What Copywriters Know That the Rest of Us Don’t

My friend Jeff Goins is guest posting today…

How do you write a message that gets heard in today’s noisy world? If you’re a writer, the answer may surprise you. In fact, if you’re a communicator of any type, this may shock you.

The answer to getting heard isn’t speaking more. In fact, it’s the opposite.

Effective communicators know something that the rest of us don’t; they understand that less is more. That in a culture inundated with media and marketing, the messages that really stick are the ones that are personal and relevant.

In other words, you need permission.

Nobody has time for another email, another magazine they won’t read or useless subscription. That’s why direct mail has gone down the tubes and why some people are claiming inbox bankruptcy and starting over.

We are all just too busy to care what you have to say.

But… we need your voice. We need your message. So what are you supposed to do?

How about trying to be a copywriter?

I’m not talking about that 1960s Mad Men style of advertising. No, I’m talking about good, ol’ modern writing for an audience.

Whether you’re a blogger, preacher, or computer programmer, you need to understand the basics of copywriting — if your message is going to matter.

Three basic principles of copywriting that apply to anyone who has something to say:

1. Start with a good headline.

This is what shows up at the top of your readers’ RSS feeds, what they see on Twitter or on Google.

If you don’t have a good headline, people won’t bother reading the rest of your message. If you don’t hook them at the beginning, you don’t get a chance to speak your mind.

A good headline is simple, believable, and catchy. For some, this means using numbers, like “10 steps to…” But for others, it means saying what others won’t say, (e.g. “The brutal truth about…”)

2. Write each line as if your life depended on it.

Never assume your reader will continue reading your piece once they start.

Whether it’s a Facebook status, a news article, or an email, the job of each line you write is to get the reader to read the next line.

A good writer knows this, that in a world full of distractions there’s no guarantee someone will continue reading your work. Not if they get bored.

So make each line count.

3. Write for an audience.

It’s okay to write for yourself — in your journal, for an upcoming memoir, whatever. But if you’re writing for the web and want to actually be read, you need to be intentional.

Have someone very specific in mind when you write. Give this person a name, a hair color, a hobby. Find out what she likes and hates. Make it up if you have to, or pick a real-life person.

Be specific. And then write to just that person.

The result is those who read your work will think you are writing just to them (and you are). At the same time, others will dismiss your work as irrelevant. And that’s okay. It’s the cost of good writing, and quite frankly, worth the trade-off of earning some dedicated readers.

So what are you waiting for? Become a copywriter today.

Jeff Goins is a writer, idea guy, difference-maker, and author of the bestselling eBook, You Are A Writer (which is free today until midnight). He lives in Nashville with his wife, newborn son, and dog. You can connect with him on his blog or follow him on Twitter.

Categories: Getting Your Message to the World, Writing | 13 Comments »



Want More Shares On Your Posts? Do This.

Do this today!

This is the easiest thing you can do to get more shares, but I still see so many people not doing it…even those who are social media people/consultants. It kills me.

(not really)

Just add these plug-ins to your self-hosted WordPress blog:

Simple FB Share Button (I like this better than the “like” button because people can share it on their pages, not just their profiles)

WP Tweet Button

They are simple and easy and way more effective than a plug-in with multiple sharing options.

Remember what I always say, “make it easy!”

Also, make sure the plug-ins are on separate pages and posts, AND on the front page of each of your posts (so I don’t actually have to click on the individual post to share it).

BONUS TIP:

For your tweet button, go into settings and click on WP Tweet Button. Scroll down until you see this:

Make sure the first circle is clicked. When people tweet your article, it will show up like this: Pictures Of My Cat via @yourname

Hey, look at that, now you’ll also get more Twitter followers! ;)

 

Categories: Getting Your Message to the World | 24 Comments »



One Tip That Will Make Your Vlogs Better


The shirt I’m wearing is from the Mercy House Kenya. You can find it here for only $10.

Categories: Social Media | 11 Comments »



How Developed Should My Platform Be Before I Write My eBook?

 Can’t see the video? Click here.

Resources:

31 Days to Build a Better Blog (I highly recommend this)

How to Get Traffic For Your Blog

Platform (has anyone not heard of this yet?)

The Secret To Building a Platform

The Ultimate Guide to Facebook Marketing

TwiTip (everything you need to know to master Twitter)

How to Market & Sell Your eBook

Categories: eBooks | 8 Comments »



What Is the Ideal Word Count For an eBook?

Can’t see the video? Click here.

Categories: eBooks | 9 Comments »



Simple Tip To Help You Sell More Books

Can’t see the video? Click here!

Categories: eBooks | 5 Comments »



Why I Don’t Use Amazon’s KDP Select

I have only one reason that I choose not to use Amazon’s KDP Select: my readers, my community, the ones who support me and my eBooks.

With KDP Select, your readers have no choice but to purchase from Amazon. They can’t purchase a PDF, they can’t purchase through B & N, they can’t purchase in any other digital format.

And that’s not fair to them.

I want my readers to be able to get my eBooks in the digital formats that suit them. It isn’t about me; It’s about them.

Do you use KDP Select? Why or why not?

Categories: eBooks | 6 Comments »



The Quiet Dream (On Discovering The Secret In Your Heart)

Me sending my first signed publishing contract back to the publisher

The coffee shop is filled with people today; grey slate days tend to bring in the crowds.

It brings me in.

The familiar wood table keeps me cozy, and it holds my coffee, my bagel, and my cold-to-the-touch Mac. I wish every day could begin here, where I warm up to words and settle in for a day of writing. This. I want this, the writer life.

Writing snuck up on me when I was too busy saying I didn’t have dreams.

I didn’t know I wanted to write until now, just now, this morning. Writing “success” has come to me, fallen in my lap, and I say, “I didn’t ask for any of this” but it isn’t quite true. My heart was asking before my mind was.

I don’t even like to write most of the time. But somewhere in this soul of mine there was ink ready to spill words, and catch them up, and make them something worth reading. So here I am, taken completely by surprise at this writing revelation. It’s like with the Allume conference. Both times after the conference I wanted to quit. I didn’t have time or it was too stressful or I felt guilty for doing it. But then the threat of it being taken from me, not me giving it up, but it being taken, scared me and I realized how very much I did want it, how much I believed in it. So it is with this writing thing. I want it. I want to be a writer.

I am a writer, and I love it.

It’s funny how longings sneak up on you, surprise you, and suddenly fill you with gratitude. I am so happy. I am so thankful to be writing.

And right now, today, I’m living…

I’m living

what some might call,

my dream.

Categories: Writing | 20 Comments »



I’m Not a Writer

Yes you are.

Do you write?

You’re a writer.

You just need some confidence. Some encouragement. Some help. I recommend this:

“You Are a Writer is an eBook about what it takes to be a writer in the 21st Century. In it, you will learn everything from how to get started with a writing career to ultimately getting your work published — and all the wonderful work in between.

Mostly, you will learn the importance of believing in your calling and showing up every day to do what you were made to do: write.”

 You Are a Writer is only $4.99, and well worth it. Head on over here to get it.

P.S. I wrote the forward. :)

Categories: Writing | 3 Comments »



Do You Want It? Do It.

pile of bricks ready for laying

Do you want to write a book? Do it.

Do you want to host your own talk show? Do it.

Do you want to have your own radio show? Do it.

I hear people say they want to do certain things, but then I try and find where they’re doing it and I don’t see it. Don’t tell me you want to write a book “one day.” Do it now. So, you want to own your own radio show, eh? Let’s see what you’re made of, get on it. You want to host your own TV show? Show me what you’ve done. Start your own show using your webcam and inviting friends over, in person or via the WORLD wide web. Don’t wait for someone to hand you the keys to the door, make your own building. 

If you’re stuff is good, and you’ve proved yourself by gaining an audience and establishing a platform, you’ll get picked up. You’ll go farther than you could have imagined.

So stop waiting, and get going.

P.S. A blanket platform won’t do. If you want to host a radio show, but have never used your platform to create one and get it out there to see how it’s received, don’t expect the magic radio host fairy to offer you a national radio show. You might have influence, but are you using it towards the thing you want most? Do the thing!

Example of taking the initiative and doing your thing: Caine’s Arcade

Photo Credit: pile of bricks ready for laying

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Categories: Getting Your Message to the World | 11 Comments »