The Decline and Fall of The Great Gate

Image of Victorian Hang Glider

For as long as many generations could remember, The Great Gate stood in the center of The Great City.

It was an ominous and magnificent structure, one that the people looked to for a constant supply of wonder, enlightenment, and joy.

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Does Your Copy Pass the “Forehead Slap” Test?

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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How Paying for Postage Made me a Better Marketer

image of postage stamps

I have a confession. I’m a direct mail guy.

I’ve been responsible for over a billion pieces of mail. And when I say “mail,” I mean those paper things that come to your physical mailbox. (Good thing I didn’t have to lick the stamps.)

I’ve learned a ton from the online marketers I’ve been hanging around with the last few years. Your expertise in harnessing technology amazes me, and the speed with which you execute astounds me.

But as we all know — especially in the Copyblogger community — good great copy and creative raises all boats.

And anyone who claims to be “crushing it” online could, well, “crush it even more” if they paid as much attention to their copy as they do to the technology.

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What to Do If Your Great Content Isn’t Getting Found

Another well-hidden Menehune statue on the grounds of Disney's Aulani resort in Ko Olina, Hawaii.

Hang out around this place for more than ten minutes and we’ll hit you over the head, telling you to create some high-quality content.

And by “high-quality,” we mean the good stuff. Not spun, fluffed, scraped, or otherwise mass produced for pennies a word.

Something people want to read. (Or listen to, or watch.)

So if you create that kind of content (or hire someone to create it for you), you’re set, right?

When I quoted Robert Rose saying, “Great content wins. End of story,” did I mean that great content promotes itself? That if the content is good enough, content fairies fly down and magically transport it to the eyes of an adoring audience?

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How to Make Your Content a Star

the sun

Think about how many stars exist in the universe.

It’s hard to wrap your head around. Astronomers estimate there are 170 billion galaxies in the parts of the universe we can see, which extends 13.8 billion light-years in every direction.

If you multiply the number of stars in just our own galaxy by 170 billion, you get a septillion stars (that’s a 1 followed by twenty-four zeros). Of course, the true number may actually be infinite, given that the universe is much larger than we can observe and could simply go on forever.

The vast majority of those stars are completely irrelevant to us, because we can’t even see them. On a moonless night, you can spy maybe 9,000 stars with the naked eye, and a good pair of binoculars might get you to 200,000.

That alone is a lot of stars. And they are mostly too far away to have any direct impact on us.

But one star is different.

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The Astronaut, the Rock Star, and Your Content Strategy

Chris Hadfield juggling tomatoes

20 million views … and counting.

I remember the first time I saw it. Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield, then commander of the International Space station, had taken his guitar into space. He posted a simple but powerful video of himself performing David Bowie’s classic “Space Oddity” — in space.

As far as I’m concerned, this pretty well cemented his position as coolest dude there has ever been. I mean, Canadian plus astronaut plus Bowie? That’s the trifecta of cool right there.

(Plus he juggles. In space.)

Like a lot of people, I assumed that Hadfield had an amazing innate understanding of what worked and didn’t work as content. He had been posting neat and interesting content to the web for months —- great tweets and YouTube videos on funny, everyday aspects of life in space.

They were memorable, they were highly shareable, and they paved the way for that 20-million view bombshell.

So imagine how surprised I was when I read Hadfield’s biography — and found out that when he was getting started, he was actually sort of an idiot about content.

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