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Akismet Suffers Comment Spam Downtime

Akismet users might have noticed an increase in comment spam getting through the system over the past 24 hours. It seems that they had some downtime as a result of an update that allowed quite a bit of spam to get through.

It seems to have settled now but for a few hours there last night I was swamped with the stuff (I was deleting it only just as fast as it was coming in). It made me realize just how much spam they usually stop for me (my counter shows that it’s stopped just under 22,000 comment spams in the last 15 days).

All is back up and running now – sorry for those of you who were exposed to the crud that was through my comments last night and to those who had trouble commenting (I switched to a higher level of moderation for a while there).

Brian’s CopyWriting Book Recommendations

A couple of weeks ago when I published my Essential Books for bloggers I asked a number of other bloggers for their recommendations on what they considered to be excellent resources in the different aspects of blogging.

Since then a number of others have suggested books including one of my favorite bloggers, Brian Clark from Copyblogger.

Brian sent me an email recommending the following four books (aff links at Amazon) and has been kind enough to add some reasons for why he likes them. They all relate to copywriting. Here are his recommendations (thanks Brian) which I’ve added to my original list of books for bloggers. I’ve also just ordered each of them and can’t wait to get my next Amazon package – $80 well spent I’d say.

Advertising Secrets of the Written Word by Joe Sugarman

A book that does a great job of explaining the goals and methods of copywriting in an engaging way. Really good for newbies

Tested Advertising Methods — John Caples

An old book that’s been updated. Timeless advice and examples for headline and all other elements of good copy

Ogilvy on Advertising – David Ogilvy

I nice blend of information mixed in with the life of an advertising icon

The Story Factor — Annette Simmons

A storytelling book rather than pure copy, but it’s really the same thing. This book will blow people away with the possibilities for storytelling in business and marketing.

Telegraph Caught Republishing Blogger’s Post Without Acknowledgement

This tale of the Telegraph Newspaper foolish action in publishing a bloggers post without permission, acknowledgment of source and under one of it’s author’s name (all they did was change the heading) has left me shaking my head today. Very odd.

See the original post, a cached version of the copy (the actual article on the website has now disappeared) and the author’s reflections.

I wonder whether they’ll go beyond deleting the evidence and make some sort of an apology?

update: The Telegraph’s author has posted an explanation here.

Lists Group Writing Project – Categorized

During the Last Group Writing Project (on the topic of Lists) I was quite overwhelmed by the number of entries. The list that we ended up with had a total of 301 lists.

The main problem with the final list of entries was that despite containing a lot of great posts – it was difficult to find posts that would interest you as they were in no way classified.

As a result I decided that I’d commission a fellow blogger, Christina Jones from eBeauty Daily, to see if she’d come up with a way of making some sense of it.

Here’s how she’s done it (thanks Christina!)
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Closing the Deal – Persuasive Blogging Part V

Commitment“Desire is the key to motivation, but it’s determination and commitment to an unrelenting pursuit of your goal – a commitment to excellence – that will enable you to attain the success you seek.” – Mario Andretti

The last step in the process to writing a persuasive blog post is to lead your readers to a point of commitment to the action that you’re asking them to take.

Having worked on their desire to make some changes they should be feeling motivated to do so – but depending upon the action you’re asking for they could be feeling some level of ‘fear’ about what might happen if they do step out and do something.

Many people find change to be a scary thing and so it might be time for a little reassurance to get them over the line.

Here are a few tips on seeking commitment from readers.

Ask for a Specific Response

One of the best things you can do at this point is to give a small first step for the action you are asking for. Make it as specific as possible and consider making it bite sized enough that it’s achieveable but not so small that it’s not significant.

Add Accountability

People follow through on commitments to a much higher extent if they know other people know about the action that they’ve committed themselves to. Invite your readers to let you know about the commitment that they’ve made, or to do something public about it (leave a comment, write on their own blog about it, participate in some forum you might have).

The other thing great thing about this is that people like to feel that they are part of something larger than themselves and that they’re in a movement of people like themselves taking specific action. Create an atmosphere of ‘we’re doing this together’ and you’ll get people achieving so much more.

Personal Reassurance

If you’re able to give it you might like to make a commitment to help the reader through the action you’re asking them to take. Even if it’s just asking them to email you if they have problems can be enough to get people over the line and take some action.

Once again – in this last stage it’s useful to tell your own story and to use ‘inspirational’ pictures of what can be to help people move past their fear to commitment.

Follow Up

Also know that people’s fear doesn’t always end once they’ve taken the action you’ve asked them to take.

I started this series by talking about some of the sales guys I met when searching for a new car. One of the things I liked about the one that ended up getting the sale (we bought a Honda CRV) was that his sales process didn’t stop at the moment we signed on the dotted line and handed him the cheque.

The day after we took the car home and again a week later he rang to see how we liked it and if there were any problems. What he was doing was helping us to get through our ‘buyers remorse’.

Good sales people know that when they sell a big item that the purchaser often feels some sort of remorse or concern a day or two after their purchase. They might worry that they’ve made the wrong decision or that they spent too much etc.

Good sales people know this and it is often a time that they’ll call or write to reassure that the buyer made a good decision.

In the same way – ongoing interactions with readers can go a long way too. If someone’s gone out of their way to do something you’ve asked them to do you should do as much as you can to acknowledge it and thank them. If they’ve made some significant decision as a result of something you’ve written even just a simple email congratulating them and letting them know you’ve noticed what they’ve done can have a real impact.

The Art of Persuasive Blogging

I hope you’ve enjoyed this week’s series on persuasive blogging.

Over the week we’ve looked at:

  1. Getting Attention – taking potential readers from your a state of Rejection to Attention
  2. Stimulating Interest - moving readers from Indifference to Interest in your writing
  3. Conviction – taking readers on a journey from Skepticism that what you’re writing about is the right action to Conviction that it is and that they should do something about it
  4. Creating Desire – helping readers to move out of a state of Procrastination to a state of Desire to do what you are asking them to do
  5. Seeking Commitment – leading readers past their Fear to Commitment to take action

A lot more could be said on persuasive blogging and I invite you to share your experiences both of being persuaded as a blog reader but also of being the persuader.

I’d also be particularly interested in hearing your reaction to the process that I’ve outlined this week. Give it a go in your next post and let me know how it goes.

Resources for Information Publishers

Martin at ePublishingDaily has put together a page of resources for information publishers that I think a lot of entrepreneurial bloggers will find very useful.

It’s got over 100 resources in 17 categories including:

  • Online PDF Creators
  • Keyword Tools
  • Stock Photos
  • Online Payment
  • Autoresponders
  • Online Researching

Some categories will be more helpful for some than others (depending upon their approach) but there’s sure to be something worthwhile on the list for everyone.

Six Figure Blogging Gets an Update

Six-Figure-BloggingIt’s been almost a year since Andy Wibbels and I ran the live version of the Six Figure Blogging Course. The response we had back then was pretty terrific – thousands registered for the free preview call (which is still available to give you a taster on our main page) and we ended up with a great group of bloggers doing the calls with us over a six week period.

The feedback they gave us was that it was well worth the expense to do the course and that if anything we gave them too much information to digest.

Since the live version we’ve made the archives of what we did available as a downloadable course (six hour long calls, with full transcripts of them all and access to class notes) and have had quite a few bloggers go through it.

Andy and I were chatting a couple of weeks ago and realized that it’d been almost 12 months since the first course and that a lot had happened in Pro Blogging circles in that time. So we decided to put together an update call.

We surveyed those who did the course previously to find out what they wanted more information on and pulled together a free bonus call for those who have signed up for the course.

The call covers an update of a number of new income streams launched since the course, plus us discussing questions like:

  • Is there still hope for individuals getting into blogging for money in a time when everyone is doing it and there are some big players entering the field?
  • How long should it take to get somewhere with blogging?
  • Blog Networks – How do they pay people?
  • Reasons why many blogs don’t make money

Plus lots more. The call is 40 minutes and as usual we stuffed as much as we could into it.

So if you’ve already enrolled in Six Figure blogging just log in and you’ll get the call for free. If you’ve not done the course but would like to – head over to Six Figure Blogging.

Also – don’t forget the affiliate program where you can earn money for recommending the course. Sign up for it over at Andy’s site.

Desire and Persuasive Blogging – Part IV

“Desire is the starting point of all achievement, not a hope, not a wish, but a keen pulsating desire which transcends everything.” - Napoleon Hill

Over the last few years I’ve put on a little weight.

Actually – a more accurate statement would be – each year over the last few years I’ve put on a little weight and over the ‘few years’ the little bits of weight that I’ve put in have started to add up.

I’m not fat – but I could definitely benefit from taking a few kilograms off.

DesireI’m convinced that I need to lose some weight and have been for a couple of years now. I know the arguments of why I should lose weight and even know how to do it but the reality is that I’ve done nothing about it.

Why is this?

To be honest I’m not exactly sure – but I guess what it boils down to is that as much as I’m convinced that I should – I have no real desire to make the changes that I know are necessary to lose weight.

I suspect that I’m not alone – both when it comes to losing weight but also when it comes to taking action in other areas of our lives.

This week we’ve been talking about how to become a persuasive blogger – we’ve talked about getting attention, stimulating interest and convincing (or convicting) readers that they should take some form of action.

The Need for Desire In Motivating People To Take Action

Desire-1

People often get stuck at this point. They give us their attention, they are interested in the topic we’re exploring and they’re even convinced that what we’re saying is right and that they should so something – but they leave our blogs and do nothing about what they’ve read.

Some of them leave saying ‘it’s too hard’ and others saying ‘I’ll do it one day’. Procrastination sets in and no action is taken – the desire just isn’t there.

Taking people beyond being ‘convinced’ is a real gift and it’s something many of us need to learn about. Here’s a few strategies that might help:

How to Move Readers to a Point of Desire

1. Reemphasize Benefits

You’ve already outlined why people should take the action you’re suggesting – but some people need to hear things more than once. Without repeating yourself word for word go over the benefits of taking the action your suggesting.
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Marinating Ideas into Blog Posts – My Posting Workflow

MarinateGlen has posted a nice post at LifeDev titled Let Your Blog Posts Marinate (4 Steps to Forming Great Ideas) which uses the great image of marinating your ideas for a while before posting them.

Below I’ll share 10 steps on how I let ideas marinate and become posts – but first….

I love the marinating image for two reasons:

Great Marinades Take Time

Firstly – the best marinades that I’ve ever made have been when I’ve thought ahead and begun the process of putting the meat into the marinade well ahead of the time that I cook it (even the day before). I like this image because it reminds me that often ideas need time to grow and mature.

In my opinion many bloggers post their thoughts too quickly and don’t allow their ideas to develop to a point where they are unique and useful enough to reach their potential

Great Marinades Combine Ingredients to Create New Flavors

Secondly – the image of marinating conjures up images of combining different sauces, spices, herbs and ingredients into one dish to allow them to mix and combine in a way that brings out the flavor in the meat you’re marinating. Another problem that I see some bloggers falling into is posting one dimensional (or shallow) posts that are good ideas but that could be GREAT ideas if they were worked on a little more.

It’s like putting your meat in a marinate of just one sauce – something that can improve it, but not as much as if you added some herbs and spices and perhaps a second complimentary sauce that would add an extra level of complexity and richness to the dish (I’ll explain below what I mean by this).

The process Glen outlines for marinating ideas into blog posts is:

  1. Jot it Down
  2. Review it
  3. Let it Develop
  4. Post

My Post Workflow (idea Marinating Process)

I really love the imagery of marinating ideas as I actually use a very similar process to what Glen outlines – although over the years have added a few of steps. Here’s my 10 Step Process (not that I work through it as neatly as it will look here):

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