Breaking Through Writers’ Block – 7 Solutions to 7 Types of Block

If you write, you’re guaranteed, at some point, to face an empty page.

Even if you’re assigned a topic by an editor, the blank page can haunt you, making it difficult to get started. And for some, the blank wasteland becomes more daunting the longer they’re forced to confront it.

Don’t let the blank page cripple your production.

Often, blocks can be alleviated by determining their root cause. Knowing why the words won’t come can suggest methods to work through the problem. Here are seven common blocks writers suffer, and the solutions s you can employ to alleviate them.

1. The End Isn’t Clear

You find yourself finishing up a scene and, suddenly, the words are gone. You’re paralyzed. It’s possible you don’t know how your story ends. If you don’t have a clear idea of how the plot wraps up, it’s hard to write the words to get there.

Solution: Brain storm possible endings. Even if none of the endings you come up with is “perfect,” choose one anyway. Having a goal should suggest possible scenes which need to be written, and writing those scenes should spur additional ideas. If no endings come to mind, re-read what’s already been written while keeping the end in mind. Even if no ending is indicated, it’s probable that some advancement of the plot will be revealed.

2. The “Inner Editor” Won’t Leave You Alone

You’re happy to write and you’ve got great ideas, but they’ve got to be stated perfectly. You type a few words, delete them, reach for the thesaurus, type a bit more, backspace again, never putting more than a few sentences on the page after hours of work.

Solution: Understand that no first draft is perfect. Give yourself permission to write drivel. Be dramatic. Write purple prose. Ignore the compulsion to find a better way to say something or remove duplicative sentences. Allow yourself to get the idea down on paper while you’re still excited about writing it.

In the same vein, write whatever comes to mind. Don’t worry about bad ideas, bad grammar, bad writing. Record your thoughts and keep the words flowing by reminding your inner-editor that everything can be polished during a re-write.

3. The Blank Page Syndrome

Sometimes it’s just the blank page that stops us. It can be hard to get past the hurdle of writing the opening sentence, of knowing the page needs to be filled.

Solution: Free write. Set a timer for a short amount of time, five or ten minutes, and write whatever comes to mind. Type the same word over and over again, if you have to, until your brain gets bored and directs you on another path.

4. The Idea is Too Large

You’ve probably heard this old joke: How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time. Perhaps you’re blocked because you’re facing an elephant of an idea. The thought of tackling it all at once may be daunting, especially in the beginning of a project where you haven’t envisioned the whole.

Solution: Before putting pen to paper, consider all the parts of the project. Break it down into smaller, more manageable chunks and conquer those one by one. Create an outline or just jot down the tasks or scenes as they come to you.

5. You’re Too Tired to Write

Pushing through fatigue is difficult. The mind is numb, the words don’t flow. It’s a chore even to make the effort. This might be the toughest challenge writers face.

Solutions: Exercise. A quick walk, some calisthenics, or a jog around the block can be stimulating. Physical effort sends more blood flowing to the brain and staves off nervous tension. Or, take a power nap. Cornell University social psychologist James Maas discovered that a 15- to 30-minute nap not only brightens your mood, but improves alertness, memory, and overall cognitive performance.

6. You’re out of Ideas

Sometimes, the muse just doesn’t play nice. You’ve got the time and the desire, but you can’t think of anything to write.

Solution: Trick your muse into coming up with an idea. Find something by an author you admire and begin typing the opening few paragraphs of the story. However, instead of typing word for word, substitute your own words and ideas.

For example, Lewis Carroll’s Through The Looking Glassbegins, “One thing was certain, that the white kitten had had nothing to do with it–it was the black kitten’s fault entirely.” You may type instead, “Green glass had no bearing on the project. Red glass remained the rage, and was most desirable.” Keep substituting your own subjects, re-writing the sentence structure to suit your style, until your mind decides to take over. Once the words start to flow, stop copying and keep writing.

7. The Subject doesn’t interest you.

This type of block usually strikes when you’ve been given an assignment you are not passionate about: a paper for school or an article for a magazine or newspaper.

Solution: Change the slant. For instance, you may be asked to cover a small town festival, but your interest is food. Investigate and write about the various confections available. Or, maybe you’ve been told to write about Shakespeare since you’re studying his plays in school, but music is your forte. Write your term paper on musical of that period, and how it may have influenced Shakespeare.

Breaking through writers block isn’t effortless, but it doesn’t have to be debilitating. Learn the cause and apply the solution. Knowing the problem can make the difference.

Immobilienmakler Heidelberg

Makler Heidelberg



Source by Kelly A Harmon

Common Mistakes That Can Kill Your Web Copy

Sometimes learning what not to do is as important as learning what to do. Copywriting is no exception. I oftentimes see copy that is well written, but obviously created by an amateur. How do I know? One or more of the following five mistakes was made and that killed the copy… dead.

Once you understand why these mistakes are, in fact, mistakes, you can easily avoid them. It isn’t like they are complicated concepts. It just takes someone to bring them to your attention so you can guard against them.

Pull up your site in a browser and follow along. See if you’ve made any of these mistakes on your site.

#1 – Writing Without Knowing Your Target Audience

This is, without a doubt, the biggest mistake of copywriting and the #1 killer of conversions. Why? I’ll answer with a question.

When you write a letter (or email), do you just start writing and decide afterwards who you’re going to send the letter to? Of course not! So why, then, do so many people just jump in and start writing website copy without having a clue about who they are writing to? It makes no sense to me.

How can people possibly communicate with their site visitors if they have no idea who they are, what they are looking for, their preferred communication style, what problems they face, how they hope to use the product/service to solve those problems and countless other information? Truth is, you can’t.

Take knowing your target customers to the extreme. Find out everything you can about them. Then combine all that info to create an imaginary person (or imaginary people) who fit the profile of your target audience members. You can even name them if you want to. Then – with every sentence – write to that person (or persons).

#2 – Writing Without Knowing the Product/Service

Like it or not, you’re a salesperson. That means you have to know all the details of the product or service you’re writing about. How else can you convincingly convey the information to prospects who visit the site?

Ask your client for samples of products, use of the services or access to member areas of a site. Using or taking part in what your client is offering to his/her visitors will make a huge difference in the quality and persuasiveness of your copy. Nothing comes across as well as copywriting that has been created from experience.

#3 – Writing About the Company Instead of To the Site Visitor

They don’t care. Who? Your site visitors. They don’t care about your company. Rather than hear about how long you’ve been in business and that you’re the specialists in this, that or the other thing, they’d rather find out how your product/service can benefit them.

If your home page starts with something like this, you’re in trouble: “ABC Company is the specialist in [insert industry here] with over 20 years experience. We provide [fill in the blank] with our extensive knowledge and helpful service. Dedicated to providing the highest quality, we guarantee our work with a 100% money-back promise.”

You’re we-ing all over yourself! The customer has the money. Don’t you think the copy should at least acknowledge him/her at some point? Rather than using we, us and our so much, turn it around.

Talk to your site visitors instead of about the company. Let them know you understand their needs and have answers to their problems. Don’t ignore them by talking only about yourself.

#4 – Outlining Features Instead of Benefits or End Results

Features are nice, but benefits and end results make the sale because they clearly explain why the customer will be better off after buying your product or using your service. One of the biggest selling factors in copywriting is the ability to tell the customer what he/she can do with a product or service.

Take a tip from the infomercials. They don’t simply tell you that a rotisserie cooker rotates as it cooks a chicken. No! They tell you that this rotisserie cooker can bake a whole, marinated, Italian herb chicken that’s juicy, moist and succulent. That the seasonings slowly seep into the meat so you get bite after tender bite of flavorful chicken so good you’ll beg for more. Who cares that the thing has a pointed, metal prong that rotates a chicken while it cooks? You’re buying it because it can deliver that wonderful whole, marinated, Italian herb chicken!

#5 – Neglecting the Medium

Does it make a difference as to where your copy appears online? Isn’t all Web copy the same? The answers are “Yes” and “No.” Landing pages are not the same as home pages, which are not the same as catalog pages, which are not the same as sales letters, and so on and so on. Don’t neglect to find out the differences between these and the other types of Web copy. They all have special considerations that should be studied before you begin writing.

Now you can add these five “don’ts” to your favorite copywriting checklist. Avoiding these mistakes will give you a better shot at reaching your visitors on their level and converting them into repeat customers.

© 2005

http://www.copywritingcourse.com

Immobilienmakler Heidelberg

Makler Heidelberg



Source by Karon Thackston

The Importance of Monitoring & Evaluation for Your Nonprofit

Monitoring and evaluation (often abbreviated M&E) are separate, but related, tools for assessing and understanding program implementation and impact. While evaluation professionals often have graduate degrees or other advanced education in evaluation, data collection, statistics, or qualitative research methods, there are many things your nonprofit organization can do to increase your capacity for planning and implementing good monitoring and evaluation practices.

In this article, we will discuss the similarities and differences between monitoring and evaluation, their importance in program effectiveness, and basic steps your organization can take to increase your capacity for developing monitoring and evaluation systems. There are also many great resources from grant-makers such as the World Bank and the United Nations, as well as textbooks. Please see the list at the end of this article for good sources for additional reading.

What are monitoring and evaluation?

Monitoring and evaluation are critical for building evidence base around the needs your programs address and for assessing the often diverse interventions being implemented to address the problem globally. They are tools for identifying and documenting successful programs and approaches and tracking progress toward common indicators across related projects. Monitoring and evaluation forms the basis of understanding underlying factors and the effectiveness of the response at the service-provider, community, national and international level. [United Nations. 2012]

Monitoring is a systematic and long-term process that gathers information in regards to the progress made by an implemented project. Evaluation is time specific and it’s performed to judge whether a project has reached its goals and delivered what expected according to its original plan [FundsforNGOs. 2013]

Both monitoring and evaluation use social research methods to undertake systematic investigations, aiding to answer a common set of questions. Despite these shared aims, their roles are distinct. The focus of monitoring is on tracking program implementation and progress, including program activities and processes, outputs, and initial outcomes. Monitoring focuses on both what is being done in a program and how it is being done to support management decisions and accountability. [Markiewicz & Patrick. 2016]

Evaluation builds on monitoring and tracking to make judgements about program performance. Analysis conducted as part of an evaluation is usually based on the synthesis of a range of data, including that gained through monitoring. Evaluation is concerned with creating a deeper understand of change. [Markiewicz & Patrick. 2016]

Why are monitoring and evaluation important?

Monitoring and evaluation are important management tools. Nonprofit organizations (and for=profit businesses) use them to track progress and enable informed decision making. While some grant-makers require some type of monitoring and evaluation, the people with whom your organization works can be the greatest consumers of an evaluation. By thoroughly and honestly examining your work, your nonprofit organization can develop programs and activities that are effective, efficient, and a source of powerful change for the community.

The need for monitoring and evaluation is also shown in the contemporary policy context where management strategies such as RBM (Results-Based Management) have influenced the expectations placed on organizations. Monitoring and evaluation have become a vital part of informed decision-making about a program’s future. This is especially important when a program is committed to learning what works for its intended beneficiaries and to adjusting its programs based on the findings. [Markiewicz & Patrick. 2016]

Monitoring and evaluation should be part of a program planning and management process; not just an essential component to a grant application. An evaluation plan is something that should be incorporated into the design stage of a project because it lays the foundation for accurately measuring results, involving appropriate stakeholders, and identifying changes that need to be made to designate the proper resources necessary to increase social impact. Furthermore, proper M&E provides funders with accurate data that is often used to assess the need for continued support.

What does your nonprofit need to get started?

Developing a monitoring and evaluation system is, of course, not a one-size-fits-all endeavor. The steps needed depend on the program you are planning and the needs of your particular organization. When asked “If the nonprofits you work with could do one thing to be ready for working with an evaluation consultant, what would it be?”

Be open-minded and ready for change. The responsibility of an evaluation consultant is to assess the needs of the target population within the service environment and devise an actionable plan to address that need. Of course, the management of this plan consists of collecting data and reporting the findings, but if your existing project is not meeting the needs of the target population, then what result is your project really producing? Sometimes needs change. Although this is not always the case, it is important to be prepared for constructive criticism and be open to change if necessary.

There are also some general steps that apply to the development of most monitoring and evaluation systems. Below is an outline adapted from the World Bank which you might use to make sure monitoring and evaluation are included in your program planning.

1. Identify the stakeholders in each part of the program design, implementation, and reporting. Confirm that their input is incorporated in the plans for monitoring and evaluation, as well as in the program design.

2. Discuss and articulate the evaluation’s scope, purpose, intended use, audience, and budget.

3. Determine what you want to learn from the monitoring and evaluation of the program. Develop the evaluation questions based on these priorities. See our previous article Tips for Asking the Right Questions for help on developing evaluation questions.

4. Select indicators which provide a clear method of measuring answers to the evaluation questions. Indicators can be either quantitative or qualitative. A process indicator is information that focuses on how a program is implemented.

5. Figure out the best data collection methods for your indicators and budget. Surveys, interviews, program and administrative data, and document reviews are examples of data collection methods.

6. Analyze the information you collect. Look for patterns or trends that you might want to investigate further.

7. Provide feedback and recommendations based on the analysis. Use the data analysis to make recommendations about what is working and what within your program may need adjustment.

8. Communicate your recommendations, including the data and how you arrived at your conclusions, to your stakeholders. Ask them for feedback on the best ways to use the results. [World Bank. 2007]

No matter what process you use, it is important your program’s theory and logic serve as the foundation for you monitoring and evaluation systems. If you do not have a logic model for your program, please see our article on Creating Useful Logic Models.

Resources remain one of the biggest barriers for nonprofit organizations wanting to increase their monitoring and evaluation activities. According to the Innovation Network’s 2016 survey of U.S.-based 501(c)3 organizations, 92% of nonprofit organizations engaged in evaluation in the past year, with the vast majority of these organizations (92%) receiving funding for evaluation from at least one source. On the other hand, only 12% of nonprofit organizations surveyed spent 5% or more of their organization budgets on evaluation. Less than one-tenth of the nonprofit organizations reported having evaluation staff (internal or external). [Innovation Network. 2017]

Without enough resources, it can be difficult to design and implement monitoring and evaluation systems. On the other hand, the data you gather through monitoring and evaluation activities can help you retain donors. Some nonprofits with successful monitoring and evaluation systems even create data “dashboards” on their websites so donors and other constituents can track the organization’s success. While we often talk about evaluation in relation to grant-makers, the results of continuous monitoring and evaluation can also prove to donors that their money is being used and allocated correctly.

In conclusion, using monitoring and evaluation tools to assess and understand nonprofit program implementation and impact offers important benefits to your organization. Consider increasing your organization’s capacity for planning and implementing good monitoring and evaluation practices by getting involved in a local chapter of the American Evaluation Association, attending a workshop at a nearby university, or talking with a RevGen consultant about simple things you might implement that would have a positive return on investment.

References and Additional Reading

American Evaluation Association

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

FundsforNGOs. Why is monitoring & Evaluation important for NGOs? 2013

Innovation Network. State of Evaluation 2016: Evaluation Capacity and Practice in the Nonprofit Sector. 2017

Markiewicz, Anne, & Ian Patrick. Developing Monitoring and Evaluation Frameworks. SAGE Publications. 2016

National Center for Education in Maternal and Child Health at Georgetown University

United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women. Why is monitoring and evaluation important? 2012

Urban Institute

World Bank. Monitoring & Evaluation Tip Sheet. 2007

World Health Organization

Immobilienmakler Heidelberg

Makler Heidelberg



Source by Chris Bouchard

Genghis Khan – A Look Inside the Cunning Mind of a Conqueror

Genghis Khan, although the product of an illiterate and barbarous people plagued by internecine wars, transformed the Mongol warriors into a brilliant military machine that frequently defeated the civilizations of China, Islam, and Eastern Europe. Legend claims that Genghis Khan was born with a clot of blood clutched in his hand, an omen of greatness. Regardless of omens, the cruel, creative, and cunning mind of Genghis Khan clearly was responsible for his truly legendary success.

For example, in 1207 when his Mongol army had been stymied by the fortified city of Volohai, he proposed to the city leaders that he would end his siege if they paid him a bizarre tribute of 1,000 cats and 10,000 swallows. The strange demand was met by the city and then Genghis Khan told his Mongols to tie tufts of wool to the tails of the animals and set them on fire. Terrified by the burning bits of wool, the cats and swallows were released. They fled back to their lairs and nests within the city and spread fire throughout the walls. The Mongols then successfully stormed the walls of Volohai while its defenders were occupied with the many fires. Another tactic employed by the Mongols during one of their many campaigns against the Chinese was to round up women, children, and elderly from the countryside and drive them before their army as a human shield so that the defenders of walls would not shoot.

Despite his cleverness, Genghis Khan realized that he could not depend on trickery forever. He needed to address the weaknesses within the Mongol army. The equipment and techniques of sieging needed to be added to the swift and bloodthirsty Mongol hordes.

Genghis Khan was always willing to learn from the civilizations that he conquered, including the arts of war. He commanded each tribe under him to assemble siege equipment and learn how to use it and transport it. In addition to these technical advances, he formed an elite corps of professional commanders who were to devote themselves to training for warfare. This innovation in his command structure surmounted the long standing tradition of Mongol warriors who, despite their vicious skills, were amateurs. They would follow orders as long as victory was forthcoming, but they grew restless in the face of setbacks or failure. Wanting only easy plunder, the traditional Mongol warrior had not applied himself much to long term strategies. The new command corps would provide the structure and discipline needed to transform the Mongol warriors into a multi-skilled and adaptive force.

Genghis Khan also understood that a military is supported by its society, and he allowed Mongol civil society to advance with the aid of codified laws that he bade his advisor and scribe Tatatungo to write. The newly written Mongol code called for all men to work and to always be ready for battle, stated that even a leader was subject to law, insisted that all religions should be tolerated and even respected, and that the rights and responsibilities of women over the management of family assets should be greatly expanded. This inclusion of women in the management of society as opposed to total oppression allowed Mongol society to function while the men were away at war. Genghis Khan was not one to allow strict patriarchy to weaken his army. His codification and enforcement of written laws also promoted discussion and judging within Mongol society to settle disputes instead of the petty wars that had permanently raged for countless generations. With Mongol society now enjoying a greater level of peace, it could better maintain the engines of conquest.

With the natural talents of the Mongol warriors now enhanced by strategic thinking, professional leadership, and siegecraft technology, the many kingdoms of Asia would soon crumble beneath the hooves of the nomadic masses turned conquerors. Even with such might at his disposal, Genghis Khan did not deal blows thoughtlessly. He is well known for his astute use of terror. He cultivated such a frightful reputation that cities and kingdoms would surrender to him instead of suffer the assault of his bloodthirsty hordes. Genghis Khan required total and immediate submission in order to bestow his mercy. Any resistance invited brutal horrors. Although there is no condoning the slaughter and pillaging of his armies, his conscious use of terror was a well thought out practice that often brought him an efficient victory without having to spend the lives of his soldiers and waste resources and time.

The Mongols under Genghis Khan were such a colossal force that resistance was almost always futile. The fierce and highly skilled Mongol warriors seemed to have almost no match on the open battlefield. Mongol warriors were superb horse riders and able to shoot arrows while mounted. The speed and accuracy of this highly mobile force could outmaneuver and outfight almost all that encountered it. The Turks expected their great Silk Road city of Samarkand to hold out against the Mongols for at least a year, but even with 100,000 Turkish fighters to defend it, the Mongols were able to put the great city to the sword after a mere three days. Heartless slaughter descended upon Samarkand for its having the audacity to resist Genghis Khan, but he showed mercy to those within the city that sided with him, and, thoughtful as always, he saved from death those artisans and laborers that were useful to the Mongols.

Even with such glorious successes to his name, Genghis Khan experienced the inevitable pressure to supply his people with new success, and for Mongols this meant fresh victories and spoils. Historian Peter Brent, author of “Genghis Khan: The Rise, Authority, and Decline of Mongol Power” described this hungry cycle of continual war as the “debauchery of conquest.”

The empire created by Genghis Khan and maintained by a few generations of his heirs was truly of an epic scale. It imposed the will of a nomadic people upon the glorious towers of civilization, and millions of people from Chinese kings to Russian peasants to Persian traders lived in fear of Mongol invasions throughout the 12th and 13th centuries. Genghis Khan lived from 1167 to 1227, and he is truly one of the most awe inspiring figures in history. Clever and cruel yet a thoughtful administrator who managed his society on many levels, Genghis Khan was always a larger than life figure even to his contemporaries. Taller than most men and renowned for his nice beard, he received countless tributes and literally plundered the riches of the world. It is unknown if he took any of his wealth to the grave. The location of his tomb remains unknown. He rests somewhere among the cold rolling hills of Mongolia.

Immobilienmakler Heidelberg

Makler Heidelberg



Source by Tracy Falbe

Bach Flower Remedies for Writers

The process of writing can bring great pleasure and fulfillment, but anyone who wants to succeed as a professional writer is likely to have challenges to face. Finding time and solitude to write can be difficult if you have a ‘day job’ and a family. Only a small minority of aspiring authors will achieve acceptance by a traditional publisher, and if you go for self-publishing through the internet you will have to do your own marketing. Experiences of rejection and criticism are common, and can be very hurtful. There may be a conflict between what you want to write, and what other people want to read; few authors make much money from their books. ‘Writer’s block’ may develop at some stage.

I have experienced many of these problems myself, and also worked with a number of clients who are aspiring or established writers. Alongside mentoring and coaching techniques, I have found the Bach flower remedies can be very helpful. Here are a few examples.

Clematis: if you are a creative imaginative person who dreams of becoming a writer one day but has never got down to much serious work, this remedy can help you to focus attention on present-day practicalities.

Gentian: if you are feeling discouraged by events, perhaps after a series of publishers’ rejections or a negative review, this remedy will help to restore hope and faith in a positive outcome.

Hornbeam: this is the remedy for the ‘Monday morning feeling’. It promotes energy and enthusiasm for those who tend to procrastinate, or to be overcome by lethargy at the prospect of starting a new task.

Impatiens: this remedy curbs the tendency to rush into print prematurely. Even writers with exceptional talent require long dedicated effort to produce their best work. Impatiens can also help with irritation and frustration due to publishing delays.

Larch: if you tend to under-estimate your abilities and potential to succeed, and feel self-conscious about putting your work forward, this is the remedy to improve your confidence.

Walnut: to protect against outside influences which are distracting you from your chosen path. This remedy would be useful if you find it difficult to concentrate on writing because of what is happening around you, or if you allow other people’s opinions to have too much influence on your style.

Wild Oat: this is the remedy for vocational purpose. It is for those who want to do worthwhile work but are not sure what direction to take – perhaps finding themselves at the crossroads of having to decide whether to risk a switch to full-time writing, or continue with their previous career.

This is not a complete list. There are 38 flowers in the Bach series, and up to six can be combined in the same course of treatment. Each person will require a different mixture to meet their unique needs.

Immobilienmakler Heidelberg

Makler Heidelberg



Source by Jennifer Barraclough

The Absolute Beginner’s Guide To Copywriting

The Basics

What’s the big secret that copywriters use to write effective copy?

Here it is: Everybody is in a trance. The number of people who are self-actualized and completely aware is so small that you can discount them when you’re writing sales copy. The people who are going to read your sales copy are caught up in their lives.

You might want to check out the movie, “What the bleep do we know?” It’s the most useful explanation of this phenomenon I’ve ever seen.

People are living inside their heads.

They just drove home from a job they hate to a spouse who doesn’t understand them, or understands them far too well. Their bratty kids are whining about some silly thing. The bills are due and they don’t have the money to pay. Their mind is anywhere but where they are.

Or… They’ve spent the entire day changing diapers, mopping floors, and

watching daytime T.V. Their mind is on the cross-dressing librarian they couldn’t tear themselves away from on the box, their feet hurt, and they’re worried sick about some movie star’s love life.

Or… The limo driver was late, the board meeting was hell, and Warren Buffet just dumped his holdings in their publicly traded corporation, and is advising the world to do the same. The S.E.C. is skeptical about last year’s financials and the little weasel in accounting who threatened to squeal hasn’t been at work in three days.

Your mission, should you accept it, is to know exactly who you’re writing to, and walk a few thousand miles in their shoes. Get inside their mind. Find the pain, and then frame your solution to soothe their pain.

I’ve seen grown men cry as they sat at their desk, visualizing their readers, and their reader’s lives.

That’s the big secret.

Now, let’s look at the nuts and bolts of copywriting.

We’re going to focus on the “big seven” components of a well-written sales page.

1. Headline

2. Bullet-points

3. Subheads

4. The Body

5. The Guarantee

6. The Close

7. The P.S.

Once you master those, you’re ready to start writing copy.

The Headline

90% of your effort should go into writing your headline, because 90% of the effectiveness of your copy depends on it.

Write a lot of headlines. Fifty isn’t too many.

The purpose of the headline is to pull the reader’s mind out of its daily trance, and into your sales copy.

Professional copywriters, who are an educated, savvy bunch, read the

magazines you find at the check-out counter at the grocery store like text-books. “Elvis Marries 2-Headed Space Alien In Shotgun Ceremony!” “World Ending Thursday, 7:13 P.M., According To Secret Prediction!” “Oprah Loses 250 Pounds Eating Ice Cream- You Can, Too!”

That sort of thing.

Why? Because they stop you in your tracks and make you want to know more. Intellectually, you know they’re bull-poop, but people don’t buy with their intellect, they buy with their emotions.

There are an infinite number of ways to approach the writing of headlines, but let’s confine ourselves to five good ones for now.

The Question

Ask a question that can’t immediately be answered with “yes” or “no.”

“Do You Make These Seven Copywriting Mistakes?”

You can’t answer that unless you know what they are. You have to read the first sentence of the copy to find out. You want to know, don’t you? What are those mistakes? Do you make them? What are you going to do about it?

Let’s try another one.

“How Can YOU Fire Your Boss?”

Again, you won’t know if you don’t read the first sentence of the copy.

“What If You Could Double Your Sales In Ten Days?”

You can turn simple sentences into questions-

“You Want Financial Security, Don’t You?”

“She Deserves The Best, Doesn’t She?”

Here’s a special kind of Question headline:

“What Can A 29 Year Old Bottle-Washer From Cleveland, Texas Teach You About The 17 Shameful Secrets Of Shampoo?”

How can you resist?

The Call-Out

This is the easiest headline you can write, and it’s very effective if your product is for a specific niche.

If you’re selling a headache remedy, try “Headache Sufferers!”

If you’re selling guitar strings, try “Guitar Players!”

If you’re selling investments, try “Investors!”

You’ll only get the attention of the very narrow group that you “call out,” but if your product is that tightly focused, that’s all you need.

A Little Psychology

One of the psychological tools I discuss in Influence101 is “Social Proof.” You can get your copy of this audio home-study course at http://www.influence101.com.

Humans are herd animals. If “everybody” is doing something, then “you” must need to do it, too. Everybody else can’t be wrong, can they?

History is full of examples of ‘everybody” being wrong. “Social Proof” is how peer group pressure works.

The fashion industry, the soft drink industry, the religion industry, and the politics industry know this one, and use it all the time. .

We can use this principle to craft effective headlines.

One that has been over-used lately, but is a good example is:

“Who Else Wants To Make $20,000 A Week?”

Another way to use it is:

“Don’t Get Left Behind!”

Or: “20,000 Blind Albino Aviators Can’t Be Wrong!”

Intellectually, you know that they can. Writing sales copy has nothing to do with the intellect. People buy with their emotions and justify it with their intellect.

Imagine That…

Create a picture that draws your reader in.

Like: “Imagine How Much Freedom You’ll Have When You Master

Copywriting!”

“Picture This- Your First Million Dollars!”

The trick here is to paint a vague picture that is enticing, and let the reader fill in the details.

In the headline: “Picture Yourself In The Car Of Your Dreams!” The reader will do exactly that- providing the make, model, year and color for you.

The more detail you provide, the tighter your focus- and the smaller your potential target.

Quotes-

Anything with quotation marks around it will stand out.

“The Best Cigar I Ever Smoked,” Britney Spears.

“All My Men Wear Levi’s,” Elton John

“They Laughed When I Sat Down At The Piano, But When I Began To Play…” This may be the most famous headline in history, by the way. It ran, successfully, for decades.

Steal This Ad

As you start thinking like a copywriter, you’ll start noticing advertisements from a different perspective. Pay special attention to the headlines that get used over and over. Major advertisers are constantly testing headlines- if you notice an ad that runs for several months with the same headline, write that headline down!

It’s working.

Another interesting thing to note about successful copywriters: they steal. Every copywriter worth his salt has something called a “swipe file.” This is where they put copies of ads that they like. When it’s time for them to write a headline, the first thing they do is go to their swipe file and try to find one they can modify to fit their assignment.

Advertising may not be the oldest profession- although, it’s closely related. It has, however, been around a long, long, long time. Occasionally, some genius will come up with a headline that hasn’t been used before, but it’s very rare. Trust me, start snagging great ads and start your own swipe file.

Caveat- don’t steal word-for-word. Use your swipe file for inspiration. As you read the ad, see if you can analyze it to discover why it worked, and use that knowledge to create one that will work the same way.

Another interesting thing about copywriters- they sue. For example, there have been instances where a copywriter has been so impressed by Ted Nicholas’ copy that he used it verbatim. He regretted it almost instantly.

Bullet Points

There are at least three kinds of readers-

1. Those who will read every word you write.

2. Those who skim, focusing on headlines, bullet points, and major points.

3. Those who read the headline and then skip to the offer.

They all read the P.S., by the way.

As you design your copy, you need to keep all three readers in mind. You need to tell your story with your headline, sub-headlines, bullet points, and P.S., for the benefit of the skimmers- and you need to do it in a way that allows your copy to flow smoothly.

Bullet points are used to call attention to benefits.

Do you know the difference between a feature and a benefit? It’s a little tricky, but it’s a distinction you need to learn.

“Fine German engineering allows this car to cruise at 120 m.p.h.” is a feature.

“You can be playing golf while the others are still driving,” is a benefit.

Are you starting to see the difference? The feature is the description. The benefit is what it does for you.

Let’s look at another one.

“This pizza contains broccoli, spinach, and spirulina,” discusses features.

“Healthy pizza for building strong, sexy bodies,” discusses benefits.

Now let’s look for a benefit of the benefit:

“Healthy pizza that will make you so strong that girls will be asking you

out.” The benefit of the benefit “so strong” is “girls will be asking you out.”

Bullet points are only slightly less important than headlines. Almost all of your readers will read them. If you need ten bullet points, write a hundred, and then choose the best ten.

Sub-Heads

Sub-Headlines are like bullet points, but they stand alone, and introduce a new section of copy.

Everything we’ve discussed about headlines and bullet points applies to sub-headlines.

Use them to grab your reader by the shirt-collar and make him or her read the following copy.

Here are some examples of sub-headlines:

“But Wait- There’s More.” Personal note: whenever I hang out with copywriters, I’m silently watching the second hand on my watch. It’s only a matter of time before one of them quotes this sub-headline, and then the others laugh uncontrollably.

“New For 2006!” Would be a way to introduce benefits and features that have been changed for the new product year.

“How can a 165 year old technology revolutionize your sales path?” is a sub-head that was used for our very successful “Think and Grow Rich Automatically” sales page.

“Living a Lifestyle Beyond the Dreams of Avarice” helped us sell a pile of

“The Myth of Passive Income.” (www.mythofpassiveincome.com)

Get the idea? A sub-headline is just like any other headline, except it leads into a specific section of copy. When you’re writing your list of potential headlines, be sure and note the ones that would make good sub-heads.

The Body

This is the meat and potatoes of sales copy.

This is where you identify your customer’s pain, and provide him with the magic secret that will make the pain go away.

You may be wondering, “how long should the copy be?” The answer is, as long as it needs to be. There is a rule of thumb that states that the more expensive the item you’re trying to sell, the longer the copy needs to be.

Don’t be afraid of long copy. Remember your three kinds of readers. A person who is contemplating a purchase, especially the purchase of an expensive item, wants to know all there is to know about the item.

The very first step is to visualize who you’re writing to. What trance are they in as they begin to read?

What did they do all day? Was it fun? What do they want to do? Are they

hungry? Are they thirsty? Are they broke? Are they looking for the perfect

diamond ring?

You’ve used your headline to stop them in their tracks.

You’ve listed a few bullet points to make them curious.

You’ve got their attention with your sub-head.

Now you’ve got to lead them to the bottom of the page and help them press the “buy now” button.

Try to meet them where they are and take them with you. Imagine their objections and address them in your copy.

Avoid using big words when smaller words will do, and adjust your vocabulary to fit your reader. If you’re advertising reverse amortization mortgages in the secondary market, you’re going to use a completely different vocabulary than you will when you’re selling diapers.

One way to pull them into your copy is to tell them a story.

I’ve used this one several times.

“I used to be a broke blues guitar player, living on $30-$50 a night, a few nights a week. I lived in a mobile home, until it got repossessed. I know more ways to cook pinto beans than anybody else in North America, because pinto beans is about all we could afford to buy at the grocery store. “

Hopefully, by this point in the story, I’ve got my reader nodding his head. He’s been broke before. He’s identifying with my story, and putting himself in my place.

He’s ready for some good news:

“Then, one day I met Dr. Joe Vitale at a restaurant in Wimberley, Texas, and he handed me that book. What book? “Spiritual Marketing”.

The secrets contained in that book gave me the knowledge and power to re-frame my life, and create a lifestyle that gives me freedom, happiness, and pleasure. “

If I’ve done my job, my reader is asking “Where can I get that book?”

Your story doesn’t have to be about you. It does have to draw the reader into your sales copy. Use your story as an opportunity to stress the benefits of the product in a personal way.

Another strategy for writing compelling sales copy is to round up your best sub-headlines and put them in a logical order. Then use your copy to expand and explain the benefits mentioned in the sub-head.

Let’s look at some other strategies for leading our customer to the “buy now” button.

One technique I rely on a lot is the “problem-solution” copy.

You might start out by asking a question:

“Do You Have Dandruff?” for example.

Then describe the heartbreak of dandruff. Maybe tell a story about a man who lost his wife, his job, and his self-respect because of dandruff.

That’s the problem.

Then, just before our poor dandruff sufferer hangs himself from a shower-rod, you present the solution.

“Rub this duck oil on your head twice a day, and you won’t have to worry

about losing your wife, your job, or your self-respect.”

I’m exaggerating just a little- they gym where I work out has a t.v., and today I went during the day, when the soap operas were on. Daytime t.v. is pretty educational, if you’re a student of advertising.

I’m not exaggerating very much. For certain audiences, that approach works like a charm.

With appropriate modification, it will work for any audience.

Testimonials

The sales copy can contain testimonials, or you can use them to break up the copy into sections.

Testimonials are essential. Instead of just one person (you), who has a financial interest in the sale, telling them how great the product is, you can gather a crowd to tell them.

The two best kinds of testimonials are from experts and people just like your customer.

There is a trick to getting a testimonial, even from an expert, by the way.

It’s a secret, but I’ll tell you.

“You ask.”

Don’t tell anybody.

Use testimonials to build the case for your product.

The Guarantee

Use your guarantee to shift the risk from the purchaser to you.

You want your customer to feel totally confident when they buy your product. If they feel like they’re going to be stuck with it if they don’t like it, they won’t buy it. This is especially true on the internet, where they can’t touch, or even see the actual product.

Here’s a rule of thumb I learned from a very famous copywriter who was speaking at a seminar- “The longer the guarantee, the lower the return rate.”

Think about it. If you know you’ve got three days to decide if you like something, you’re going to be in a pretty big hurry to find something you don’t like. If you know you’ve got a year, or a lifetime, you don’t feel any urgency. In fact, you may forget about it completely.

I believe in strong guarantees.

I watched Joe Vitale offer a “double your money back” guarantee on a product that sold for almost a thousand dollars. That’s a very gutsy guarantee. It worked. He sold almost half a million dollars worth of product in just a few days- and one of the reasons was that outrageous guarantee.

Clickbank, and most merchant account companies, keep a reserve to pay for refunds. They use an algorithm based on your refund history, the price of the product, and the phase of the moon- I guess. I really don’t know how they do it, but I do know that they keep part of the sales revenue for a long time to make sure there’s money there to pay for refunds.

It’s worth it.

The Close

This is where you ask for the sale.

There’s no point being shy now. Either you’ve built a strong emotional case for your product or you haven’t.

Ask them to click the “buy now” button.

The trend right now in online sales is to hit them high, and then offer a lower price.

Like this:

What would you pay for that kind of freedom? What’s your financial independence worth to you?

You’re probably thinking, “At least a million dollars.”

And you’re right- but because you’re one of my treasured subscribers, I’m offering it for only $497…. But Wait, There’s More!

If you buy today, or anytime before next Tuesday, you can have our guide to financial freedom for only $17- But hurry, this is a limited time offer.

Again, I exaggerated for effect- but all the pieces are there. Establish a high value for your product and then give a believable reason why it’s cheaper in your offer. Create a sense of urgency- and stick to it. If you say that the price is going up on Tuesday, make darn sure you raise the price on Tuesday.

The close is where you mention the bonuses.

Whenever another author asks me if I’ve got anything laying around they can use for a bonus, I always answer “yes,” even if I have to write it specifically for their project. Most marketers and authors are the same way.

Why?

Because we embed links to our web pages and our products in those bonuses. They are an excellent tool for driving traffic to our websites. The more traffic, the more sales for us.

You will have no trouble gathering up as many bonuses as you need.

Let’s say you round up ten e-books as bonuses, and can realistically valuate them at $30 each. That’s $300 in bonuses that you can give away that didn’t cost you a cent.

Those bonuses will make your “close” a whole lot easier to write.

Like this:

Buy “Grow Tomatoes Automatically” for only $17, and get these bonuses, valued at $300, absolutely free!

Remember, people buy with their emotions and justify the purchase with their intellect. What sort of emotional response do you think you’re going to get, when you offer to trade $317 worth of product for $17 in currency?

Bonuses make sales.

The P.S.

After you’ve asked for the sale, you sign the sales copy and go home, right?

Wrong.

One of the most important lines on your sales page is your P.S. Put it right under your signature.

Everybody reads the P.S.

This is where you restate the most important aspect of your sales letter.

Like this:

P.S. There is no risk on your part- our products are guaranteed for your lifetime, and the lifetime of anybody who looks like you. Buy now!

Or:

P.S. Don’t wait- offer ends tomorrow!

Use the P.S. to convince the reader who has passed right by the “buy now’

button to retrace his steps and buy.

Some copywriters will add a P.P.S. and a P.P.P.S.

I don’t know if there is an upper limit to the number of these things that can be used effectively. I try to limit myself to two.

Immobilienmakler Heidelberg

Makler Heidelberg



Source by Pat O’Bryan

The Amazing True Story of Cary Grant’s Mother

Cary Grant is remembered as one of the most famous actors of Hollywood’s Golden Age, the star of such classics as ‘Bringing Up Baby’, ‘The Philadelphia Story’ and ‘Charade’. He was suave, debonair, immensely rich and successful and the very image of imperturbable gentility. What many people don’t realize is that he was actually English, born into a working class family in a Bristol slum, and that his mother was incarcerated in a mental asylum by Grant’s father when Cary was 9 and he thought for the next 20 years that she was dead.

Cary Grant’s birth name was Archibald Alexander Leach. His childhood was not happy. His father, Elias, worked as a presser in a clothing factory. He was a drinker and a womanizer. Archie’s mother, Elsie, came from a family of laundresses and brewery laborers. Elias and Elsie married in 1898 and had a son a year later. In 1900 that child died just short of his first birthday. The effect on Elsie was devastating and it left her seriously depressed. She was advised by her doctor to have another child. She did so and Archie Leach, the future Cary Grant, was born on January 18, 1904.

When he was nine years old he came home from school and was told by his father that his mother had gone to the seaside. He and Elias went to live with his father’s parents who brought Archie up for the rest of his time in England. Cary remembered them as ‘cold and distant’. Over the next few years he was led to believe that his mother was dead. The reality was that she had been declared insane by his father who was having an affair with another woman called Mabel Alice Johnson. She was pregnant and Elias wanted his wife out of the way without the expense of a divorce and this was an excellent way of doing it. The cruelty of the man towards both his wife and his son defies belief.

When he was 14 years old Archie left school, forged his father’s signature on a letter of introduction and joined the Bob Pender troupe of touring acrobats and comedians. It was the start of his life in show business and he went with the troupe in 1920 to America for an extended run in New York. When the troupe returned after two years, he stayed in America and continued his education in show business and in life. He did it very well. In 1929 he changed his name to Cary Grant, and soon became one of the most famous men in the world and immensely rich but he still did not know that his mother was alive and living in a mental institution in England.

He did not discover the truth about his mother until 1935 when his father died and he became his mother’s next of kin. Grant traveled back to England and was re-united with Elsie. It must have been an incredibly emotional time for both of them. Poor Elsie was a confused lady and for the rest of her days found it very difficult to work out the difference between Archie Leach, the son she thought she had lost, and Cary Grant the debonair and famous Hollywood actor.

Grant had her released from the asylum and looked after her well. The doctors recommended she stay in England and indeed Elsie steadfastly refused to travel to America despite many subsequent invitations from Cary. He set her up in her own household in Bristol and visited her regularly. Elsie was as resilient as her son and she lived to the good age of 93, dying in 1973.

It is a sad story but also uplifting. Cary Grant was brought up in a loveless dysfunctional family, yet he lifted himself up by his own efforts, educated himself and became a success at his chosen profession. He finally found his mother and was able to look after her.

Immobilienmakler Heidelberg

Makler Heidelberg



Source by Chris G Whiteley

Younger Writers VS Older Writers with More Wisdom – Who is Better?

The question comes up every so often with writers as to who is the better author? Who has more wisdom? Who writes more words per day, per week and whose words carry the great depth of understanding, wisdom or knowledge? One might say that the older writer is far superior in such regard, but are they really? You see as a younger writer, I just have a hard time buying into such logic.

Indeed, although I would not of course need any of the those Viagra Pills to perform or do the higher mathematics, I duly note the older gentleman’s experiences and expertise as well and merely ask, let’s examine the score board as you say: Stats, real world knowledge, success, numbers, etc.

For the writing, it seems I am new at this only been writing for two-years, but still in that two-years I have done what would take another 10, which is about the ratio of my other endeavors, perhaps maybe even a bigger gap now that I think about it. I average between 4,000 and 16,800 words per day.

So my contention is that not every young man is young, dumb and full of piss and vinegar to no avail, there are standouts who rise to the occasion and it is obvious who they are, as they stand out above the crowds, there are always anomalies in society and social groupings.

An older gentleman is on one side of the spectrum, I on another, and thus I think that as long as they produce good content, essays, books and articles they should be good enough to stand on their own accord without the AARP lobby helping them. Because, quite frankly an older and more experienced writer ought to be able to handle themselves on the keyboard or in the writing profession and stand on their accomplishments.

Immobilienmakler Heidelberg

Makler Heidelberg



Source by Lance Winslow

Pet Supplement Marketing: How to Stand Out From the Crowd

Pet owners are a big audience. According to Grandview Research, the global pet supplements market was estimated at USD 637.6 million in 2019. And it’s expected to grow at a CAGR of 7% from 2020 to 2027.

I’ll explain what this strategy is in a moment. Before I do that, let me tell you how it worked on one particular pet owner – me.

GETTING ATTENTION

One day not too long ago my little terrier mix, Dixie, didn’t feel like welcoming the new morning with her usual excitement.

No tail wagging.

No smiling (yes, dogs do smile!).

None of her regular enthusiasm for life.

None of the “I love you” yawning I came to expect right after waking up.

And she wouldn’t look directly into my face – no “hugging with her eyes” that dog lovers know so well.

Our vet, bless her heart, immediately diagnosed Dixie’s lethargy as a symptom of pancreatitis.

Astute sleuthing on the vet’s part pinpointed the cause as a nutritional deficiency. Dixie just wasn’t getting enough nourishment.

That’s when I went into high gear looking for solutions. Google search results led me to forums and blogs where other dog owners shared similar experiences.

The love and care these people showed for their furry friends really got my attention. It made their stories come to life in my mind.

It’s as if I was having one-on-one conversations with them.

I felt like I was included in a special inner circle with other like-minded ‘pet people’.

The bonus was health advice for Dixie that worked. Now she gets a multivitamin mix in her breakfast dish every day. She also gets a special anti-nausea supplement whenever her symptoms reappear.

And her food and treats have been upgraded to ‘premium’ status.

Dixie’s poor nutrition had been a real threat to her well-being. The education I got from other caring dog owners probably saved her in spite of my ignorance.

Dixie is happy and healthy once again. Months later, she shows no signs of the near tragedy that almost derailed her life.

Because of this experience I’ve made it my mission to spread the word about what I learned and what I did to make sure it never happens again – to Dixie or to any other pooch.

A TEACHABLE MOMENT

This happy outcome occurred because of input from people I came to trust.

What I experienced is what educators call a teachable moment.

It turned out to be a double-whammy for me.

First, I learned how to help Dixie.

In addition, I also learned how powerful that one marketing principle is that I mentioned at the beginning of this article.

The term for this principle, as cited by the Grandview Research survey mentioned above, is “humanization.”

People humanize their pets. I know I do.

In fact, the term comes up multiple times in the Grandview Research survey.

It was also cited in a recent article in Nutraceuticals World as a driving force behind pet supplement sales during the pandemic.

MARKETING FOR PETS AS FAMILY

Using emotions to guide sales is as age-old as marketing itself. Yet this can be taken to the next level when we’re talking about pets.

Implementing the following three strategies will do exactly that when done right. Every step entails acknowledging pets as family.

1) Use the extra advantage of social media.

People love to see posts and pictures on social media related to pets. Nothing humanizes pets better than heartwarming or humorous photos and videos.

2) Partner with a pet charity.

According to the digital marketing company, Optimum 7, 63% of shoppers are more likely to buy from businesses that support social causes.

Pet welfare and adoption agencies are right at the top of the list.

3) Implement consumer-based marketing.

My story about Dixie is just one example of how other pet lovers spoke about specific brands of pet supplements.

Incorporating this strategy is a matter of providing the opportunity for consumers to talk about and show off their beloved pets.

Comments on blog posts, social media articles, and forums offer plenty of opportunity for consumers to add ‘pet power’ to your marketing plan.

Finally, note that marketing for pet products shouldn’t be the same as for any other type of product. A cookie-cutter marketing plan won’t get the job done.

Really standing out from the crowd means incorporating pet humanization into your marketing plan.

That’s the thread running through all three of these strategies.

A FINAL SUGGESTION

Here’s where I would normally sing my own praises as a copywriter in the alternative health niche. It’s one way I attract new clients.

Rather than do that now, I’ll instead qualify myself for ‘pet marketing duty’ based on my lifelong love of dogs and cats.

I do, indeed, humanize my pets.

And just like other pet owners, I’m subject to persuasion marketing that accounts for that.

It’s the icing on the cake of my professional experience and qualifications.

In lieu of loading you down with my huzzahs, I’ll simply suggest we have a conversation about… well, our pets.

One of the perks of having pets in the family is being able to brag about them to others. So I’m encouraging you to brag about yours to me. (I might even do the same! ALERT: I might also want to also talk about another terrier mix, Ellie, and an orange tabby, Dilly. They’re all just so lovable!)

If during our chat we discover how I can help you with your pet supplement marketing, then so much the better.

I’m game if you’re game. Just give me a call or shoot me an email.

Let’s get the (pet) ball rolling today!

Immobilienmakler Heidelberg

Makler Heidelberg



Source by Dr. Dennis Clark, Ph.D.

William Shakespeare – The Greatest English Writer

Known as the greatest English writer of all time, William Shakespeare was born in Stratford-upon-Avon, England in April of 1564. He is a son of a glove maker named John Shakespeare and Mary Arden. He was baptized on April 26 of 1564 and April 23rd has been considered as his birthday. Shakespeare’s father John was a prosperous glove maker during his birth. However, he was prosecuted for engaging in wool’s black market and as a result, lost his alderman position.

On November 28, 1952, Shakespeare married Anne Hathaway on what is believed to be a rush wedding because of the Hathaway’s pregnancy. On May 26, 1583, Shakespeare’s first child named Susanna was baptized in Stratford. Less than two years later, on February 2, 1585, his son and daughter – Hamnet and Judith were baptized. Hamnet died in 1596 and many people believed that this inspired Shakespeare to write “The Tragical History of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark.”

William Shakespeare has become a writer, actor, and part owner of a theater company “The Lord Chamberlain’s Men.” The said theater company was famous after the death of Queen Elizabeth I and during the coronation of King James I. The monarchy adapted the theater company and it was renamed as “The King’s Men.”

Shakespeare wrote some of the world’s greatest tragedy plays such as “Romeo and Juliet,” “Macbeth,” “King Lear,” “Othello,” and “Hamlet.” He has also written timeless comedy plays like “The Comedy of Errors,” “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” and “The Tempest.”

The plays that William Shakespeare has written continue to be widely performed and studied until now in different parts of the world. Indeed, William Shakespeare is a person who gave pride to British flag.

Immobilienmakler Heidelberg

Makler Heidelberg



Source by Pollux Parker

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