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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How to Turn Vanilla Writing into Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Ice Cream

Let’s talk about vanilla ice cream. If you’re like most people, you find vanilla ice cream quite inoffensive. You neither love nor hate it — i.e., it doesn’t inspire strong feelings in you. And if you’re eating vanilla ice cream, it’s unlikely you’re raving about it to anyone. Now I want you to think about Ben and Jerry’s Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough ice cream. I bet that ice cream inspires strong feelings in you! I bet if you had a big bowl of that in front of you, there’d be a huge smile on your face and you’d want to tell anyone who’d listen how good it is. What’s this got to do with writing? Well, many of us have perfected the art of writing “vanilla ice cream.” Vanilla writing is both technically sound and inoffensive. Vanilla writing “does the job” in the absence of anything better. And the truth […]

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If Vegan Donuts Are Commonplace, Offer Vegan Cinnamon Rolls

If it’s not one thing, it’s another. A limited number of choices might make us feel like we have to settle for what’s available. But more often these days, our predicament is that making a decision can be quite time-consuming. Typing a phrase or question into a search engine presents us with a number of options, and we want to perform enough research to feel confident that we’re making the best choice — whether we’re looking for an organic nail salon or trying new vegan baked goods. When donuts just won’t do Unlike Sonia’s search for the perfect gluten-free cupcakes, I have a number of go-to places for excellent vegan donuts that all hit the spot when my sweet tooth needs to be satisfied. However, for my birthday this year, donuts seemed a bit boring. I could get them anytime and I wanted something special — something I’d never tried […]

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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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Craft Better Headlines with These 3 Simple Questions

Writers are communicators. If you’re proud of your ideas, you want to be able to communicate them clearly and precisely. And headlines are your first opportunity to present your message to the audience you want to reach. The language you use should appeal to those people and make them want to find out more. A guide to finding the right words Once you’ve written a draft of your headline and article (or you’ve recorded a podcast episode or video), use the questions below to ensure your headline is the most effective it can be: Who will benefit from this content? How do I help them? What makes this content special? The answers to these questions most likely won’t produce the exact headline you’ll use. Rather, they’ll help shape your headline draft into a persuasive message that reaches and connects with the people you want to attract to your content. To […]

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A New Free Resource and an Empathetic Approach to Copy

Coming out of the intensity of our annual Certification launch, the Copyblogger team this week has been all about refocusing and turning our attention to interesting new projects. On Monday, Stefanie Flaxman started our week with a restorative session on yoga and content marketing. And yes, there’s more to her advice than stay flexible. Pick it up for a serene look at what matters most for content creators: The Friendly Way to Adapt Your Content Like a Flexible Yoga Instructor. On Tuesday, Jerod Morris swung by to make us all feel old remind us how long Copyblogger has been publishing, and how much the online world has evolved in that time. Jerod recently led an effort to pull together a nifty new free resource — The Copyblogger Guide to the Best WordPress Tools: Hosting, Themes, Plugins, SEO, Security, and More. If you’ve got WordPress questions, we’ve got recommendations. And on […]

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Using Empathy and Connection to Craft More Powerful Content

I recently heard our friend Joanna Wiebe say something that blew my mind. I didn’t get it down word for word, but this is the gist: “It’s a copywriter’s job to be really, really good at listening, and then make it all sound good.” That’s very aligned with what Copyblogger has taught for years. No matter what kind of writing you do, empathy is what allows you to create powerful messages that move your audience. Whether you fall more to the content marketing or the copywriting side, deep understanding and empathy is the foundation that lets you move — and help — your audience. A personal voice We often say that content needs personality. It needs a strong, distinctive voice, or it just gets lost in the sea of mediocrity and mush. But can that strong, distinctive voice drown out the voice of the audience? Is it possible to put […]

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Copyblogger’s Guide to the Best WordPress Tools and Plugins

Brian Clark launched Copyblogger in 2006. That’s a long time ago, let alone in internet years. In online time, it might as well have been before he was born. Remember, the first iPhone wasn’t released until 2007. A lot has changed since then, and Copyblogger has been right here in the trenches the entire time, providing trusted advice about words that work for digital marketing and sales to millions of people. But you might actually be surprised at how much has stayed the same. Fads come and go. Tactics change. Voices appear, then fade away. But there are a few fundamental mindsets, strategies, and tools that have served as a throughline to get us from 2006 to today. One of those tools is WordPress. Today, the internet’s most popular content management system has an entire ecosystem built around it. You just have to choose the best options for your needs. […]

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Adapt Your Content Like a Flexible Yoga Instructor

Restorative yoga is a gentle, passive practice that promotes relaxation in the body. The other day at the start of my weekly restorative yoga class, our instructor asked us which areas of the body we’d like to focus on that day. A few other regular students shouted out, “Shoulders! … Lower back! … Psoas!” However, I stayed quiet because I started writing this article in my head. Class that day wasn’t going to be restorative for me because I viewed my yoga instructor as a content marketer and her students as her audience members. While she likely already had a series of poses in mind to teach that day, she asked her audience for feedback that would shape her lesson plan. Tailoring the asanas to her students’ needs would help ensure that they were satisfied and happy that they came to her class. But did the requests from her students […]

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Practical Success Advice for Creative Professionals

There’s a bizarre myth in our culture that we have to choose between making a living and being creative. That creativity is somehow the enemy of a good livelihood. That, of course, is crazy talk, particularly in the world of content creators. This week, we offered thoughts on nurturing your creativity and boosting your career. On Monday, Stefanie Flaxman explored Why Writers Need Editors to produce great content. Not simply proofreaders (although it’s lovely to read work that demonstrates mastery of the comma … or maybe even the semicolon), but editors who shape superior content experiences. Most of us aren’t lucky enough to be able to hire this out, but have no fear: Stefanie will show you how to engage your inner editor to produce more compelling work. On Tuesday, Copyblogger’s Data Analyst Loryn Cole sported a brand-new last name and a dandy post on the importance of occasionally breaking […]

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Doors to Copyblogger’s Content Marketer Certification Close Today

Just wanted to make sure everyone knows that today is the last day to join us inside the Copyblogger Certification program! We’ll be closing to new enrollment at 5:00 p.m Pacific U.S. Time, and this is your last opportunity this year to join our list of recommended writers. The last time I had a “normal job” was in 2008. Maybe you remember that year. There was a spectacular market crash in October, followed by a prolonged, painful buckling of the global economy. Lots of hyperventilation and money stress going on, pretty much all over the world. The company I was working for was going through round after round of layoffs. I had a three-year-old, and I was the primary breadwinner in my house. That’s the kind of stress that wakes you up every morning at 4:00 a.m. feeling like you can hardly breathe. I had a decision to make: Should […]

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How to Reconnect to What Really Matters

For the past several months, I’ve thought a lot about routines. How do we build a good routine? How do we make it stick? In my research and reflection, I’ve learned that the best routines are based on our values, things we find meaningful. I’ve also discovered that cues from the physical world can be powerful tools to help us stay on track. And I’ve worked to act on my own advice. I’ve built a morning routine I love, I try to walk more, I make time for my hobbies, I protect the habits that help me focus. I’ve also realized there’s another key ingredient to having a good routine. To have a good routine, sometimes you have to break it. Why you need both scheduled and unscheduled breaks If you’ve read anything about productivity lately, you’ll know that breaks are important. Breaks help boost your creativity, your energy, your […]

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Why Content Marketers Need Editors

I’m good at math. If you looked at my standardized test results from when I was back in school, you’d see I scored very high in math and very low in verbal. And yet, today I’m a professional writer and editor. It’s a mad, mad, mad, mad world. Sort of. Your content needs to quickly communicate what your audience wants and needs, so my natural abilities are actually the perfect fit for content marketing. Turning a “weakness” into a strength Most of my English tests in high school weren’t adorned with those coveted “A” grades because timed exams to test reading comprehension didn’t fit my reading style. I read text passages slowly, studied each word carefully, and analyzed how the writer could have presented his or her message more clearly. It’s no surprise I’d run out of time before I finished every question. (It’s okay, 16-year-old Stefanie. The future looks […]

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Get Copyblogger to Tell the World Just How Great You Are

Hey, writers! Whether you’re a freelancer, an employee, or you write content to support your business, you might find it beneficial to have Copyblogger publicly declare: “This person has a terrific writing voice and rock-solid grasp of content strategy.” If that sounds good to you, go check out our Certified Content Marketers program before we close enrollment next week. (If you’re a member of our Authority community, make sure you log in to get your substantial member discount.) Now then, on to the week’s content … On Monday, Stefanie Flaxman gave some practical advice on how to impress and score your next freelance writing client. And she talks about why setting expectations can be a surprisingly magical secret to strong client relationships. (This post uses freelancing for the specifics, but this advice works for bosses and employees, too!) On Tuesday, Kelton Reid offered us a wealth of ideas on how […]

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Copyblogger Certification Is Open to New Writers (Limited Time)

Heads up: We just opened the doors to enrollment in our Copyblogger Certification program. If you’re a writer with a terrific writing voice and the desire to learn rock-solid strategy, we’d love to see you there. 🙂 If we had you at Hello, you can jump in here: Learn more about joining Copyblogger’s Certified Content Marketer program (And if you’re in our Authority community, make sure you’re logged in so you can get your substantial member discount.) Certification is our program that lets the world know about excellent content marketers. It’s designed to help you turn your back on the soul-sucking moments when it feels like you’ll never get a solid handle on finding great clients. And maybe even turn your back on self-doubt and impostor syndrome that can creep up on the best of us. We don’t do a ton of videos or webinars to promote this program, mainly […]

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3 Simple Models for Building an Audience with Storytelling

We’re surrounded and enmeshed by stories 24-7. In our multiplying news notifications, podcasts, email inboxes, and blog comments. At coffee shops, water coolers, boardrooms, bars, Netflix binges, and asleep. Stories influence every facet of modern life, and in our attention and automation driven economy, they’re more important than ever when you want to reach an audience. Luckily, humans are evolutionarily hardwired for story. Since the birth of language, storytelling has been central to our progress. For thousands of years, before the birth of writing, stories passed down time-tested wisdom from generation to generation in songs and epic poems. “Stories are central to humanity, for they gave form to human imagination, which is the first requisite for progress.” – Byron Reese, The Fourth Age: Smart Robots, Conscious Computers, and the Future of Humanity Without a story, it’s almost impossible to spark imagination. Stories train our brains to envision solutions to our […]

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How to Impress and Score Your Next Freelance Writing Client

I have an affinity for service businesses. I love when people: But I don’t love when these driven individuals make a certain mistake that invites unnecessary frustrations into their workdays and weakens their reputations. “Sure! I can do that!” I understand that it’s exciting when a work offer sounds good. So, when a potential client proposes a project to Joe Service Business, he’ll immediately respond with, “Sure! I can do that!” (or another phrase with a similar sentiment) before he finds out everything he needs to know about the project. For example, more information about the project may reveal that he’s not the best person for the job or it’s not actually an assignment he’d like to work on. When you respond to an inquiry and move ahead with a project too quickly, you operate under the assumption that you’ll figure out the details later, as issues arise. But your […]

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