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Build a Successful Creative Blog

Lesson 13 of 26

Segment 13 - Copywriting 101 (cont'd)

April Bowles-Olin

Build a Successful Creative Blog

April Bowles-Olin

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Lesson Info

13. Segment 13 - Copywriting 101 (cont'd)


  Class Trailer
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2 Know Your Ideal Reader Duration:52:03
3 Put Fun Back into Blogging Duration:35:03
4 Best Practices for Success Duration:26:50
5 Developing Your Content Plan Duration:46:24
7 Your Unique Style and Voice Duration:31:49
8 Design Tips Duration:21:38
  Class Trailer
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1 Writing in Your Voice Duration:34:10
2 Exploring Different Voices Duration:28:23
3 Copywriting 101 Duration:19:45
6 Visuals For Your Blog Duration:30:04
7 Photos For Your Blog Duration:55:35
9 Promoting with Social Media Duration:39:29

Lesson Info

Segment 13 - Copywriting 101 (cont'd)

We are going to be talking about Copywriting 101 and beyond. I want you guys to feel really confident when you're done with this segment that I can go home and write a headline that is going to grab my readers' attention. I'm going to be able to write an opening that they are going to really like and want to keep reading. I'm going to be able to include stories in my blog posts and people are going to really enjoy them. That's what I want for you guys when we get done with this segment. So let's jump right into the importance of headlines. So if nobody clicks on your blog posts, it doesn't get read. So if you have written this amazing blog post and this happens way too often. You've written this really great blog post, you've poured your heart into it, you've edited it, you've spent hours on it, you think your readers are going to love it, you post it, and then there's crickets. And you're thinking, "What happened?" Nobody's clicking on it on Twitter. You put it up on your Facebook pag...

e, nobody's sharing it, nobody's liking it. Nobody's leaving comments, wondering what's going on. Sometimes it's due to the headline, because people just aren't clicking on it. It's not interesting, it's getting lost in their feed. People aren't sharing it, they're not reading it because the headline didn't catch their attention. So your headline has one purpose, to get them to read the opening. Really, just to get them to read the first sentence. That's what you want to do with your headline. According to Copyblogger, eight out of ten people read headlines, but only two out of ten will read the rest. So, you want people to read that headline and think, "I've gotta read that post! "I want that information! "This is going to be good." You want it to provoke their curiosity. So let's talk about exactly how you can do that. The first thing you do is use the word you. When we see the word you, we are primed to pay attention. So whenever possible, inject that word you in there. So, for instance, Why Your Blog Posts Aren't Getting Read. That would be an example. So that you're thinking, why aren't my blog posts getting read? And you click on it. Use curiosity provoking language. Like secrets, tricks, never-before-seen, first ever, new. All of those provoke curiosity and make us think I want to know more, what is is this? So, for instance, Never-Before-Seen Peeks Into My Sketchbook First Ever Paint that Smells So Good You'll Want to Eat It, The New Way to Promote Your Business with Facebook. The New Way to Promote Your Business with Facebook. All of those provoke curiosity and make you want to know more. There is a paint that smells so good I want to eat it? I want to know more, I want to click on that! You can also tell them what benefits they'll get from reading. So an example of this is You'll Never Yell at Your Kids Again with this Calming Trick. So I know what I'm going to get if I read it. I know if it's the right post for me or not. Oftentimes this is what you want to do. You want to set it up so that people who are the right readers are going to know right away this is the post for me and click to read. Keep your ideal reader in mind. What is she going to be the most interested in? What is going to get her to click? Think about the language that she uses. And we talked about talking to real people, this is one of those times that that would be really helpful that you know the language that she uses. You can also do this like we talked about, stalking them on social media and seeing the words that they use on social media, seeing the language, the way that they say things. Another tip is asking a question. So, Do Your Customers Want You to Shut Up or Keep Talking? That's a headline from Ashley Ambirge, from one of her posts. And I clicked on that immediately. I thought, I want to know whether my customers want me to shut up or keep talking and I want to know what she's talking about. It provoked my curiosity. There's an email that landed in my inbox that automatically I thought, I have to read this. So you always want to brainstorm at least five headlines before choosing one. And I said five because that gives you a good amount. That gives you, a good amount to choose from. If you can't come up with five, you can only come up with three, that's okay. If you can come up with more, that's even better. Some people spend more time writing the headlines of their posts, or just as much time as they do writing their posts. So that's something super important to remember that this is something you want to spend time on. You want to have time mapped out just to work on your headline. If you don't, then your post might not get read. So spending time on that is really important. Having that ten minutes, having that 15 minutes or 20 minutes or whatever it is, set aside just for working on your headline. And if you want your posts to get read, if you are, if you know that this is a really good one, then that's when you spend even more time working on the headline. So we have a few notes here in the chat room that people really loved when you were talking about the buzz words that kind of get people thinking about what's new, what's newer, what's newest, and there's a quote in the chat room from Flint, and they say I think it's important that if you say the new way, that it actually is a newer way. Because if I click on something that says new and I read it a hundred times, I'm not going to want to follow that blog. I know it's difficult to stay on the cutting edge of what actually is new. Absolutely, so you never want to lie. That's a bad thing to do. You never want to lie, ever, ever, ever. That's not good, it doesn't build trust. In fact, it does the opposite. It makes you not trust that person, just like that person said. So of course, if it's not something new, don't say new. Let's talk about some headlines that work. Direct headlines, Get 25% Off Your Order--Expires Tomorrow. So if you were a products based business, and you have one sale a year, you're probably going to want to use some direct headlines to get people's attention. You're not going to want to cutesy it up, and write something that's kind of, you don't really know what the person's offering. You don't really understand, you want that to be very clear. You get 25% off your order, this expires tomorrow, click here if you want to. Right, people know if they recognize the name of your business, if they see that you're having a sale, they'll go and check it out if they're interested in buying from you. News headline. Melanie Dedrizzle Releases New Line of Glow in the Dark Undies on Valentine's Day. So that's a news headline. You're just announcing something that's happening. A how-to. How To Create A Gallery Wall With Your Art. How-to's are incredibly popular. Those tutorials are very popular. Fear or Scarcity, Do You Make These Mistakes When Hiring a Photographer? That would be a good one for a photographer. So am I missing out on something? Am I, afraid that I might be doing something the wrong way? Those types of headlines. Command headline, telling you want to do. Download Ten Tips to Cleaning Your Jewelry Today. Download it, do it today. Another example is a list post. 50 Art Journal Prompts. That is my most popular post. And it's, one of the reasons is because it's a list and lots of people shared it, that's why it became very popular on my site and we've talked about list posts before, they work. They work and they also work oftentimes if you come up with quirky numbers. Like, if you use 27 or 17 or something a little bit different than 5 or 10. It's interesting, but we have some people sharing headlines that have worked for them. Lynn actually writes a blog on genealogy and she says I once wrote the headline Sex and the Middle Ages and I had a huge amount of clicks on my blog. And it was applicable to what she's writing about but just presented in a different way. Absolutely, yes, and you want to pay attention to those headlines that work really well for you. So if you have one and it becomes something really popular, you want to think about why did this work? This obviously works really well for audience, so replicate it, use it again. And one of my best tips is to start a Swipe File. Every time you come across a headline that grabs your attention, that makes you click immediately, add it to your swipe file and then use that for inspiration. And think about why did this work so well? What about this headline got my attention and made me click? And then you can take that and use that concept, use that theory to create a headline that's going to work for you. And our wordsmith would actually mimic that, I'm assuming they know something about writing, being a wordsmith and all, I think writing headlines, like all writing, is an art, if it's too obvious that you're trying to get the attention of people, you've gone overboard, but when it feels like news or it feels like a service, like I really want you to know this, it doesn't come across like a smarmy headline. Yeah, that's a great point, I like that. Give it the friend test, are you going to say this to a friend? Or does it sound too over the top, too sales-y, too not so great? Again, some of those work. Like direct headlines when you're trying to tell your reader that you have a 25% off sale that expires tomorrow. Just use that, it's okay. So, if you'll turn to your workbooks and page 43, we are going to write a catchy headline. So you're going to think about those blog posts that you guys brainstormed in session one. Right, you brainstormed ones that you were really excited about, that you thought your ideal reader would really, really like. So pick one of those topics and you're going to try to write as many headline options for it as possible. For as many headline options for it as possible. I have five, but if you can only come up with three, that's okay. Think about the things that we talked about and I will help you, I will go back through some of them so that you think about using the word you in one of them. Think about using curiosity provoking language, like secrets, tricks, never-before-seen, first, first ever, new. Tell them what benefit they'll get from writing that post. Keep your ideal reader in mind when you're writing these headlines. And just do your best, do your best. You can write a direct one where you're telling them exactly what the post is, if it's news worthy, you can just let them know what the news is. If it's a how-to, one of those ideas should be How To such and such and such. If there's something that provokes fierce fear or scarcity use that when coming up with a headline. One of my popular headlines was Ten Social Media Don'ts. So people were afraid that they were making this mistake on social media and clicked on that headline. And that became really popular, it was a video, I got tons of comments from people saying that they loved it, that oops, I was making this mistake and now I know to fix it. You can use a command headline, telling them exactly what to do, or if it's some sort of list post, just make it a list post. And write as many as you can, as many as you can come up with right now. And again, it doesn't have to be a masterpiece right away, you're going to finesse these a little bit. And we're going to bring somebody up for a Hot Seat so that we can finesse these a little bit. Sage, you wanna come up? All right, come on up! (applause) All right, Sage, tell me what you got. Okay. So I went with the topic of interviewing for a job. So, the ideas for my headlines that I've got so far, 5 Interview Mistakes that will Cost You the Job, The Real Reason You Didn't Get the Job, How to Ace Your Interview Without Being Fake, 5 Common Interview Don'ts and How To Fix Them, Wait, Do this First Before You Head to the Interview. Ooh, okay those are some good ones. Actually, could we bring up the flip chart so that I can write these down? Because I want you guys to help her and tell her which one would make you click. Which ones you think are the best. All right. Hopefully I won't have any spelling issues. All right, tell me what you got. What's the first one? 5 Interview Mistakes that will Cost You the Job. I love that one. The Real Reason You Didn't Get the Job. Sage, you're putting the emphasis on one word, would that technique that you talked about earlier, April, apply to bolding it or emphasizing a word in the title? Yes, sometimes I will capitalize all of one word to emphasize it, that works really well. How to Ace Your Interview Without Being Fake. Sage is really good at this. Yeah. Wow. You can tell she's put some thought in this. Without Being Fake? Yes. 5 Common Interview Don'ts and How To Fix Them. And that's great because it's not just a bunch of this is what you don't want to do, this is what you don't want to do, and it's like, if the article was all about dont's, it'd be like whoa. Puddle of tears after you read it. People are looking to solve a problem, and obviously they had a problem with their interview don'ts and they want to know how you can help them. Absolutely, one final one. One final one? Wait, Do This First Before You Head to the Interview. It's like your best girlfriend, girl don't wear that. (laughter) Wait, no, no, don't go! All right. So a lot of these are for fear and scarcity. A lot of these, 5 Interview Mistakes that will Cost You the Job, fear and scarcity. The Real Reason You Didn't Get the Job, fear scarcity. How to Ace Your Interview Without Being Fake, this one isn't, this is a how-to. 5 Common Interview Don'ts and How to Fix Them, fear scarcity Wait, Do this First Before You Head to the Interview, fear scarcity. Okay, so that tends to seem like it would be the best fit for your audience. Oh yeah, I think there's a lot of fear when you're going for a new job, I mean you're putting yourself out there. Absolutely, and you want to know why you're not getting the job or what you need to do in order to get the job. So what do you guys think, which one would get you guys to click the most? Jane? Wait. Probably just one thing that I've got to read that's going to make or break the job. Okay, do you guys agree or do you have another one that you. I like the How To Ace Your Interview Without Being Fake because I feel like there's a lot of headlines out in the world that are about these fear things that one's a little more unique. Hmm, that's true and it stands out among these as well. Yeah, okay, so, Wait Do This First Before You Head to the Interview and How to Ace Your Interview Without Being Fake. Those actually would be two different posts, probably. Right? I think so, yeah. So we're going to keep moving forward on this exercise. So pick one of those to go with. I think we've come to a decision that those are the best two to work with right now. Which one would you pick? Hmm. Really tough. Not to sway your decision, but the chat room has an opinion. Oh, what do they say, tell us! Miss Love in the chat room says I agree, I like the last option. Yeah, absolutely tell us your favorite, please! You know, I am kind of being more personable with my audience and that is totally something I would tell a girlfriend, I would grab her before she goes out the door and tell her this. So, I'm going to have to go with the last one. All right, Wait, Do This Before You Head to the Interview. All right, that's your title you're working with, awesome. Got it! Okay! Thank you, Sage! Thank you! (applause) All right, let's try one more, let's bring one more person up, get these headlines going for you. Who wants to come up here? Do I have a volunteer or am I going to have to pull... Yes, come on the hot seat! Awesome! Rochelle who hates the hot seat! I know, I'm scared. I have a really quick question for you, April, now yesterday, you were talking about reaching out to your friends, your community and asking them for feedback. This is really helpful to actually have the feedback of others. Would you suggest that if you're debating over the title of a blog post to kind of put it out in social media and say which one would you click? Oh sure. Which one would you read? Yeah, yeah, and people do this all the time. They'll do it with certain things like which ebook cover do you like the best? Or which font do you like the best? The same thing could work for this as well. Which one would you pick, I've actually seen people do that, your audience loves to be involved. They love to help you make the decisions. One post that I posted that was super popular, was about picking my glasses. They loved the post where I put up all these pictures of me in different glasses, so they loved to be a part of it. All right, give it to me, what do we got? Okay, my post is going to be about Mother's Day because I write an arts and craft blog and Mother's Day is coming up. Okay. So, my titles were 5 Easy and Quick Handmade Gifts for Mother's Day, That's a long one. That's okay. Your Mom Will Love this Handmade Gift. And maybe Rochelle, can you remind the audience out there who your ideal reader is? Um, people who appreciate handmade goods, kind of funky, little bit different, probably wears black. (laughter) Okay, great. 20% All Bracelets for Mother's Day, which would hopefully drive them to my Etsy shop. All Bracelets for Mother's Day? Yes, mm-hmm. Pick one more. Mother's Day is May 11th, Are You Ready? Ooh. Okay. So, we've got a list post, 5 Easy and Quick Handmade Gifts for Mother's Day. We've got Your Mom will Love Your Handmade Gift with the word you. We've got 20% Off All Bracelets for Mother's Day. So that's direct, telling people exactly what they'll get. Mother's Day is May 11th, Are You Ready? Fear, scarcity, so we've got lots of options to choose from here. I like a bunch of them. So what do you guys think, what would be your opinion that you would click on the most? I like the last one because I'm always last minute and that would definitely scare me, like click on that to see what I can, you know, purchase or get for my mom. Yeah, yeah. I was thinking the last one, too. Does everybody else agree? Yeah, and I think you might even be able to figure out a way to work in the 20% off, too. As a second tier, thing. Yeah. Mother's Day is May 11th, Are You Ready? If your focus is to try to sell your product depending on what the focus of the blog is. And you could do more than one post. You could do Mother's Day is May 11th, Are You Ready? And then have a follow-up post with 20% Off All Bracelets for Mother's Day and you could also include that information in this as well, and we'll talk about calls to action and how to get people to move forward and do what you want them to do. And that type of thing, so that sounds like it's the winner, are you good with that? Yep. All right. Awesome, thanks! (applause) All right, Rochelle, thank you! Okay, so are you getting used to the Hot Seat now, are you liking it a little bit more? (laughter) It's your best run. Yep. Another trick for writing really good headlines is to use magazines. So change magazine headlines to fit your topics. This is also a way that you can come up with other topic ideas. Sometimes I will use this if I'm really struggling to come up with something I wanna write about. I'll pick up a magazine and I'll look at a headline and I'll think, how can I change this to fit something for (unintelligible) for my ideal reader? So, an example for magazine headline. 50 Secrets Your Pet Won't Tell You, that's from Reader's Digest. My headline, 50 Secrets Your Competitors Won't Tell You. Another example, When to Say "No" to Your Doc from Good Housekeeping. My headline, When to Say "No" to Marketing Opportunities. So that's something that my ideal reader would be really interested in. When do I say no, should I ever say no? That would be something they would want to know more about. So in your workbook, you'll find on page magazine worthy headlines. And what I'm going to have you do, is try to take some of these and write them so that they would work for your ideal reader. So we've got lots of options to choose from. Just start with one, pick one that you think okay, I can take this and change it and make it something for my ideal reader. The first one is 5 Amazing Weight Loss Stories, I might write, 5 Amazing Blogging Stories, or Blogger's Stories. Fast Fixes that Save You Big Money. Clear the Clutter, 24 Space Savers. Lila Rogers Shares Her Journey From Artist to Agent. I could take that one and say, April Bowles Shares Her Journey from Social Worker to Business Strategist. How Safe is Your Bottled Water? These just come from lots of random magazines. We're taking them and turning them into headlines that work for our own blog. And I want to hear what you guys come up with. So I love to hear what you've come up with in the chat room and with our studio audience. Some ideas, how you take these and turn them into something that works for you. And I do this all the time, even if I'm just trying to come up with extra headlines. Like I've already written a couple headlines that I'm pretty good with, but I want to kind of mix it up a little bit and I'm having a hard time brainstorming other options. I'll take a look at a magazine and come up with more ideas using that. What do you guys have for me so far? What have you changed and switched up? I know you've done some, Sage. So I've got 5 Amazing Light Editing Success Stories. Cubicle Clutter, What Your Desk is Saying About You. Mm! Yeah! I would click on that! Oh gosh, people's desks are terrible. Or, um, Best Fixes That Help You Stand Out at Work. I like it, all right. Who else wants to share, what have you guys come up with? I have one. Okay, share that one. 5 Amazing Materials to Gift Wrap With, versus the 5 Amazing Weight Loss Stories. Yep, yep, it gives you a topic right there. You just plug in your own stuff. What else have you got for me? For my camping travel blog, and that would be 5 Amazing First Trip Stories. Okay, I like it. Jennifer, Kimberly? I don't know where that came from. It's all right. I have From Digital to Wall Art, 8 Ways to Display Your Portraits in Your Home. Ooh, I like that one, yeah. Read that one out loud again for me. Okay, From Digital to Wall Art, 8 Ways to Display Your Portraits in Your Home. All right, yeah, that would get me to click. Sage, you would be mortified because Green Machine's desk has a toothbrush on it. (laughter) We have one really good one, here, actually a couple. Right, so... A toothbrush. At least you have fresh breath. That's right, you need that when you're writing. Sue's headline is Clear Your Mind, 24 Tips to Keep Eased and Focused. Yeah and we have an interesting sort of brainstorming session going in the chat room because one of the chatters is going to be writing a blog post about the book called Quiet, Quiet is the name of the book. So they're having some suggestions here, here's one from Manila Girl who says Why You Cannot Shh Susan Cain's Quiet as the headline. Using shush. That's a good one. Ooh, that is a good one! Not Delilah has a follow up that says Quiet Delivers a Loud Lesson. People are having some real fun with the wording there. I think we should share a couple more. Girl Named Michael, 5 Fabulous Teacher Gifts That Will Not Gather Dust. We have Our Wordsmith, Clear the Clutter, Turn Your Desk into a Writer's Sanctuary. There's a lot of emotion in that. I'm like, I want a writer's sanctuary. Yeah, and another thing to keep in mind is the feeling behind the post and creating that feeling with your headline, too. How do you want your reader to feel? So the next step, of course, is to write an opening that keeps them reading. So you've got your title, you've got your headline that you're really excited about, you've got it for a blog post that you're excited about that you think your ideal reader is going to love. So now you need to keep them reading. You need to get them to read that next sentence. So let me give you some tips on how to write a really great opening. One idea is to ask a question. So this provokes curiosity, it works in a headline it also works as an opening because people want the answer to the question or if it's a question about them in some way, they want to know the answer. Tell a story, so we'll talk a little bit more about story soon, this is a great way to open a blog post. To make it filled with personality right away. And it doesn't have to be a long story. You can open up with two sentences that say something about you, or say something about what your topic is. Use phrases like imagine this, or picture this. Has anyone read my blog post from Wednesday and how I started it? I said picture this, and then kept going. Share a quote. Use someone recognizable, this lends some authority to your blog post right away. Use a statistic, one that startles your audience. So, maybe that Copyblogger quote from the beginning about how eight out of 10 people read your headline, only two out of 10 actually read the post. If I'm talking to you about improving your writing or improving your blogging, I could start with that. That would get your attention. Use a customer/reader question. This shows you're paying attention and you're using her language. So sometimes if I get questions from my customers or get questions from my readers, I'll just start off with that being the first paragraph of my blog post and then the rest of my blog post is answering their question. And whenever I've done this, the person who has sent me the question, always feels really special. So it makes your customer feel special. Share the benefits of reading the post. So maybe you say, by the end of this post you're going to know how to write an amazing headline that's going to catch your ideal reader's attention. I'm telling you exactly what you're getting out of it. You can start with a controversial statement. Everybody loves drama, so if it's something that is controversial, start with that. State a problem, an example, I'm completely bored with my blog posts and maybe you're writing about how you're switching up how you're going to be blogging. You're going to tell your readership that you're going to be doing videos instead of written posts, and you start by saying I'm completely bored with my blog posts. You're starting with the problem. So, of course, we're going to write your opening on page 45, so think about those things and write an opening to the blog post that you have in mind, that you've got your headline for. Again it does not have to be a masterpiece. Think about how you can catch your reader's attention. And your opening shouldn't be extremely long. So when I'm saying write your opening, I mean a couple of sentences. A few sentences, max. And if your opening is going to be longer, let's say you're telling a longer story, that's okay. Just write the first couple sentences now and know that you should break up that text. So even if your opening is long, you're not going to want to have it in big chunks. You're going to want to write a couple sentences, break. Have some white space, the next couple sentences, break it up, have some white space. Even if you wouldn't do that if you're writing it for a book. You have to remember that you're writing for the web. You're writing for the internet. Now in the hierarchy of this presentation of the blog, would you say that the headline holds the most weight and then the introduction or the opening after that? Yeah, because you need them to click. You need them to actually start to read the post. You have to get them there onto your blog post. So the headline is the most important. Its job is to get you to read the first sentence, then the job of the first sentence is to get you to read the second sentence and the second sentence to read the third sentence and so on and so on. So we're paying attention to all of these details, we're paying attention to each word that we're choosing. Hopefully especially when we get into that editing mode. But we're writing something that we think will get their attention right away and keep them involved in the post. Or at the very least we'll get them to scan the headlines the sub topics that you've got going on, we'll talk about putting headlines throughout, bolding throughout, So, I'm going to bring somebody up here for the Hot Seat so that we can share some of those openings. You're looking at me, do you have an opening written? You're thinking, you're still thinking? All right come on up here. (applause) Come on up here. This is tough. All right so tell us about your blog post. Tell us the headline that you chose. And then we'll talk about the opening. Well, I actually had, I've started one for this coming week and it had to do with working with two clients. And they wanted to add just a ton of information to their course and just everything they can think about to their course so I really wanted them to kind of dial back and just really give them actual steps that they can take and not have to just give them everything. So, I started with that and I used the headline Clear the Clutter, How to Remove the Junk from Your Course. And so the opening, the only thing I can come up with is, is there too much junk in your trunk? (laughter) And I tend to tell a lot of stories and people really tend to gravitate towards that when I'm doing my posts, and so I actually wanted to kind of weave in a story about having too many water bottles in the trunk of my car and just in my car in general, I went to go clean it one day and I had 17 water bottles. So I wanted to use that as a, this is what happens when you have too much stuff in your course, it's hard to find something, it's not really easily implementable. Just a whole bunch of stuff that can come to be when you just have clutter and a mess everywhere. Mm, okay, all right, so, Clearing Out the Clutter in Your Course, you've got your headline. And your opening, is there too much junk in your trunk? All right, and then going into a story of how you cleared out 17 water bottles from your car and how this relates to why you need to clear out stuff in your course. Exactly, exactly. All right, so what do you think if you read the headline and you read is too much junk in your trunk, would you keep reading, would that catch your attention? What do you guys think, yeah, yeah? All right, yeah, it would definitely catch my attention, but I would want to know what that connection is pretty quickly. So if you were going to write about the water bottles I would want that to be something super quick maybe just two sentences and then relate it right back to course and how to clean up that clutter probably. That makes sense, that makes really good sense. And I think that's the problem I tend to have is how much story do I need to tell, versus adding a small amount of details from the story that really lends itself to the actual content of the blog post. Yeah, that's helpful, I like that. And you can say, one time I cleared out 17 water bottles from the trunk of my car and this is how, and then just go into, so you're telling just a little bit of that story, right? So you're putting in just a little bit of detail that shows us a little bit about you, shows something unique about you, it adds personality to the post right away, and then you're getting right into that content. Exactly, and those tend to be my more popular ones when I do infuse myself into my posts. I had one where I was talking about how MC Hammer can help you engage with your content and your readers and your blog posts and I got a lot of comments on that just because I used the title MC Hammer and how does this even relate to courses and engagement but I really talked about how, yeah, I wasn't dancing with him on stage one day, and just so happens that I thought, uh huh, there's a connection here between you know, engaging as an artist as well as engaging in your courses as well, so. And you brought up a really good point of pop culture is often very good to use in your headlines in your openings throughout your blog posts even. It makes them a little bit more newsworthy and people tend to click on those because they want to know what that connection is. All right, well thank you for sharing your opening with us. (applause) All right, let's have one more person come up and share their opening, yes come on to the Hot Seat! (applause) And also when you come up here, also tell the name of your blog again just so that people who haven't been introduced to you know where to go to find your stuff. Okay, it's, and this is for a blog post I talked about that I was going to eventually write, we talked about yesterday, these catnip pinatas that I make. And so when we were doing brainstorming, one of the titles that came up was Catnip Fiesta DIY Pinatas, and then when you had the list of the, of the opening sentences things, I was, the one about statistics was like I would never write about statistics on my blog because it doesn't usually lend itself to crafting and I was like so why don't I make up a statistic as an opening? So I wrote 99.9% of cats have never had a catnip fiesta. Do they care, probably not, but we all know cats love catnip so let's give it to them in a fun way. That's so cute! You heard the reaction of everybody else, they liked it! Yeah, so I think sometimes looking through things, how can I make this work for my blog and it'll change it up too, because it's not exactly writing in the exact same way, I mean using my voice still, some tool I would never normally think, statistics. Yeah, yeah, exactly. And I love how you were doing that and being really creative with that. Oftentimes we'll say this doesn't work for my blog, this doesn't work my business and just move on, however if you can take that information and say and ask yourself in a different way, how could this relate to my blog, how could this relate to my business, you can come up with really creative ideas that make everybody in the studio go, "Aww!" That people really like, yeah. You actually have my creative juices flowing if you were actually to make a video of cats coming together and having a virtual catnip fiesta with your pinatas sponsored by Shasta Blasta Pinatas, I think that would go viral. Yeah, now that's going to be good for a video. That lends itself, people love to share that. I RSVP for that. Somebody that has multiple cats you can't usually introduce stranger cats. (laughter) But actually, maybe that's an interesting line of conversation, it's like, a cat play date. Bring your cat! Yeah, right! What not to do with your cats, cat play date. What not to do? (laughter) Things You Should Never Do With Your Cat. All right so we all agree that that's a pretty good one. That would keep us reading. Thank you so much for sharing!

Class Description

There are over 200 million blogs on the Internet, so how do you cut through the noise and stand out in the crowd? A quality blog boasts great content, a powerful voice, and relevant, useful information. The problem is, putting all of those pieces together, understanding how to find the right audience, and marketing your blog is no easy juggling act.

Join the founder of Blacksburg Belle and author of Marketing for Creatives April Bowles-Olin for a comprehensive course dedicated to teaching you how to write, create, and market a successful blog. Drawing on the same methods she’s used to help successful entrepreneurs around the world grow their online presence, April will teach you how to find your own voice and get more comfortable writing like yourself. You’ll learn how to develop a strong editorial strategy, attract the right readers and write engaging headlines that will drive traffic to your site. April will also explore some of the key problems that hold bloggers back -- from writer’s block to boredom to insecurity about what you’re writing -- and explain how to overcome them. Best of all, April will teach you how to save time and have fun while contributing to the success of your blog.

After just three short days with April, you’ll possess the perfect foundation for better copywriting and creating a powerful, traffic generating blog.



This course is absolutely amazing. April is so enthusiastic and inspiring. It is clear she has spent a lot of time preparing for this course with a wealth of useful information in the videos and the workbook and the resource pack. Having just launched my new photography website, I have been looking for ideas and help with the blog- a new area for me. This has made me feel excited about my business. It's helped me plan my blog posts for the coming months and highlighted the importance of a good blog for keeping a website fresh. I found myself excited for each new video and sad when it was all finished! I've purchase a few courses through Creative Live but this is my favourite so far and April has a lot to do with that.

Kristina Zambrano

Where to start? ... Um I took my blog to the groomer ha! you guys must be thinking how on earth you take a blog to the groomer pretty easy actually you just go and click where it says "Build a Successful Creative Blog with April Bowles and you are taking it to the groomer. Now leaving my pet-related talking if you are creative and have no idea where to start in blogging this is your place to start she (April) will teach you everything about the blog world with a touch of joy, fun and creativity. She will take you from Zero, Nada, Nothing to Something or better say to a brand new groomed blog. And if you need more to convince you to get this workshop you just read April Bowles "26 post you gotta read - blog tour" and if that doesn't make you get it, then you are totally not ready to Blog. Thank you so much April for everything you shared with us.


This course gave me both the impetus to begin the blog whose domain I was sitting on for nearly a year and the skills to do it well. April was - and still is - supportive and helpful to all of the people who participated in the course. It became a community of people, supporting and helping each other to follow through with the amazing instructions that she gave us during the course itself. The resources she gave us are still useful, and the connections I made on her site and the sites she pointed us to have made my blog successful in only a few months. AWESOME course!