How to write a blog post

Hi. This is the checklists I use whenever I post a blogpost. Enjoy :) Also, this is my checklist. It contains hints / things I’ll want to do. It’s customised to me. You might see a lot of SEO / Convertkit stuff here. Convertkit is my email program of choice. Here are some affiliate links if you want to use these tools. I’ll get some money if you use them at no extra cost to you. This isn’t designed to ‘sell’ you on these tools. If you want to minimise expenditure, replace Convertkit with Mailchimp free version.

This is kind of a mix between checklists / general tips. I just write stuff down whenever I think of it or read it.

Pre thinking about blog posts (maybe you just set up a blog)


  • Your domain name kinda matters. Bing and DuckDuckGo use your domain name to determine your content. Google doesn’t care. Bing and DDG will probably stop doing this. If you don’t want your name as the domain name, use something similar to what you’re writing about.
  • Pick a niche to it, and try not to branch out too much. The narrower your niche is, the better. I know a blogger who gets 30k views / month and they write about speeding up Gatsby blogs hosted on Netily. Super specific niche, but it has readers. Also, your niche should have readers.
  • Submit your website to Google search console & bing web master tools. Your site needs a site map (yoursite.com/sitemap.xml). My blog generates this automatically, if you’re using wordpress you can use Yoast to make one. By submitting your site to google and bing, you’re telling them your site exists. Not essential but pretty important if you want your blog to be popular.
  • Analytics software from day 1. Use google analytics if you like, or any other analytics. Just install it.
  • Collect email subscribers from day 1. You’ll be thankful you started collecting them later on in your blogging life.
  • Your site has to be accessibility and mobile friendly. If not, Google / Bing will punish you.
  • Your site has to be fast. Like really fast. If it takes longer than 2 seconds to load your website look at optimising it. Maybe use CloudFlare, deliver less html / JavaScript. If your site takes 3 seconds to load, imagine how long it takes to load in Asia where the WiFi is a lot worse. 40% of my blog readers are based in India. That’s a whole lot of people to ignore.
  • Don’t base your blog on Medium / Tumblr. You do not own your content. You are not treated as you. If you make your own blog, people will know you. I have around 35,000 readers on Medium. I get more engagement from my new 5000 reader / month personal blog than I ever did from Medium. Seriously. Don’t exclusively use them. If you post to other websites, use canonical links.
  • Long content is super important. write lots of long content
  • Know your customers really well. Like, so specifically well you can easily find them on Instagram / Pinterest or Facebook.
  • Use static content! Wordpress sucks.
  • Just, stop worrying. Like. Just stop. No one cares about what your website looks like, whether its cusotmised or not. They only care about the content. The people who aren’t thinking about making the best content will never the best content. You only need great content.

Pre-writing (Ideas, how to validate them)

  • Keep some form of note. Write down any and all ideas you come across. Whether you thought them yourself or you read someone elses article and liked it.
  • Add this idea to a spreadsheet (I use Airtable)
  • The spreadsheet should have at least 3 columns.

BlogIdeas


Idea name, search traffic, and difficulty. Go to Mangools and sign up for a free account. Go to Keyword Finder Tool in Mangools. Enter your blog idea in the keyword finder tool. It’ll tell you the search traffic and the difficulty. Put these into your table. You might want to make a 4th column, “blogpost?” as a boolean.

Mangools will show you the top 10 search results for this keyword. If any of them are blog posts, write “true” in the new column you might have made. Mangools lets you search 5 free keywords a day.

Once you’ve inputted all your ideas, you’ll now have a spreadsheet full of ideas with search traffic and difficulty. Sort by search traffic, look for the ones with highest search traffic and low difficulty. Anything over 40 is really hard for a new blog to rank. Also, if there’s other blogposts in that result it may be harder to rank.

Generally speaking, you want to target keywords which are longer. The longer they are, the easier they are to rank #1. Take dynamic programming for example. 33,000 views a month, difficulty 49. But, “dynamic programming in java” is 2100 views a month and difficulty of 11. When you rank #1 for “dynamic programming in java” you increase your chances of ranking on first page for “dynamic programming”. once you land on first page for the parent keyword, you’ll get a lot more traffic.

When starting out, you want to build domain authority and citation flow. These 2 things basically tell google “how much can we trust that this new article from this blog is high quality?". If the answer is high (wikipedia has a DA of 89) then you’re more likely to rank in top 10 on google for the parent keyword within a few days. This is why Wikipedia appears for everything you search - even if the articles are incomplete or small in word count.

Now you know what blog posts to write. But, don’t forget to write about things that have lower rankings but interest you more. Before I wrote about Timsort, it had almost no traffic. Now, it gets thousands of searches a month. You can make the traffic go up by writing blogposts in things that people don’t write about. But you might also want to target things that are highly searched.

  • Put together a set of research documents. Tbh I just paste them into the blogpost I’m writing. idc if you use Markdown on Github or Wordpress or whatever. Doesn’t really matter. Procrastination over the ‘right’ tools to use is still procrastination.
  • Mix popular science with academic papers / books. Popular science can get things wrong, so back it up with academic papers. At the same time, academic papers / academic books are super boring. Make them more fun with popular science. I aim to be inbetween popular science and academia.
  • Give aways and list articles rank supreme amongst all blog content
  • Your content needs to be better than everyone elses.
  • Bloggers who earn over £50k per year focus the most on keyword research / traffic from Google. ( https://growthbadger.com/blog-statistics/ )
  • Higher income bloggers focus less on social media than lower income bloggers do
  • For high income bloggers, advertising sucks. they are 2.5 times more likely to sell their own product or services
  • Higher income bloggers have 343% more email collection methods than lower-income bloggers
  • High income bloggers write for a specific niche, not a broad audience.
  • If you Google [keyword] and go onto images, Google will show you similar keywords.

Pre first draft (writing tips)


  • This sentence has five words. Here are five more words. Five-word sentences are fine. But several together become monotonous. Listen to what is happening. The writing is getting boring. The sound of it drones. It’s like a stuck record. The ear demands some variety. Now listen. I vary the sentence length, and I create music. Music. The writing sings. It has a pleasant rhythm, a lilt, a harmony. I use short sentences. And I use sentences of medium length. And sometimes, when I am certain the reader is rested, I will engage him with a sentence of considerable length, a sentence that burns with energy and builds with all the impetus of a crescendo, the roll of the drums, the crash of the cymbals–sounds that say listen to this, it is important.
  • Write to please one person. Forget everyone else. I write to make past Brandon happy.
  • Wait at least one week between your first draft and editing
  • “I didn’t have time to write a short letter so I wrote a long letter instead” Use small words. Only use big words when you absolutely have to. Hemmingway said: “Poor Faulkner. Does he really think big emotions come from big words? He thinks I don’t know the ten-dollar words. I know them all right. But there are older and simpler and better words, and those are the ones I use.”
  • Delete these words:
  • very
  • really
  • quite
  • utilise
  • thing
  • just
  • words that end in -ing
  • now
  • get / got

“now she drove over the hill” just say “she drove over the hill”.

Instead of

“by the time i hit 24, i was extremely underweight”

try:

“by the time i hit 24, i was 5’5” and bearing a 112 lb figure”

  • use numbers. numbers are super important. especially statistics.
  • instead of “i was inspired by her work ethics” say “her work ethics inspired me”. Write in the first person.
  • bleed in the first sentence “im going to tell you a story about a boy and his dog” jump right into the story “no amount of wrenching would loose the bullet burried in the stomache of the innocent pup”
  • the road to hell is paved with adverbs “gradually he slowly lifted the beautifull braided head of the softly sleeping princess” say: “his breath stopped as he held her glowing hair in his hands and lifted her quiet lips to his trembling own”
  • There is no pleasure so acute as that of a well-place semi-colon.
  • One typo is as discrediting to your reputation as one failed brain surgery is to a neurosurgeon. It’s your art. Don’t give the reader a chance to think less of you.
  • Your blog post should have this sort of format:
  • Intro
  • main argument
  • take aways
  • conclusion / call to action

Everytime you make a point, do this:

  • point
  • reason
  • example (story, anecdote)
  • point reiterated
  • Write for humans, not SEO.
  • write 5–10 headlines per article and choose the one thats best
  • Make the reader feel like they immediately need to know the answer within your article.
  • Make readers curious
  • Odd numbers are better than even numbers
  • Make the reader feel an emotion in the headline.
  • Never ever edit your text as you write it.
  • Add humor, humor is super important.
  • Lists, bullet points, quotes. multimedia. mix it up :)
  • Instead of writing “you” or “i” write “we”. It’s an exploration for both of you.
  • Longform content gets more engagement than any other type of post.
  • When writing, mix word numbers with numbers. Instead of “7 1-a-day emails” write “7 one-a-day emails”
  • Don’t get rid of counter arguments
  • in popSci, you often want to reduce someone to be small (10 mins at most) so you delete things
  • The apperence of science is often mis-intrepreted as “science” by outsides. Don’t create fake news.

Instagram

Sign up for later.com it’s by far the best instagram scheduler ever.

Create 2 types of content. Time / date agnostic content and content that needs a time and date. So for example, content about me studying for exams is time sensitive. But programming quotes isn’t time sensitive. Let’s face you. You don’t have the time to edit a picture, think up a caption, and upload it every day. No one does.

You want to automate as much of this as possible, so you don’t have to do anything for ages. Know that you’re going to fail, and automate yourself out of this equation as much as possible.

I tend to create content on a weekly basis. So for studying, I’ll predict what I’ll be doing and make content on that. I use lightroom for editing, later for scheduling. Now, I don’t have time to create 7 posts. Again - I needed to find a way to automate myself out of this equation. 3 / 7 posts a week are programming quotes / programming tidbits.

Gutenberg

This is made in Canva.com. I use the instagram post template, colour it one solid colour (I picked yellow as I’m a bee keeper and I love bees). I googled “programming quotes” and brainstormed for around 10 - 15 minutes. I now have around 20 of these quotes. meaning that just under half of my weekly instagram is now automated.

If I tried to make 7 coding photos, I would fail. I’m automating my failure out of the equation.

Okay, but still, 4 photos a week? How do I make that less? What if I have a super busy week?

I’ve taken photos that look like they could of been taken that day, but haven’t.

Gutenberg

This post is about a book I’m reading. If I ever have a boring week or I can’t be bothered, I’ll use this post or posts similar to it.

Using later.com, you can see your posts in a grid before they post.

Gutenberg

Also, Later posts your posts for it - 100% automated. No notifications, it just does it. Alsooo, it picks the best times to post. Seriously, I love Later.

When it comes to next week, I might want to make more instagram posts. If I do, I’ll move the posts that are agnostic later on.

How to make a theme

It’s actually quite simple. for my theme, the yellow is just a default colour in Canva. The pink is from my Philips Hue bulb which glows pink. Maybe you’ll want to learn about colour theory. I just picked the first 2 colours I saw haha.

I’m testing lighter vs darker themes for instagram. I’m pretty sure lighter wins, but I want to test it for myself.

Bio

Use your name as your name. Or your business name.

Instagram giveaway

  1. Choose what items to giveaway. They have to be relevant to the audience you are targetting (also, you’ll pay for postage. Don’t be an asshole)
  2. Take really nice pictures of the items to giveaway and promote it on your page
  3. Decide on the rules. “Comment below your favourite books & tag 2 people” for example.
  4. Choose a deadline. Too long, and why bother entering now? Too short, it won’t reach people
  5. When talking about your giveaway, give the value in the caption. “Win this giveaway of £30!". It’s a copywriting thing. Maybe they don’t care about your products, but they do care about selling them and making a small profit.
  • Make incentives, such as “tag 2 people to enter, but for every additional person you tag you get an extra entry”

So I want it to be “comment below your favourite book” and then I’ll build a spreadsheet of instagram devs favourite books and will use those books in a future contest, also probably get reshares from big accounts for the interesting data :)

Don#t tag #giveaway

Ok test time, these are my stats before giveaway:

Followers 1,390

27 new followers / week

Growth rate 1.98%

8,824 Impressions

2,715 Reach

327 Profile views

3 website clicks

Twitter

Gutenberg

Twitter

  1. Have goals
  2. Understand your audience and keep your twitter strategy centred around a few topics
  3. Be personal. People need to trust you and know you.
  4. Mix up the content, not just text all the time

Instagram

  1. If your images have captions built in, make sure they’re readable
  2. Do your own graphics
  3. “Personal stuff works better on Insta” - Ali
  4. For videos on YT, put thumbnails onto instagram
  5. Repost YT videos on IGTV

General tips

Find top level comments on posts similar to yours and reply to them


How to become an expert in your field

  1. Join trade organisations with official sounding names.
  2. Read and summarise three best selling books on your topic. Completely original ideas don’t exist. Everything you read is based on something else. So, take your favourite concepts from these books and write them from your own perspective. Turn these into blog posts.
  3. Write for other sites and magazines.
  4. Give a talk at a local university and local offices of large companies.
  5. Piggyback on other people for press.
  6. Write a book. You’ll instantly become an expert in the field.

Writing a book

Finding a market

Two factors determine the success of your book. Does it teach a skill that other people use to make money? Do thes epeople gather and communicate online?

To really make money and be successful, it’s best people use you book to make considerably more money

It’s also important that you can reach this audience.

Competitors

No competitors is a bad thing. If there aren’t any competitors you should ask why.

Advertising without paying

STtart teaching and people will pay attention. When you release a book, people will buy it.

This is how it works. You don’t need to pay for advertising.

Books or courses?

If you want people to pay a lot, don’t say it’s a book. Say it’s a kit, a toolkit, a guide, a course.

Books aren’t worth a lot. Courses are.

Pre-publishing (SEO stuff)


  • Use an odd number in the title, headlines with numbers are 2x more likely to generrate clicks. Numbers thate are odd have a 20% better CTR
  • Google the things you want to rank for. If there’s a featued snippet, make sure you have what they have but better.
  • Use [brackets] in the headline - for some reason this has shown to increase CTR by 38%
  • Short URLS - 2.5x more likely for CT
Gutenberg

Search for your keyword and see if there is a featured snippet position taken.

If it is, see what your competitor did, and do it better. Pay attention to what Google bolded as that is likely important and relevant.

If isn’t taken, depending on the type / intent of your keyword, you can make a:

  • Table With Data
  • Unordered or Ordered List
  • Clear and Concise Answer to the Question
  • Descriptive URLS - no random nonsense. increase CTF by 25%
  • In the intro use short sentence.s Short sentences increase readability by 58%
  • Colourful image for the cover photo. 80% more likely to read it. I use Unsplash for most cover photos. I might also use Canva to make my own cover photos. Here’s a secret: all the graphics I make for my blog are made in Lucid chart.
  • More images = more shares. Put in loads of images / diagrams
  • More images = more credibility
  • Use good images
  • Publish long content. Longer content is 80% more likely to be heavily shared. Your word count should match that of Wikipedia (if possible).
  • Include infographics (if possible)
  • Include hashtags (if putting it onto twitter)
  • Get emotional. Anger, love, surprise, awe.
  • Publish between 8am and 12pm (when my audience is most active)
  • Lots of lists, less paragraphs.
  • Keywords in title (bing and DDG prefer this), keyword in first line of text.
  • Meta description and meta title
  • Frontload your keywords in the title. “How to lose weight” vs “weight loss tips”. Google prefers “weight loss tips”.
  • Use outbound links in your post
  • Use internal links in your post, link to things that you’ve written about.
  • Make sure all the headings make sense. H1 followed by H2, for example. Try to limit the amount of H1s on a page. Make a logical sturcture
  • Use Grammarly and Hemmingway to check your work before you publish.
  • All images need to have alt text
  • Duck duck go and Bing lean heavily on page titles
  • Use content upgrades. 785% higher conversion if you have content upgrades in your email subscription box.
  • I’ve said this before in this document, but write for humans not SEO. Ask yourself “If I am a developer at Google, would I punish this in my SEO algorithm?”
  • Make sure convertkit is set up. For convertkit you need to add the content upgrade, add the form to automations, properly tag the form, rewrite the html code to not include H1 tags too ALSO USE UTM PARAMS!!!
  • Focus on the long term. You want to rank on Google. In the short term you can increase views by publishing on reddit or the likes. In order to rank on Google, you need a lot of backlinks. To get backlinks, you need people to view your post. To get people to view your post, you need to post it in lots of places.
  • Force yourself to come up with 15 titles.

Copywriting

Copywriting is any form of writing which requires you to sell a service or product.


Customer focussed copy

  • Write like your customers talk. The next parts are about how to find out how your customers talk.
    • Head over to Reddit and find where your target customer hangs out. Take a look at some of the most popular threads. Read what they’re writing. Understand how they talk.
    • Customer surveys, specifically these questions:
      • why did you buy the product?
      • what was the #1 thing that made you say “yes, this is for me”
      • what have you tried before?
      • what was the experience with these products?
    • Amazon reviews
    • Customer interviews
    • Social media. Find a competing product on twitter. keep an eye out for complaints made to this company, complaints that always show up. If your product fixses these complaints, emphasise them.

Pro copywriting secrets.

These are secrets that pro copywriters don’t like sharing, because if they share them then you’ll get the advantage

  • The purpose of the first sentence in an ad is to get you to read the second sentence. You want your writing to follow a slippery slide:
  1. Headline - gets them sucked in
  2. Next line - sucked in even more
  3. Next line - even more

and so on

  • You can use listicles to bring people in. “How do you stop people from not reading your blog? here are 3 tips that work GREAT!”
  • Little stories, such as “how I helped Buffer turn their YouTube Channel around”
  • Open loops. “I’ll show you how to do this later, but for now….". Make them want to carry on reading.

AIDA

  • Attention

Grab attention with the firt line. “This is the best blog post on careers on the planet”.

  • Interest

Drump up interest with a bold promise. “I’m going to show you techniques for getting any job you want”

  • Desire

Tap into their desires. “In short: if you want to be making £100,000 working a job you love, you’ll love this guide”

  • Action

Let them know what to do next. “Let’s get started” or “Go to the next page to achieve your dreams”

Benefits > Features

Who cares about features? Tell me the benefits.

Benefits vs features

Strong call to actions

Your customers are busy. Very busy. They don’t have time to figure out your shit. Tell them exactly what to do.

“Enter your email address and click “free ebook”

Focus on benefits, not features.

Gutenberg

This has features. It has a strong call to action. It tells the user exactly what they’re getting. FYI: this email subscriber form had a conversion rate of 63.72%. 63.72% of people who saw this, signed up to my email list.

Gutenberg

Although I admit, it’s because the e-book was published online for free. Who want’s to sit down and read a 34,000 word blog post? No one. They’d rather download the e-book and move on.

Social proof

People rely on social proof when they’re not sure what to do next. Social proof is imporant when someone’s deciding whether or not to buy what you sell.

Pro copy writers pack their copy with social proof. You need social proof to sell, but you need sales to get social proof.

Say you’re selling software. Only a handful of people paid for it, the rest are free trials. Show off your strongest form of social proof. Show of fhow many people signed up for your trial (but say like, 1000 people signed up not 1000 people signed up for the free trial)

Maybe you have 5 customers, and 3 of them got amazing results. Feature these 3 customers on your homepage.

Crystal Clear USP

USP = unique selling point

Why should someone buy from YOU??

you need a USP.

Warby Parker lets you try on frames at home, and return any you dont like.

Sense of urgency

How do you get customers to buy right now?

Urgency.

Use these to create urgency:

  • Limited time offer
  • Quantities limited (Supreme)
  • only 47 left
  • sale ends on august 31st
  • don’t miss out

You need to back up a sense of urgency with real limitations, otherwise you lose your customers trust.

Amazing headlines

80% of people read the headline, only 20% read the copy.

Your headlines need to be insanely specific

Your headline should tell your prospect exactly what they’re going to get

  • Save more time the easy way

change this to

  • save 2 hours per day with these 7 productiity hacks

Use a number

numbers force you to write insanely specific headlines. A study showed that headlines with numbers in them got 327% more clicks than headlines with questions.

Strong emotions

You need to have storng emotions in headlines. “You need to read this!”

Few examples of strong emotions:

  • crazy
  • now
  • fast
  • mistake
  • new
  • breakthrough
  • amazing

Use FOMO

Fear of missing out. If you can use FOMO, you should use FOMO. You land on a page nad it says “limited time savings” goes hand in hand with urgency

WIIFM

You land on a site and the first thing yo usee is all about them. Who cares? You want headlines that care about the customer. oYou need to answer the question “whats in it for me?”

  • Email campaigns that run your shopify store

Master the lead

Start with a hook

The first sentence of your lead is huge. Look at this one:

  • The stats are in and the results are undeniable:
  • Email is still the #1 way to dirve sales online.

Here are some copy and paste first lines:

  • “Does this sound familar?
  • now you can now [benefit] in [timeframe] without [common problem]
  • you know the feeling…
  • i struggled with [common problem] for [x years] until one day…

Use mini stories

Stories are a great way to hook people, and keep them reading.

Mini stories condense a story into 4 - 5 lines.

Complement the headline

sometimes your lead can complement your headline.

8 lines or less

you want your lead to be super short

8 lines max. the goal of your lead is to grab someone’s attention so they keep reading.

How to write compelling copy

Write like you talk

When you write like you talk, your copy just…. works

Short sentences

Short sentences = better copy

articles with shorter sentences had 711% comprehension than thoe with longer sentences.

Write to one person

instead of saying:

  • lots of people stuggle with weight loss
  • if you’re reading this that means you’re struggling to lose weight

Active voice

Active voice is so important. Like it should be on your list of top 5 most important things.

  • The blog post was written by Brian

  • Brian wrote a blog post

The second one is better.

Sex sells

Seriously. Sex sells. It has sold for centuries. It will continue to sell. But, it’s complicatd. You can’t sell a laptop using sex. But sex and cars? Yeah go ahead.

No big words

Big words suck. Don’t use them. I’ve talked about that a lot in this document. Don’t do it.

Write for skimmers

No ones going to read your shit. No one. Everyone is going to skim the content. To format your writing for skimmers:

  • Use lots of subheadings
  • Use takeaway lines, sum up each section of your writing
  • Lots of images and multimedia. Use bolding to indicate “hey, you. i know you’re not reading this paragraph, but read this sentence”.

Great copy is assembled, not written

Every copywriter copys the best. you should do it too. Here’s some proven templates.

Emails

  1. short and sweet subject line
  2. grabbing lead
  3. lesson as a story
  4. call to action
  5. use a PS

subject line = Short and sweet

Your subject line should outline your netwsletter,

You want it to be short, as an air of mystery. You want them to open it. You want it to be sweet , so they know what its about.

Attention grabbing leads

A compelling first line that hooks your reader right away. This line also shows up as a preview in Gmail. So it needs to be good.

Lesson as a story

Your newsletters need to sound like they are from friends. Friends always share stories. You should too.

Clear CTA

Let your reader know EXACTLY what to do next. “read this blog post”

Use a P.S

Most people can’t resist not reading a P.S.

Landing pages

  1. headline
  2. social proof
  3. body = pas (problem, agitate, solve)
  4. transistion (introducing ur product)
  5. cta

Headline = clear benefit

Your headline should let the reader know what they’ll get from your product, service, newsletter, or free trial. Example:

  • talk to invite-only growth mentors that truly enjoy helping

Social proof

Include social proof above the fold. This means before any other content, right below your headline.

People have a tendency to say yes to those who are similar or like themselves.

Body = PAS

The meat of your landi should follow the “problem, agitate, solve” formula. Start with your prospects #1 problem.

transisition

transisition from their number 1 problem to a specific offer, your pdocut.

CTA

Let your readers know exactly what to do next.

Advance copy writing stratergies

Non round numbers

numbers like 57, 41.9%. Not 40% or 60. Don’t round here.

Don’t talk about your product, show i

selling ain’t telling.

Your buttons have to be copy too

clicking a button is a last step for a conversion on your site. don’t mess the step up. it’s copy all the same. Make the button crystal clear.

Instead of “click here to subsscribe”, use “click here to download your PDF”.

This single phrase = 20% more buyers

  • “£5 fee”

vs

  • “a small £5 fee”

the second one converts 20% more.

Make your testimonials 10x better

most testimonials look like

“i brought this 3 months ago, it’s great. highly reccomend”

blah

this sucks.

Follow this formula:

  1. before
  2. after
  3. what they’d tell someone

Before I brought this, I was a fat loser who struggled to have fun.

That’s when I tried product X. Within hours, my entire life changed. I could have fun. And other people wanted to have fun with me.

if you’ve been frustrated like I have, I can’t reccomend product X enough.

Make them say yes

Create a set of questions which makes the customer nodding and saying yes.

Are you depressed?

Do you feel like you’re at a dead end?

But you’re a hard worker and very intelligent?

When you make the say yes, they’re more likely to buy your product

People will do anything for those that encourage their dreams and justifies their failures

Customers first, products second

The sure fire way to make more money isn’t to release new products. It’s to focus on your customers. Stregthen the relationship with your current customers.

“If you want to make more money, don’t focus on the product you’re selling. Focus on the people you’re selling to.”

Copy tip: center the success of your customers wherever you can. Instead of: “$10 in sales” Say: “you’ve earned $10.”

How to lie

To make a sentence more beleivable:

  • Use odd numbers
  • Maximise the contrast between the sentence and the background. Bright blue or bright red are more likely to be beleived.
  • Do not use complex language

Colour

  • Something that’s been working recently is adding the color red to my creatives. Whether it’s the color of the background or the text in the creative I’ve seen this increase the CTR and decrease the CPC consistently for my dropshipping products. Highly recommend testing it out!

Don’t use the word ‘cheap’

Don’t ever, ever, ever, ever, ever use the word «cheap» next to your offers. Better ways to convey this idea: * Cost-effective * Competitive pricing * On sale for $37 * Instead of paying $1000, pay $597 * Low-cost * Small investment of …

Lead Magnets

The best lead magnets will solve a problem for your audience.

Outbrain discovered that negative words in headlines like “never” and “worst” outperform positive words, like “always” and “best”… by 63%.

Replace “Buy” or “Sign up” with Benefit-Oriented CTAs

Make Your Headlines SUPER Specific

/headi

Pre number 1 on Google (published your post, now what?)


  • Make sure the form used in the blogpost is in an automation in ConvertKit! (if you’re reading this and you’re thinking ‘brandon this is in this post 6 times already’ damn right it is i’m a doofus and i ALWAYS forget to do my email stuff properly lol)

Make sure convertkit is set up. For convertkit you need to add the content upgrade, add the form to automations (rule), properly tag the form, rewrite the html code to not include H1 tags too ALSO USE UTM PARAMS!!!

  • Read the whole thing again, look for formatting issues
  • Internal links and external links all work
  • Put in more links if needed
  • submit to bing and google search console (webmaster) Simply *Goto your webmaster account *Add new URL in inspection tool *You’ll get the status of indexation for that URL, If it already in google index there will green checkmark, if it’s not you’ll get a button like “request indexing” *Click request indexing and wait.
  • Post on social media
  • Share on reddit / hacker news. When posting on reddit ,post to the right subreddits and customise the title for each subreddit. Use the app laterForReddit to find out the best times to post to these subreddits ( https://laterforreddit.com/ ).
  • Send an email campaign https://backlinko.com/email-outreach-study
  • Share on niche group
  • reply to comments
  • Forums / Slack
  • Repost to Medium
  • Repost to dev.to
  • Post on Twitter (twice the first day it’s released, once the next day, once 3 days after. space it out)
  • Post to instagram
  • Direct message friends who may be interested
  • Google advertising your blog posts is a thing, and it works ( https://growthbadger.com/six-month-progress-update/ )
  • Email newsletters that send you a lot of traffic!

Post here

“Hey [Site owner], I just stumbled upon your [roundup name] this afternoon, good stuff!

I’m just reaching out because I recently published a [content description] that might be a good fit: [URL]

Keep up the awesome work!

Cheers, Brandon”


List of places to get easy backlinks to your blog (SEO)

Is your site brand new? Add your URL to these sites to get some easy backlinks. Your SEO will improve. This is called “backlinks from web 2.0 websites”. web 2.0 is a website you can create content on.



Reviving dead posts

Dead posts as in ones that had a lot of popularity and died, or ones that had a lot of potential but didn’t quite hit the mark.


  • There are 3 main steps to reviving dead content:
  1. Identify the content
  2. Improve and update the content
  3. Republish your post
  • Finding content that can be improved

Go to Google Search Console Analytics and look at Position, Clicks and impressions. Content with high impression but low positions can be improved upon.

Things you can improve in dead content

  • Update images / screenshots
  • Improve the posts structure
  • Change up case studies / examples
  • Address common reader questions. If they comment with questions, answer them in the post. Answer the public.
  • Do more story telling, improve the stories.
  • Add more content, bonus steps
  • Improve your english / grammar
  • The time between originally writing the post and now is enough time for you to find more of your voice, for you to learn more. Use this new knowledge to improve the blogpost.

Relaunching

  • Change the published date to today
  • Share it as if it were a brand new piece of content
  • Any backlinks to your old content? Let them know it’s been updated.

Tests

Here are some tests I’ve run. Mostly email, but some blog post things too. These are all A/B tested btw. Converttkit suppots it natively. It’s really hard for me to A/B test blog posts.

  • Email headlines with more emoji get higher opens / higher CTR (click through rate)
  • Content upgrades increase email signups exponentially. If the content says it takes 24 minutes to read it, no one has that time. Offer a PDF of the post. People will sign up just to get the conveinance of reading it on a PDF
  • Starting my emails with “New blog post” in the subject get exponentially higher CTR / opens
  • email subjects that have the blog post title in them have higher opens (CTR didn’t increase so much)
  • Emails that have discounts / offers have higher CTR
  • Writing “Click here to read the blog post” instead of “click here” have higher CTR
  • Visual embeddings of email signups has higher CTR and sign ups. An image / in line form for singups is better than a hyperlink with some text.
  • Emails sent from a personal account have higher CTR than emails sent from a generic company account
  • Plaintext emails get higher open rates and more engagement than html emails
  • Taking your most popular blog posts and relaunching them has a higher ROI because you do little work (as the blog is already there) but improving it gives an exponential rise in views
  • Social media posts which directly help the user get more engagement. So for example, code tips / hints
  • So I have 2 links leading to the same landing page. One says “subscribe” and one says “Become a better dev”. Results: “Become a better dev” got 400% more views than “subscribe”. Probably because “become a better dev” provides more value than just “subscribe”
  • contents of email in subject line for my newsletter weekly news roundup generates more CTR (40% more) and more reads (about 10% more) than no contents in subject line
  • Testing: Instagram lighter posts vs darker posts. My growth rate is 1.14% at the moment. I’ve posted one recent light coloured image. That got 7.5% engagement (no editing). An edited dark coloured imaghe got 6.8% engagement. Lots of reposting accounts only repost light coloured things.
  • Testing: Landing page which is skimmable vs non skimmable
Gutenberg

By skimmable, I mean theres headings. You can just skim through it. Although this landing page was more popular, it didn’t convert at all.

  • Clear CTAs in Instagram captions get more engagement. “What are you working on today?” got less engagement than “Comment below what you’re working on today”
  • TESTING larger inline email forms with more benefits:
Gutenberg

Atm my signup rate is 2% for all blogposts on my forms (average)

  • TESTING I have a sneaky suspicion that for very long blog posts table of contents will increaes views / email signups

Cold emailing people

  • Reference mutual friends and tell the other person “they suggessted I ask you for coffee”
  • Paraphrase and make it obvious in the title. UoL Brandon will be in NYC next week - coffee?
  • List things you have in common. “We’re both interestyed in tech”
  • Offer them something, but don’t make it too obvious what it is. “I’m working on a persuasive technology which might be useful for your company”
  • Give the date specifically, but also flexibe. ““How does next Thursday, 4/20 or Friday, 4/21 work? I’m free all day, especially the afternoon, and I can meet whenever is convenient for you.””

Newsletter

  • My newsletter is a weekly roundup of future technology and news. Sometimes there won’t be any good news to report on. So I’ve created ‘specials’ for those dry weeks. Each special focuses on an area (such as agriculture). This helps me post every week while being able to survive dry news weeks.
  • Cal Newport says “write longer emails”: http://www.calnewport.com/blog/2016/04/19/write-longer-emails/

Getting signups

Content upgrades work!!! So for my emails, I provide a PDF of the blog post + some extra stuff that isn’t in the blogpost. Most of my blogposts are around 8k words. Literally no one wants to sit down and read an 8k word blogpost! So they choose to sign up to my email list and get the PDF.

  • Popups

Popups work! But I have a few rules:

  • No popups as soon as they load the webpage. This is annoying!
  • No full screen popups. Yeah, that sucks. Don’t do it.
  • Popups can’t cover content.
  • Popup has to look nice / work well on Mobile!

Customise your pages!

When you sign up to my email, you’ll get a custom page showing you what to do next: confirm your subscription!

Gutenberg

Here’s some more of my copy that you can copy:

Gutenberg
Gutenberg

Customise your subscribe buttons!!!


Grammar

  1. Form the possessive singular of nouns by adding ‘s

Charles’s friend

Burns’s poems

  1. Oxford comma. “Red, white, and blue”

  2. Enclose parathetic expressions between commas. The best way to see a country, unless you are pressed for time, is to travel on foot.

  3. Do not join independent clauses with a comma

If two or more clauses gramattically complete and not joined by a conjunction are to form a single compound sentence, the proper mark of puncuation is a semicolon.

Mary Shelley’s works are enteraining; they are full of engaging ideas.

If the second clause is preceeded by an adverb, such as accordingly, besides, then, therefore, the semicolon is still required.

  1. Do not break sentences into two. Do not use periods for commas.

  2. One paragraph to each topic.

  3. Use the active voice. When a sentence is made stronger (via active voice) it usually becomes shorter. Thus, brevity is a by-product of vigor.

  4. Delete “would, should, could, may, might, and can”

  5. Omit needless words. Vigiros writing is concise. A sentence should contain no unneccesary words.


Advertising (sorta copywriting)

People don’t give a shit about your prducts. They don’t care how many staff yoy have. People care most about themselves. They care about what products will do for them, how they’ll make their lives better, more fufilled.

Human beings are biologically programmed with the following 8 desires:

  1. Survival, enjoyment of lfie, life extension
  2. Enjoyment of food and beverages
  3. Freedom from fear, pain, and danger
  4. Sexual companionship
  5. Comfortable living conditions
  6. To be superior, winning, keeping up with the Joneses
  7. Care and protection of loved ones
  8. Social approval

The 2 strongest appeals are sex and self improvement.

“People buy because of emotion and justify with logic. Force an emotional response by touching on a basic want or need”

The 9 secondary human wants:

  1. To be informed
  2. Curiosity
  3. Cleanliness of body and surroundings
  4. Efficieny
  5. Conveniance
  6. Dependability / quality
  7. Expression of beauty and style
  8. Economy / profit
  9. Bargains

These secondary wants are strong but they don’t even come close to the primal wants.

The simple formula for desire and the result it sets into motion:

Tension → Desire → Action to satisfy the desire

Not only is it pleasant for us to satisfy our eight primary desires, but it’s also pleasant for us to read about how others have satisfied them.

The first use of any product is inside the consumers’ mind. Imagining the use of something that appeals to you increases your desire for it.

Fear sells

Fact: your home is a cesspool filled with hundreds of strains of evil bacteria waiting to infect your innocent child as he crawls along the kitchen floor, sticking plastic toy blocks into his mouth. Don’t laugh. Did you know that one single bacteria cell expands into 8 million cells in less than 24 hours? And that invisible microbes of all kinds can cause everything from athlete’s foot to diarrhea, the common cold to the flu, menningistis, strep throat, tuberculosis, and a lot more.

Fear causes stress. and stress causes the desire to do something. Make this stress go away. When you read that story, you wanted some tool to protect your child.

The fear appeal is most effective when:

  1. It scares the hell out of people
  2. It offers a specific reccomendation for overcoming the fear aroused threat
  3. The reccomended action is perceived as effective for reducing the threat
  4. The message repicent believes that he or she can perform the reccomended action

If you create too much fear, you could scare someone into inaction. Fear can paralyse people. The only way to make sure it will motivate is to be sure that your prospect believes they can change their situation.

Your advert must contain specific, believable reccomendations for reducing the threat that are both credible and achieveable.

Let’s say you own a karate school where you teach self defence to people. You need the other person to understand that they can learn to protect themselves from knife fights, they, themselves, personally.

The fear appeal works best if the fears targetted are specific and widely recgonised.

Your goal is not to creat new fears, but to tap into existing fears.

Ego Morphing

“By purschasing the righ stuff, we [the consumer[ enhance our own egos and rationalise our inadequancies”

By taking a product you can match it to an adueicne such that they feel their ego will be improved by it

Your job is to cause consumers to become so closely assiocated with the product’s image that it almost becomes a part of their identity.

“Ooooh look at all these hot girls climbing all over that guy wearing Levi jeans. I want those jeans”

Appealing to people’s vanity and ego is most successful when it hones in on charecteristics that society considers being desierable, such as physical attractivness, intelligence, economic success, and sexual prowress.

Credibility by osmosis

Transfer is a stratergy that involves using symbols, images, ideas commonly assiocated with people, groups, institutions of authority or respect in order topersuade your prospect that your product or service is in some way accecptably endorsed.

If you can’t get a testament, you can achieve similar success by spotlighting readily recongnized symbols that carry the weight of the endorsement. For example, “my newsletter is read by people at NASA, SpaceX, Google, Microsoft”. You don’t have a singular full endorsement from the company, but you can prove that people from these companies do read your newslette

You can also use symbols of any guilds / groups. You could attach the logo of the National Guild of Hypnotists to letters, to make it seem mroe offiical and less sales.

The bandwagon effect

Humans are social beings with a power psychological need to belong.

According to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, the need to belong is third olny to our physiological needs.

There are 3 types of groups:

  1. Aspirtional. Groups to which you’d like to belong
  2. Assiocative - groups that share your ideals and values
  3. Dissociative - groups that you do not want to belong to

The means end chain

“Don’t buy my product for what it does for you today, but it for what it does for you tomorrow!”

The idea is that many consumers purschases do not satisfy what they need right now, but what they’ll need in the future.

What’s the core benefit or service?

“Join my email list”

Why?

“Because you’ll get my emails weekly”

ok, but whats the benfit?

“So you can learn more things and be like me”

ok, but what’s the benefit of that?

“So you can become a good programmer” There we go!

Instead of leading with the boring “join my thing lol” frontload the benefit / value

The transtheoretical model

  1. Precontemplation - people in this stage are either ignorant of your product’s existance, or they’re unaware they need it
  2. Contemplation. Prospects in this stage are aware of your proeuct and have thought baout using it
  3. Preperation. Your prospect is thinking about buying from you, but needs information about your products benefits and advantages.
  4. Action. Success! Your prospect has arrived at the coveted action.
  5. Maintanence - they contineu to buy your rpoducts without giving it a second thought. its their product of choice

Make them prefer you for life

This is used to reinforce a consuemrs existing attitude towards a product or service by presenting a weak argument that tricks the consumer into defending their position and therefore strengthing their argument.

  1. Warn of an impeding attack
  2. Make a weak attack
  3. Encourage a strong defence

One way to do this is to advertise your competitors critiscisms of the product and turn them to the advantage.

“Our competitors tell you they use fresh mozzarella, but they don’t tell you they buy it in pre-shredded bags. At pauly’s pizza we hand shred mozzarella every morning”

Statistics vs examples

Statistics are cool and all, but only using statistics sucks. You should use examples, stories that have statistics built into them.

Two sided stories

When you have 2 stories, your own and your components, it’s stronger persusasion than just your own (Allen, 1991)

The key is to present both sides and only advocate for one. Make your two sided story appear to the reader as fair and balanced, but in actual fact defend your position and attack the enemys position.

You can play takeaway. “If you’re not into persuading people and making £100,000 a year, this book isn’t for you”

Telling someone they can’t have something not only boosts your credibility, but if their true prospects it’ll add fire to their desire.

Evidence

To sell someone something, you need them to believe you. To make them believe you, you need to present facts.

Your evidence should be clear and easy to grasp. People will not take time to figure out what you mean.

Simple

Write to the chimpanzee brain. Simple Directly. If your ad isn’t simple, people won’t read it.

Consumers buy based on what the product will do for them, not what it does

Put your biggest benefit in your headline

Unless your headline sells your product, you have wasted 90 percent of your money