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, […]

Read more

Become a More Confident Writer with This 10-Minute Hack

Are you producing the volume and quality of work that you want to? Do you feel confident about your work every day? And are you certain that your content resonates deeply with the audience you want to attract? Most of us have days when we don’t feel 100 percent good about one (or all) of those questions. What if I told you there was a 10-minute hack that could: Radically improve your productivity, Shrink impostor syndrome, and Make your content more magnetic to the audience you want to attract? Would you want to know more about it? If this sounds kind of ShamWow, I sympathize. But there’s a simple, easy mindset intervention that’s well supported by psychological studies. And it’s well worth a few minutes of your time to find out if it will work for you. According to one scholarly review of the research: “Timely affirmations have been shown […]

Read more

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 […]

Read more

3 Types of Action that Stir Up the Desire to Keep Reading Your Article

Think back to the last time you were at an event where speakers gave presentations. Typically, some sessions fly by and others quickly make you think: “Now’s a good time to go to the bathroom and get a snack.” While a number of factors cause those two scenarios, a common reason for the Bathroom-Snack train of thought is that the speaker didn’t make their presentation audience-focused. The words they chose to lead with may have been relevant and informative, but they didn’t stir up the desire to keep listening. Content is also a presentation. And how you shape that presentation determines whether someone wants to learn from you … or from someone else. “Action” in our content introductions can take a variety of forms, but they all stir up the desire to keep reading. Let’s look at three of these “Action Types.” Action Type #1: An unusual point of view […]

Read more

Writing Nuts and Bolts: Fast Starts, Mindful Tools, and Remarkably Improved Habits

This week, we had a nuts-and-bolts focus on getting more of the right things done in your writing and business life. On Monday, Stefanie Flaxman reminded us of the soul-crushing boredom that arises in our poor readers when we force them to wade through endless paragraphs before we get to the good stuff in our writing. There is a better way! Stefanie walks you through how to get a faster start: In Search of Better Introductions On Tuesday, Loryn Cole talked about how we can approach digital tools in a more mindful way, and really think about their purpose in our lives. How Wrenches Changed the Way I Think about Digital Tools And on Wednesday, I announced our new book club selection for November — James Clear’s Atomic Habits. We hope you’ll join in the conversation and start working on the habits that will serve your goals and create a […]

Read more

In Search of Better Introductions

Pause. I couldn’t watch another minute of the movie. It was a 10-hour flight, though, so I had to find something else to do … Fidgeted in my seat a bit. Let out a loud sigh to see if it would get my boyfriend’s attention. Nope. He was heavily involved in watching Tomb Raider (2018) and eating our last airplane meal with a spork. We were on our way home from two weeks in Japan, and my writer instincts must have then sensed I’d be back to work soon. Because I had this idea next, related to a classic writing tip: Go back to the movie you were watching and see if you paused it at 20-minutes in. The 20-minutes-in theory Since I’m not the first, and I won’t be the last, fickle airplane movie watcher, I returned to In Search of Fellini and had two options on my screen: […]

Read more

5 Ways to Implement Business Casual Communications

When I first entered the workforce upon graduation from university, my Wall Street job meant that I wear a suit and tie with polished shoes every day. But gradually, over the several decades since, dress codes for men and women began to relax, first with casual Friday and later with casual every day. I’ve noticed a similar trend in communications over roughly the same time period. Thanks to social media, many people and organizations have gradually adopted a more casual approach to business communications. I think this is an important development. Related posts: 5 Ways to Implement Business Casual Communications Move Over, 'Business Casual.' There's Another Kid on the Block: 'Startup Casual.' 3 Ways to Scale and Grow Your Blog Business Faster 4 Easy Ways to Get Publicity for Your Business How to Implement a Customer Referral Program That Drives Sales Rapidly Growing Business? Here Are 13 Ways to Stay […]

Read more

5 Ways to Implement Business Casual Communications

When I first entered the workforce upon graduation from university, my Wall Street job meant that I wear a suit and tie with polished shoes every day. But gradually, over the several decades since, dress codes for men and women began to relax, first with casual Friday and later with casual every day. I’ve noticed a similar trend in communications over roughly the same time period. Thanks to social media, many people and organizations have gradually adopted a more casual approach to business communications. I think this is an important development. Related posts: 5 Ways to Implement Business Casual Communications Move Over, 'Business Casual.' There's Another Kid on the Block: 'Startup Casual.' 3 Ways to Scale and Grow Your Blog Business Faster 4 Easy Ways to Get Publicity for Your Business How to Implement a Customer Referral Program That Drives Sales Rapidly Growing Business? Here Are 13 Ways to Stay […]

Read more

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 […]

Read more

How Entrepreneurs and Executives Can Develop a Writing Habit — and Why They Should

An executive with the ability to communicate clearly through the written world can reap many benefits. October 12, 2018 5 min read Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. Writing is often seen as a creative task outside the realm of executives. After all, no executive has never been praised for her writing skills. While there have been a number of high-profile executives who have published bestselling books — Sheryl Sandberg being the best example — they are more the exception than the rule. Related: 12 Most Common Writing Mistakes You Want to Avoid at All Costs This is an unfortunate reality because we live in a content-driven world where more than 3 million blog posts are published every day. An executive with the ability to communicate clearly through the written world can reap many benefits, including more press interviews, speaking opportunities and strategic partnerships. Executives, however, often lack the […]

Read more

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 […]

Read more

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 […]

Read more

The 7 Things Writers Need to Make a Living

If you’re a writer, you might have heard this most of your life: People don’t make a living writing. You should find something practical to do with your life. Smart, capable writers grimly pass around war stories on Facebook. Penny-a-word assignments, clients who don’t pay, disdain for our craft, and disrespect for our profession. And yet, look around at this digital world so many of us spend our lives in. It’s made of words. The technology to produce digital content exists because we create words worth sharing. Text, video, audio — it all needs great writing if it’s going to be worth spending our time on. If writing is your profession and your passion, you can accept crap assignments for crap money and crap treatment. Or, you can choose something better. Because there is something better. In the time I’ve been writing professionally, I’ve noticed some necessary traits, abilities, and […]

Read more

Creative Systems for Content Success

We all have checklists on the mind lately, gearing up for the release of the small but mighty Content Confidence Checklist (look for it in the next week or so). It’s got us thinking about processes and lists to improve our creative output. On Monday, Stefanie Flaxman gave us the Meticulous Blogger’s 12-Step Publishing Checklist, taking you behind the scenes so you can replicate the publishing processes we use here at Copyblogger. Whether it’s just you or you have a team, processes make it so much easier to produce high-quality content consistently. On Tuesday, Kelton Reid looked at productivity and process advice from three famous writers. There are dozens of fascinating little gems in there, any one of which you could benefit from adopting as a new habit. And on Wednesday, we republished a classic Copyblogger article on how to write an About Page (see the post for why we […]

Read more

3 Famous Writers on Process and Productivity

There is something both tragicomic and cathartic about trying to assume the dispositions of incredibly successful and prolific authors when you’re staring at a blank page. But what better way to procrastinate than to live vicariously through the habits and productivity secrets of renowned writers of yore. A brief tour of the scribe Hall of Fame might recalibrate the hemispheres of your brain. Just don’t get distracted by all that noise over there on social media. I encourage you to print any of these to post over your desk. I’ve got a whole stack clipped together that I flip through when I’m bored. After all, great writers steal. Ernest Hemingway, 1899 – 1961 Heavyweight journo, literary lion, bearded tough guy, proto standing desk advocate, and prolific legend. I had the pleasure of interviewing journalist Sarah Stodola, author of Process: The Writing Lives of Great Authors, on The Writer Files podcast. […]

Read more

How To Write A Free Ebook To Grow Your Business

Free ebooks with no registration required are one of the most effective forms of new marketing. When done well, an ebook helps to solve problems and therefore buyers appreciate the content, branding the writer as someone worth doing business with. And because they have tremendous perceived value, people tend to pass ebooks on via social media and email to friends and colleagues. And perhaps best of all, ebooks lead to sales! Related posts: Free Ebook Generates Millions of Dollars in New Business Transform Your Business Website Using Our Free ‘Design 101’ Ebook Create a Waterfall of Downloads for Your Ebook 4 Over-Hyped Tactics That Don’t Grow Your Business but Do Waste Your Time Really, Truly, Actually Free Content How To Write an Effective Blog Post Is SPI Better Than Business School? 9 Lessons One Reader Used to Grow His Business Matt Risinger Shows How a YouTube Channel Helped Grow Business […]

Read more

How Successful Marketing Writers Plan Their Content

I never realized just how important it was to connect content with business goals until I had a particular conversation with a client. The client, excited to get started on blog content together, had a running list of topics for me to cover. But then something strange happened. When I asked for background information on their content objectives (like potential CTAs, a list of targeted SEO keywords, etc.), I got this response: “We don’t really have that stuff yet. We’re just kind of ‘winging it’ for now.” For me, this was a major red flag. This statement meant I’d need to pump the brakes and help the client get a few preliminary goals in place before I could dive into any project work. The reason: Without them, we’d both be spinning our wheels and wasting each other’s time. What happens when you don’t set business goals for content? Too many […]

Read more

How ‘Serious Games’ Can Unlock Your Success as a Writer

This week, we dug deep into getting serious as professional writers — and how sometimes, the key to doing that is turning more of your professional habits into games. One of the most common problems writers face is difficulty coming up with ideas. But on Monday, Stefanie Flaxman explored why “good ideas” don’t always produce great writing … or happy writers. She also narrowed down how to develop your ideas into thoughtful work that truly serves your audience. On Tuesday, Kelton Reid outlined five things that only serious writers do — informed by interviews and advice from more than a dozen highly successful professional writers. You can take this post as a blueprint for building your own seriously effective writing habits. And on Wednesday, I flipped the script slightly and asked our team about the professional games they play as writers. When something is boring or difficult, you can grit […]

Read more

17 Copy-and-Paste Blog Post Templates

Got writer’s block? Look no further! Start writing today with one of these 25 copy-and-paste blog templates for your writerly convenience. Now UPDATED with new blog templates! Pat Flynn July 23, 2018 Get your notepad ready because today on the blog you’ll be treated to 25 copy-and-paste blog templates you can use on your blog right now. Originally, when this blog post was first published in February of 2012 (a looooong time ago in blog years), Kim Roach from Buzzblogger.com was kind enough to share with us her 17 ideas for blog posts. In this new-and-updated version, I’ve added 8 of my own ideas that have worked for me over the years. So now you have 25 helpful blog post templates at your fingertips! If you’re an online business owner or entrepreneur, you should probably have a blog. If you don’t, this post will give you a strong start to […]

Read more

Become a Writing Champion by Turning the Hard Stuff into a Game

Over in our Killers and Poets Facebook group, we’ve been talking about a quote from my friend Susan Garrett. Susan is a multiple worldwide champion in the sport of dog agility. She’s also a brilliant animal trainer and runs an incredibly successful business. Different versions of this quote have inspired many of her friends and customers: “Champions in any field make a habit of taking things that other people find boring or uncomfortable and turning them into a game for themselves.”– Susan Garrett It’s a riff on another quote about getting tough and doing what others don’t want to do. Which is great and all, but most of us … don’t really feel like doing boring or uncomfortable stuff. But figuring out a game that we want to play every day? That sounds like a lot more fun. This week, I asked our writing team about the elements of their […]

Read more
1 2 3 4