want to know in advance (can’t imagine why), here’s where I’ll be speaking in the near future.

But first, I need your help getting one of those speaking gigs approved. Some really smart guys and I have applied to do a South by Southwest Interactive panel on brain science and psychological research as it applies to design and marketing (“neuromarketing”).

Check out the details here, and please vote for us so we get approved by the SXSW people. Thanks!

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How to Write With a Knife

woman with sword

Think it’s impossible to write with a knife?

Not at all. You might even say it’s essential.

Well, to be more precise, no one actually writes with a knife. But good writers do edit with one.

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Do Long Blog Posts Scare Away Readers?

long road

Some writers don’t seem to know when to shut up. They ramble and pontificate and theorize, seemingly oblivious to the agony it’s causing everyone else.

To avoid this awful fate, you probably try to keep your posts short, chopping up longer ideas into a series of posts. No need to scare away readers by dumping too much information on them all at once, right?

Makes sense, but what’s weird is it doesn’t work that way.

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Are Vampire Words Sucking the Life
Out of Your Writing?


Vampires are everywhere at the moment. At the movies (Twilight), on your TV (True Blood) … and in your copy.

It’s nothing new. E.B. White recognised the problem in his revision of Strunk’s Elements of Style:

“Rather, very, little, pretty – these are the leeches that infest the pond of prose, sucking the blood of words.”

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