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Superblog: How to Accomplish Anything with Your Words

If you’re serious about the scope and popularity of your blog, then you know that the old adage definitely holds true: it’s not just what you say; it’s how you say it. Whether your goal is to sell a product or simply to build an audience, the effectiveness of your copy could be the difference between success and failure. Learn to tweak your words for maximum impact, and start reaping the benefits right away!

Learn from the pros

When you first got into blogging, I’m betting that refining your copywriting skills was likely the last thing on your mind – I certainly wasn’t thinking about it! Five months in, however, I see that developing this skill will pay huge dividends in launching future ventures, regardless of whether they take place online or offline. Simply put, being able to write great copy is one of those transferable skills that I talked about last time – it can help to set you free.

While I’d love to continue to preach from my pearsonified pulpit a la Billy Graham, the truth is that I’ve just begun to focus on my own copy here in the last few weeks. That said, I’m going to supplement what I speak about with resources that I have personally used to gain valuable insight and also inspiration (something that cannot be overstated).

Extra! Extra! Read all about it!

The single most important piece of copy that you’ll write on any post is the headline. Fortunately, Brian over at Copyblogger has beaten this issue half to death, but he has a great reason for doing so – you can’t say enough about a great headline!

It’s a crying shame that blogging platforms like MovableType, TypePad, and WordPress invite you to input a headline before writing the post itself, because this is a total inversion of the way things work in the land of outstanding copy. The next time you blog, try this on for size:

Instead of writing a headline first, write your entire post. Then, with a total understanding of what you’ve written and attempted to convey, write the best damn headline you can to promote, persuade, and sell your post.

See the comments for an explanation as to why the preceeding text has been crossed out.

Because first impressions are all you’ve got

The human brain is equipped with a filter that is second to none. You can scan a page of feeds or blog entries in seconds, almost instantly deciding what holds “clickable” value and what’s not worth another look. Your synapse-jumping decision making process is guided by hard-hitting, visual elements – headlines, excerpts, and pictures. You’re looking to be engaged, intrigued, or persuaded to “jump in,” and unless someone is delivering incredibly targeted content or outstanding copy, odds are good that you’ll ignore them.

Sounds like a tough sell. With that in mind, what’s an amateur copywriter to do?

Stick your nose out in traffic and get some attention.

After the headline, the first couple of paragraphs are all you’ve got to really persuade the reader to listen to what you have to say, and with such limited space to make an impact, these paragraphs had better be good. The beauty here is that there’s no “right answer.” Maybe you go for shock value. Maybe you throw the reader a curveball. Maybe you challenge the audience. It doesn’t matter how you do it; all that matters is that you grab your reader’s attention and get ‘em beggin’ for more!

There’s no “secret” to writing great opening copy – just do the following:

  • Read the experts – especially this guy, even though many people think he’s kind of an ass (which only helps his cause).
  • Learn everything you can from those who know good copy. Every great copywriter has something different and effective to offer you, so go read. Now. You still here? Keep reading, then.
  • Implement, implement, implement. You don’t have to sell something to justify writing effective copy. Start on your next post, and never stop learning and honing your copy game.

Copy logic

Simple sells. Give your readers something that is entertaining, engaging, and easily digestable, and they’ll hang on your every word. Be real, be genuine, and be specific.

Write targeted blog posts – don’t skip around to 4 different topics! Instead, break those puppies up into four individual posts. Want to keep the reader’s attention? Deliver one message, and deliver it well.

Better sign up for that psych course at the local community college…

Great copy plays on the human psyche. It speaks to our wants, needs, and desires, and it persuades us to listen with the hopes that there will, in fact, be something in it for us. Your readers are egomaniacs, and you should celebrate that fact by giving them what they crave.

Help them, please, give them something every time you post. You’ll likely be amazed at the results. Ever gotten 30 comments on a blog entry before? Those of you who have know that it’s a complete rush the first few times it happens, and the experience leaves you wanting more.

Give them what they want, and you’ll get more than you could possibly imagine in return.

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11 comments… read them below or add one

Dennis Bullock April 21, 2006

Good points Chris. I have been trying these same techniques on my blog lately and I have seen a change. These techniques suck the reader in and keep them coming back for more.

Reply

Brian Clark April 21, 2006

Hey Chris, great post!

A couple things about headlines:

1. I’ve got a lot more left in me to say about them. They are THAT important!

2. Starting with writing the post first can work, but I most often write the headline first, because if you craft a killer headline, it will tell you exactly what you need to say in the post in order to deliver on the promise you made to the reader in the headline.

Reply

Mike Sigers April 21, 2006

Personally, I’m just almost embarrased to be mentioned in the same post with Halbert, Godin and the new star on the blogblock – Brian ” CopyDawg ” Clark.

As for simple, it’s all I’ve got. I even move my lips when I type with both fingers !

Thanks for including me in this post. Your work – design wise and writing wise – is really starting to gather attention and I’m glad just to be able to watch the ride.

Reply

ming May 5, 2006

not only do i try to write a good headline.

i imediatly follow that up with a sub headline

Reply

lawton chiles May 6, 2006

Keep up the encouraging posts! As a part time marketer whose website needs a major copy overhaul, your words are very encouraging and inspiring. Please keep it up!

Oh, I had a question: With all of these marketing/word of mouth viral blogs, how often should we be keeping up with all of these writings?

thanks

lawton chiles
lchiles@gmail.com
songwritingtechniques.blogspot.com
lawtonchilesmusic.com – Join the songwriting community that cares.

Lawton

Reply

Chris P. July 11, 2006

Okay, so I was totally wrong. Please, please write a great headline first.

It will help you with your topical focus, and I’ve found that it generally leads me to produce higher quality pieces.

Reply

boomer August 4, 2006

Don’t forget to use techniques that works more than 100 years at papers – good title, “readable” text (no white font color on black background) and well formatting – and you’ll get a success. This works on papers readers, blogs are almost the same.
Regards,
boomer

Reply

vijay August 22, 2006

What I do is fill in a filler [:)] post title and write the post (otherwise a draft can’t be saved) then come back to it in some time and edit and clip and shorten and do other gross stuff to the piece. Then when I am satisfied with the look of it, I choose a headline.

Reply

Roshawn October 31, 2006

Simply sweet, man. Simply sweet! :-)

Reply

Yuri April 24, 2007

No, Chris, you were right :P Half-right, if you want.

First, I write a headline. Then I write whatever I want on the topic, sticking to the headling. Then I might change the headline, because the post has expanded beyond what I initially wanted it to be.

Otherwise, how do you use your Zen to write posts :P (sorry no link to your post for the fear of being treated as spam).

Reply

Landon Porter November 27, 2007

Chris, thank you for unloading your thoughts. I have been stuck on 8 blogs for the last few months and am finally putting my own together. So heres my thank yous…

Thanks for the template!
Thanks for the encouragement!
Thanks for the info most wont spill!
Thanks for,
Thanks for,
Well, just in general thank you.

ps dont mean to seem like a kiss ass! lol

Reply

Hoot and/or Holler

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