Tag Archive | "Copyblogger"

Thanksgiving Week (and a Great Sale) on Copyblogger

It’s Thanksgiving week in the U.S.! My creative output this week will be mainly culinary — I’ve got three kinds of pie to bake tomorrow, plus all of the other fun things we’ll have on the table. So this week is a short one for you. On Monday, the editorial team got together to talk
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Strongly Worded Advice Week on Copyblogger

This is a week of strong opinions on Copyblogger — designed to make you more productive, wiser, saner, and maybe even happier. We want you to do amazing things, so we’re not pulling any punches. On Monday, Stefanie Flaxman encouraged us to get a handle on our information overwhelm, starting with getting smarter about the
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Grow with Us This Week on Copyblogger

This week, we have three posts to help you grow in various ways — creatively, financially, grammatically. On Monday, Jerod Morris let us know that Digital Commerce Academy is now open for new students! This is the resource you need if you want to get a digital business off the ground — or make faster
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6 Writing and Productivity Rituals from the Copyblogger Creative Team

I’ve said for a long time … writers are magicians. We make something out of nothing. We take syllables and turn them into dreams, sights, sounds. Calls to action and detailed plans for shenanigans. And as every magician knows, if you want to perform magic … you have to know a thing or two about
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Your Summer Reading List from the Copyblogger Editorial Team

Editorial Roundtable

I don’t believe in a “writing gene.”

Writing comes more easily to some folks, for sure. But those aren’t always the people who end up writing really well.

Writing is a skill that requires plenty of practice. But practice is always more effective when you’re working on the right things.

That’s when it’s time to seek out some good advice.

This week, we asked Copyblogger’s editorial team to share some of their favorite writing books. There’s a mix here — some books are about the art of writing, some about craft, and some about strategy.

Any of them will help you put your words together in more powerful ways.

Here are the recommendations, in each writer’s own words:

Brian Clark

Fun Fact: I’ve never read a “normal” writing book, only copywriting and screenwriting books. So:

Advertising Secrets of the Written Word, Joe Sugarman

I have a lot of copywriting books and courses, and if I were starting out from square one today, I’d start here. Joe Sugarman is a direct marketing legend, and he does a great job of getting basic copywriting concepts across in an enjoyable way. So if you’re brand new to copywriting, this is where to go.

Editor’s note: This edition of Sugarman’s book is out of print, but was reissued as The Adweek Copywriting Handbook.

Breakthrough Advertising, Eugene Schwartz

For the advanced, here’s the money book, courtesy of the late, great Gene Schwartz. When you’re ready to take it to the next level, this is what just about any highly successful copywriter will tell you is the Holy Grail of deep psychological insights that lead to breakthrough marketing campaigns.

Stefanie Flaxman

The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing: Violate Them at Your Own Risk!, Al Ries and Jack Trout

It’s a quick read, but every time you pick it up as you progress on your marketing journey, something new clicks into place or it sparks new ideas for a project you’re working on.

And I’m going rogue on my second submission ”</p

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Writers: Doors Are Open for the Copyblogger Certification Program (through Monday, June 12)

"Apply to join Copyblogger's list of recommended writers." – Sonia Simone, Chief Content Officer

You may have noticed that we’ve been talking up our Certified Content Marketer program lately. We’ve already had some amazing folks join us and get started … but we still have room for you.

Click here to get all of the details.

Here’s the two-minute run-down:

Who it’s for

Strong writers who want to make more money and find better clients.

What it will do for you

  • Teach you solid content strategy, so you can get better results for your clients
  • Give you tools to improve your professionalism with clients, so you look better and do a better job
  • Get featured (if your application passes review) on Copyblogger’s list of recommended writers

What you should do next

Go check out the program details. We have no plans to open the program again in 2017, so if you want in, don’t wait. We’ll close the doors on Monday, June 12 so we can keep our focus on delivering an excellent experience to our students.

If you really want to join us but you worry it might not be what you need — don’t stress. We offer a 30-day money-back guarantee — no questions, no hassles. If you get into the program and realize it’s not a good fit, just let us know in those first 30 days and we’ll part as friends.

Click this link for all of the program details — and I’ll look forward to seeing you there. :)

P.S.

If you’re a member of our Authority community, make sure you’re signed in when you click the link — as an Authority member, you get special pricing. :)

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It’s ‘We Love the Writer’ Week on Copyblogger

It's 'We Love the Writer' Week on Copyblogger

Actually every week is “We love the writer” week on Copyblogger. :) But this one is special, because we’re about to open up the Certified Content Marketer program to a new group of students.

This is a program that turns talented writers into well-paid talented writers. The key pieces are a content marketing strategy course (Brian Clark and I teach that one together), ongoing education to make sure you stay on top of best practices, and — for those who pass the application process — inclusion on our page of recommended writers and content strategists.

If you’re a writer and you’d like more clients, better rates, and a stronger competitive position, the Certification program just might be perfect for you. You can drop your email address here and we’ll get you all the details very shortly.

On Tuesday, Jerod Morris talked about why smart writers think about writing copy and not just text. (This applies even for those who don’t think of themselves as copywriters.)

On Wednesday, Stefanie Flaxman continued the conversation with the factors that helped her during her own six-year freelance career as she moved from earnest but broke to confident and successful (and still earnest).

And on Thursday, I revealed the two most important reasons why really good writers don’t get paid what they’re worth — and how to start addressing both of them.

Over on the Copyblogger FM podcast, I talked about a problem I see a lot in freelancers, but also in all kinds of smart people who want to start businesses: the fear of selling. I talk about what selling actually is (instead of the creepy myths) and how we can put together a sales process that doesn’t make us feel gross.

That’s it for this week — have a great weekend, and we’ll see you Monday. :)

— Sonia Simone

Chief Content Officer, Rainmaker Digital


Catch up on this week’s content


learn how to write words that work and teach people what they need to know to do business with youYour Content Marketing Won’t Work Without This

by Jerod Morris


this skill enables your professional life as a well-paid writerThe Career-Expanding Discovery Many Profitable Writers Have Made

by Stefanie Flaxman


it’s a particularly good time to join our list of recommended writersWriters: Here’s Why You Aren’t Getting More Great Clients

by Sonia Simone


Getting Over the Fear of SellingGetting Over the Fear of Selling

by Sonia Simone


How Award-Winning Author & Educator K.M. Weiland Writes: Part OneHow Award-Winning Author & Educator K.M. Weiland Writes: Part One

by Kelton Reid


Emerging Online Marketing Trends for 2017Emerging Online Marketing Trends for 2017

by Sean Jackson & Jessica Frick


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A Big Week at Copyblogger

A Big Week at Copyblogger

Ever been frustrated with putting a site together and wished someone could just do the whole thing for you? With custom graphics, copy, marketing automation, and even content strategy — all using Copyblogger principles?

Very soon, we’re going to be able to make that happen.

Our big news this week is that we’ve entered into a relationship with a new partner that will allow us to offer you an extensive range of done-for-you services in the very near future.

There’s plenty to talk about, including a significant price increase coming for new Rainmaker customers (but not for you if you’re already a customer or start your free trial shortly), so get all the details over on Brian Clark’s Thursday announcement.

On Monday, the editorial team revealed some of their “pet peeves” around content and writing. It’s always fun to gripe a little, but I also thought it would be interesting to explore what those peeves said about our values, as individuals and as a company.

On Tuesday, Beth Hayden let us know how she came to love writing sales pages — with three critical points we need to look at in our own efforts.

And on Wednesday, Brian let us know about an elegantly simple way to create excitement and dramatic tension in your content. This is one of those techniques that creates a massive impact with a modest effort, so do go check it out.

Over on the podcast, I talked with Tara Gentile about her new community for digital business owners. She had some interesting thoughts on where she thinks digital business is going, and some of the challenges and rewards of building online communities.

— Sonia Simone

Chief Content Officer, Rainmaker Digital


Catch up on this week’s content


no one can nurse a good peeve like a group of writersPet Peeves from the Copyblogger Editorial Team, and What they Reveal

by Sonia Simone


 the better you are at addressing your prospect’s concerns, doubts, and objections, the more sales you’ll bring in3 Tips on High-Conversion Copy from a Sales Page Specialist

by Beth Hayden


Pulp Fiction expertly uses a common writing technique that grabs attention right from the beginning, and magnetically holds itThe ‘Pulp Fiction’ Technique for Engaging and Persuasive Content

by Brian Clark


Last Chance to Get the Rainmaker Platform at the Current PricingLast Chance to Get the Rainmaker Platform at the Current Pricing

by Brian Clark


Should Online Entrepreneurs Write a Book?Should Online Entrepreneurs Write a Book?

by Sean Jackson & Jessica Frick


Talking Community and Digital Business with Tara GentileTalking Community and Digital Business with Tara Gentile

by Sonia Simone


How Bestselling Fantasy & Sci-Fi Author Catherynne M. Valente Writes: Part TwoHow Bestselling Fantasy & Sci-Fi Author Catherynne M. Valente Writes: Part Two

by Kelton Reid


How to Immediately Become a More Productive (and Better) PodcasterHow to Immediately Become a More Productive (and Better) Podcaster

by Jerod Morris & Jon Nastor


The Biggest Mistakes Online Entrepreneurs Make and How to Fix ThemThe Biggest Mistakes Online Entrepreneurs Make and How to Fix Them

by Sean Jackson & Jessica Frick


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Pet Peeves from the Copyblogger Editorial Team, and What they Reveal

"No one can nurse a good peeve quite like a group of writers." – Sonia Simone

We’ve written quite a bit lately about identifying core values in your content.

Creating content around a positive value like integrity, fairness, humility, or faith will attract an audience that shares those values — and that fosters a powerful sense of unity.

But our friend negativity bias tells us that the flip side of that will probably be more compelling. In other words, talking about the things that bug you will build an even faster bond with your audience.

For today’s post, I asked our editorial team to let us know their peeves — the things that irritate, bother, and annoy them.

I’m going to try to tease those out and figure out the values behind them — and see what that might say about who we are as a company and a community.

So let’s get peevy.

Stefanie Flaxman’s peeve

Stefanie is our editor-in-chief, and as you’d expect, she has a healthy list of grammar and usage peeves.

But an editor is much more than a proofreader. It’s one thing to misplace a comma — it’s another to come at a post in a fundamentally flawed way. Here’s Stefanie’s peeve:

Hype/extremes/absolutes: Writing voices that are heavy on absolutes tend to simultaneously lack substance and speak to the reader as if they know what’s best for them … which isn’t a combination that builds credibility.

For example, earnestly referring to any flesh-and-blood human being as a “guru” is typically too vague or a sign of hype. If the person is an expert, top scholar, or highly respected professional, use those labels instead — they’re more specific.

What it reveals

Putting this post together reminded me that an Allergy to Hype has always been at the core of Copyblogger’s message. Since Brian founded the blog in 2008, Copyblogger has always stood in contrast to the hype-slingers who substitute flash for value. We believe that substance matters.

Robert Bruce’s peeve

Ten-dollar words: This is an old one, but a good one, and for good reason. Most writers have moderate-to-severe mental problems. I am, obviously, no psychologist, but the attempt to unnecessarily project one’s “intelligence” through the use of big words — when plain words can do the job — seems to be clear evidence of this.

What it reveals

Besides the obvious fact that Robert wins a lifetime “get off my lawn” achievement award, I think this shows how passionate we are about Quality. Quality of information, quality of business practices, quality of writing.

Loryn Thompson’s peeve

You’ve only seen Loryn on the blog once (so far), but she’s crucial to our editorial success. She’s the data analyst who looks at the numbers behind what we’re writing, and helps us to get our message out more effectively.

Here’s Loryn’s peeve:

Using “over” with numbers (instead of “more than”) : As Rainmaker Digital’s data analyst, this one comes up for me a lot. Every time I catch myself writing “over 5%…” in a report, I go back and change it to “more than.” 

 

Now, the Associated Press said in 2014 that both “over” and “more than” are acceptable to use with numeric comparisons — as in, “There were over two hundred people at the event.” But you know what? It still bugs the crap out of me. 

In my mind, “over” mixes the abstract world with the physical realm. For example, if you were to say, “We flew over 6,000 miles …” you could be saying that you flew more than 6,000 miles. Or, you might mean that you were literally above the earth for 6,000 miles.

What it reveals

I picked this one precisely because the team doesn’t agree on it. Some of us are “more than” folks (me, Loryn) and some aren’t. Stefanie tries to remain agnostic.

While it can be fun to give in to that eye twitch when someone makes a style choice we don’t like, I think it’s smart to keep some perspective. There are usually good arguments to be made for different usage choices, so I’ll go with Diversity as a value for this one.

My take is that it’s more important to be thoughtful about your choices than it is to be didactic. Although alot is never going to be a word and you can’t make it one.

Twitch, twitch.

Jerod Morris’s peeve

Jerod’s a person with a strong moral compass, and I was interested to see his peeves. Here’s the one I chose from his:

Misspellings of names: It’s especially bad when the name is a common one that’s misspelled in an obvious way. But any name misspelling shows a lack of basic respect for the subject you’re writing about. It’s not really grammar, but it still makes me cringe. Find out for sure.

What it reveals

Misspelling a name in content is a classic example in failure of what Jerod calls Primility (the intersection between pride and humility). It’s both sloppy (lack of pride) and disrespectful (lack of humility). I think it’s fair to say that Primility is a core value for Jerod, and that’s probably one of the reasons he’s been such a great asset to our company.

We are, make no mistake, proud of the work we do at Copyblogger. We love producing the blog, and we try hard to make it excellent. But we know that humility’s important, too. We’re under no illusion that this blog is perfect, and we try to challenge each other to always make it more relevant, more useful, and more interesting.

Sonia Simone’s peeve

You may feel like you already know more than you need to about my peeves. For today, I revisited a favorite:

Boring content: This one just makes me sad … seeing site after site after site that utterly fails to stand out in any way.

When I see a site with a genuine, passionate voice — even if there are a few usage errors — I may cringe a little, but mostly I cheer. I’d much rather see a site with plenty of G.A.S. than a grammatically perfect one that has no soul.

What it reveals

Individuality is absolutely a core value at Copyblogger. We’ve never endorsed the paint-by-numbers approach to marketing and online business … partly because that would be very boring, and mostly because it just doesn’t work.

And then there’s the Oxford comma

If you aren’t familiar with the Oxford comma (also known as the serial comma), it’s that final comma in a collection of items in a sentence.

Here’s a visually amusing example of the same sentence with and without one.

I like the Oxford comma because it’s always clear. Jerod gets downright fierce about his support. That renegade Loryn, though, has come to prefer dropping it.

“I used to be a staunch Oxford Comma advocate, but now I prefer the way short lists flow without it.” – That Renegade Loryn

Either is correct, but do be consistent. (Although the late Bill Walsh, noted Washington Post usage stickler, advises that if a serial comma is important for clarity, go ahead and put one in there, even if it’s not your usual style.)

A note about peeves and unity

I mentioned when we started that talking about the negatives will build a connection with your audience more quickly — and it will. But keep in mind that a steady diet of negativity will give almost anyone indigestion.

Don’t shy away from talking about the good stuff, too. An honest values system includes both positive and negative points of view.

How about you?

What sets your teeth on edge when you see it in a blog post or hear it in a podcast? What do you think that says about you and your values?

Let us know in the comments!

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Tough Love Week on Copyblogger

Tough Love Week on Copyblogger

I got an email from my team last week saying, “Seth Godin just wrote a post about an interesting new program he’s doing. Should we try to get him on the podcast?”

The answer to that question is always Hell, yes. It’s always great to talk with Seth, and he shared a little bit about his interesting new seminar, and a lot about his thoughts on communicating to create meaningful change. I got a lot of value out of the conversation, and I think you will, too. His seminar is also well worth checking out, but you have to do that by Friday.

This week on the blog was all about seizing responsibility and making your professional life better.

My conversation with Seth sparked some thoughts that I explored in Monday’s post — about how we can quit putting up with not-so-great clients and attract more of the wonderful ones instead.

On Tuesday, Robert Bruce told us to shut up. In a nice way. A mostly nice way.

And on Wednesday, Stefanie reminded us that the world does not actually revolve around us, no matter how it may seem. She gave some solid advice for how to get over an obstacle that keeps a lot of web-based writers from reaching their goals.

The Showrunner published their 100th episode this week! They celebrated by answering your questions about podcasting. Never let it be said that Jonny and Jerod do not know how to party.

Enjoy all the straight talk … and let us know what you do with it!

— Sonia Simone

Chief Content Officer, Rainmaker Digital


Catch up on this week’s content


it isn’t just ability that makes a writer successful — it’s also wise positioning5 Elements that Build a Roster of Terrific Clients

by Sonia Simone


shut up and listenHow to Become a Great Copywriter

by Robert Bruce


In order to work, pre-internet writers had to follow a publication’s editorial standardsMaster This Writing Practice to Find More Loyal Readers

by Stefanie Flaxman


How to Recruit the Best Talent for Your Online BusinessHow to Recruit the Best Talent for Your Online Business

by Sean Jackson & Jessica Frick


Seth Godin and How to Create ChangeSeth Godin and How to Create Change

by Sonia Simone


How Senior BuzzFeed Writer and Author of ‘Startup’ Doree Shafrir Writes: Part TwoHow Senior BuzzFeed Writer and Author of ‘Startup’ Doree Shafrir Writes: Part Two

by Kelton Reid


We Answer Your Questions (and Celebrate 100 Episodes)We Answer Your Questions (and Celebrate 100 Episodes)

by Jerod Morris & Jon Nastor


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