The Article Writing Challenge – How To Write Articles While Driving A Taxi

write articles quickly, article writing, article strategy

I was on my way back from the airport, when I struck up a conversation with a taxi driver. He was originally a landscaper, but was now driving taxis (as part of his retirement plan) and he did like the job a lot. But he did have some regrets.

He wanted to write. It had always been his dream to write a book about landscaping.
But despite several attempts, he’d failed. Every time he sat down to write something, he’d struggle. Then he’d give up. And in his mind he’d decided he wasn’t much of a ‘writer’ after all.
So I told him he was mistaken. By the time I told him he was mistaken, we were already on the Auckland Harbour Bridge, and about 15 minutes away from my destination.

I had 15 minutes to get him to ‘write’ an article…

And so we started. I asked him to pick a topic on landscaping. And he started talking about soil. Somehow that topic veered to good soil. And bad soil.

And my questions were:

1) What is good soil? Why is it considered good?
2) What is bad soil? Why is it considered bad?
3) Can you create good soil from bad soil?
4) Can you mix good soil and bad soil? (And what are the ramifications?)
5) Where would you recommend a person start when putting together the soil for planting.
6) Summary

And exactly twenty five seconds before we got to my house, he’d finished his ‘article’.
All while driving a taxi.

But can you write articles while driving a taxi? Or headed home on a bus?

Of course you can. In fact, anyone who can formulate thoughts can write an article. The problem of ‘writing’ isn’t in the thought process. We’re all able to structure our lines easily. When someone asks us questions, we’re easily able to give answers—if we know the topic. The problem arises when you sit down to ‘write’. The moment you sit down to write, you forget how to think. You suddenly are so focused on structuring your information, that you forget to ask the questions. If all you did was ask the right questions, you’d be able to write an article, give a speech, write a book, create a presentation. Because all you’re doing is putting thoughts together. Nothing more, nothing less.

In fact, I have an open challenge
I can teach anyone to write articles in thirty minutes or less. Anyone. Yes, that’s correct: anyone. Even an illiterate person can learn how to ‘write’ an article. And it doesn’t matter where they come from, or their background, or their level of education. If they can have a conversation with me, I can teach them how to ‘write’ an article. Of course, becoming a writer who brings drama, flow and power to the article takes a little more than thirty minutes, but that too is possible. Education, background or ability has zero bearing on writing articles.

All you need is a good teacher.
A robust system.
Good questions.
And a short taxi ride.

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How Your Competition Can Bring More Revenue Than Customers

Giving Away Secrets to Competition
So you’re all focused on customers. Customers bring in the bread, the butter. And yes, sometimes the jam. But if you focused on competition for an itty-bitty while, you’d find that you could have a lot more jam.

Doesn’t make sense?

Well here’s how it works. Let’s say you’re selling a product or a service. Let’s take a product to begin with. Let’s say you’ve worked out how to make a great lemonade. And now you’ve pretty much sold the lemonade to all the supermarkets. And to all the stores. And you’ve got 95% of your market saturated with your sweet, sticky lemonade.

What are you going to do next?

Of course if you’re silly you’ll try and get the remaining 5% of the market. But if you’re smart, you’ll stop focusing on getting more customers, and instead focus on getting more of the competition interested in what you’re doing.

Why would you do that? Why give away your secrets?

Yeah right! So it’s a big secret. It’s not, actually. Anyone can easily create a lemonade that that’s just as sweet and sticky as yours. What they struggle to do is to replicate your method of distribution, marketing and management.

You can only sell your lemonade for $2.

But you can sell your secrets for $2000. Or $20,000. Or $200,000. And at this point, let’s do the math. How much lemonade would you have to sell to get $200,000? Quite a lot, eh? Now when you sell your secrets you can sell them to tens, even hundreds, or thousands of people (depending on the terms and the price of the secret).

But won’t the competition put you out of business once they know the secret?
If the competition really wanted to ferret out your secrets, couldn’t they do that just as easily? All you really have to do is track someone closely; see what they do; and then replicate it.

But often there’s more beyond the obvious
And your competition knows it. They know that for every product you’ve ever sold, you’ve got a dozen underlying systems in place. And that’s what they’ll pay to learn. And you’re the one who can teach them.

Of course they may try to wrestle you out of your own market
There’s always that crazy risk, but technically you’re so far ahead, that they’ll never ever catch up. Yes, you think they will, but they won’t. Unless you get lazy and sloppy. And believe your own press.

How do I know this to be true?
Because we’ve given away all our secrets at Psychotactics. If you want to learn how to write blog posts like this, I can tell you (there’s even a course on Article Writing where we give away every last secret). There’s a course on copywriting. There’s a course on speaking and selling from the podium (our conversion rate is 50% or more, and we never make a pitch or do anything sleazy). There’s a course on information products. And there’s an answer to any question that you may want to ask us.

And this is how we quickly built Psychotactics to the point where we can go on three-month vacations every year. (See photos on Facebook too) We don’t treat a secret as something hallowed. A secret is for sharing. You can give, and give and give and give, and there’s still more that the competition wants to know. Because even as they’re playing catch-up, you’re moving ahead.

So why would they bother playing catch-up, if you’re going to win?

Even the competition knows that there’s loads of space for everyone in the market. For one, your competition may not even be in your own town, city or country. But even if they are, there’s still enough business to go around.

And competitors know this…
Which is why they’re willing to pay us the dollars to give away our secrets. And which is why we’re more than happy to do so. On every course I’ve ever had, at least a good chunk of them will be competitors. And not only will they do similar stuff, but we actually tell them to ‘not reinvent the wheel’, and to use a lot of our material as the basis for getting their business going.

Yet most of us want to take our secrets to the grave

Ah well. What can I say? I’ve already said it enough. Competition will generate more revenue than customers, no matter if you’re in a service based business or in products. Or training, for that matter. And better still, competitors will keep coming back to learn the upgraded skills. Yes, they become customers in a way, but not for your products, but for your information.

It’s win-win, of course. They win. You win. And you get to take the three-month vacation. :)

P.S. And um, in case you’re wondering: Yes, we do show you how to build your business, so that you too can take the three-month vacation. But to get started, you may want to try to learn how customers. Have a look at Why Customers Buy (and Why They Back Away): The Brain Audit


The Concept of Spinning Plates

Monster_spinning_plates_psychotactics

Most people want to do everything.
They want to do blogs, websites, video, Twitter, Facebook and add another twenty thousand things to that list. What’s worse is that they get bad advice. People giving advice tell you, you should branch out, do different things. And that you if you do different things, you can become good at all of them all at once.

I agree—only to disagree.
Yes, do twenty thousand things if you wish.  But understand that it’s like spinning plates.
If you spin one plate, then you can indeed put another plate. But that assumes you then are still in a position to spin the first plate.

At all times, the plates need momentum. The more you put on, the more you have to watch. If one stops, then the whole thing crashes.

This plate spinning isn’t marketing. It’s management.
It becomes a nightmare in management more than anything else. If you can be brilliant in one field, then you can indeed go on to other fields. But would I recommend it all at once? I’d be very un-keen to do so.

And I take my own advice.
I stopped cartoons to do marketing. And now that my marketing sites are well and truly spinning, I’ve gone back to cartoons (not commercially though) on this blog.

Now I have the ability to spin several plates without losing momentum.

If you’re just starting up an online or offline business today with a store and no staff, etc., you could still do a few things  but nowhere close to what you could do in the future. Always make sure you have resources in place, before doing several things at a time. And there’s a bit of a caveat too. Not only do you need the resources, but you also can bet that dozens of things will go wrong. And you’ll need chaos time as well.

Spin all the plates you want.
But first get started with one. Then even as that is spinning, add another. And another. But make sure that you can keep them all going. As you can see, on this blog alone, I draw the cartoons, write the article, format the article, create an audio, format the audio, upload all relevant files. And to this, I’m adding video.

But I can manage it. And I can do it faster than ever before.
So what am I saying? I’m strongly suggesting you spin plates. But don’t try start with eight at once, will ya?

Note: There must be a ‘downside’ to spinning plates. I actually recorded the audio twice over. And with slightly different content too.  :)  Both the audio files are below.


Why Photographs Should Never Have A ‘Problem’

Psychotactics_com_Brain Audit

When we look at a photograph, we start seeing ourselves, even without meaning to do so.

This is why you can never put a ‘problem’ in your photograph.
But how can that be true? When you see the newspaper photos, they always seem to have something that’s blown up, or burnt down, or something that seems to be a problem. Ah yes, but that problem is meant to get your attention. And it does a great job keeping that attention when it’s editorial-based.

But when you’re buying something you don’t want to see problems.
You don’t want to see soap for ‘normal women’ (no matter what Dove Soap thinks).
You don’t want to see a guy with a big fat paunch, selling you a fitness program.

What you want to see is the finished product.

You want to see the woman with the silky soft Dove skin.
You want to see the guy all muscular with these rippling abs.
And bizarre as it may sound, you see yourself in those photos.

Photos have an instant impact. There’s zero ambiguity.

But words have a completely different impact. Therefore words should never be solution-based. Because that’s the job of the photo. The words need to bring out the issues at stake. This is because you need the words to act as an attraction device. And the best way to attract the brain is to drive home the problem.

Which is why, when we look at the cover of Men’s Health for instance, the headline says: ‘Go from fat to fit.’  Or ‘Scrawny to Brawny.’ And that’s the headline doing its job bringing in the problem—and only then the solution. The photo on the other hand doesn’t have a problem at all.

So remember:
1) Headline=Must have a problem (and solution). If you can’t fit it all on the headline, use the subhead.
2) Photo= Must have the solution. And nothing else. Show the final product or service in all its glory.

Photos are mirrors. Don’t forget that!

And yes, don’t forget to make sure you read the Brain Audit (if you haven’t done so already). It outlines in great detail how a customer thinks and why they do what they do.


How to Increase Your Prices: Yes-Yes Factor

You’re probably moaning about how you can’t increase prices.
The Yes-Yes is a systematic way to makes prices work for you. We’ve tested this Yes-Yes Factor across products and services for the past 6 years. It doesn’t matter what the price (and we’ve tested products/services from $50-$10,000): It just works.

And the only reason it won’t work, is because you’re too lazy to try it. Or full of excuses. Well, read on, because your excuses will be demolished as you read the rest of this article.

Excuse 1: I don’t get swayed by bonuses

The crux of the Yes-Yes Factor is the understanding of bonuses. But surely you get annoyed with bonuses. You hate how every one seems to throw bonuses at you, and you’re not the type to be swayed by bonuses. And you don’t think your customers will be swayed either.

Well, you are not your customer.
And the Yes-Yes Factor doesn’t expect you to do the bonus-barrage! What you have to focus on is the factor of “desired bonus (see video for details).” This isn’t your truckload of bonuses. It’s a specific bonus or bonuses (not too many) that are clearly designed to get the customer to choose the Premium option. In fact, the bonus is designed before the product/service itself.

And that’s only part of the story

While the Yes-Yes Factor works only 95%-98% of the time, even that miniscule difference of 2% goes away depending on what’s being bought. It may work only  98% at one level e.g. at the first level of say, getting the Brain Audit. But it works 100% for the Article Writing Course, or the Protege or other programs, where getting the bonus (and the Premium) makes perfect sense, and is very good value for money.

Excuse No. 2: Where’s the research?
The point is: Research makes no difference, because even if the research exists, the ‘research’ may not appeal to your market, your product and not work in specific conditions. You can do everything I’ve said and still get it wrong, because every detail is not followed.

Besides we made this Yes-Yes Factor up (It’s a shorter,  more efficient version of the three-choice grid you often see). The only people who ever do yes-yes are those who’ve been exposed to Psychotactics. I don’t want to hoist this concept on you. I know it works because we’ve tried it repeatedly for six years. And those clients who’ve used it get the benefit. And those who don’t, don’t.

I want to be blunt about this. Because I want you to try it.
And then you can write your own research paper in future :)

Now watch the video :)

Watch Pricing: How the Yes-Yes Factor Helps Increase Prices in How to Videos  |  View More Free Videos Online at Veoh.com


Always Be Testing…

Like this cartoon? Buy a t-shirt or mug with this cartoon on it.

Should you always be testing?

No, you should really take time for toilet breaks, coffee, and other things in life. But other than that, yeah, you can spin your wheels forever if you aren’t testing.

And despite your wheels spinning like crazy, you’ll still get pulled up by a cop car. The cop car is the sight of dropping profits, and exiting customers.

So test, test, test. But do take time for toilet breaks, ok!

I could go on forever, but I’ll leave that to the experts.
Me, I’ll just let the cartoon do the talking.

And talking about ‘talking’: You can get a cool weekly Psychotactics Podcast delivered right from iTunes.
Note: This cartoon was specially done at the prodding of Bryan Eisenberg of FutureNowInc. So there, Bryan…are you a happy camper yet?


Website Testing Made Easy

How easy can you make website testing?
When you strip all the jargon out of testing, you get clarity.

And here are six simple messages. In cartoons (What else would you expect?)

Tortoise wins. Stop. Hare Loses Yet Again. Stop.

My comments: This was easily among my most favourite of the lot. Because it was a difficult topic. I mean how do you simplify multi-variate testing? When I drew this cartoon (and I drew this one first, before any of the others were done), then the others were relatively easier.
Who needs takeaways, eh? Especially when you can have home-delivered lunch!

Comment: This cartoon needs a t-shirt. And a person to wear that t-shirt. What else can I say? If you agree, let me know, and who knows, I might even colour this cartoon, and we’ll design a t-shirt. (Post in the comments below).

If only life were this easy...
Comment: No comment :)
Yeah bold changes. But where can I get that shirt?

Comment: Thank goodness they don’t quite make shirts like that, eh?


Tick, tock, tick, tock...
Comment: This wasn’t even an original thought. It’s actually a Google Quote. When their shares first came on the market, they spoke about how people keep watching the shares. And how it was akin to weighing yourself every few minutes.
Guess what\'s for dinner?
Comment: Guess what’s for dinner?


Testing…Testing…1,2,3 (The Cartoons that Didn’t Make It)

Cartoons on testing? Aarrrrrrgh, what is the world coming to?
But hey, doing something is all very fine. What you really need to do is test the darned thing. Is it really working as it should? Is it working better than it should (and you’re unaware?). Or are you just banging your head against the wall? Luckily for us folk, Google Optimizer is free. And takes about five minutes to install.

And here are some quick, snappy ways to understand the um, subtleties about testing.
Oh, and if you’re dealing with a customer and they don’t get these points, point them to these cartoons. First, there are cartoons that didn’t make the Google Blog. And the cartoons that did make it. So which ones didn’t make it?

The ones that got dropped onto Google’s cutting room floor…um, the rejects.

Buttons work better than links...but yeah, yeah, we have to test.
Now this one sure went against the grain, because this becomes an absolute. It says: Buttons are better than links. And that’s no-no in testing, isn’t it?

Driving the Right Traffic To Thine Website
I personally loved this one, because it was said two things at the same time. It said: Hey, this may be the right traffic for you. Or hey, this may be the wrong traffic. And your headlines are going to determine who turns up (and stays) at your site.

Ooga from 5000bc.com needs testing, that\'s who.
This is a duh situation. Sometimes a wheel is square. It’s not going to move. Not as well as a round one, anyway. But the client won’t listen. This cartoon is dedicated to clients who make duh-moves and insist on staying duh, despite the common sense aspect.

ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ....Common sense, eh?

Again, common sense eh? Why bother. But some people do, apparently.

So there you go. The cartoons that didn’t make it. And what follows are those that did.

Did you like these cartoons? Did they deserve to be dropped?