Clean Up Your Sidebar!


Does your sidebar look like a cluttered closet that’s stuffed to the gills with distracting ads, images, and text?

Time to unpack your sidebar, look at everything you’ve put there, and consider whether or not it’s pulling its weight.

The result of your efforts? A sidebar that’s good for business.

This week on Hit Publish, host Pamela Wilson invited three Copyblogger experts to share their best advice on cleaning up your sidebar once and for all.

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The 10 Rules of Rough Drafts


Rough Draft host Demian Farnworth is about to destroy the lie that suggests your first draft must be perfect. The illusion that great copy is born in a single moment of white hot inspiration.

One of the most famous white-hot inspiration ambush stories in American literary history involves Jack Kerouac, Beat Generation pioneer.

As the legend has it, Kerouac wrote On the Road, a 293-page novel, in three coffee-fueled weeks on one long, flowing scroll.

Now, that is true. He did do that. But it’s not the full truth.

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5 Smart Content Strategies from a Stellar Marketer of Ideas

Quote from Neil deGrasse Tyson -- 'We should all build libraries of thought for ourselves, not knowing how we might use them in the future'

Marketers tend to get very caught up in thinking about how to persuade people to buy a product or service. Which makes sense … but it’s often jumping the gun.

Because it’s quite common (and perhaps increasingly so) that we have to market our ideas — and connect our beliefs with those of our audience — before we can do any business.

Which is why, for my money, one of the greatest content marketers working today is astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson.

You think your product or service is a hard sell? Try astrophysics. (So many science, so many math.)

Or even worse, scientific literacy. Challenging your own confirmation biases and saying good-bye to certainty. Yeah, that’s a door-buster.

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Does Audio Create Authority Faster Than Text?


Recent research shows that the human brain can detect confidence in your voice in 0.2 seconds — faster than the blink of an eye. And it’s confidence that influences the listener to give you attention and perceive authority.

It’s an interesting finding, especially with the mainstream emergence of podcasting. We’ve already discussed how audio is smart foundational content that can be repurposed into text, slides, and infographics. But perhaps audio is simply the smartest content of all, standing alone?

Not everyone writes with authority. But anyone can speak with authority, assuming you know your stuff and apply some basic tactics that let your confidence shine.

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5 Ways to Create the Perfect Ending that Your Content Deserves


The end of your article is one last final opportunity to catch and keep the attention of a reader. Don’t screw it up.

The sad thing is that the closing section of an article, sales letter, or an email is usually an afterthought. It’s something we writers rush to get to, and then we wipe our hands clean when we write that last word.

That’s unfortunate, because your closing is the one last opportunity you have to flag down a reader barreling through your article.

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6 Simple Rules for Writing Effective Dialogue


Why talk about dialogue in a podcast about online writing? Dialogue builds tension and allows you to show instead of tell. And so much more.

People love to read dialogue.

We gravitate to the words on the page that are surrounded by quotation marks — the speech marks — because we know that two humans are going to interact … and we’re drawn to the drama.

As Alice said in Alice in Wonderland, “What is the use of a book without pictures or conversations?”

The same holds true for online copy. We want our pictures. We want our conversations.

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