A Seemingly Minor Fact-Checking Tip that Yields Top-Notch Customer Service

When I was a cub copy editor, I learned a simple fact-checking technique that is still one of my favorites today.
It may seem unimportant, but if you don’t use this technique and fail to catch a certain type of mistake, you could set yourself up for extra work later.
This is one of my favorites because it demonstrates that reviewing your copy and content for accuracy goes beyond checking for proper grammar, spelling, and punctuation.
Check for day/date discrepancies
I told you it’s simple.
Whenever you see a day of the week and a date in your text, check that the day of the week matches the date mentioned.
You might write a day and date when you announce and/or discuss in-person events, webinars, or live Q&As.
Here’s how it works
Let’s say you’re inviting your email subscribers to a webinar that will be held on Wednesday, December 29, 2016. You’ve edited and proofread the content already. It looks great … except, this year Wednesday is December 28.
If you send your content with “Wednesday, December 29, 2016” in the announcement, you could leave interested webinar attendees wondering if the webinar is Wednesday, December 28 or Thursday, December 29.
Since “Wednesday, December 29, 2016” doesn’t exist, your content is unclear without this type of fact-checking and could lead to inquiries from your audience.
When you get it right before you publish, you stop questions from confused prospects before they happen.
If your copy and content is accurate, there is no room for confusion. Readers

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Educate to Dominate Your Competition

First off, check out this quotation:
“It is easier to resist at the beginning than at the end.” – Leonardo da Vinci
Now, let me ask you this … How do you spark the buying process without a lot of high-pressure, high-hype selling?
You do it by getting the reader, listener, or viewer to imagine buying from you, even before you’ve presented the full offer.
Why is that important?
It’s important because once someone imagines buying from you, they’ve made a mental commitment.
The size of that commitment will depend on how well your content resonates with that particular individual, but it’s a commitment nonetheless.
And at that point, it’s a commitment voluntarily made, without any overt request on your part.
You may still be thinking, so what?
Well, we humans are funny that way. Once we commit to something, we tend to act in a consistent manner with the prior commitment.
The six psychological shortcuts of Influence
In his famous book Influence: Science and Practice, Dr. Robert Cialdini identifies six judgmental heuristics that create mental shortcuts that can drive our behavior:

Reciprocity
Social proof
Liking
Authority
Scarcity
Commitment and consistency

Note that by giving away free content, you’re invoking reciprocity, which triggers the psychological need to give something back in return.
When people share and comment on your content, you’re invoking the power of social proof.
By creating conversational content that builds rapport, you are also bringing liking into play, because people want to do business with people they like, even if another choice might be technically more appropriate.
And by taking on

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How Journalist and Bestselling Author of ‘The Revenge of Analog’ David Sax Writes: Part Two

The business and culture journalist and bestselling author of the recent book The Revenge of Analog, David Sax, dropped by the show to talk about the writing life, the importance of real things in a digital world, and the revenge of paper.
David is a freelance writer whose work has appeared in Bloomberg Businessweek, The New York Times, The New Yorker online, and other publications.
The author’s first book, Save the Deli, was a Los Angeles Times bestseller and won the James Beard Award for Writing and Literature.
His latest, The Revenge of Analog: Real Things and Why They Matter “… looks at the resurgence of analog goods and ideas, during a time when we assumed digital would conquer all.” It was longlisted for the 2017 Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence.
Kevin Kelly, founding editor of Wired magazine and author of The Inevitable, said of the book, “The better digital gets, the more important analog becomes … Sax’s reporting is eye-opening and mind-changing.”
NOTE: This is the last episode of the year for us, due to the impending holiday break, but we will return with more great interviews for you in 2017. Thanks for listening!
If you’re a fan of The Writer Files, please click subscribe to automatically see new interviews.
In Part Two of this file David Sax and I discuss:

Why you should work regular hours, and the author’s “Cinderella Clause”
The significance of unplugging for writers
How to record your audiobook in the same studio as Drake
Why the reward is the

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Bad Writing Advice: The ‘Post Truth’ Episode

So much bad advice …
Funny thing — you can ask for people’s favorite words of advice, and you’ll get a decent number of answers.
But ask for their favorite piece of bad advice, and you’ll really get a response. I did exactly that on Twitter, and the podcast and Copyblogger post this week are all about what I found.
It ain’t what you don’t know … it’s what you know that just ain’t so.
In this 21-minute episode, I talk about:

Jason Miller’s smart article about why the “goldfish attention span” myth is dangerously wrong
Why it’s a terrible idea to dumb down your content
My suggestion — that you might find extremely dumb — for reframing a piece of content
Publishing frequency myths and truths
The most important thing you can learn from bad advice

Listen to this Episode Now
The post Bad Writing Advice: The ‘Post Truth’ Episode appeared first on Copyblogger.

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How the Hubris of Apple and the iPhone 7 is the Antithesis of Knowing Your Customers

I had a very interesting experience at a Verizon store this week. While waiting, I witnessed the same event with three different customers, and here it was: Previous iPhone owners were switching to a Samsung. All because of a silly absent headphone jack. Literally, every one of them mentioned it. So instead of truly listening…
The post How the Hubris of Apple and the iPhone 7 is the Antithesis of Knowing Your Customers appeared first on The Sales Lion by Marcus Sheridan.

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Laura Roeder on Building a Business that Supports the Lifestyle You Love

This week’s guest is a self-learner. She aspires to help people’s small businesses succeed beyond their wildest dreams by making social media marketing plain and simple to understand and implement. She is Laura Roeder, and she is a Digital Entrepreneur.
In this episode, Laura walks you through her journey as a digital entrepreneur:

How being a mom has influenced her ability to reap the benefits of digital entrepreneurship
How all the small choices she’s made over the years have added up to something incredible
Why constantly innovating helps her deal with the challenge of bringing in new customers
The one word she’d use to describe where see wants to take her business in the future … and why you should strive for it too

And more.
Plus, Laura answers my rapid-fire questions at the end in which she reveals why she’s been keeping her phone in another room at night.
Listen to this Episode Now
The post Laura Roeder on Building a Business that Supports the Lifestyle You Love appeared first on Copyblogger.

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Conventional Writing Wisdom You Can Ignore, Effective Immediately

Ever heard the term negativity bias?
Briefly stated, it means that we’re wired to notice things that suck far more than things that rock.
I had a hilarious (and productive) example of this when I asked this question on Twitter:
Twitter hive mind: What’s yr fave piece of terrible advice for writers / content markters? Asking for podcast. Will credit you of course!
— Sonia Simone (@soniasimone) November 29, 2016

(Apologies for the truncated words! #becauseTwitter)
I got more than enough replies to fill my podcast episode. In fact, I got so many good answers that I wanted to compile them for you here … in the spirit of encouraging you to leave unhelpful advice behind as we march forward into 2017. I asked our editorial team to chime in with their favorites as well.
And of course, I would love it if you’d leave a comment below with your favorite “not so helpful” bit of writing advice.
So here’s a compilation of bad advice, gathered from you.
Dumbing it down
I started thinking about bad advice while reading Jason Miller’s excellent article on The Great Goldfish Attention Span Myth — and Why It’s Killing Content Marketing.
Jason took a look at the oft-repeated advice that “humans now have a lower attention span than goldfish.” He discovered that it wasn’t supported by evidence (which shouldn’t really surprise us), and argues that too many content marketers are pandering to minds that aren’t as fractured as we assume.
One Tired Ema chimed in to echo that theme:
.@soniasimone

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SharpSpring: Cost, Competitors, Community, & More [VIDEO & PODCAST] One Last Tool

I am super excited and I know people, I always say I’m excited, but I truly am excited because we get to dive into the world of marketing automation and agencies and normal people and weird …
The post SharpSpring: Cost, Competitors, Community, & More [VIDEO & PODCAST] One Last Tool appeared first on The Sales Lion by Marcus Sheridan.

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Getting Ready for a Powerhouse 2017

Am I jumping the gun a little bit? 2016 is still right here, after all. Staring me in the face.
Let’s just call it getting a head start. On Monday, I launched a new series for the blog and the podcast … which I’m calling the 2017 Content Excellence Challenge.
It works like this: Every month, we get two prompts. One is creative (about becoming a better writer) and one is productive (about getting more work done).
We’ll take these prompts and turn them into habits … habits that support better and stronger content.
The Copyblogger FM podcast this week is about the Challenge as well, so you can pick text or audio. (Or both, if you’re into it.)
It’s about, to use Cal Newport’s phrase, getting so good they can’t ignore you. It’s about embracing change and growth and mastery, and being willing to put in the necessary work.
Careful, because I may burst into an inspirational song at some point here.
On Tuesday, Pamela Wilson helped us on our mission to Get Great by showing us how to coax your editorial brain and your creative brain to play nicely together.
And on Wednesday, Raubi Perilli outlined how to match content goals with measurable key performance indicators (KPIs) that allow us to see the results of all our hard content marketing work.
Thanks for reading and listening. I hope December is treating you well so far, and I’ll catch you next week …
— Sonia Simone
Chief Content Officer,

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