The Stanley Milgram shock study is an age-old experiment that demonstrates our habitual response to authority. We, by instinct, obey authority even if the orders from that authority appear unethical.
My new favorite podcast is Song Exploder.
According to the tag line, it is “a podcast where musicians take apart their songs, and piece by piece, tell the story of how they were made.”
The best episode in my opinion (and I think in many) is the one where John Roderick (singer and songwriter for The Long Winters) deconstructs his haunting piece “The Commander Thinks Aloud.”
However, the episode that concerns us is “Plastic Soul” by YACHT. (I love the ALL CAPS.)
Claire and Jona from YACHT describe the song as a fun neo-disco piece about human suffering (that’s certainly one way to think about it) inspired by technology and French disco singer Amanda Lear.
But I’m not so much concerned even about the song. [Read more…]
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…]
Online readers are a surly bunch.
I mean that in the best possible way, mind you. And, naturally, I lump myself into 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.
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…]
Editor’s note: This article was first published on April 20, 2011 — the very first article published on The Copybot.
Who. Where. When. Why. What. The 5 W’s.
Originally used as a method of Bible study in the late 1880s, journalists eventually adopted the 5 W’s method to write newspaper leads.
By 1917, it was a staple of journalism — taught in high-school classes. In the 40s, it was considered old-fashioned. [Read more…]
I don’t care who you are — blogger, freelance journalist, ghost writer, ad copywriter — if you are writing on the web then you need to absorb copywriting mechanics.
There are two ways to get to that point: learning and practicing. I can’t help you with the practicing part. You just simply need to write … and keep on writing. But I can help you with the education part.
10 copywriting books you must read
What follows are the 10 books from the legends of direct response. Two are more recent than the others (and Influence is not technically direct response). These are the books I would demand you read if teaching a ground-level course on writing for the web since so many principles of direct response copywriting obey the unbreakable law of the web. [Read more…]
We all start at the bottom. In the dark. Ignored.
What did they do to climb out of that hole? They got noticed by powerful people. But not through flattery.
The mistake most people make when it comes to trying to get the attention of powerful people is to shell out compliments and praise. Through email or in person at a conference, say.
Trust me, powerful people like compliments and praise, but it’s momentary, shallow, and fails to make a lasting impression.
There is a better way. [Read more…]
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…]