Great thanks really love method

Want to make a bigger impact with your copywriting in half the time?

Today on The Marie Forleo Podcast, learn three copywriting exercises to transform long, rambly sentences into copy that’s powerful and to the point. Iconic brands and prolific writers use these strategies to dazzle readers and skyrocket sales — and now you can too.

Practice these copywriting exercises often and you’ll be able to:


“I wish they took LONGER to get their point across.” ~ No one, ever. Learn 3 steps to write short, powerful copy →  https://bit.ly/3copytips
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Ready to ditch your writing insecurities and become a better copywriter? Hit play below or listen on your favorite podcast platform. 

(Warning: this episode contains magical singing from yours truly. #sorrynotsorry.)

View Transcript

Check out this episode on The Marie Forleo Podcast

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WANT TO BE A BETTER WRITER?
If you want more help with your writing, join me in The Copy Cure. It’s a copywriting program designed to help you write more powerfully, persuasively, and in your unique voice —
and it’s backed by a 100% risk-free satisfaction guarantee.
Doors close Wednesday, May 20th. Learn more here.

Transform Your Sales Copy With These 3 Copywriting Exercises

Worried that you’re scaring away potential customers with long, boring sales copy? You’re not alone. We surveyed over 20,000 people about their writing habits and 33% struggle with being too wordy and long-winded. Use these three copywriting exercises below to write stronger, more concise copy — in half the time.

Copywriting Exercise #1: Write A Shitty First Draft That’s Waaaay Too Long.

I know, I know. You want it to be short and powerful right off the bat, but that’s not how writing works. If you want to become a better copywriter, practice getting all your ideas down first. Best-selling author, Anne Lamott, calls this your “shitty first draft,” because that’s exactly what your first attempt is — shitty. The first step in the writing process is to get it out on the page, not get it perfect.

Key point: Just write, don’t edit. 

Why? Because writing and editing are two different functions. Doing both at the same time will only slow you down. Write the shitty first draft and trust that the copywriting magic happens when you spend time editing and polishing.

Don’t believe me? Here are some examples:

  • The Continental Congress made 86 changes to Thomas Jefferson’s first draft of The Declaration of Independence.
  • Ernest Hemingway wrote 47 endings to A Farewell To Arms.
  • Marion Roach Smith submitted her essay Spam Chop Suey to NPR after draft 45!

Copywriting Exercise #2: Write It Rude.

Politeness leads to long-windedness. If you’re trying too hard to make everyone like you, your writing will suffer. You’ll add all kinds of unnecessary parentheticals and word softeners to your message, which will make it bland and forgettable.

Writing it rude will help you write more
effective sales copy, faster and clearer. 

These iconic ads are the perfect example of writing it rude:

  • Got Milk? — They didn’t say, “Excuse me, I hate to bother you, but I’m just wondering whether you have some milk?” No! They kept it short and sweet.
  • Just Do It. — Nike didn’t write, “Wouldn’t it be wonderful if you did it?” Or, “We strongly suggest that at your earliest convenience, you do it.” Instead, they wrote. “Just Do It,” and the rest is history.

To be clear, writing it rude doesn’t mean keeping it rude. Use this copywriting exercise to zoom past your inner critic and say what you want to say, without a filter.  

Copywriting Exercise #3: Trim the Fat.

Once you have a shitty first draft that contains the essence of what you want to say, it’s time to edit. Cut as many words from your copy as you can without losing the meaning. Be ruthless. Lose every unnecessary word, adverb, and cliche.

Here’s a quick editing trick: use your document’s find and replace tool to cut common “filler words” like the following:

  • Just
  • That 
  • Really/very
  • You can
  • Start

Want to see some copyediting in action? Here’s an example from our flagship copywriting program, The Copy Cure.

BEFORE:
I firmly believe that everyone is fully capable of writing their own copy and developing their own truly unique voice, as long as they have the necessary knowledge of how to implement certain techniques, which I am about to share.
AFTER:
Everyone can write. Everyone can develop a voice. All it takes are these simple techniques. 

In our writing program, The Copy Cure, we show you how to trim all the extra words (and include a list of words to avoid at all costs) so your writing is tight and powerful. 

Today’s Insight Into Action Challenge

Now I’d love to hear from you. Today’s question has two parts:

  1. What’s your biggest struggle when it comes to writing?
  2. Try one of our 3 copywriting exercises to something you’ve written: a sentence, tagline, or headline. Share your before and after in the comments below!

If you feel like you write like a robot or keep telling yourself, “I suck as a writer” remember this: writing isn’t rocket science. It’s a learnable skill anyone can develop. 

Use these exercises and keep going. Because the world really does need that special gift that only you have.

With enormous love,

XO

The post Copywriting Exercises: How to Transform Long, Boring Sentences Into Short, Powerful Copy appeared first on .

such a great post

It might seem impossible to make sense of a nation-wide racial revolt being dropped into the middle of a pandemic in a country that’s already seething with bitter cultural divides, but let’s try anyway.

Don’t worry, I’m not going to get political here. Instead, I’d like to use this as an opportunity to walk you through how I go about processing extremely emotional and upsetting public events such as this. I think this is important because right now, due to social media and camera phones and 24/7 news coverage, as a society we’ve become bad at processing these events in a helpful way. I’ve had to kind of teach myself to go about reading about these things in a more objective manner and it’s not easy. So, I figured I’d break down my process here. 

First, when approaching any difficult subject, before even starting, I try to remind myself of a few things:

  • There is little evil in the world, but lots of stupidity and selfishness – With the exception of truly heinous shit, most people are not motivated by evil intentions. In fact, it’s usually the opposite — most people do awful things with the best of intentions. Therefore, we should not assume people’s intentions to be evil, but rather try to understand why they believe what they are doing is good. 
  • Everyone suffers. The question is, for what reason are they suffering? – It’s easy to fall into the trap of believing that nobody should ever be insulted, attacked, hurt, threatened, etc. Not only is this unrealistic, but if we are going to stand up to dangerous groups, individuals or ideas, we have to be willing to sacrifice. Therefore, the question isn’t whether people should suffer or not, rather it’s a question of whether they are suffering for a good reason.
  • Prepare to sit with the contradictions – People and groups can be both good and bad simultaneously. In fact, they usually are. Two opposing viewpoints can each be partially correct and partially incorrect. Evidence can be complicated and suggest contradictory conclusions. Be prepared to sit with these. Your mind will try to push you to be comfortable on one side of the fence or the other, but do not let yourself fall into mental complacency. Life is complicated. Issues are complex. Sit with the uncertainty. 

With those assumptions in place, I then start asking myself a series of questions, and do research around the answers:

What is the historical precedent?

There is nothing that happens that has not happened countless other times throughout human history. Human societies, for the most part, are flawed in the same ways and make the same mistakes. But we forget about those mistakes every generation or two, so we end up repeating them.

Getting historical perspective is immediately useful because it snaps you out of irrationally feeling that what’s happening is of “end of the world” proportions. It humbles you to see that every generation before you has gone through a similar struggle. And in most cases, things eventually improved. 

In this case, the United States has a long, long, long history of both police brutality and racially-motivated riots stretching back hundreds of years. They happened not so long ago in 2014, in Ferguson and Baltimore. But also the Rodney King riots in 1992, the DNC in 1968, Detroit in 1943, Tulsa in 1921, the Red Summer in 1919, etc. Race riots are as American as baseball and apple pie. And sadly, that’s because racism is as American as baseball and apple pie. It’s an inextricable part of our country’s history, and despite great progress made over the past 100 years, the data is overwhelming and clear: this continues to be a huge problem today. 

What human biases are at play?

If there’s one psychology lesson everyone should be forced to learn in school it’s that human perceptions are fundamentally inaccurate. Your mind takes shortcuts and these shortcuts are, by and large, self-serving. Our perceptions consistently fall into common traps, and unless we’re aware of them, we’ll helplessly fall into them again and again.

There are many such traps, but I’ve found the following to be the most common and consequential: 

  • Actor/observer asymmetry – When other people do something wrong, we assume their intentions are bad. When we do the same thing, we assume our intentions are good.  
  • Confirmation bias – The tendency to only seek out views and attitudes that reflect our own. See: all of social media. 
  • The fallacies of composition/division – The tendency to judge a whole group based on the actions of one member of that group. Also the tendency to judge an individual based on their affiliation with a group. 
  • Salience bias – Our tendency to focus on what causes an emotional reaction regardless of whether or not it is important.
  • Negativity bias – We pay more attention to negative events and perceive them to be more important than positive events. (Note: This is why the news is always so negative.)
  • Impact bias – A tendency to overestimate the future impact of whatever is occurring in the present moment.

The most important bias in the current situation is that of composition/division. Our minds gravitate towards a false “black people vs police” dichotomy. Yet, reality is far more complicated than that. Police in some cities were marching alongside protesters. Many of the looters and rioters were white, masked, and not part of the protests at all. Most of the protesters were non-violent and most of the police were non-violent. But, due to our negativity biases, we saw and remembered the violent ones on each side. And due to our salience bias, we overemphasize the actions of the violent ones over the peaceful majority. And due to the fallacies of composition and division, we make assumptions about two groups based on the actions of a small number of individuals.

Generally, the more incendiary an event, the more “exhausted” our rational minds become and the more we fall back to our mind’s “shortcuts” like the one above. If you familiarize yourself with the above biases, you will soon begin to notice that at least 95% of all political “takes” are simply some form of bias or another. In fact, a lot of news media is designed to leverage these biases to capture and hold your attention. The right does it. The left does it. We all do it. And only by learning to spot these biases in yourself and others can you begin to undo it. Understanding cognitive bias is a type of mental freedom that must be earned through continuous effort.

What are the major socio-economic trends in play?

Okay, here’s where it might start to get triggering, so bear with me. Let’s look at some of the broader social trends going on so we can put some context on what’s happening. What are the social, economic, and political factors that influence this event?

Let’s start with perhaps the most obvious question and the most surprising result. The data is limited and fuzzy, but it seems that police killings of unarmed black suspects are actually down over the past seven years. In fact, it looks like African-American incarceration peaked in the 90s and has been coming down ever since. 

Now, let’s slow down for a sec. Chances are that reading that just gave you an intense emotional reaction. I want to state two things clearly: first, just because things have gotten better doesn’t mean they aren’t still a huge problem. And second, just because the public perception is wrong about this, doesn’t mean their anger isn’t legitimate. 

Remember, we’re holding contradictory notions in our minds here. Something can be getting better and be wrong. Some people can be wrong about the facts but right about the issue. Public perception is wrong all the time about stuff like this, but that doesn’t make their anger or frustration invalid. It just means that we have to dig a bit deeper to understand more of what’s going on. 

It’s hard to see the riots occurring during the COVID-19 lockdowns as purely coincidence. Black Lives Matters protests have happened regularly over the last five years, but they were almost always peaceful and orderly. 

Also, what was striking about the protests was that many of the looters and rioters weren’t black. In fact, from most of the footage I saw, it appeared that the violence was usually instigated by young white men. Many of the Black Lives Matters protesters were even yelling and pleading for the white rioters to stop. Many of the rioters seemed to not even give a shit about George Floyd or racial equality. They appeared to be in it purely for the mayhem. 

I remember taking a course on geopolitics in university with the professor harping over and over again: revolutionary movements and civil unrest almost always start with large numbers of unemployed young people (particularly young men). They have the most energy and anger towards the world as well as nothing to lose and nothing better to do. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, 40 million Americans have recently been furloughed or laid off. These layoffs have disproportionately affected the working class, most notably minorities and young people. 

Therefore, a picture begins to emerge. Yet another infuriating death of a black man at the hands of a police officer. Mass protests emerge around the country, initially by civil rights groups for racial equality. But amid the chaos of the lockdown and the pent up anger and frustration of the young and unemployed, shit got out of hand. 

Which brings me to the last long-term trend, the real frustration that I think is underpinning this unrest: A complete and utter lack of effective leadership in the United States. Note: this is not a Trump thing or an Obama thing. Sadly, in the 21st century, it is an American thing. 

I am thirty-six years old. Despite crippling problems with health care, education, gun violence, immigration, climate change, stagnant wages, income inequality, and racial equality persisting for my entire adult life, I have never once seen my government help with or resolve any of these issues. For as long as I can remember, it has been: tax cuts, war, tax cuts, bailouts, tax cuts, bailouts. I have never seen things get better in this country. Only worse. I have never seen anything substantive from my leaders, Democrat or Republican, that makes me proud of voting for them. I wasn’t alive for the moon landing. I am too young to remember the Berlin Wall falling. I don’t give a flying fuck about Saddam Hussein. My introduction to my nation was 9/11, followed by hearing about friends and classmates being killed in Iraq and Afghanistan, followed by graduating into the worst economic collapse in 86 years, followed by thirteen more years of absolutely no fucking solutions. Forty-five years of no real wage growth for the middle and lower classes? Nothing. Kindergarteners being shot at school with assault rifles? Nothing. Eleven million bankruptcies due to a corrupt and dysfunctional health care system? Nothing. Black people being repeatedly murdered by police, live, on camera? Nothing. An entire generation of young people saddled with over a trillion dollars of debt just to go to school and then told to stay home and not work as soon as they get out? 

So, if you’re wondering why the kids are running through the streets destroying everything in sight, now you know. 

Stay safe. Show some love to someone this week, preferably a stranger. 

We’re all going to need it. 

Who else thinks method is cool ?

Here’s a helpful filter to know when to worry: does something sound too good to be true, or does it sound so bad that people give up and stop thinking for themselves?

Either way, when everyone around you agrees, it’s worth asking some questions. Questions like: “What’s really going on here—and who is threatened by disagreement?”

Consider it an opportunity! When it comes to Coronavirus life, an astounding amount of groupthink is currently taking place. It’s as though everyone is taking the collective temperature (no pun intended…) before deciding what they believe and how they should act.

To be clear, I’ve said several times that the most important thing we can do is keep people safe. And as an introvert who frequently spends twenty-four hours a day by myself, I’ve also been social distancing for most of my life. (“Social distancing is the new silent retreat.”)

But whether it’s COVID-thinking or something else, if you can’t find someone who disagrees with you, someone who has another perspective—it’s time to worry. Or at the very least it’s time to widen your circle, read different media, and consider opposing viewpoints.

Otherwise, you’ll never have the chance to experience the courage of changing your mind.

Questions

Speaking up as the only dissenter in the group requires bravery, but so does acknowledging that you might not be right about everything. Are you courageous enough to do so? Most people aren’t.

Fortunately, you aren’t most people … right? You are an original—so think for yourself, and don’t accept what you’re told without closely examining it.

One more thing: have you ever heard “You must learn the rules before you break them”? This is a classic gatekeeping strategy.

Just imagine: If you’re trying to break out of prison, you don’t need to spend forty years becoming a model prisoner before you hide in a laundry cart. You’ll be much better served by studying up on successful prison breaks.

Wherever you are in the world, I hope you’re taking care of yourself and working on something you believe in. The rest of us need you to keep going.🙂

###

posts about self-improvement are why I love social media

It might seem impossible to make sense of a nation-wide racial revolt being dropped into the middle of a pandemic in a country that’s already seething with bitter cultural divides, but let’s try anyway.

Don’t worry, I’m not going to get political here. Instead, I’d like to use this as an opportunity to walk you through how I go about processing extremely emotional and upsetting public events such as this. I think this is important because right now, due to social media and camera phones and 24/7 news coverage, as a society we’ve become bad at processing these events in a helpful way. I’ve had to kind of teach myself to go about reading about these things in a more objective manner and it’s not easy. So, I figured I’d break down my process here. 

First, when approaching any difficult subject, before even starting, I try to remind myself of a few things:

  • There is little evil in the world, but lots of stupidity and selfishness – With the exception of truly heinous shit, most people are not motivated by evil intentions. In fact, it’s usually the opposite — most people do awful things with the best of intentions. Therefore, we should not assume people’s intentions to be evil, but rather try to understand why they believe what they are doing is good. 
  • Everyone suffers. The question is, for what reason are they suffering? – It’s easy to fall into the trap of believing that nobody should ever be insulted, attacked, hurt, threatened, etc. Not only is this unrealistic, but if we are going to stand up to dangerous groups, individuals or ideas, we have to be willing to sacrifice. Therefore, the question isn’t whether people should suffer or not, rather it’s a question of whether they are suffering for a good reason.
  • Prepare to sit with the contradictions – People and groups can be both good and bad simultaneously. In fact, they usually are. Two opposing viewpoints can each be partially correct and partially incorrect. Evidence can be complicated and suggest contradictory conclusions. Be prepared to sit with these. Your mind will try to push you to be comfortable on one side of the fence or the other, but do not let yourself fall into mental complacency. Life is complicated. Issues are complex. Sit with the uncertainty. 

With those assumptions in place, I then start asking myself a series of questions, and do research around the answers:

What is the historical precedent?

There is nothing that happens that has not happened countless other times throughout human history. Human societies, for the most part, are flawed in the same ways and make the same mistakes. But we forget about those mistakes every generation or two, so we end up repeating them.

Getting historical perspective is immediately useful because it snaps you out of irrationally feeling that what’s happening is of “end of the world” proportions. It humbles you to see that every generation before you has gone through a similar struggle. And in most cases, things eventually improved. 

In this case, the United States has a long, long, long history of both police brutality and racially-motivated riots stretching back hundreds of years. They happened not so long ago in 2014, in Ferguson and Baltimore. But also the Rodney King riots in 1992, the DNC in 1968, Detroit in 1943, Tulsa in 1921, the Red Summer in 1919, etc. Race riots are as American as baseball and apple pie. And sadly, that’s because racism is as American as baseball and apple pie. It’s an inextricable part of our country’s history, and despite great progress made over the past 100 years, the data is overwhelming and clear: this continues to be a huge problem today. 

What human biases are at play?

If there’s one psychology lesson everyone should be forced to learn in school it’s that human perceptions are fundamentally inaccurate. Your mind takes shortcuts and these shortcuts are, by and large, self-serving. Our perceptions consistently fall into common traps, and unless we’re aware of them, we’ll helplessly fall into them again and again.

There are many such traps, but I’ve found the following to be the most common and consequential: 

  • Actor/observer asymmetry – When other people do something wrong, we assume their intentions are bad. When we do the same thing, we assume our intentions are good.  
  • Confirmation bias – The tendency to only seek out views and attitudes that reflect our own. See: all of social media. 
  • The fallacies of composition/division – The tendency to judge a whole group based on the actions of one member of that group. Also the tendency to judge an individual based on their affiliation with a group. 
  • Salience bias – Our tendency to focus on what causes an emotional reaction regardless of whether or not it is important.
  • Negativity bias – We pay more attention to negative events and perceive them to be more important than positive events. (Note: This is why the news is always so negative.)
  • Impact bias – A tendency to overestimate the future impact of whatever is occurring in the present moment.

The most important bias in the current situation is that of composition/division. Our minds gravitate towards a false “black people vs police” dichotomy. Yet, reality is far more complicated than that. Police in some cities were marching alongside protesters. Many of the looters and rioters were white, masked, and not part of the protests at all. Most of the protesters were non-violent and most of the police were non-violent. But, due to our negativity biases, we saw and remembered the violent ones on each side. And due to our salience bias, we overemphasize the actions of the violent ones over the peaceful majority. And due to the fallacies of composition and division, we make assumptions about two groups based on the actions of a small number of individuals.

Generally, the more incendiary an event, the more “exhausted” our rational minds become and the more we fall back to our mind’s “shortcuts” like the one above. If you familiarize yourself with the above biases, you will soon begin to notice that at least 95% of all political “takes” are simply some form of bias or another. In fact, a lot of news media is designed to leverage these biases to capture and hold your attention. The right does it. The left does it. We all do it. And only by learning to spot these biases in yourself and others can you begin to undo it. Understanding cognitive bias is a type of mental freedom that must be earned through continuous effort.

What are the major socio-economic trends in play?

Okay, here’s where it might start to get triggering, so bear with me. Let’s look at some of the broader social trends going on so we can put some context on what’s happening. What are the social, economic, and political factors that influence this event?

Let’s start with perhaps the most obvious question and the most surprising result. The data is limited and fuzzy, but it seems that police killings of unarmed black suspects are actually down over the past seven years. In fact, it looks like African-American incarceration peaked in the 90s and has been coming down ever since. 

Now, let’s slow down for a sec. Chances are that reading that just gave you an intense emotional reaction. I want to state two things clearly: first, just because things have gotten better doesn’t mean they aren’t still a huge problem. And second, just because the public perception is wrong about this, doesn’t mean their anger isn’t legitimate. 

Remember, we’re holding contradictory notions in our minds here. Something can be getting better and be wrong. Some people can be wrong about the facts but right about the issue. Public perception is wrong all the time about stuff like this, but that doesn’t make their anger or frustration invalid. It just means that we have to dig a bit deeper to understand more of what’s going on. 

It’s hard to see the riots occurring during the COVID-19 lockdowns as purely coincidence. Black Lives Matters protests have happened regularly over the last five years, but they were almost always peaceful and orderly. 

Also, what was striking about the protests was that many of the looters and rioters weren’t black. In fact, from most of the footage I saw, it appeared that the violence was usually instigated by young white men. Many of the Black Lives Matters protesters were even yelling and pleading for the white rioters to stop. Many of the rioters seemed to not even give a shit about George Floyd or racial equality. They appeared to be in it purely for the mayhem. 

I remember taking a course on geopolitics in university with the professor harping over and over again: revolutionary movements and civil unrest almost always start with large numbers of unemployed young people (particularly young men). They have the most energy and anger towards the world as well as nothing to lose and nothing better to do. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, 40 million Americans have recently been furloughed or laid off. These layoffs have disproportionately affected the working class, most notably minorities and young people. 

Therefore, a picture begins to emerge. Yet another infuriating death of a black man at the hands of a police officer. Mass protests emerge around the country, initially by civil rights groups for racial equality. But amid the chaos of the lockdown and the pent up anger and frustration of the young and unemployed, shit got out of hand. 

Which brings me to the last long-term trend, the real frustration that I think is underpinning this unrest: A complete and utter lack of effective leadership in the United States. Note: this is not a Trump thing or an Obama thing. Sadly, in the 21st century, it is an American thing. 

I am thirty-six years old. Despite crippling problems with health care, education, gun violence, immigration, climate change, stagnant wages, income inequality, and racial equality persisting for my entire adult life, I have never once seen my government help with or resolve any of these issues. For as long as I can remember, it has been: tax cuts, war, tax cuts, bailouts, tax cuts, bailouts. I have never seen things get better in this country. Only worse. I have never seen anything substantive from my leaders, Democrat or Republican, that makes me proud of voting for them. I wasn’t alive for the moon landing. I am too young to remember the Berlin Wall falling. I don’t give a flying fuck about Saddam Hussein. My introduction to my nation was 9/11, followed by hearing about friends and classmates being killed in Iraq and Afghanistan, followed by graduating into the worst economic collapse in 86 years, followed by thirteen more years of absolutely no fucking solutions. Forty-five years of no real wage growth for the middle and lower classes? Nothing. Kindergarteners being shot at school with assault rifles? Nothing. Eleven million bankruptcies due to a corrupt and dysfunctional health care system? Nothing. Black people being repeatedly murdered by police, live, on camera? Nothing. An entire generation of young people saddled with over a trillion dollars of debt just to go to school and then told to stay home and not work as soon as they get out? 

So, if you’re wondering why the kids are running through the streets destroying everything in sight, now you know. 

Stay safe. Show some love to someone this week, preferably a stranger. 

We’re all going to need it.