Clickbait or Damn Good Headline?

When I review applications from students in our Certified Content Marketer training program, I get to read some great content. And giving feedback on headlines to make them more powerful is one of my favorite parts of the process, because no one will ever know how good your content is if your headline doesn’t show why it’s worth someone’s time. The problem is: specific, benefit-driven, intriguing headlines can be mistakenly associated with clickbait — headlines designed to trick someone into clicking on an article, podcast episode, or video. Conscientious content marketers want to avoid that stigma. But too often that leaves us with vague headlines that don’t attract the right people and don’t show that you have the exact solutions they need. I have a remedy for this predicament. In fact, it’s a simple truth: If your content delivers on your headline’s promise, it’s not clickbait. Period. Persuasive headlines started […]

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15 Marks of Exceptional Writing that Gets Noticed

One of my favorite writing exercises requires very little original writing. Want to know what it is? Find 3 pieces of writing that you love. For each piece, list 5 qualities that make it stand out to you. Then, brainstorm 5 ways to adapt those qualities to your own writing style. You’ll end up with 15 potential ways to improve your craft. This week, we also had 15 marks of exceptional writing to incorporate into your writing practice. On Monday, Brian Clark gave us Ernest Hemingway’s Top 5 Tips for Writing Well. On Tuesday, I dissected 3 Reasons Why Good Ideas Are a Real Threat to Good Writing. And on Wednesday, Sonia Simone outlined A 7-Point Plan for More Shareable Content. Sonia’s guide reminds us that finding an audience for your outstanding writing is a process, and … We know making a living as a writer isn’t easy Finding new […]

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Compare Apples to Oranges (In This Case, It’s the Smartest Thing to Do)

We’re having dessert before dinner this week — and it’s a healthy bite too: apples and oranges. While my post on Monday and Kelton’s post on Tuesday share the power of persuasive writing and how to put it to work for both your business and your clients’ businesses, we have an extra special nugget of wisdom in Sonia’s post on Wednesday: Remember, you can compare apples to oranges in persuasive writing. Don’t compare the cost of your $39 online course to other online courses — compare it with a $499 in-person seminar that delivers the same results. It’s common to over-think when we’re looking to stand out. Instead, try Sonia’s apples-to-oranges tip to discover the “no-brainer” reasoning that will help someone say “yes” to your offer faster. Talk with you next week! — Stefanie FlaxmanEditor-in-Chief, Copyblogger Media Catch up on this week’s content 3 Resources for When You’re Ready to […]

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3 Resources for When You’re Ready to Take Control of Your Writing Career

The struggle when I started my freelance writing service business looked like this: I was fascinated with crafting words that accurately conveyed a message. I knew that offering basic content writing services for businesses — filling up pages with words — would not pay high rates. And I completely understood why filling up pages with words was not valued. Nothing is worse than paying for a service that doesn’t produce results. When writers charge low fees for content writing that doesn’t persuade prospects to take action, two dangerous things happen: It’s difficult to support yourself through your writing services. Your clients don’t make new sales. If a client thinks that the money they paid you was a waste because they didn’t make it back in sales, they’ll view you as interchangeable with any other writer — and there’s probably someone else who charges even less than you for a comparable […]

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3 Resources to Help You Take Control of Your Writing Career

The struggle when I started my freelance writing service business looked like this: I was fascinated with crafting words that accurately conveyed a message. I knew that offering basic content writing services for businesses — filling up pages with words — would not pay high rates. And I completely understood why filling up pages with words was not valued. Nothing is worse than paying for a service that doesn’t produce results. When writers charge low fees for content writing that doesn’t persuade prospects to take action, two dangerous things happen: It’s difficult to support yourself through your writing services. Your clients don’t make new sales. If a client thinks that the money they paid you was a waste because they didn’t make it back in sales, they’ll view you as interchangeable with any other writer — and there’s probably someone else who charges even less than you for a comparable […]

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Writing Advice: Trick or Treat?

Happy Halloween! I have two tricks — or two treats — for you, depending on how you look at it: Realize your creative potential. Schedule the right amount of time to do excellent work. It’s that simple, and it’s that hard — and it’s about finding a specific type of balance that’s critical when building a portfolio. Professional writers learn the essential techniques that have helped grow their mentors’ careers, but they also find their own way forward by developing the habits and methods that work best for them. Progress Guide: Try This When you read Tuesday’s post, you’ll find that legendary copywriter Eugene Schwartz said, “Learning the craft and doing the research are the hard work.” Writing can be the impossible work. If you’re looking to write more consistently: Stop asking questions and start writing. (More about this in Monday’s post.) Commit to writing five days a week, even […]

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This Common Belief Could Be Blocking Your Creative Potential

A woman once brought her two Pomeranians to a barbecue I attended. I had never met her before, but after overhearing her give the dogs commands in Norwegian, Italian, and English, we started talking (in English). Another guest quickly joined the conversation as well. Hamburger in hand, the other barbecue-goer explained why he’s always had trouble learning a language other than English. “I want there to be a word-for-word translation and get stuck because it doesn’t work like that,” he said. I resonated with that experience and thought about where that outlook might pop up in other aspects of life and business: There’s a reasonable question virtually everyone asks when they want to start a new creative project. We all know I like questions, but if you dedicate too much time to this one, it can be more harmful than helpful. “What’s the best way?” You’ve likely asked yourself that […]

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What Profitable Digital Businesses Hope You Won’t Discover

How often do you feel stuck when trying to grow your business? Since we’re creative people, we like to come up with all sorts of creative excuses reasons for why we just aren’t getting any momentum. But there’s only one true reason: You’re stuck when you’re not selling. The ability to sell is the single factor that separates successful digital businesses from those that struggle. And some of the most effective salespeople you will ever meet — the folks who sell a million dollars a year or more — would never strike you as “salesy.” That’s because the killer skills for sales professionals are listening and empathy. So if you’re interested in making listening and empathy work for your business, we have a new 4-week live training you’ll want to check out today … Live Training Mastery:How to Sell More with Webinars, Workshops, and Live Training Events It kicks off […]

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15 Copy Editing Tips that Transform Your Content into Persuasive and Shareable Works of Art

What’s special about the compelling content you retweet, Like, bookmark, and email to your friends? Those articles serve the audience, not the content creator. Creative work that instantly captivates and holds an audience’s attention influences their lives. So, you have to remember that transcribing the thoughts in your mind won’t always serve a purpose. You must craft the right instructions and help a reader optimize a part of their daily life through the topic you share. Here’s how you get there: Strengthening your ability to create content that spreads includes improving your editing skills. Editors transform basic text into powerful stories (in all media) that persuade people to take action. Once you’ve written a draft, review these 15 copy editing tips that help turn your articles, landing pages, webinar content, podcast episodes, and videos into shareable works of art. 1. Walk away Realistically assess your post’s urgency. Unless you have […]

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Why Writers Don’t Seem Hireable (and How to Get Hired)

This week, we uncovered an uncomfortable truth for many introverted writers: Great writing does not equal a great writing career. If you have your own business, you need to learn how to sell. Yes, the “s” word. But it doesn’t have to be some foreign activity that makes you feel like someone else. In fact, being yourself with the right presentation is the winning combination. A prospect needs to know more about you — and what it’s like doing business with you — before they’ll feel comfortable taking the next step. So, what more can you do to reveal those special qualities about your product or service? We have a free event next week that’ll help you out with that. Teach Your Way to Success:How Live Training Events CanIncrease Your Sales in 30 Days Wednesday, October 23, 2019 at 2:30 PM Eastern Time During our session together, you’ll learn: How […]

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It’s Time to Start the Critical Activity You Can No Longer Afford to Postpone

I’ve always been stubborn. So, it wasn’t out-of-character for me to stand my ground when everyone I knew was quite skeptical about my career ambitions. “How are you going to be a writer?” “What have you written?” “Who is going to listen to you?” I’ve heard it all, and I really didn’t care in the beginning. But a couple of years after pronouncing myself a “freelance writer and editor,” things started to get a bit scary. I wasn’t getting the long-term work and challenging projects that I hoped would grow my business. Every time I ran into a former colleague who had given up on writing and currently had a completely different job, it got a little scarier. “Writing? I don’t do that anymore. Not for work. You don’t make a living writing.” Maybe everyone else was right. Maybe I was ridiculous to think I could become a full-time writer […]

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In a World, Where Your Marketing Is Too Intelligent to Ignore …

You have the opportunity to help your ideal prospects with the problems they struggle with or the desires they’d like fulfilled. Progress Guide: Try This Prepare a new 7-to-10-step tutorial for your audience. Craft each step into a stand-alone piece of content. Use the sequence to create an email autoresponder or enhance your existing one. Once you have this new series, you can repurpose it into other types of content as well, such as podcast episodes or videos. Ready to go deeper? On Monday, Sonia Simone outlined The Betty Crocker Secret to Email Marketing that People Want. She expands on the value of creating the type of tutorial series I mentioned in this week’s Progress Guide. If selling makes you feel uncomfortable, you’ll like this approach. You start by “selling” your terrific, free email autoresponder. It will build trust and rapport so that down the line you can fully explain […]

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5 Content Optimization Mistakes You’ll Wish You Fixed Sooner

So, what happens when someone clicks through to your website? Do you persuade them to stay and find out more about you through the experience you immediately provide? Or, do visitors see information that looks just like the other sites in your niche? Those are enough questions for now. 🙂 But as you think about your answers, take a look at these five common optimization mistakes that keep prospects from connecting with your content. Each section includes guidance on how to fix the mistake. Mistake #1: Your visitors can’t tell if your content’s right for them A row of four new houses that all look basically the same were recently built on the street where I live. When a real estate agent starts taking potential buyers on tours of the houses, do you know what’s going to happen? The potential buyers are going to examine the properties and make judgments […]

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8 Elements that Make Your Next Piece of Content Even Better than Your Last

Moving on to your next piece of content — regardless of how your last one performed — is the mark of the diligent marketer. We have to keep producing, but we also want to improve and learn more about what our audiences want. Each new piece of content we create is a new opportunity to do just that. On Monday, I outlined 2 Key Factors that Distinguish Satisfying Content from Forgettable Ideas. This is a mini tutorial for polishing your content into a powerful package that gets your reader, listener, or viewer to share and subscribe, rather than hesitate and move on. On Tuesday, Brian Clark kept things rolling with 5 Easy Ways to Open Your Blog Post with a Bang. In a split second you need to show why choosing your content is the best decision a reader can make in that moment. You can mix and match the […]

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2 Key Factors that Distinguish Satisfying Content from Forgettable Ideas

Have you ever read a blog post, listened to a podcast episode, or watched a video and thought: “I kind of get what this person is saying — and I think I agree — but it’s difficult to follow their main points. The content feels incomplete.” When content consumers have reactions like that, it delays them from sharing your content and subscribing to get more — ultimately increasing the chances that the content will be forgettable. Conversely, when your content resonates with your target audience, your platform becomes a resource those individuals will remember and return to. If you want your reader, listener, or viewer to share and subscribe, rather than hesitate and move on, incorporate the following two elements into your content creation process: Structure Intrigue Below, I’ll cover what they are, why they complement each other, and how you can put both of them to work in your […]

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The Troubled Truth about a Certain Type of Storytelling

We all love to make predictions about the future, don’t we? Whether we think the outcome will be “good” or “bad,” we’ve got an opinion about how things will turn out … oftentimes before anything is even in motion, which means that we’re oftentimes wrong. For content creators, these are the stories we tell ourselves before we even start writing a new blog post series, recording a podcast idea, or building an online course. They’re the hopeful stories we tell that lead to initial excitement, and then sometimes disappointment. They’re the limiting stories we tell to protect ourselves from the heartbreak of failure. And they’re the stories we tell that keep us stuck. Creativity, business, life: It’s all messy, and the paths that actually lead to breakthroughs don’t appear until you take the first steps into uncertainty. In other words, you have to start with an initial plan — and […]

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What You Need, When You Need It: Vital Digital Marketing and Sales Training

Copyblogger has always been a place that encourages creativity. We want to help people have creative careers and do meaningful work every day. It’s perfectly reasonable to want to have a job where you get to be creative. But in order to make creativity a part of your job — and not just make art for the sake of making art — you need to learn to be strategic. And that’s what we merge in our courses: the freedom to be creative, with the digital marketing and sales training that helps you build an audience that builds your business. So, if you haven’t already seen the limited-time deal we have going on right now with our Best of the Best of Copyblogger Sale, check it out by clicking this button: Start Your Copyblogger Premium Education Today I’ve outlined some of the good stuff below, as well. This week on the […]

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Update Your Focus to Work Hard on the Right Things

Last week, I affirmed that “hard work is luck.” However, what if you work hard and aren’t seeing any progress or results? What if hard work just leads to you feeling disappointed and ready to give up? Before you actually do give up, it’s helpful to take a look at the activities that consume your time and attention. Why do some people who work hard succeed, and some don’t? I think those who “work hard and succeed” are open to a variety of pathways that will help them reach their goals. They are flexible and don’t have a fixed mindset about the work they should be doing or a rigid definition of success. In other words, those who “work hard but don’t succeed” might work hard on the wrong things and ignore other versions of success within reach. It’s not the most exciting truth, but we have to crawl before […]

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How Serious Writers Expand Their Audiences with Guest Blog Posts

Note: While we encourage you to explore guest posting to grow your audience, Copyblogger does not currently accept guest post submissions. But don’t worry, these pointers are useful for any publication. In my first edition of the Copyblogger Weekly, I mentioned a running joke Sonia Simone and I have: that she rejected the first guest post I submitted to Copyblogger. (If you’re not already subscribed to the Weekly, sign up here to get a short note from me straight to your inbox every Thursday.) Today, I’m going to share that story to shed some light on the delicate nature of writer-editor relationships. Let’s take it back to 2008 … When I began developing my personal guest posting strategy, Copyblogger sat atop my “Where I Want to Guest Post” list. Five years later, I achieved my goal. So, how did I spend the time between May 2008 and May 2013, when […]

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Join the Copyblogger Renaissance to Pursue the Career You’re Meant to Have

If you told me 10 years ago that one day I’d be taking over writing Copyblogger’s weekly newsletter from Sonia Simone, I’d have said: “In what fantasy world? I don’t know her, and she didn’t review the guest post I submitted.” (True story.) But I believe four simple words: Hard work is luck. Long story short, Sonia and I did eventually connect and have had a great working relationship for the past five years. I’m honored she passed the baton keyboard to me and I now get to talk with you every week, in addition to the other posts I write on the blog. This week, we took Monday off to observe Labor Day in the United States. On Tuesday, Brian Clark talked about why he’s returned to Copyblogger. He shared behind-the-scenes stories about the company and what we have in store going forward. For even more details, check out […]

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