Get Engaged to Your Audience and Customers

Roses are Red
Violets are Blue
Valentine’s Day is Tuesday
Why is content marketing so hard?
Welcome to the week before Valentine’s Day! As it happens, it’s connection and engagement week at Copyblogger — and the content this week is all about how you can create a more profound bond with your audience.
On Monday we had a fun day, because we got to finally let you know about something cool we’ve been working on behind the scenes — StudioPress Sites. This new product was conceived and shaped based on our in-depth conversations with customers, and we’re super proud of it. If you’re looking to launch a new site with all the flexibility of WordPress — and without the irritating parts — check it out.
On Tuesday, Brian gave us an in-depth post about how to create content that deeply engages your audience. This is a meaty post, so plan on giving it your full attention and spending some time with it (and your caffeinated beverage of choice, if you choose).
And on Wednesday, Jerod talked about cognitive biases — how your brain is wired to work, whether or not you’re aware of it. He explained ethical ways we can use these biases to shape content to work with our natural tendencies, instead of against them.
Finally, a little earlier today we announced our Content Excellence Challenge prompts for February. These are community challenges we do together every month. This month, I’m giving away five copies of Jonah Sachs’s fascinating book Winning

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5 Cognitive Biases You Need to Put to Work … Without Being Evil

All writing is persuasion in one form or another.
This is more obvious in some types of writing than others, but it is nonetheless true for all.
When it comes to copywriting, it is clearly true. Every piece of copy we write should drive a reader toward a specific action.
“Writing gives you the illusion of control, and then you realize it’s just an illusion, that people are going to bring their own stuff into it.”
– David Sedaris
But even the best piece of copy in the world doesn’t actually control a reader’s actions. Well-written copy only provides the “illusion of control.” What a reader does after reading is dependent on the “stuff” they brought into it.
That “stuff” includes past experiences, preconceived notions, and, above all else, cognitive biases.
Let’s discuss a helpful handful of these cognitive biases — some you’ll know well, some you may not — and how understanding them and structuring your content in a way that acknowledges and appreciates them will help you connect, compel, and serve better.
What are cognitive biases?
“A cognitive bias refers to the systematic pattern of deviation from norm or rationality in judgment, whereby inferences about other people and situations may be drawn in an illogical fashion.”
– Wikipedia
In other words, cognitive biases are mental shortcuts we all make, all the time, without consciously realizing it, that can lead to irrational thoughts and actions.
An example:
We tend to search for and interpret information in a way that confirms our preconceptions.
I sat down to

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Meet the Tragic Poster Boy for the Emotional Brain

While Enlightenment-era thinkers like Denis Diderot, Benjamin Franklin, René Descartes, David Hume, and Thomas Jefferson — giants from the age of reason — would like you to believe otherwise, we are not as rational as we think we are.
Recent books like Irrational Exuberance, Emotional Intelligence, and Descartes’ Error teach us that even the most analytical among us make decisions with emotions.
They can disparage the emotions as much as they want, but the fact remains that without emotions we can’t make a decision in the first place.
And strangely enough, the one incident that seemed to break the influence that the age of reason had on the Western mind occurred on September 13, 1848.
In this 11-minute episode of Rough Draft with Demian Farnworth, you’ll discover:

The event that changed the way we think about the brain — and emotions
The truth behind a responsible middle-aged man’s sudden and mysterious collapse into malingering
The 11 major emotions
How “reason-why” copy makes people feel good about their decisions
What people can say when they do rude things to not offend anyone (and still get away with their behavior — it’s not apologizing, either)
Demian’s favorite ad demonstrating “reason-why” copy in action

Click Here to Listen toRough Draft on iTunes
Click Here to Listen on Rainmaker.FM
About the authorRainmaker.FMRainmaker.FM is the premier digital marketing and sales podcast network. Get on-demand business advice from experts, whenever and wherever you want it.

The post Meet the Tragic Poster Boy for the Emotional Brain appeared first on Copyblogger.

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What to Do When You Absolutely, Positively Must Know if Your Content Will Rock

Editor’s note: This post was originally published on June 29, 2011. We’re running it again today to honor DIY media and the endless possibilities for your business when you’ve built a loyal audience.
Ever had a great idea, and then started to doubt yourself?
Or maybe you’ve already executed on that great idea, but you’re hesitating to launch. Maybe it’s an article, or an ebook, or a new product or service.
How can you be sure it will work? Should you ask for feedback?
I’ll answer both of those questions in this article, but first I need to tell you a couple of stories from the nutty worlds of music and film.
Let’s start with a band called Wilco.
Wilco gets the shaft
In 2000 and early 2001, Wilco recorded a selection of songs for a fourth studio album.
Signed to Reprise Records (a subsidiary of Warner Music), the band was continuing to shift away from its “alt country” roots toward a more experimental alternative rock sound.
This made the folks at Reprise nervous. After a shakeup at the top executive level of the label, a guy named Mio Vukovic was assigned to monitor the progress of the new album and offer suggestions.
Let’s just say that Vukovic wasn’t much impressed with what he heard, and Wilco wasn’t much impressed with his suggestions. This resulted in the band being unceremoniously canned by the label.
Wilco negotiated its contractual divorce from Reprise. Part of the deal allowed the band to keep the master tapes and full

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How to Create a Deep Connection with Your Prospects and Customers

When my son was about two and a half, he developed a funny habit of walking around the house from time to time, chiming out, “I’m here.”
Although this little boy was strongly connected to his family and his small class of school friends, he still had that need to express it.
I’m here. I exist. I want to be seen, and heard. I want to be recognized.
And as human beings, we never quite lose that. We might get a little more sophisticated about how we say it, but ultimately we all want to let the world know:
I’m here.
If you intend to sell something — to ask for someone’s hard-earned money and irreplaceable time — you must begin by seeing (and honoring) who they are.
You need to know them as well as you know yourself, as well as you know your family and closest friends.
As usual, Eugene Schwartz said it best
At Copyblogger, we’ve long been big fans of Eugene Schwartz and his chewy, profound book Breakthrough Advertising.
Schwartz was a master at learning to see his prospect, and then to express that recognition with clarity. He identified three components of that understanding:
Desires … Identifications … Beliefs. Each of them composed of equal parts of emotion and thought. The three dimensions of your prospect’s mind — the raw materials with which you will work.
First … desire
When we are toddlers, what we want makes up an enormous part of who we are.
But, of course, that doesn’t

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