Will People Trust Your Copy If You Ignore Their Objections?

skyline - non

Even in a beautiful language like French, “no” still hurts.

But objections are a simple fact of the business life. They’re like octopus tentacles — everyone has at least eight of them.

Of course this is perfectly natural. Most potential customers are primed NOT to spend money and stiff-arm sales copy.

And the reasons why they may object are just as numerous: [Read more…]

The 10 Best Rough Draft Shows (So Far)

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Online readers are a surly bunch. Mean, lazy, and stupid. I mean that in the best possible way, mind you. And, naturally, I lump myself in to that group.

See, when it comes to reading online, everyone is mean, lazy, and stupid. Makes you wonder if there’s something wrong with anyone who chooses a career as web writer.

The origin behind that harsh designation, though, is interesting. It’s how New York University philosophy professor Jim Pryor suggests his students view their readers.

His reasoning? It forces the writer to write clear, concise, and compelling copy

Which is what my podcast, Rough Draft, is all about. In just a few minutes a day I deliver essential writing advice you need to succeed online, four days a week.

But unlike most business podcasts (where interviews rule the roost) Rough Draft is a monologue.

It’s just you, me, and 15 years of experience working with top brands like KISSmetrics, Salesforce, Hubspot, and, of course, Copyblogger (where I am Chief Content Writer).

Tomfoolery included. [Read more…]

A Silly Primer on Search Engines (for Web Writers)

writing desk with some butterflies because that's what SEO is all about

Listen to this article here: How Search Engines Work Part One and Part Two.

How do people find things on the web? Search engines.

Google, as you probably know, is the dominate search name. There’s also this thing called Bing. Then smaller boutique search engines that specialize in narrow fields. Academic, medical.

The job of a search engine like Google is to find content that matches your query (the question you are asking):

  • How far is the earth from the sun?
  • Who is the leader singer of Led Zeppelin?
  • What is a freemason?

The better it can match your question to a good answer, the better the user experience. [Read more…]

How Web Writers Can Improve Their Copy with White Space

Pillars Four

Listen to this article here: How the Perfect Article Is Framed by White Space.

I want you to imagine a statue. An aged bronze sculpture of a young girl, possibly eight years old, in a long dress. She stands about 50 inches, so roughly four feet tall.

Her head is cocked to the left, a pensive, sad look on her face. Both elbows are pinned to her side and her forearms stretch upward, her palms open to the sky, a bowl in each hand.

As if she is feeding the birds. [Read more…]

A Simple Way to Get People to Believe Your Big Claim

Open Pickle Jar-001

Another way to get people to buy into your claim is to explain the mechanism behind it.

For example, let’s say a fitness trainer makes the claim that in just 14 minutes a day customers can add muscle to every inch of their body.

Notice what is NOT suggested: that these will be particularly big muscles. The implication is, at the very least, customers can achieve a toned body.

That’s still a big claim, but the trainer can bring it into the realm of believability by explaining how this can happen.

In this case, let’s say the fitness program involves a chair. The value proposition can be summed up like this: a 14-minute chair routine that builds muscle on every inch of your body.

Notice, too, the trainer used several of the previous tips to accomplish this.

One, the claim is very specific about the amount of time it takes and the equipment necessary. In other words, it’s heavy with details.

In addition, as part of the live presentation the trainer could demonstrate with a video. All of these factors help sweep aside skepticism.

Finally, he could add a creative guarantee, and his close rates are sure to go up.

This article originally appeared as part of this Salesforce article (which I am told by a source close to the company is their most socially popular post). 

P.S. Want a daily, but small, dose of essential web writing advice? Then check out my new podcast Rough Draft.

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