Why You Shouldn’t Write for Other Writers

image of Hugh MacLeod cartoon: The world will always conspire to make you less than you are

There’s a scene in “Mad Men”, the TV drama about a 1960s advertising agency.

One of the junior copywriters is showing the Creative Director an ad he’s just written. The ad is clever, flowery, and poetic.

The Creative Director cuts the copywriter down in five short, stern words:

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17 Easy Steps to Brilliant Blog Posts

image of child's blocks forming stair steps

You know what I’ve discovered? Most of the people writing about blogging are experts. Funny thing, that.

These expert bloggers have been doing it for a while and they have thousands (if not tens or hundreds of thousands) of subscribers. The best give lots of free stuff away that’s actually worth reading, and we know we’re standing on the shoulders of giants when we follow their advice.

And all that’s good. Don’t get me wrong.

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The Two Vital Attributes of Quality Content

Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.

~ William Morris, poet and designer

Imagine the household you would have if you got rid of every item that was neither useful or beautiful.

Gone would be the plastic doodad with no known purpose, the ugly frame your great-aunt gave you, the Special Free Offer™ you never opened, the collection of someday-useful peanut butter jars . . .

Every room would be so much more pleasant to be in, and every tool so much easier to find.

What if you applied the same rule to the content you wrote? Every email, sales letter, blog post, and comment you wrote would have to be useful or beautiful. Or both.

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The Copyblogger Guide to
Zombie-Free Product Launches

image of thumb emerging from soil

These days, a lot of online product launches are like zombie attacks.

One day, everything is fine. The next day, there’s a legion of crazy people banging on your virtual doors and windows, wanting to feed on you.

Who the hell are these zombies and how did they get my address? Time to break out the shotgun, or in this case, the Delete All button.

And it gets worse. That group of friends you hang out with from time to time? Yeah . . . they’re zombies too.

“Wait dude, I thought we were cool . . . why are you . . . Gaaaaaaaaaaaaaah!”

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5 Dumb Design Mistakes That Crush Copy
(And How to Fix Them)

image of ugly toad with crown

Content is king, but if the king looks like a toad, no one will know he’s royalty.

On the one hand, your blog theme might be drop-dead gorgeous. But if your writing isn’t compelling, readers won’t stick around to read it.

Even worse, your writing might be fantastic . . . but if your design doesn’t stop web surfers long enough to read the first few sentences, you’re doomed.

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Johnny’s Copyblogger Wrap-Up:
Week of March 29, 2010

image of copyblogger logo

So this is the second week of the weekly wrap-up, and Brian seems to suspect that I might need encouragement to keep going or something. I tell him I don’t need encouragement as long as the pay is good, and that’s when he tells me for the last time he’s NOT paying me, and then throws rocks at me until I drop his wallet and scamper back into the bushes.

Really, the question is why these Saturday installments exist, and why I’m the guy writing them. And the answer is that like many of you, I have a short attention span. A weekly reminder gets me back on track, so maybe you might need . . . oh, look . . . shiny!

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