Romance Your Customers with Some Seriously Practical Business and Marketing Advice

Happy Valentine’s Day! Or if you’re not a fan, Happy Fake Emotional Obligation Day! Whether you’re hunting down a table for two or have plans to binge on Russian Doll and cookie dough ice cream, we thought you might enjoy some business and marketing content to go with that. On Monday, Brian Clark talked about why the element of placebo informs so many of the stories we tell ourselves — including great marketing stories. On Tuesday, Jerod Morris shared ways to reduce the distractions that clutter up our thinking. (He has a tiny but potent hack for your phone that will probably take you about 15 seconds — I think it’s brilliant.) And on Wednesday, I looked at how smart writers can use content to guide their audiences through the buyer stages of awareness — all the way from casual acquaintance through to falling truly, madly, and deeply in love […]

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How to Use Content Marketing to Develop Your Audience’s Stages of Awareness

Last week, Austin wrote a post for us that quoted every copywriting geek’s favorite writer, Eugene Schwartz, and his classic insights on the five stages of buyer awareness. Schwartz observed that in order to sell with copy, we need to understand the stage of awareness of the people reading our advertisement. To recap, those stages are: Most Aware: Your prospect knows your product, and only needs to know “the deal.” Product-Aware: Your prospect knows what you sell, but isn’t sure it’s right for them. Solution-Aware: Your prospect knows the result she wants, but not that your product provides it. Problem-Aware: Your prospect senses he has a problem, but doesn’t know there’s a solution. Completely Unaware: The person has no knowledge of anything except, perhaps, their own identity or opinion. If Eugene Schwartz had been able to use the communication technology that powers today’s content marketing, he would have gotten even […]

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Why All Great Marketing Contains the Power of the Placebo Effect

Back in the 1950s, a bedridden man faced certain death from cancer of the lymph nodes. Tumors the size of oranges had invaded the man’s neck, groin, chest, and abdomen. The patient’s only hope was a new experimental cancer drug called Krebiozen. Three days after initial treatment, the man was out of bed and joking with nurses. As treatment continued, his tumors shrunk in half. Ten more days later, he was discharged from the hospital … the cancer was gone. Strangely enough, none of the other cancer patients treated with Krebiozen showed any improvement. Stranger still, a few years later it was conclusively determined that Krebiozen had no therapeutic value whatsoever. Welcome to the power of the placebo effect. The placebo effect, and the power of belief and experience A placebo is, by definition, a substance that doesn’t actually provide the promised benefit — it’s not real. The placebo effect, […]

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5 Things Successful Content Marketers Do to Make Sure Their Work Gets Read

There’s a lot of content created every day — and most of it gains almost no attention. In 2015, Moz and BuzzSumo looked at more than one million articles published on the web. They found that 75 percent of blog posts had no inbound links, and more than half had two or fewer Facebook interactions. “It may sound harsh but it seems most people are wasting their time either producing poor content or failing to amplify it.” – Content, Shares, and Links: Insights from Analyzing One Million Articles And the web publishing environment has only gotten more cluttered. Most content simply never reaches its target audience. 

It’s no wonder so many people believe that content marketing doesn’t work, even when we have significant evidence to the contrary. It doesn’t have to be this way. If you’ve taken the time to write a well-researched blog post that can educate your reader […]

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Boost Your Professional Skills with Cilantro, Selling, and Social Media

This week, we had a flavorful collection of tools, tips, and techniques that will enhance your skills as a professional writer and marketer. On Monday, Stefanie Flaxman made the point that writing templates are a little bit like cilantro — some folks love them, and others run shrieking from the room crying out, “Gaaaaahhhhhh!” You don’t need to run shrieking. But you will benefit from learning how to use writing templates to save time and give your work structure, without getting into cookie-cutter territory. On Tuesday, Nick Usborne wrote about some of the tough (and valuable) lessons a copywriter can learn from selling something of their own. When you understand the complexity and stress of having skin in the game, you become a lot more passionate about the details that make for great copy. And on Wednesday, Jerod Morris swung by to talk about the four key functions we perform […]

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How to Become a Better Copywriter by Selling Your Own Product

The first time I created and tried to sell a product of my own was way back in 1996. My plan was to sell subscriptions to an offline newsletter about small business marketing. Total disaster. I sold zero subscriptions. While the venture was a complete washout, it did give me renewed respect for my clients. It was the first time I had walked in their shoes. Not their shoes exactly, but close enough for me to feel some of their challenges, stresses, disappointments, and pain. To put that another way: before I tried selling something of my own, most of what I thought I knew about copywriting and marketing was from book learning. I had learned the craft of copywriting from books and various mentors, but I had no experience of what it felt like to have skin in the game. Nor did I really understand how everything fits together […]

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Master the Art of Copywriting for Less Than $11

Discover what it takes to craft copy that sells over the course of this seven-hour training. January 8, 2019 2 min read Disclosure: Our goal is to feature products and services that we think you’ll find interesting and useful. If you purchase them, Entrepreneur may get a small share of the revenue from the sale from our commerce partners. Need more subscribers? Some clicks? Maybe even a few sales? You’ll find your solution in the form of copywriting. Copywriting is defined as the act of writing text (i.e., copy) for use in marketing materials such as blogs, brochures, newsletters, and social media content. In simpler terms, it’s writing words that sell something, whether it be a brand, a product, a service, an idea, and/or a message. Good copywriting—say, Nike’s “Just Do It” slogan or Maybelline’s “Maybe she’s born with it” shtick—takes that one step further by building brand recognition and leaving […]

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Best of Copyblogger: 2018 Edition

Once you know what you’d like more of in your life, you have to make decisions that will allow more of that greatness to show up. And that exciting process is also going to present new challenges, which is why Sonia recently asked: “What are the ‘nice-to-have’ problems you’d like to have in 2019?” For me, creative challenges are high-quality problems because they enable me to grow as a writer. Evolving isn’t always easy, but the end result is a sense of pride no one can take away from you. Guiding you toward more satisfying work The annual Best of Copyblogger edition is a curated collection of our top educational resources for smarter digital marketing and sales from the past year. The aim of this collection is to arm you with the most helpful techniques and tactics that you can put to use in 2019. Maybe they’ll help reveal the […]

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Your Story vs Your Product

When I speak or write about successful marketing, I frequently use the word “stories” when I describe the content that people are eager to consume. With content creation, it’s important to think of stories rather than simple product pitches. People love to share stories! Product information? Not so much. Related posts: How to Tell a Brand Story Through Blog Content How to Leverage Your Brand’s Story to Drive Sales Validating a Product and the Story of SumoJerky with Noah Kagan – SPI TV, Ep. 38 My Company Realized We Had No Idea How to Explain Our Product. So We Learned to Tell a Story. How to Leverage Your Brand’s Story to Drive Sales Prospects Will Ignore You Reciting a List of Product Features but They Like a Good Story Conditionally Removing the Featured Product Image & Styling Gap from a WooCommerce Product Detail Page Physical Product Experiment [PPE #5] – […]

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12 Easy Tweaks that Could Lead to Outsized Improvement in Your Content and Writing

We often write about big, strategic changes you can make to give your writing more power. But this week, we went micro. The posts offered 12 simple hacks that can have an outsized impact compared with the effort involved. On Monday, Stefanie built on her post last week about writing strong introductions. This week, she proposed three ways you can stimulate your audience’s interest so they want to keep reading. Try them in your next three pieces of content and see how they can improve your engagement and readability. On Tuesday, Nick Usborne talked about five habits we can strengthen that make it easier to sit down every day and write well. They range from the very simple (don’t get too perfectionistic about your headline before the piece is written) to the profound (listen to that small voice in your head that says, this isn’t right yet). And on Wednesday, […]

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5 Practical Tips on the Craft of Copywriting

This post is about the practice of writing. It’s about developing habits that make it easier to sit down and write well. It’s about finding simple ways to make your writing a whole lot better … whether you’re writing a sales page, an email, a blog post, or a social media update. Tip #1: Write the first draft of every headline as a placeholder I’ve watched copywriters spend hours trying to write the perfect headline. Draft after draft after draft. They obsess over every word, believing they can’t move forward with the body text until the headline is perfect. But … the deadline is approaching … and their headline still isn’t done. Pressure, pressure, pressure! I take the opposite approach. I throw down a first draft of a headline and then dive into the body text. I don’t care how crappy the headline is, so long as it’s pointing more […]

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Last Day to Join Persuasive Copywriting, and a Punch in the Mouth for Facebook

Heads up: The introductory rate for our Persuasive Copywriting 101 Course is ending today, November 1, at 5:00 p.m. Pacific U.S. Time. After that, we’ll close the course for a few weeks — and when we re-open, the registration fee will be significantly higher. Click here to get all the details: Persuasive Copywriting 101 On Monday, Stefanie Flaxman had a conversation with Loryn Cole about smart communication practices when we work on complex projects. No matter how big or small a company you work for, Loryn’s ideas will help you get better clarity with your colleagues. (These are great tips for client communication, as well.) On Tuesday, content strategist Lacy Boggs joined us to outline the three big, important strategic questions we all need to answer when we’re thinking about what to do next with our content. And on Wednesday, Copyblogger founder Brian Clark dropped by to punch Facebook in […]

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The Great Facebook Video Swindle

Back in the day, only digital publishers and marketers knew to never trust Facebook. You know, like that one time when they encouraged us to build audiences on their platform, and then made us pay to promote our content to those very people? How silly of us not to see that obvious bait-and-switch coming. Actually, some of us did. But that was small potatoes compared to what was next. Ever ambitious, Facebook helped screw over way more people starting in 2016 — I mean like everyone. And put a major dent in democracy at the same time, just for grins. But even that wasn’t enough for the banner year of 2016. Facebook also decided to mislead media companies, marketers, and the general public all at once. Finally, the pinnacle of asshattery had been achieved. You’ve heard about this, right? Would Facebook lie to you? Beginning in 2016, the word out […]

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Communication, Creativity, and a Sweet Halloween Deal on Our New Copywriting Course

The big news for us this week is, of course, the new copywriting course. If you didn’t see the announcement yesterday, you can get all of the details here: Copyblogger’s First Dedicated Persuasive Copywriting Course. There’s a sweet deal (all treat, no tricks) for those who pick it up by the day after Halloween, November 1. On Monday, Stefanie Flaxman talked about how to dive in and tackle tricky communication challenges. She outlines three steps any of us can take when we find that we’re being misunderstood. On Tuesday, Kelton Reid shared some thoughts (and neuroscience) on how to protect and nurture our curiosity, as a wellspring for our creativity. And on Wednesday, I talked about the three essential elements of persuasive copywriting, and how good copywriting education (we’re partial to ours …) can help you learn to express those elements clearly and effectively. Over on the podcast network, on […]

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Join Copyblogger’s First-Ever Persuasive Copywriting Course

Last week, one of our very dear community members, Hashim Warren, said something I loved about our new persuasive copywriting course. “A copywriting course that’s positioned as a copywriting course???” Because, yeah, there are all kinds of classes and programs out there that are positioned as anything but the art of putting words together in a way that persuades your audience. There are “success” seminars and “launching” workshops and plenty of “money getting systems.” And they’re all (if they’re any good) … copywriting courses. When we arrange our words in order to persuade someone to take action, that’s copywriting. There ain’t no magic words Some resources will tell you that there are “hypnotic” terms that will do some kind of crazy magic on your buyers and “make” them buy from you. Yeah, no. Basically, good copywriting boils down to three things: Desire Relationship Safety What you’re selling has to be […]

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A Week of Sweet Copywriting Advice

It’s Carb Week on Copyblogger! This week, we have three sweet posts to share with you on how to write content and copy that serves your goals. We’re also getting ready to launch something that we’ve been asked about for years — Copyblogger’s first-ever copywriting course. If you’re interested in learning about persuasive copywriting, drop your details here, and we’ll let you know as soon as the course is ready for you! Ready to get started with persuasive copywriting? Copyblogger is delighted to announce a brand-new copywriting course, coming in October 2018…   On Monday, Stefanie Flaxman talked about what to do when just being good isn’t enough. Often, you need to discover a way to be different as well. If Vegan Donuts are Commonplace, Offer Vegan Cinnamon Rolls On Tuesday, Kelly Exeter swung by to talk about how to turn “vanilla ice cream” writing (pretty good) into “chocolate chip […]

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Persuade Your Audience to Take Action with Copywriting Clarity

Copywriting is the answer to: “How can I make money on the Internet?” That’s why there’s so much advice about it. Websites, communities, courses, masterminds. If you’ve built an audience, taught them a bunch of stuff, and maybe even attracted some loyal fans, but you still don’t have a business … it’s probably because you’re expecting content to do the work of copywriting. (And no, a greater volume of content does not compensate for a lack of strategic persuasive copy.) If you don’t have enough sign-ups for your email list, the answer is copy. If you don’t have enough sales for your ebook or course, the answer is copy. If you don’t have enough clients for your business, the answer is copy. If you don’t have enough volunteers for your nonprofit, or voters for your political cause, the answer is copy. And if you’ve been running ads but you still […]

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17 Tips on Creating Thoughtful Marketing Your Audience Will Love You For

Some people talk about “ethical marketing” and “effective marketing” like they’re two different things. But that’s just silly. This week’s content explored 17 different ways we can be more effective as marketing writers and show more care and love for our audiences. Every professional content writer knows that if the headline is weak, it’s hard to get your work the audience it deserves. On Monday, Stefanie Flaxman shared three questions we can ask to sharpen our headlines for better traffic and shares. On Tuesday, Nick Usborne joined us to examine four copywriting techniques that work brilliantly … right up to the moment when they don’t. Read the post to find out the wise ways to use these copywriting standbys. (Bonus question: What thread do you see that links all four? I have some thoughts, but I’d love to know yours. Let us know in the comments!) On Wednesday, I wrote […]

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Spark Your Next Breakthrough Copy Insight with Systematic Listening

I enjoyed Nick’s post yesterday about some copywriting techniques that work … until they don’t. And I’m glad he spoke to the danger in trying to blindly follow what we think of as copywriting “formulas” without putting the homework in. From the outside, writers can seem like magical creatures. (I encourage this belief.) Because we can create images, emotional states, and even money and freedom, seemingly out of nothing. But we don’t really conjure great copy and content like a Patronus from the tip of a magic wand. Effective writing comes from a very specific kind of homework. From empathetic listening. From spending time with the kinds of folks who make up our audience, and striving to see the world through their eyes. I don’t mind copywriting formulas at all. They’re wonderfully handy cheat-sheets, so we can remember to include important persuasive elements. But formulas are just the beginning. We […]

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4 Copywriting Tips that Work Really Well … Until They Don’t

Search on Google and you’ll find hundreds of thousands of pages devoted to copywriting secrets, tips, tricks, and techniques. Go through them all and you might get the impression anyone can become a great copywriter … just by using a few of these “killer techniques!” Like painting by numbers. But with words and phrases. Nice idea. But no. While these techniques can definitely help your copy, they don’t deliver the easy wins some people hope for … They won’t turn dirt into gold. In fact, there are times when you should either not use them at all or, if you do, use them with care. Let’s go through four of these techniques, one by one. Killer Technique #1: Close more sales by creating a sense of urgency Instilling a sense of urgency is helpful because people love to procrastinate, and generally wait as long as possible before making up their […]

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