Tag Archive | "Craft"

Ask Yourself These 3 Simple Questions to Craft Better Headlines

answer these questions to write better headlines

Last week, when I wrote about how to become a writer, I forgot to mention something about why you’d want to be a writer.

Writers are communicators. If you’re proud of your ideas, you want to be able to communicate them clearly and precisely.

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.

To review the next headline you write from the perspective of an editor who is focused on audience engagement, here are three simple questions you can ask yourself.

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:

  1. Who will benefit from this content?
  2. How do I help them?
  3. 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 mold your headline draft into a persuasive message that reaches and connects with the people you want to attract to your content.

To keep the process of infusing your headline with meaning and fascination simple, I recommend answering each question in one to two sentences.

If you need to write more, recognize your opportunity to fine-tune your goal for the content before revisiting these headline questions.

Let’s look at the important information each question will help you cultivate and how the answers will transform your headline.

1. Who will benefit from this content?

As Brian wrote yesterday:

“The point is to bond strongly with someone rather than boring everyone.”

When you define your audience, you can review your headline to make sure you use language that intrigues those individuals.

For example, your target audience may be marine biologists who have a tendency to procrastinate.

If your headline only says, “10 Tips to Beat Procrastination,” you can look for ways to add words that will attract marine biologists. And you don’t have to explicitly announce, “Hey marine biologists who have a tendency to procrastinate, this content is for you!”

You could try:

10 Tips to Beat Procrastination Faster than a Black Marlin

(A black marlin is one of the fastest fish.)

2. How do I help them?

People don’t necessarily wake up in the morning excited to read content.

The promises that certain pieces of content make to expand people’s understanding or knowledge of a topic persuade them to read content throughout the day. The content may even change their lives.

Your tips might help marine biologists accomplish tasks faster, and if they can accomplish tasks faster, they’re less likely to put them off.

Here, you can add another benefit to the headline:

10 Time-saving Tips to Beat Procrastination Faster than a Black Marlin

3. What makes this content special?

You may now realize that while a lot of other articles focus on “beating procrastination,” your content is special because it shows how to simplify and organize your daily marine biology to-do list so that each task is manageable.

Now you’ll want to revise a few words from your original headline:

10 Time-saving Tips to Zip Through Your Work Day Faster than a Black Marlin

Custom-tailored headlines for your content

We started this exercise with the headline:

10 Tips to Beat Procrastination

The final result is:

10 Time-saving Tips to Zip Through Your Work Day Faster than a Black Marlin

If you’re a marine biologist with a tendency to procrastinate, which headline would you click on?

The post Ask Yourself These 3 Simple Questions to Craft Better Headlines appeared first on Copyblogger.


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How to Craft a Marketing Story that People Embrace and Share

how to create a memorable marketing story

You’re telling a story.

Whether you know it or not, or intend to or not … you absolutely are.

Everything you do to market your business is another paragraph, page, or chapter in the story people hear from you. And the story people hear is the one they act (or don’t act) on, and repeat (or don’t repeat) to others.

Now, it’s not necessarily fatal if you’re not aware you’re telling a story, and you’ll never completely control your story anyway. But purposeful storytelling is the mark of the great novelist, screenwriter, and playwright — and purposeful marketing stories are a sure sign of a great content marketer.

So why not tell your story on purpose? Here’s how.

1. Know your audience

The battle is won or lost, right here. Put me up against the greatest writer in the world, and if I understand the audience better, I will kick his or her ass every time when it comes to connection, engagement, and conversion.

What do you need to know? You need to know whom they admire, and what they aspire to, despise, fear, and cherish.

Instead of sitting around dreaming up content you guess people might react favorably to, you tell an educated story based on one or more archetypal individuals who represent the whole.

Understanding your audience at such an intimate level makes creating buyer personas important. It also helps you be a part of the market you’re speaking to, which results in a more authentic story and easier leadership of the community you form.

Research doesn’t sound sexy, but it’s the foundation of any smart marketing plan. The more time you spend understanding the people you’re talking to, the better story you’ll tell them.

2. Select your frame

When you know your audience well, what you’re really tuning in to is the way your people view the world. And when you understand the worldview your prospects share — the things they believe — you can frame your story in a way that resonates so strongly with them that you enjoy an “unfair” advantage over your competition.

Consider these competing worldviews, framed differently by simple word choice:

  • Fitness Enthusiast vs. Gym Rat
  • Progressive vs. Moonbat
  • Businessman vs. The Man

These are extreme examples, and you can cater to audience beliefs and worldviews without resorting to name-calling. For example, the simple word “green” can provoke visceral reactions at the far sides of the environmental worldview spectrum, while also prompting less-intense emotions in the vast middle.

Framing your story against a polar opposite, by definition, will make some love you and others ignore or even despise you. That’s not only okay, it’s necessary.

You’ll likely never convert those at the other end of the spectrum, but your core base will share your content and help you penetrate the vast group in the middle — and that’s where growth comes from.

3. Choose your premise

The premise is the way you choose to tell the story so that you get the conclusion you desire. It’s the delivery of the framed message with dramatic tension and one or more relatable heroes so that your goals are achieved.

  • It’s the hook, the angle, the purple cow.
  • It’s the difference between a good story and an ignored story.
  • It’s the clear path between attention and action.

It’s important to understand the difference between the beliefs or worldview of your audience (the frame) and the expression of that belief or worldview back to them.

Think about your favorite novel or film … the same information could have been transmitted another way, but just not as well. In fact, stories have been retold over and over throughout the ages — some are just better told than others.

The premise is essentially the difference between success and failure (or good and great) when it comes to copywriting and storytelling.

Content marketing as storytelling

“Marketing succeeds when enough people with similar worldviews come together in a way that allows marketers to reach them cost-effectively.” – Seth Godin

That’s exactly what content marketing allows you to do. In fact, it’s the most cost-effective (and just plain ol’ effective) online marketing method ever devised when done properly.

Even better, people aren’t just coming together. They’re coming together around you.

You’re telling a story.

Why not make it remarkable?

Discover a home for content marketers who tell remarkable stories

At Copyblogger, we’ve found that when you build your online presence slowly and carefully, you create a long-lasting asset — an audience of people who want to hear from you, who need your help, and who trust you implicitly.

That investment in your audience pays off in a long-term business that increases in value over time.

Authority is a home for people who create content that’s helpful, entertaining, and engaging in order to attract an audience to their products and services. It’s our flagship program that teaches you how to build your online authority the “Copyblogger way.”

This week, you can get the advanced training and support inside Authority for our previous low price of just $ 399/year.

Click the button below to get in now before the annual price goes up to $ 595 on September 16, 2016.

Join Authority

Editor’s note: The original version of this post was published on December 2, 2010.

The post How to Craft a Marketing Story that People Embrace and Share appeared first on Copyblogger.


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3 Articles that Will Help You Craft Smarter Landing Pages

Copyblogger Collection: show your prospects you have what they need

Chances are, it hasn’t been too long since you’ve had a miscommunication with someone — possibly a spouse, child, parent, or coworker.

You thought that person understood what you said, but he interpreted your message in a different way than you intended.

Miscommunications on landing pages occur when you think you’ve explicitly stated why a prospect should take action and that prospect isn’t convinced your call to action is the right step for him to take.

To avoid disappointing conversion rates on your landing pages, this week’s Copyblogger Collection is a series of three handpicked articles that show you:

  • How to create a deep connection with your prospects and customers
  • How 26 fun rhymes will help you focus on your landing page goal
  • How savvy marketers write landing page copy

As you work your way through the material below, think of these lessons as a mini landing page course.


How to Create a Deep Connection with Your Prospects and Customers

In How to Create a Deep Connection with Your Prospects and Customers, Sonia Simone says:

If you intend to sell something — to ask for someone’s hard-earned money and irreplaceable time — you must begin by seeing (and honoring) who they are.

You’ll learn three key components that will help you create a bond with your prospect and express that connection with clarity.


The ABCs of Landing Pages That Work [Infographic]

landing-pages-that-work

You know landing pages are an important part of your digital business — but you probably wish they were a little more fun, right?

Steven Lowe has granted your wish in The ABCs of Landing Pages That Work. The infographic he created with the help of designer Lauren Mancke provides a rhyming landing page tip for each letter of the alphabet.

Since you want your readers to act because your products and services assist them with something they lack, this infographic will keep you on track!


The Savvy Marketer’s Checklist for Seductive Landing Pages

landing-page-checklist

Finally, you can download and print the editable PDF we provide in The Savvy Marketer’s Checklist for Seductive Landing Pages.

Henneke created this landing page checklist to bring the best landing page advice together in one place.

She walks you through each step of the landing page creation process — from writing persuasive copy to editing effectively and designing for clarity.

Accelerate your landing page education

Use this post (and save it for future reference!) to accelerate your landing page education in a fun, easy, and manageable way that will help you build your digital business.

This is doable. These articles are for you.

We’ll see you back here on Monday with a fresh topic to kick off the week!

About the author

Stefanie Flaxman

Stefanie Flaxman is Copyblogger Media’s Editor-in-Chief. Don’t follow her on Twitter.

The post 3 Articles that Will Help You Craft Smarter Landing Pages appeared first on Copyblogger.


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Email Personalization: Craft forms with purpose

In this brief video from MarketingSherpa Email Summit 2014, see how to implement effective email sign-up forms to tailor personalized email content for your subscribers.
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How to Craft Compelling Copy

Image of MyCopyblogger Copywriting Marketing Icon

There’s no easy way to say this … online marketing can be hard.

It’s hard to get attention. It’s hard to get people to subscribe to your email newsletter. It’s even harder to earn the kind of trust that turns a reader into a paying customer.

You’re probably all too familiar with the frustration this situation breeds. You’ve probably felt the sting of your very best ideas being ignored … your email subscriber list stagnating … your products flopping.

You might try to comfort yourself with the notion that everyone is flailing online. But you’re smarter than that.

You see certain people and companies rise above the noise. Their ideas are getting heard — and shared. Their email newsletters are growing at ridiculous rates. And they never seem to have a problem creating a product that their audience loves.

What gives?

The difference boils down to this: The marriage of content that serves your audience and direct-response copywriting — the art of strategically delivering words (whether written or spoken) that get people to take some form of action.

Over the years successful online content marketers have harnessed the power of copywriting so people pay attention to their ideas and respond to their offers … and essentially do what they want.

Would you like to learn how to write compelling copy … and experience this type of success online?

Then here’s your chance.

Grab a free copy of our ebook Copywriting 101: How to Craft Compelling Copy to learn the basics of writing great copy that actually sells.

In addition, to answer the tons of other questions that online publishers like you ask, we’ve built a training resource called MyCopyblogger.

When you register (at no charge) you’ll get instant access to nearly 100,000 words of proven marketing training in fourteen high-impact ebooks, plus our completely revamped 20-part Internet marketing course.

Take a quick look at what’s waiting for you in MyCopyblogger right now …

  • Copywriting 101: How to Craft Compelling Copy
  • How to Write Magnetic Headlines
  • How to Create Compelling Content that Ranks Well in Search Engines
  • Content Marketing: How to Build an Audience that Builds Your Business
  • The Business Case for Agile Content Marketing
  • A Content Marketing Strategy that Works
  • How to Create Content that Converts
  • How to Effectively Promote Your Content
  • Content Marketing Research: The Crucial First Step
  • How to Build Authority through Content and Google Authorship
  • Email Marketing: How to Push Send and Grow Your Business
  • Keyword Research for Web Writers and Content Producers
  • Landing Pages: How to Turn Traffic into Money

Inside these ebooks you’ll find the very same tactics, strategies, and processes that allowed us to build Copyblogger Media from a simple blog into a content-fueled software and training company with 100,000+ customers.

So, if you are ready to go beyond just sharing your ideas online and actually get that attention and profit boost you’ve always dreamed of, then start the journey of learning how to write compelling copy today. Sign up for MyCopyblogger , and take advantage of months of valuable free marketing education.

Free Registration

About the Author: Demian Farnworth is Chief Copywriter for Copyblogger Media. Follow him on Twitter or Google+. Then visit his blog to read his Education of a Writer series.

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How Doctor Who Can Help You Craft a Timelessly Engaging Marketing Message

image of eleventh dr. who

You may not think the apex of cool is a multi-colored scarf. Or a bow-tie. Or both.

Unless you’re a Whovian, of course.

Doctor Who is listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as the longest-running science fiction television show in the world, and as the “most successful” science fiction series of all time (in terms of its overall ratings, DVD and book sales, and iTunes traffic).

The show has earned acclaim for imaginative stories, creative low-budget special effects (although these have improved over time), and its pioneering use of electronic music.

As Doctor Who builds towards its highly-anticipated and climactic 50th anniversary year (and 14 big, blockbuster-movie episodes) things couldn’t be brighter. Why? Because sci-fi fans are cool like that?

Nope. It’s not just the genre. It’s the storytelling.

It’s the triumph of good over evil. It’s the life and death plots. And it’s because weeping angels are just, well … fascinatingly scary.

Obviously, the writers of this show know what they’re doing. Here’s what you can learn from them about developing timelessly delicious content.

1. Be your audience’s hero

The Doctor is a god-like hero.

And not just as metaphor, but as one we can see and understand. He loves humans more than all the other creatures in the Whoniverse. He would die for us, if it came to that.

The bottom line? The Doctor is over-the-top helpful. He cares. And he does whatever it takes to save the day.

Your content needs to be the same. Your audience is struggling with real problems — sometimes they might even be the life-and-death serious kind.

Help them!

Don’t just tell someone vaguely what to do. Give them actual steps to get it done. Use a tutorial, a template or a video; or at least make sure you point them to the exact resources where they can get what they need.

2. Love your TARDIS

The TARDIS (which stands for Time and Relative Dimensions in Space) is the Doctor’s super-vehicle.

A properly maintained and piloted TARDIS can transport its occupants to any point in time and any place in the universe.

And if that weren’t special enough, it’s a living, organic being — created especially for the Doctor, himself.

The bonus? Because a TARDIS’ interior space exists in a different dimension from its exterior, it appears bigger on the inside.

Your website is your TARDIS.

It’s your vehicle or platform for delivering all that juicy content across the web. Its interior size is limited only by your imagination, and can have as many rooms as you need to tell your story.

You should know your site like the back of your hand, and keep it properly maintained.

3. Be timeless

Time Lords have a non-linear perception of time that allows them to see everything that was, is, or could be at the same time.

They’re extremely long-lived, routinely counting their ages in terms of centuries. The Doctor claimed in at least one episode that Time Lords could live “practically forever, barring accidents.”

Create cornerstone content that isn’t bound to any particular timeline.

Focus on telling the truth — not telling what’s true now. This makes your content “evergreen” and relevant long after other types of content have ceased to be relevant.

Tell stories with real characters. Don’t forget to include detailed portraits of the villians and aliens you’re battling on behalf of your audience. Help them find the courage to take a stand against evil — in whatever form it takes in their lives — and you’ll go home safe and happy at the end of the day.

4. Regenerate and repurpose

Time Lords also have the ability to regenerate their bodies when their current body is mortally wounded. This process results in their body undergoing a transformation, gaining a new physical form.

Once you’ve poured your heart, mind and soul into your blog post, it would be a shame to let it languish in your site archive, collecting dust.

Here are 11 ways you can breathe new life into that single blog post:

  1. Record a podcast — Narrate your blog post as is, or invite an appropriate guest to discuss one aspect of the content in more depth.
  2. Create a white paper or special report — If the post itself isn’t too long, you may need to supplement with data and/or images. These are great as a downloadable gift or enticement for list-building.
  3. Create a video — Record yourself delivering the content highlights for a short video (2 minutes or less). If necessary, you can record an entire series and deliver them as part of an opt-in list-builder.
  4. Create a slide presentation — Find a series of strong images, and use them — with or without music — to present your ideas in a slide presentation. Upload the slides to slideshare.net and then embed on your site and share via social media channels.
  5. Deliver a webinar or in-person presentation — Use your slide presentation for this and add your special report as a handout.
  6. Article — Revise the post so that it speaks to another subset of your target market. Submit it to an article directory like eHow, or to Squidoo.
  7. Guest posts — Revise the post to meet the needs of another blog’s audience and submit as a guest post. Be sure that the blog knows your submission is based on your original post.
  8. eBook — Package together with 7 to 10 similar themed posts, write an introduction and a summary wrap-up paragraph, and save as a PDF. EBooks can be used for free promotions, or as introductory products.
  9. Audio Book — Narrate your eBook and record as an mp3 or series of mp3 files.
  10. Inspirational Quote — Pull a quote or two and use as a Tweet and/or other social media share. Include a link back to your post. You could also create some swag (like a t-shirt or a bumper sticker) if the quote gets a lot of positive response.
  11. Infographic — Create an infographic using the data or steps outlined in your post. Pin to Pinterest and include embed code for ease of sharing.

Once you’ve exhausted the new lives of your blog post, consider pulling everything together into one signature info product or class. Who says you only get 11 lives?

5. Make friends with technology

The Doctor has a gadget he never leaves home without: his sonic screwdriver.

This complex piece of technology — a portable device that allows him to do everything from pick locks to perform medical scans and control other devices remotely — is more than just a fancy tool. It’s another vehicle that facilitates the Doctor’s mission.

You have one, too. It’s called a smart phone. Make sure you understand all the nifty things it can do for you and how your content looks and acts when viewed on its lovely little screen.

People are shifting away from their clunky laptops and desktop computers to read and engage on the web. This means your site needs to work properly on a mobile device — or your content is dead in the water.

This is the journey of a lifetime

It might only be sixty minutes of wildly dramatic adventure, but during that time, Doctor Who manages to capture your attention, involve you in the storyline, and hook you into wanting more.

The secret? A three-dimensional look at the lives and morals of aliens and humans — both good and evil. Doctor Who writers create raving fans because they tell meaningful stories that entertain us at the same time. This, above all else, is your mission, too.

So whether you’re a Third Doctor fan or a Tenth Doctor fanatic, the Whovian recipe has some time-honored ingredients that can help you cook up your own timelessly fascinating content.

Best way to begin? Decide on a destination, check your instruments and take off!

About the Author: Tea Silvestre is a sci-fi geek, a marketing coach and the author of “Attract and Feed a Hungry Crowd: How thinking like a Chef can help you build a solid business.” You can follow her musings on Twitter at @teasilvestre. Learn how she regenerated her blog content into a published book when you take her free e-course: “From Blog to Book in 9 Simple Steps“.

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