Why Spikes Are Critical To Sustain The Interest of the Reader (And How To Do It Right)

Why Spikes Are Critical To Sustain The Interest of the Reader (And How  To Do It Right)

We’ve all seen that heart monitor in hospitals, haven’t we?

It spikes up, down, then flat.

In stories, these ups, downs and flats seem to show up almost as part of the story. A story by its very nature seems to bob up and down.

Not so with articles.

In articles, it’s easy to go from point to point without creating the ups and downs. It’s easy to have so many facts that the entire article is filled with flats. So we have to take special care when writing articles. And we do this by inserting elements that instantly spike interest.

So which elements create spikes?

They are:

1) Objections

2) Stories/Case-Studies

3) Examples

1) Objections

The objection really makes a big entrance in spikiness. This is because the article is flowing one way, and the objection goes the other way 100% of the time. Let’s say your article is about making “ice-cream quickly”, the objection will almost always play devil’s advocate and talk about “making ice-cream slowly” or “making ice-cream even faster” or “making ice-cream in a whole different way”. That brings up a wall of tension. It engages the reader.

What also engages the readers a lot are stories/case-studies.

2) Stories/Case-Studies

Plop in a story anywhere at any time, and you get attention. When I first began writing back in the year 2001 or so, I didn’t realise the power of the story. I’d sit at my computer for two days in a row, trying to get the facts into my article. And somehow the article would be kinda boring. So I’d scrap it, start again, and try to stuff more facts in it.

And then one day it occurred to me what I was missing: It was the power of the story.

See that? I put a in a story. And you immediately locked in. Stories have that kind of pulling power. So do case-studies. If you talk about how Coca-Cola did this, or Harley Davidson did that, or how some scientist invented something, you get my attention.

Of course it has to be relevant to the article, but it gets that spike right up.

The third and last spike of all is the example part of your article.

3) Examples

Some articles are easy to understand. This one, for instance, doesn’t need a ton of examples. But some concepts aren’t quite that simple and examples spike interest right away. And they do so, because the reader is now directly applying the concepts to their business or life.

The example makes a big effort to explain the concept, so the reader is very focused on squeezing the maximum out of the example and reading intently. This intent reading is what causes the spike, of course.

So your article visually looks like this:

“First 50 Words” – Spike

Blah

Blah

Example – Spike

Blah

Story – Spike

Blah

Blah

Objection – Spike

Example – Spike

Example – Spike

Blah

Summary

Sandwich

Next step

Note: The blah, blah is not just blah, blah. It’s represents the facts of the article.

Also note that you don’t have to have the spikes in the exact same space all the time, but having a series of spikes keeps the reader’s interest locked in.

The spikes make the reader edge forward. The blah, blah helps them to relax a bit.

Too many spikes and it’s too hard to handle. Too few spikes and yup, it’s borrrrrring!

But what if you don’t have the opportunity to have all three elements?

Some articles don’t have the space or even the need for all three spike elements (namely, story/case study, objection and example). What do you do, then? Well, every article has space for at least two elements. And even if you’re stuck with the choice of just one, then that one needs to be “objections”.

So there you have it…

Three spike elements that create ups and downs.

But don’t disregard the flats. They’re facts and matter a heck of a lot.

Together the spikes and flats create this movement in the article to keep the reader involved.

Just like the monitor in the hospital.

As long as it’s going up, down and flat you know all is well.

 


NEW! The Brain Audit is now available in many formats

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1) You can get a physical book
2) You can get the ePub/Kindle/PDF version
3) You can get an audio version
4) Or you can get the the more interesting (or should we say “most interesting”) option The Brain Audit Kit.
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NEW! Critical Website Components: A Simple Step-by-Step System to Creating your Key Website Pages

1) Testimonial Secrets: Powerful Techniques to Get Better Clients-And Sales
2) Story Telling Series: How to suck your audience right in, in a matter of seconds
3) Sales Pages: How To Write Benefits and Bullets That Speed Up Sales
4) Article Writing: How To Speed Up Article Writing With Simple Outlines
5) Visual Basics: How Visuals Help Increase Sales Conversion On Your Website
6) Design Clarity: How to put sanity into your design with some really simple tweaks
7) Chaos Planning: How ‘Irregular’ Folks Get Things Done


1) Black Belt Presentation Series: How to completely control the room—without turning anyone off?
2) Online Membership Sites: How To Build A Powerful, Community-Driven Membership Website


 

 


Why You Need to Have “Tension and Release” To Create Drama in Article Writing

Why You Need to Have "Tension and Release"  To Create Drama in Article Writing

Do you feel a headache coming on, whenever you make your to-do list?

I sure do, because no matter how much I whittle down my list, there’s always a ton of projects that need to be finished. And that’s when the headache comes on. And stays on until I do a simple act.

I choose to start on one project.

The wall of things to do hasn’t gone away, but there’s a release from the tension. And this is similar to the “tension and release” of article writing.

So what is the “tension and release” method, anyway?

When you’re writing an article, you’ll get to a stage where you are giving the customer advice. And this advice rolls out like a to-do list.

- Do this

- Then this

- Then that

- And that

- Oh yes, that too

- And don’t forget this itty bitty thing.

See that list above? It’s a wall

And let’s take an example of a real wall that would appear in your article. Let’s take an example from an article on “segmented organic data analysis”. In this article, the writer talks about the what, why, how, when of “segmented organic data analysis”.

Then it comes to the point where she wants to drive home the things you have to do—in effect, the to-do list.

And instantly she creates a wall of tension

As you look at the list below, you feel a wave of overwhelm swamping your brain. But you can’t help yourself. You have to read on. So let’s read and then get to the other side, shall we?

Here’s the writer’s wall:

As you look at your segmented organic data you can dig deeper by analysing:

• Landing pages – which pages your visitors landed on.

• Bounce rates of the landing pages – percentage of visitors coming to your site who visit just one page and leave.

• Compare low bounce rate pages with high bounce rate pages. Is there something that stands out…something you could improve to bring down the bounce rates?

• Do certain pages contribute more to your bottom line than others? Why? Is there something you can take from these pages and apply to the lower converting pages?

• Next pages – If the landing pages are doing their job, what about the secondary pages? Are these pages moving visitors forward towards the ultimate conversion point?

• New vs. returning visitors – is there a difference in their conversion rates? Do certain pages work better for new visitors?

So now we’re on the wall, but how do you create the “release?”

You simply isolate one element. Instead of going on and on, you hone in on just ONE element. Which is exactly what the writer does in her article. This is where she lets you jump over the wall and get to the other side. So instead of giving you a lot of steps, she chooses just one element from the list above.

But which element should you choose?

Yes, yes, we know. They’re all so important, but choose. Just choose one. The reader doesn’t care which one you choose. All they know is that they’re up to their eyeballs in tension, and you have break that tension.

So let’s say we chose “bounce rates” and talked about it briefly, then we’ve created a “release”. And this tension and release is great, because it creates enormous drama in your article. Your article stops being just an article and becomes somewhat like a drama-series or movie, instead.

But where do you create these movie-like “tension and release” moments?

You could do this anywhere in the article, but it’s probably best once you’ve already gone through explaining the how, what, why, when etc. Once you’ve explained the concepts, it’s time to bring out the wall and create the tension.

And then masterfully release it by giving a single way out of the mess.

The tension will bring on the headache

The release will bring great relief.

And that’s what great movies, TV series and yes, writing is about, isn’t it?


NEW! The Brain Audit is now available in many formats

Brain Audit Epub and Kindle
1) You can get a physical book (directly from Amazon)
2) You can get the ePub/Kindle/PDF version
3) You can get an audio version
4) Or you can get the the more interesting (or should we say “most interesting”) option The Brain Audit Kit.
Find out more: Brain Audit Options


Top Selling Products Under $50


NEW! Critical Website Components: A Simple Step-by-Step System to Creating your Key Website Pages

1) Testimonial Secrets: Powerful Techniques to Get Better Clients-And Sales
2) Story Telling Series: How to suck your audience right in, in a matter of seconds
3) Sales Pages: How To Write Benefits and Bullets That Speed Up Sales
4) Article Writing: How To Speed Up Article Writing With Simple Outlines
5) Visual Basics: How Visuals Help Increase Sales Conversion On Your Website
6) Design Clarity: How to put sanity into your design with some really simple tweaks
7) Chaos Planning: How ‘Irregular’ Folks Get Things Done


1) Black Belt Presentation Series: How to completely control the room—without turning anyone off?
2) Online Membership Sites: How To Build A Powerful, Community-Driven Membership Website


 

 


Why “Testimonials” Play The Supporting Actor Instead of the Lead Roles

Why "Testimonials" Play The Supporting Actor Instead of the Lead Roles

In every movie, there’s the lead role and the supporting actor

The lead, as you’d expect, gets the chunkier parts to play in the movie. And the supporting actor, well, supports that lead role. This same scenario plays itself out when it comes to testimonials. With one minor difference: testimonials play both the lead role and the supporting actor role simultaneously. And what’s worse is that instead of letting the testimonial play its lead role, we often give it just the lines of the supporting actor.

So let’s stop for a second to understand how testimonials play their role

Testimonials are seen mostly as third-party proof. So when you have a testimonial, it’s not you saying how truly wonderful your product is, but instead having a customer say you’re superfragilisticexpialidocious instead!

And amazing as it may sound, that third-party proof is the supporting role. The role your testimonial should play instead is to kill the objections instead.

When buying a product or service, the customer has objections

And most of the time, we hope the objections never come up. But of course they do, and then if we’re prepared we squat away those objections with our logic.

But why not let the testimonials do that instead? Why not testimonials take the lead role in killing the objections?

So how do you go about getting testimonials that defuse objections?

You follow a series of steps

Step 1: You determine the list of objections to buying your product or service. You’ll tend to get about 6-7 main objections.

Step 2: You then find out which one of those 6-7 objections are the biggest. One of them will stand head and shoulders over the rest.

Step 3: You then get clients to give their testimonial based on that single objection.

Let’s take an example:

Step 1: Let’s say you’re selling a coffee mug. And there are 6-7 objections.

Step 2: Let’s then say that the biggest objection is “the mug is too expensive”.

Step 3: You get in touch with clients who’ve bought the mug. And then ask them to relate why the mug was still a good deal, despite being expensive.

When you do this exercise, you’ll get a series of testimonials that deal with this one objection

You take four-five of these testimonials (maybe more) and plaster your webpage, your brochures etc. with the testimonials that deal with this one objection. e.g. It was too expensive but here’s why I think it’s a great deal. Yes, you figured it out.

The testimonial is playing a main role here. It’s not just giving you the customer’s “wow” but it’s focused on destroying the objection with testimonial after testimonial that talks about just one objection.

But what do you do with the rest of the testimonials?

Some clients may not think the objection, e.g. “it’s too expensive” is their main objection. They may have another objection and hence their testimonial will be related to that specific objection. e.g. it’s too light. So now you have the main objection and the main testimonial.

But you also have these other supporting objections and supporting testimonials. Well, go ahead and use them all, but make sure you get more testimonials that deal with the biggest objection, first. Then give the remaining space to the rest of the testimonials.

And in this way you get the testimonial to play both the lead role and supporting actor

Lead roles makes for interesting movies. But supporting actors can’t be ignored. They both play their part.

Just be sure to give the “lead actor” more lines to read and watch as your sales start to soar.

————————-

NEW! The Brain Audit is now available in many formats

Brain Audit Epub and Kindle
1) You can get a physical book (directly from Amazon)
2) You can get the ePub/Kindle/PDF version
3) You can get an audio version
4) Or you can get the the more interesting (or should we say “most interesting”) option The Brain Audit Kit.
Find out more Brain Audit Options.


Top Selling Products Under $50


NEW!  Critical Website Components
A series of three books on how to create your “Home Page”, “About Us” and “Get Customers To Sign Up”.

1) Testimonial Secrets: Powerful Techniques to Get Better Clients-And Sales
2) Story Telling Series: How to suck your audience right in, in a matter of seconds
3) Sales Pages: How To Write Benefits and Bullets That Speed Up Sales
4) Article Writing: How To Speed Up Article Writing With Simple Outlines
5) Visual Basics: How Visuals Help Increase Sales Conversion On Your Website
6) Design Clarity: How to put sanity into your design with some really simple tweaks
7) Chaos Planning: How ‘Irregular’ Folks Get Things Done


1) Black Belt Presentation Series: How to completely control the room—without turning anyone off?
2) Online Membership Sites: How To Build A Powerful, Community-Driven Membership Website


 

 


How Slightly Exuberant Sub-Topics Get You In Trouble

How Slightly Exuberant Sub-Topics Get You In Trouble

Have you heard about a program called InDesign?

Well, if you haven’t, it’s a program I use to create amazing-looking e-books. Then one day, someone asked me to show them how to create e-books similar to what I was doing. Could I, she asked, create a video-based product that would teach her the precise steps to learning how to create the e-book, the e-book, and nothing but the e-book?

So that’s what I did. I mapped out the steps required to get an e-book up and running.

But what does this product have to do with article writing?

Think about it: What is a product? Yup, that’s correct. It’s a bunch of articles. When you string those articles together and cover the points needed, voilà, it’s a product. And if we are to write articles, we need to write outlines. And to write outlines, we first need to create topics and sub-topics. How hard could that be?

Not hard if you do less work, instead of more

Yes, yes, don’t read the previous line again. It’s important to do LESS than more, because the moment you do more, you get yourself tangled. And the best way to see the tangling is to watch it in slow motion, with an example. So let’s roll those slow motion cameras, shall we?

And let’s get back to that InDesign product I was creating.

Step 1: Topic = InDesign

Step 2: Sub-topics:

We can do this the wrong way, or the right way. Heh, heh, of course we’re going to do this the wrong way to begin with. So let’s tackle the first wrong way. Where you think that instead of writing short, short, short sub-topics, you end up with a sort of outline.

- How do we create shortcuts?

- Why is systemising folders important?

- Do we really need the library?

- Can we do without master pages?

Nope that won’t work

And it’s unlikely that you’ve done the questions. But you may have still added some extra words here and there. Let’s look at what’s possible.

- How to create shortcuts

- The importance of folder systemisation

- Why libraries are crucial

- Getting master pages to work

Or we might not even go so far. We might just repeat ourselves for no reason

- Shorcuts in InDesign

- Folder systemisation in InDesign

- Libraries in InDesign

- Master pages in InDesign

And of course all of these are not needed. So now that we know what’s not needed, how do we do less and get more?

Topic: InDesign

Sub-topics:

- Shortcuts

- Folder Systemisation.

- Library

- Master pages

So why is less more important?

The trouble arises when we expand the sub-topic. Usually a sub-topic will expand like this:

Sub-topic = Shortcuts

Outline

- What are shortcuts in InDesign?

- Why are they important?

- When do you use shortcuts?

- Where can you change shortcuts?

- What are the three most important shortcuts to know?

- But what if I want my own shortcuts?

- Summary

- Next step

Now instead of just the term “shortcuts”, let’s take the questions instead

Sub-topic = How do we create shortcuts?

Outline = ?

You get stuck, don’t you? Instead of that question “how do we create shortcuts”, you could have restricted it to just “creation”. That would make the sub-topic go one level lower. Because now you’re not just talking about shortcuts, but how to “create” shortcuts. And in doing so, you realise that there’s a whole world of stuff to do with just “shortcuts”.

But we don’t want to dive so deep yet

And we don’t want to confuse ourselves.

So we avoid questions, long sentences and repeating ourselves. And that enables us to create sharp, precise outlines.

Here’s a visual example

How Slightly Exuberant Sub-Topics Get You In Trouble

Notice how for the most part, the sub-topics have been restricted a single word? That’s because you don’t need any more. In some cases, the term “gradation” has been written over and over again. Again, that’s overkill. It’s not terrible, but you don’t need it.

Note also that this is the first draft of the outline. So it’s mostly to get the topics and sub-topics. The complete outlining will follow later. But some ideas popped into my head and I didn’t want to lose them, so I did jot them down.

And yes, that is my handwriting. How Slightly Exuberant Sub-Topics Get You In Trouble

But what if I put in two or three words, instead of just one?

Sometimes you will find that sub-topic requires more than one word. Well that’s fine. Keep it whole. In one of my outlines I have terms like “gradation wash” or “recognizing junk”.

This is not about getting it down to a single word. It’s about avoiding needless words when outlining. It’s about avoiding the confusion from writing sub-topics that go off tangent.

So when creating outlines be sure to take these steps

1) First create topics.

2) Create short, non-exuberant sub-topics. The fewer words you use, the better.

3) Then outline and you’ll find that it’s much easier to outline your article.

I started out with the InDesign product and a coffee later, I was done

I didn’t need to think through the detail. I just needed to have the topic and the sub-topics as short as possible. That took under 10 minutes and I was done.

The outlining would come later and wouldn’t hassle me at all.

Less is mostly more.

Try it.


Top Selling Products Under $50


1) Testimonial Secrets: Powerful Techniques to Get Better Clients-And Sales
2) Story Telling Series: How to suck your audience right in, in a matter of seconds
3) Sales Pages: How To Write Benefits and Bullets That Speed Up Sales
4) Article Writing: How To Speed Up Article Writing With Simple Outlines
5) Visual Basics: How Visuals Help Increase Sales Conversion On Your Website
6) Design Clarity: How to put sanity into your design with some really simple tweaks
7) Chaos Planning: How ‘Irregular’ Folks Get Things Done


1) Black Belt Presentation Series: How to completely control the room—without turning anyone off?
2) New! Online Membership Sites: How To Build A Powerful, Community-Driven Membership Website


 

 


Will It Bloat?: How The Outlines Gives Us Clues About The Length Of Our Articles

Will it Bloat?: How the Outlines Gives Us Clues About The Length of Our Articles

Most writers write

They sit down and they write.

And some smart ones outline.

But even the outline gives us clues about bloating

It shows you how your article can go well past the original intent and into puffy-land. And you don’t even have to look at the words in the outline. The bloat is visually apparent. Just look at your article outline and see how many lines you have in them.

If you’ve got a ton of lines, then you’re almost always headed for a bloated article.

Let’s take an example or two:

_____________________________________________

Cooking – Keeping the kitchen clean

“First 50 Words”

Why to keep your kitchen clean

How to avoid dirty dishes to accumulate

How to clean your kitchen

What to avoid when cleaning your kitchen

How to find the right tools to clean your kitchen

Where to store dirty dishes

When to start cleaning

What to do if your kitchen drowns in dirty dishes

Examples

Cleaning the kitchen takes too much time

Not cleaning your dishes immediately

Summary

Sandwich / Next Step

_____________________________________________

Example 2: On pelicans

What are pelicans?

Where do pelicans live?

Why do they live there?

How long do pelicans live?

What do they eat?

How do they eat with that long beak?

Do they sleep?

How do they sleep?

Why do they have a long beak?

Do they know they have a long beak?

Can pelicans fly?

How can I get a pelican as a pet?

Can you pet them?

Do they bite?

Do they like people?

What other animals are their friends?

How do they talk to each other?

Summary

_____________________________________________

Now look at the outlines above. You can tell it’s a lot of information to cover

And invariably a line in your outline will lead to a paragraph or two, maybe even three, in your article. So if you have 15-20 lines in your outline, that’s about 30-45 paragraphs that you have to grapple with.

And of course you’re panicking now

And the way we panic is to cut back dramatically. So instead of 20 lines in our outline, we try to write three or four. And that’s too few lines to have in an outline. So what’s the correct number of lines to have in an outline?

As you’d expect there is no strict formula

But what you’re trying to get in your outline is the critical whats, whys, hows—and maybe the when, where (if needed). You’re also getting the objections in. The summary may be important. And then you’re moving the reader on to the next step.

So if you randomly threw a topic at me, like “leadership”, for instance…

I’d come up with a reasonably interesting outline based on a few critical elements.

_____________________________________________

Topic or Sub-topic = Leadership

Outline:

“First 50 Words”

What is leadership?

Why is leadership important?

How to recognise if your organisation has the right leadership qualities.

But why can’t we just have a democratic set up instead of leaders and followers?

What are the three common mistakes of leadership?

Summary

Sandwich/Next step.

Three minutes and thirty seconds.

Let’s try another very open-ended topic

Topic or sub-topic: Career Development

“First 50 Words”

What is career development?

What is the importance of career development?

When should one start? And how long should you go?

Who pays for career development? You or your boss?

Examples/case studies of how career development helped

Career development courses and where to find them.

Summary

Sandwich

Next step.

3 minutes flat Will it Bloat?: How the Outlines Gives Us Clues About The Length of Our Articles

And what you quickly realise is that you’re thinking too much, which leads to bloat

Outlines don’t require an enormous amount of thought. Whether it’s pelicans you’re writing about or geo-spatial awareness, the outline is pretty much the same. I still need to know the core answers. And yes, once you’ve covered the how, what, why, when, where, I still need something in the middle of the article—just to spike the interest and so you put in an objection. And yes, you can do it in five minutes or less.

But surely you have to think things through

No you don’t. You’ll find that for the most part, the thinking is slowing you down and not really creating any greater value to the article’s contents. When you’re writing the article, you will find that a question like “Why do pelicans feast on….” will bring up a ton of detail anyway. Trying to think of the details at outline stage is often a waste of time.

That’s not as if to say you can’t add in minor ideas into your outline. Sometimes you think of something that you may not remember later. It may not be part of the “formula” outline, and you want to make sure you get it in. Well do it. And even if you get past the outline stage, and find something missing when writing the article, you can always add it. But spare yourself the agony of thinking out every outline in the greatest details.

And look.

Look at your outline—really look!

If it’s bloating, the outline expands and keeps expanding. That’s a sign of sure puffiness. It’s time to cut back and keep it to the core elements.

The outline is, after all just an outline.


Top Selling Products Under $50


1) Testimonial Secrets: Powerful Techniques to Get Better Clients-And Sales
2) Story Telling Series: How to suck your audience right in, in a matter of seconds
3) Sales Pages: How To Write Benefits and Bullets That Speed Up Sales
4) Article Writing: How To Speed Up Article Writing With Simple Outlines
5) Visual Basics: How Visuals Help Increase Sales Conversion On Your Website
6) Design Clarity: How to put sanity into your design with some really simple tweaks
7) Chaos Planning: How ‘Irregular’ Folks Get Things Done


1) Black Belt Presentation Series: How to completely control the room—without turning anyone off?
2) New! Online Membership Sites: How To Build A Powerful, Community-Driven Membership Website


 

 


Headline Writing: Three Core Factors That Trigger Off Curiosity

Headline Writing: Three Core Factors That Trigger Off Curiosity

David Ogilvy started up O & M, one of the largest advertising agencies in the world. That very same David suggested that headlines were the most important factor in communication.

Not by a factor of 2:1

Or 3:1

But a whopping 4:1.

He suggested that 80% of your article is dependent on your headline. His exact words were: “On average, five times as many people read the headline as read the body copy. When you have written your headline, you have spent eighty cents out of your dollar.”

Of course there might be no proof to sustain this crazy statement, but there is common sense

And common sense tells us that we will not respond to something if it’s not attractive enough to us. So if you were to attend a seminar in your town, you’d look for the headline. If you were to buy a book, that “headline” is the book title and the sub-title (often the sub-title is more important). And the same applies to articles.

No matter where people are looking for your article, they’re first looking at the headline

Why do they do that? Because of several reasons:

1) Is this for me?

2) Is it something I know or don’t know?

3) Would I get any benefit by reading this?

So let’s take an example, just from my head, of course

Headline 1: Why eating honey and cinnamon may not do your arthritis any good.

So what are the factors in that headline?

1) Is this for me? Do you have arthritis? If so, boof, you’re trapped.

2) Is this something I know or don’t know? Well, I didn’t know about honey and cinnamon. And if I did, then why is it not good? I’d want to know.

3) Would I benefit from reading this? Yes, if I had arthritis, this would definitely help me use/rule out what I’m about to do next. I might stop my supply of honey, change it, or order more.

So as you can see, the factors at play force you to read the article. These factors create a solid wrapping of curiosity that’s impossible to ignore—if you have or will have arthritis. Though you may also read it if you don’t have it and someone in your family or friends circle has the problem.

So the headline isn’t just a nice little title

It’s a time bomb that you spotted three seconds ago, and is about to go off. You have to pay attention right now, and you are then forced to slide right into the article, just to see what the article is all about. Of course it’s at this point that the baton is passed over from the headline to the rest of the article. And now it depends on the writer’s skill at holding the reader’s attention within the main body of the article.

But without the headline, the curiosity would never have stirred

You’d never read the main copy.

So David Ogilvy was right.

80% of the advertising depends on your headline.

Give or take a few percent, I’m sure.

 


Top Selling Products Under $50


1) Testimonial Secrets: Powerful Techniques to Get Better Clients-And Sales
2) Story Telling Series: How to suck your audience right in, in a matter of seconds
3) Sales Pages: How To Write Benefits and Bullets That Speed Up Sales
4) Article Writing: How To Speed Up Article Writing With Simple Outlines
5) Visual Basics: How Visuals Help Increase Sales Conversion On Your Website
6) Design Clarity: How to put sanity into your design with some really simple tweaks
7) Chaos Planning: How ‘Irregular’ Folks Get Things Done


1) Black Belt Presentation Series: How to completely control the room—without turning anyone off?
2) New! Online Membership Sites: How To Build A Powerful, Community-Driven Membership Website


 

 


When Outlines Behave Like Cats: How To Keep An Outline From Going Off At A Tangent

When Outlines Behave Like Cats: How To Keep An Outline From Going Off At A Tangent

Good doggie.

Nice doggie.

Yes, dogs will often do what you say

The cat, on the other hand, has a mind of its own.

Your outlines are often like cats. You try to rein them in, but they just meow, snarl and go their own way. And it will drive you crazy.

But you can make an outline go woof—once you understand how, that is.

Let’s take an example:

Topic = Cartooning

Sub-topic = Cartooning faces

Sub-sub-topic = Cartooning angry faces

As you can see, the topic “cartooning” was way too vast and wild

We could have gone off in any direction, and quickly got lost, I may add. So we step down to the sub-topic, namely, “cartooning faces”. Now we have some control, but still a lot less focus than we like. Should we talk about grumpy, sad, hungry, upset, curious, desperate, tired, upset—you get the idea, don’t you? We know we’re dealing with faces, but we’re still slightly out of focus.

So we step down one level lower

Now you’re more than sure that you can tackle the “cartooning angry faces” topic. You can plainly see that an outline is already starting to form in your head. You can describe what is angry face, why you need to learn to draw one, when do you avoid it—ah, the outline tumbles out of you like a torrent.

The topic was wild.

The sub-topic was somewhat in focus.

Ah, the joy of the sub-sub-topic.

So should we never outline a topic or sub-topic ever again?

Should you always be wandering down to sub-sub-topics instead? No, that’s not the case. If you write an article about “pricing”, you will most certainly have to give your client the idea of what your idea of “pricing” is all about. Your idea of pricing, will most certainly be different than mine. If you write about the topic of “talent”, you still have to give the reader what you mean by “talent”. Again, what you see at talent may be totally different from what I’d say about talent.

So heck, yeah, you’ll have to write those topics and sub-topics

But it won’t bug you as much. You now know where your sub-sub-topics are going. And that gives you an obedient set to work with. This leaves you free to then allow the nature of the “topic” and “sub-topics” to be a little more cat-like, because your sub-sub-topics will indeed be woofing obediently.

But all this sub-sub-sub must be making your head crazy, so let’s summarise

1) The topic is wild. It can go anywhere e.g. “cartooning” is a broad topic.

2) The sub-topic is more obedient, but helps to focus a bit better. e.g. “cartooning faces”.

3) The sub-sub-topic is where you hit pay dirt. “Cartooning angry faces” helps you focus with absolute clarity. And the outline tumbles out easily.

4) The topic and sub-topic are still very useful and not to be disregarded. You still have to use them to get the client to understand your position on the topic.

5) However, now that you have your sub-sub-topics in place, you feel less stress to wander off at a tangent and can use the topic and sub-topics to get your point across.

6) In effect, when brainstorming you go from topics to sub-topics and then to sub-sub-topics. When outlining, you may want to start at sub-sub-topics and work your way upward.

Topics and sub-topics tend to meow a lot

They tend to do their own thing. But if you go through the steps of brainstorming the topics, then sub-topics and finally sub-sub-topics, you’ll find that all three of them will become more dog-like.

Good doggie.

Nice doggie.

Woof, woof, woof!


Top Selling Products Under $50


1) Testimonial Secrets: Powerful Techniques to Get Better Clients-And Sales
2) Story Telling Series: How to suck your audience right in, in a matter of seconds
3) Sales Pages: How To Write Benefits and Bullets That Speed Up Sales
4) Article Writing: How To Speed Up Article Writing With Simple Outlines
5) Visual Basics: How Visuals Help Increase Sales Conversion On Your Website
6) Design Clarity: How to put sanity into your design with some really simple tweaks
7) Chaos Planning: How ‘Irregular’ Folks Get Things Done


1) Black Belt Presentation Series: How to completely control the room—without turning anyone off?
2) New! Online Membership Sites: How To Build A Powerful, Community-Driven Membership Website


 

 


How To Correctly Use Emotion To Create Drama In Your Article

How to Correctly Use Emotion To Create Drama In Your Article

I raced madly.

I raced madly, but I didn’t care.

I raced madly, but I was too excited.

I raced madly, but something was gnawing inside of me. Something was about to go wrong.

I raced madly, but I couldn’t shake the depression.

So what’s the difference between the first line and all the rest?

Well, yes the first line is shorter. But it also lacks emotion. And while facts give you um, the facts, they don’t tell us how you feel. In any given situation, ten people getting the same bowl of soup will respond in ten incredibly different ways.

I saw the bowl of soup and my heart sank.

I saw the bowl of soup and it flooded me with happy childhood memories.

I saw the bowl of soup and I was surprised how hungry I felt.

I saw the bowl of soup, but a feeling of hesitancy crept into my being.

I saw the bowl of soup, and immediately felt overwhelmed.

Yes, you get it, don’t you?

The bowl of soup isn’t what the brain is searching for in the story. The brain is searching for the expression on your face. This search is embedded in who we are as human beings. When my niece Keira (she’s three, almost four years old) gets a shout from her mother, she almost always scans her mother’s face instantly.

What’s the reading on her mother’s face?

Is she angry?

Is she annoyed?

Is she frustrated?

Is she furious?

Is she about to going bananas in a second?

The reader of your article needs to know what Keira can see

They need to know not just what the event was all about, but why it was important. And how it was important. And the biggest clue comes from the emotion that follows the statement. Or the emotion that precedes the statement.

So let’s jump in with a few examples…

Follows the statement:

Example 1: There she was, the girl I so cared for. And yet, there was a sense of disgust.

Example 2: There she was, the girl I so cared for, and my heart lit up like the fourth of July.

Example 3: There she was, the girl I so cared for. And then she was gone. I was frantic.

But you can create the scene by using emotion as a pre-cursor

Example 1: Little did I know that I would be disgusted. After all this was the girl I cared for very deeply.

Example 2: I wasn’t expecting that sudden burst of happiness on this gloomy day. But as I rounded the corner, there she was—the girl I cared for very deeply.

Example 3: There was nothing to suggest that I’d be frantic in a second. Because right there in front of me was the girl I cared for.

And so, the emotion sets the scene

Sometimes preceding the event. Sometimes after the event has occurred. The event itself is just an event. What makes it burst into flame is the emotion that surges through our system as a result of experiencing that event.

And then of course, we can choose to bring in the emotion earlier, or let in hang a bit behind and then whiplash the event with its suddenness.

But of course, you can overdo the emotions

Yes, the emotions provide the roller coaster that leads the reader through the article. And especially so, when you’re telling a story. But you can’t keep going on and on, line after line with emotions. Instead you bring in the emotion, and let the reader feel the happiness, sadness, disgust etc.

Sadness, depression etc. tends to linger a lot longer, and it’s ok to keep it going for a little while. Happiness, fear— they’re emotions that are fleeting. That speed through faster than a speeding bullet.

So yes, you drive the pace

And you drive it with the emotions.

Because ten people can drink soup.

And every one of those folks feel totally differently about the soup.

A soup is a soup is a soup.

Until you add a dash of emotion. Maybe two dashes. You decide How to Correctly Use Emotion To Create Drama In Your Article

P.S. Do you have a question or comment? Write it here and I will respond.


Top Selling Products Under $50


1) Testimonial Secrets: Powerful Techniques to Get Better Clients-And Sales
2) Story Telling Series: How to suck your audience right in, in a matter of seconds
3) Sales Pages: How To Write Benefits and Bullets That Speed Up Sales
4) Article Writing: How To Speed Up Article Writing With Simple Outlines
5) Visual Basics: How Visuals Help Increase Sales Conversion On Your Website
6) Design Clarity: How to put sanity into your design with some really simple tweaks
7) Chaos Planning: How ‘Irregular’ Folks Get Things Done


1) Black Belt Presentation Series: How to completely control the room—without turning anyone off?
2) New! Online Membership Sites: How To Build A Powerful, Community-Driven Membership Website


 

 


How To Avoid Speed Bumps When Writing Sub-Heads

How To Avoid Speed Bumps When Writing Sub-Heads

I used to live in an apartment block when I was growing up

And there were these twins: Wayne and Dwayne.

And as you’d expect, it was common for me to make a mistake. I’d call Wayne, Dwayne. And Dwayne, Wayne. And sometimes get it right, without knowing if I got it right or not.

Writing subheads for stories are a bit of a Wayne-Dwayne situation

You think you’re writing subheads, but in fact you’re writing a kind of headline instead. I say, kind of headline, because it’s not really a headline, but for the purpose of this exercise, let’s call them headlines and sub-headlines.

When you force a headline into the space meant for a sub-headline, it’s kinda like mixing up names. And mixing is bad enough, but it slows down the pace of the stories without wanting to do so.

Of course, this is all gibberish unless you see an example

But let’s start writing the sub-heads the wrong way to begin with. And let’s take a story like Goldilocks and the three bears.

Note: What follows is a story, not an article—we’ll deal with articles later. OK, let the story begin.

Once upon a time, there was a little girl named Goldilocks. She went for a walk in the forest. Pretty soon, she came upon a house. She knocked and, when no one answered, she walked right in.

Her stomach was growling

At the table in the kitchen, there were three bowls of porridge. Goldilocks was hungry. She tasted the porridge from the first bowl.

Now the fun part begins

“This porridge is too hot!” she exclaimed. So, she tasted the porridge from the second bowl.

“This porridge is too cold,” she said. So, she tasted the last bowl of porridge. “Ahhh, this porridge is just right,” she said happily and she ate it all up.

Size Matters

After she’d eaten the three bears’ breakfasts she decided she was feeling a little tired. So, she walked into the living room where she saw three chairs. Goldilocks sat in the first chair to rest her feet.

“This chair is too big!” she exclaimed. So she sat in the second chair. “This chair is too big, too!” she whined. So she tried the last and smallest chair. “Ahhh, this chair is just right,” she sighed. But just as she settled down into the chair to rest, it broke into pieces!

Nap Time

Goldilocks was very tired by this time, so she went upstairs to the bedroom. She lay down in the first bed, but it was too hard. Then she lay in the second bed, but it was too soft. Then she lay down in the third bed and it was just right. Goldilocks fell asleep.

The Bears Return

As she was sleeping, the three bears came home. “Someone’s been eating my porridge,” growled the Papa bear.”Someone’s been eating my porridge,” said the Mama bear. “Someone’s been eating my porridge and they ate it all up!” cried the Baby bear.

Did you notice what was happening in the sub-heads above?

They were being used almost like titles/headlines. One title announced that it was “nap time”. Another noted the “return of the bears” and so on it went, announcement after announcement. And that’s not what the sub-head is supposed to do. A sub-head is supposed to smoothen the path between the previous paragraph and the next.

So let’s take the story again, and this time chop off all the headlines/titles, OK?

Once upon a time, there was a little girl named Goldilocks. She went for a walk in the forest. Pretty soon, she came upon a house. She knocked and, when no one answered, she walked right in.

Her stomach was growling

At the table in the kitchen, there were three bowls of porridge. Goldilocks was hungry. She tasted the porridge from the first bowl.

Now the fun part begins

“This porridge is too hot!” she exclaimed. So, she tasted the porridge from the second bowl.

“This porridge is too cold,” she said. So, she tasted the last bowl of porridge. “Ahhh, this porridge is just right,” she said happily and she ate it all up.

Size Matters

After she’d eaten the three bears’ breakfasts she decided she was feeling a little tired. So, she walked into the living room where she saw three chairs. Goldilocks sat in the first chair to rest her feet.

“This chair is too big!” she exclaimed. So she sat in the second chair. “This chair is too big, too!” she whined. So she tried the last and smallest chair. “Ahhh, this chair is just right,” she sighed. But just as she settled down into the chair to rest, it broke into pieces!

Nap Time

Goldilocks was very tired by this time, so she went upstairs to the bedroom. She lay down in the first bed, but it was too hard. Then she lay in the second bed, but it was too soft. Then she lay down in the third bed and it was just right. Goldilocks fell asleep.

The Bears Return

As she was sleeping, the three bears came home. “Someone’s been eating my porridge,” growled the Papa bear.”Someone’s been eating my porridge,” said the Mama bear. “Someone’s been eating my porridge and they ate it all up!” cried the Baby bear.

As you can see, we didn’t need those sub-heads at all

The story ran just fine without any intervention at all. So does that mean we can write stories without any sub-heads? No, that’s not what we’re getting at. Instead, you should first look for the sub-heads in the next line itself.

Once upon a time, there was a little girl named Goldilocks. She went for a walk in the forest. Pretty soon, she came upon a house. She knocked and, when no one answered, she walked right in.

At the table in the kitchen, there were three bowls of porridge

Goldilocks was hungry. She tasted the porridge from the first bowl.

“This porridge is too hot!” she exclaimed

So, she tasted the porridge from the second bowl. “This porridge is too cold,” she said. So, she tasted the last bowl of porridge. “Ahhh, this porridge is just right,” she said happily and she ate it all up.

After she’d eaten the three bears’ breakfasts she decided she was feeling a little tired

So, she walked into the living room where she saw three chairs. Goldilocks sat in the first chair to rest her feet.

“This chair is too big!” she exclaimed. So she sat in the second chair. “This chair is too big, too!” she whined. So she tried the last and smallest chair. “Ahhh, this chair is just right,” she sighed. But just as she settled down into the chair to rest, it broke into pieces!

Goldilocks was very tired by this time, so she went upstairs to the bedroom

She lay down in the first bed, but it was too hard. Then she lay in the second bed, but it was too soft. Then she lay down in the third bed and it was just right. Goldilocks fell asleep.

As she was sleeping, the three bears came home

“Someone’s been eating my porridge,” growled the Papa bear.”Someone’s been eating my porridge,” said the Mama bear. “Someone’s been eating my porridge and they ate it all up!” cried the Baby bear.

And here’s an example of an article

Notice how the story mostly creates its own sub-heads. And all you have to do is let the story run as it normally would and then highlight the sub-heads when you move to a new paragraph.

I graduated from University in the spring of 1983 with a Bachelors in Technical Theatre. I began working building scenery at a couple of small theatres. One was called The Empty Space Theatre and the other was The Bathhouse Theatre. Both were on again off again sort of jobs… not really enough to live on. I was really hoping to get a full time job at one of them, but it was not working out. By the fall I was feeling frustrated.

Then in mid December I got a call from California

Richard, the Technical Director at the Berkeley Repertory Theatre had spoken to Jeff, who was the technical director for the Empty Space and not only did he offer me a job… he offered me the position of lead carpenter in the shop! It was a real job! I was thrilled and ready to start as soon as I could.

Except that he wanted me to start on December 26th

This was a bit sooner than I expected. My enthusiasm was treated to a bucket of cold water when I figured out that I would have to leave in a little over a week! I would miss hanging with my friends in Seattle for the holidays. It seemed a bit abrupt, but I really wanted the job, and I could see that the job market in Seattle was not working out. I told him I would do it.

I packed up my possessions into a one way U-Haul rental truck and headed out

See how David simply used part of his article to create the next subhead. The flow was already in place. He didn’t have to insert anything new. All he had to do was highlight a line to create a sub-head and that got the job done, and done well.

And that’s what you can do too, but let’s pull into the pitstop for a summary.

So what did we cover?

1) Putting in titles/headlines where sub-heads should exist is not a good idea.

2) A title/headline randomly put in creates an interruption, when you just want flow.

3) The way to create flow in a story is to simply use the flow of the story to create sub-heads.

It’s more than likely that we may find ourselves in this Wayne-Dwayne situation

But in time, I found out who was Wayne and who was Dwayne. And you too will see that a headline/title stays at the top of the story. And the sub-heads are located within the story itself.

When you do, you’ll see they’re different and the obvious will make you slap yourself.

I certainly did.

P.S. Do you have a question or comment? Write it here and I will respond.


Top Selling Products Under $50


1) Testimonial Secrets: Powerful Techniques to Get Better Clients-And Sales
2) Story Telling Series: How to suck your audience right in, in a matter of seconds
3) Sales Pages: How To Write Benefits and Bullets That Speed Up Sales
4) Article Writing: How To Speed Up Article Writing With Simple Outlines
5) Visual Basics: How Visuals Help Increase Sales Conversion On Your Website
6) Design Clarity: How to put sanity into your design with some really simple tweaks
7) Chaos Planning: How ‘Irregular’ Folks Get Things Done


1) Black Belt Presentation Series: How to completely control the room—without turning anyone off?
2) New! Online Membership Sites: How To Build A Powerful, Community-Driven Membership Website


 

 


How Do You Decide On The Length Of An Article?

How Do You Decide On The Length Of An Article?

I don’t.

I create an outline.

And with the help of that outline I can usually write about 500-800 words.

Then I stop.

If the outline has a lot more elements then the article goes on forever

You can indeed write an article that goes deeper and deeper, but for the most part, you definitely want to stop around 1000 words—and without needing to count. Because the outline will do it for you.

So an outline like this will get me about 600 words

“First 50 Words”.
Why I get stuck.
How I use outlines to get stuck.
Why outlines help me in article writing.
How professionals use outlining in every field.
How much time do I put into my outlining?
But can outlining go awry?
Summary.
Next Step.

An outline like this gets me about 500

“First 50 Words”: Making a moussaka.
The stages involved—and how tiredness sets in.
How the same applies to article writing-causing a block.
How to side-step that block with separate stages.
Why the separate stages is just what the brain wants—and needs.
But I don’t have time to go through these stages.
Summary.
Next step.

But how can I tell which outline will send me spiraling vs. holding back?

If you look above, you’ll notice that both outlines are approximately the same points. So how do you know if one outline will get you 500 words vs. another that goes on for 800? That’s easy to answer.

If the concept needs little explanation, and is just making a point then you’re going to get in fewer words. Making a moussaka, building an article in stages etc, is not hard to understand. So it needs little explanation. All you’re really driving home is an understanding of how to change behaviour.

However, an article that has a lot of new elements in it, will require a lot more words

So if I were to do an outline like the above, but I’m explaining a concept like “consumption” or “yes-yes pricing” then I can’t just jump in. I have to bring in a bit of the concept, explain it and go into a fair amount of detail. This adds weight to the article and hence the article has between 200-300 words more.

The key to an article is never to worry about the length

Instead work to getting the message across as effectively as possible.

Most folks worry about length

I don’t.

I worry about the ability to keep the reader engaged.

If your reader feels your article is too long, then there’s a problem with the article. The reader should just flow from one point to another, one sentence to the other, never noticing whether your article is 500 words or 800 words, or 1200 words for that matter.

And then when the article is done, that reader should want more.

That’s the true benchmark of a great article.


Live Psychotactics Workshop in June 2013

Yes, The Brain Audit Amsterdam workshop is still on. And because we’ve moved to a different room at the Marriott, we still have space for 3 more participants.

A Psychotactics workshop is a learning experience that is a ton of fun and yet different. Find out for yourself at
http://www.psychotactics.com/workshops/brain-audit-workshop-amsterdam


Top Selling Products Under $50


1) Testimonial Secrets: Powerful Techniques to Get Better Clients-And Sales
2) Story Telling Series: How to suck your audience right in, in a matter of seconds
3) Sales Pages: How To Write Benefits and Bullets That Speed Up Sales
4) Article Writing: How To Speed Up Article Writing With Simple Outlines
5) Visual Basics: How Visuals Help Increase Sales Conversion On Your Website
6) Design Clarity: How to put sanity into your design with some really simple tweaks
7) Chaos Planning: How ‘Irregular’ Folks Get Things Done


1) Black Belt Presentation Series: How to completely control the room—without turning anyone off?
2) New! Online Membership Sites: How To Build A Powerful, Community-Driven Membership Website


 

 


How Your Local Bookstore Can Help You Consistently Create Content For Your Newsletter

How Your Local Bookstore Can Help You Consistently Create Content For Your Newsletter

 

Every time you sit down to write an article, it’s the same story.

You really want to say something, but nothing comes out.

The longer you sit there, the minutes will tick away

And before you know it, the phone will be ringing, the distractions will be piling up and you’ll find yourself mindlessly wandering through Facebook or emails.

And that’s why you need to leave your office

Go down to your local bookstore instead. Get yourself a coffee or a drink first, and now that you’re in a different state of mind, go to the section where you can find books on your topic.

Which means that if you write about gardening, well, head to the gardening section

If your business is graphic design, well, the graphic design section it is. No matter what your profession, you’ll find a few dozen books on the topic.

So what do you do next?

Open the book to the Contents Page. And here’s what you’ll find. You’ll find a dozen topics, just sitting there for you. And you, you’re already the expert. So let’s say your newsletter is about “gardening” and there you are in the gardening section of the book store, trying to make sure no one spots that you’re drinking a coffee in the store.

And your eye falls on this book called “Raised Bed Gardening”

You open the book, swing right to the contents page, and voilà, this is what you find:

Chapter 1: Advantages And Benefits To Using Raised Bed Gardens

Chapter 2: The Proper Placement Of Raised Bed Gardens

Chapter 3: Standard Designs and Preparation For Your Raised Bed Garden

Chapter 4: Plants Suitable For Raised Bed Gardens

Chapter 5: Potential Problems That Are Avoided With Raised Bed Gardens

Chapter 6: Making Your Own Compost

Chapter 7: Best Soil Recommendations For Your Raised Bed Garden

Chapter 8: Strategies for Planting Seeds In Your Raised Bed Garden

Chapter 9: Natural Methods To Resolve Crop Infestation

Chapter 10: Crop Rotation In Gardening

Suddenly you have at least ten topics that you know quite a lot about

Well, get out that pen and paper, or take a picture of that contents page with your smart phone. And then close the book. Yes, close it, because you have everything you need. Within that contents page were about ten ideas that you could easily write about—after all you do know a fair bit about raised bed gardening, don’t you?

But we can’t write ten articles just today, so we’ll start with one

Let’s look at the topic that we spotted in Chapter 9, for instance: Natural methods to resolve crop infestation. Now the author of the book would have methods, but hey, you have your own methods as well.

And this is the important part…

The subscribers on the mailing list—your mailing list—care a hoot about what that author thinks. But they do care what you think. They do care about the way you present your ideas. Remember they signed up to your list for a reason. So even if you were to write exactly the same ideas as mentioned in the book, they would still want to hear your take on it.

So now that you have your topic, make several points about how you’d deal with “infestation”

Talk about the what: What is infestation.

Talk about the why: Why is it so much of a problem?

Talk about the when: When does it mostly occur?

Talk about the steps: Step 1, Step 2, Step 3, Step 4.

Talk about the mistakes: What mistakes does a home gardener make?

And there you have it. Your visit to the book store is super-fruitful

You got ten topics and just one topic has gotten you all fired up and still nine more to go. And you’ve just opened one book. There are plenty more to go, but let’s leave those for another day. Finish your coffee and let’s head back to someplace where you can jot down your ideas. Once you’ve done the jotting, only then do you go back to your office to complete your article.

But isn’t this plagiarism? Aren’t you just copying and ain’t that nasty?

Well yes, which is why you had to close the book right after you wrote down the contents topics. The goal was not to get “inspiration” from what the author wrote. Instead it’s just a way to get you jumpstarted on some topics. Because you sure as heck can write a ton of stuff on any of the topics in the contents pages.

The place you were stuck the most was coming up with the idea itself. If you chose to keep the book open, you may inadvertently copy the author’s ideas and that would be bad. Mucho bad! Instead all you’re doing is firing up the ideas in your brain and yes, ideas are free. There’s no copyright on ideas.

But hey, surely I can do this while sitting in my office—why go to the book store?

A big part about writing is getting your brain in the right frame of mind. With all those distractions in your office, it’s hard to think, let alone write. In the book store your mind is a lot more relaxed.

Everyone gets stuck when writing

Almost everyone continues to sit in their office.
Almost everyone avoids the trip to the local bookstore.
Make the trip. And make it soon.
Sure beats going nuts about writing your next newsletter.

P.S. Do you have a question or comment? Write it here and I will respond.


Top Selling Products Under $50


1) Testimonials Secrets: Powerful Techniques to Get Better Clients-And Sales
2) Story Telling Series: How to suck your audience right in, in a matter of seconds
3) Sales Pages: How To Write Benefits and Bullets That Speed Up Sales
4) Article Writing: How To Speed Up Article Writing With Simple Outlines
5) Visual Basics: How Visuals Help Increase Sales Conversion On Your Website
6) Design Clarity: How to put sanity into your design with some really simple tweaks
7) Chaos Planning: How ‘Irregular’ Folks Get Things Done


1) Black Belt Presentation Series: How to completely control the room—without turning anyone off?
2) New! Online Membership Sites: How To Build A Powerful, Community-Driven Membership Website



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The Magic of Double-Whammy Headlines: And How To Use Their Enormous Power

The Magic of A Double-Whammy Headlines: And How To Use Their Enormous Power

Laurel and Hardy

Batman and Robin

Superman.

Which is the odd one one out?

Yup, it’s the guy who can’t handle Kryptonite, of course. If Superman is in trouble, there’s almost no one to rescue him. But Hardy or Batman can get in trouble all they want, and they have a nice partner to back them up.

The same applies to the double-whammy headline

A double whammy headline is a headline that is really kinda, sorta, a headline with two partners. And like most partnerships, one partner takes on a slightly bigger role. So let’s take some examples:

Why every small business needs sales analysis: And how to complete it in 20 minutes

Why quarterly analysis can increase business by 50%: The three key steps

The Rumiddha Method: 4 steps to achieve a profitable forum online

The Keyboard Wheel (And how it helps you decide the right colour for your website)

Why small businesses don’t grow—And how to use autoresponders to increase business by 27% every year

The first part in some of these headlines could almost stand alone.

Why every small business needs sales analysis

Why quarterly analysis can increase business by 50%

The Rumiddha Method

The Keyboard Wheel

Why small businesses don’t grow

And yes, some of them are really complete by themselves

Technically, that’s the goal. To write one part so well, that the first part is already a complete headline.

Yes, all by itself.

It could steal the show without having the add-on.

But what if the first part is not that complete?

In the examples above, the “Rummidha Method” and “Keyboard Wheel” tell you nothing. But they pull you in. Their job is not to be complete. It’s to sucker you in while the second half of the headline knocks you out!

And that’s how the double-whammy headline works

It uses double the power to get your attention. And once it’s gotten your attention, you can’t help but want to click to read the rest of the article. And of course, you can use colons, question marks, brackets or the em dash—or a whole lot of punctuation marks to create these double-whammy headlines.

But should you use double-whammy headlines all the time?

Should you take your umbrella out all the time? Of course, not. You can write a headline like this:

e.g. Why the most attractive headline may not result in the greatest conversion

And that headline, despite not being double-whammy, works perfectly well. But from time to time you want to mix up your headlines with a bit of power as well. And that’s when double-whammy headlines are perfect.

But they can also be too, um, overdone

You can try so hard to stuff your headline with terms that it may be impossible to work out what you’re saying. So yes, double-whammy headlines can be too whammy, and end up being clammy.

e.g. Why focusing on advanced placement that guarantees career failure (and how to avoid that fate while still getting great grades)

You may scrunch your eyebrows in confusion, but it’s common to see writers getting just as eager and overdoing the double-whammy headline so that it becomes kinda hard to understand. Keeping the headline simple, is critical to getting the idea across effectively.

Ok, time to summarize:

Want to see the examples with punctuation marks, again? Well, here you go…

Why every small business needs sales analysis: And how to complete it in 20 minutes

Why quarterly analysis can increase business by 50%: The three key steps

The Rumiddha Method: 4 steps to achieve a profitable forum online

The Keyboard Wheel (And how it helps you decide the right colour for your website)

Why small businesses don’t grow—And how to use autoresponders to increase business by 27% every year

Use double-whammy headlines often when getting the attention of your audience

Because duos work well.
Like TweedleDee and Tweedledum!

P.S. Do you have a question or comment? Write it here and I will respond.

Why You Need The Brain Audit


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The Brain Audit

As a Results Coach, I am always looking for ways to up my own game and provide more value for my clients. I came across some promotional material for the Brain Audit and was impressed almost immediately! I started reading through Sean’s PsychoTactics material and was even more impressed.

His conversational approach, his practical strategies that WORK, and his dedication to making marketing and customer attraction easier and more understandable make me not only a customer but a fan!

I purchased The Brain Audit and have increased my clientele two-fold. Buy The Brain Audit…Read it…Apply the principles…Watch your business grow!

Sean is a breath of fresh air. His strategies, principles, and advice work! I highly recommend The Brain Audit.

Dawn Langerock ~ Results Expert and Coach
Synergy Coaching and Consulting, Austin, TX, USA
Read more about The Brain Audit


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