12. Together, primacy and
recency make up the serial
a term coined by German psychologist
Hermann Ebbinghaus (1850 – 1909).
13. T H I S C A N B E S E E N I N T H E
S E R I A L P O S I T I O N C U RV E :
14. In 1946, Solomon E. Asch upped the
ante with studies that evaluated the
impact the position of words had on
The study we care about involves
how we position adjectives to
describe a person.
15. Read the following two sentences.
“Steve is smart, diligent, critical,
impulsive, and jealous.”
“Steve is jealous, impulsive,
critical, diligent, and smart.”
26. “Twenty years ago, just before Kurt Cobain blew
off his head with a shotgun, it was cool for Kate
Moss to haunt the city from the sides of buses
with a visage like an empty store and for Wurtzel
to confess in print that she entertained fantasies
of winding up, like Plath or Sexton, a massive
talent who died too soon, ‘young and sad, a
corpse with her head in the oven.’”
27. That Miller ends this sentence
with “young and sad, a corpse
with her head in the oven”
is NOT an accident.
28. Decisions had to be made
when crafting that sentence.
Guaranteed it did not flow from
Miller’s mind in the published form.
29. It was a piecemeal affair.
An experimentation with
43. Intelligent people like to use
So, don’t insult their intelligence by
over-explaining … but also don’t abuse
their intelligence by starving it.
44. Use active verbs and concrete nouns
and you will naturally create images.
“The buzzard bled.”
45. Introduce one (or all) of the five senses
and you’ll enhance those images:
“The screaming buzzard bled.”
46. Use phrases like “imagine this” or
“picture this” to signal to your
reader you are about to paint a
47. “Imagine a fifty-something man in a blue
long-sleeve shirt, the cuffs unbuttoned,
his knuckles thick and coarse. He’s on
the side of the road, quibbling over a
stack of used cinder blocks with a
from 10 Productivity Tips from a Blue-Collar Genius
48. In those two sentences,
you learn the color of the shirt,
the state of the cuffs,
and the condition of his knuckles.
54. This starts by asking:
What is the dominant mood of your reader or customer?
What problem is he or she trying to solve?
Is it fear over losing a job? A spouse? A scholarship?
Pride of donating to a good cause? Joy for finally getting
muscular definition in his calves?
56. How often are these little tragedies
repeated in your life?
You write something clever, but everyone ignores it.
You hear about a new opportunity, but don’t pursue it
because you don’t have the skills or confidence to
You get overlooked by everybody – including your boss –
because the guy in the next cubicle seems to know
everything about SEO, email marketing, or copywriting.
You hear about all the new clients your peers are picking
up … but none are showing up at your door.
57. In that short opening,
I identified the relevant pain
and agitated it so the solution
was a no brainer.
58. But notice those four conditions are all
about rejection. Yet …
I didn’t use the word “reject,” or a
derivative, once. I didn’t tell you the
emotion you should feel. I simply
showed it to you.
64. So, you need people to see hope in
What promises are you making to the reader in this
What advantages will the reader gain?
What pain will people avoid if they obey you?
65. In the opening to The Dirty Little Secret
to Seducing Readers, I wrote …
“I’m guessing you want to write copy that
sells. You want to write copy so irresistible it
makes your readers scramble down the page
— begging to do whatever it is you want when
they’re done reading — whether it’s to make a
purchase, send a donation, or join your
66. The promise is that you can learn
how to write in such a way people
can’t resist your words.
And that’s compelling
for the right people.
70. The goal is to get to a point where
you unconsciously blend these
elements so they feel natural in the
sentence and can’t be pulled apart.
71. Sort of like when a golf instructor
stops your swing to adjust your
72. That may feel mechanical and
unnatural, but eventually your
swing becomes natural and he
stops interrupting you.
73. Here are some exercises to
help you improve your
74. Exercise #1: Copy great sentences
Hand-write 100 great first sentences.
Memorize portions of great sales letters.
Dissect killer lines.
75. Exercise #2: Concentrate on your
opening and closing paragraphs
It’s arduous to consciously think about each
and every sentence you write in a 500-word
Concentrate your powers on the beginning
and the ending.
76. Exercise #3: Labor over headlines
Your headlines won’t be complete
sentences, but they offer you an
opportunity to focus closely on what you
77. Exercise #4: Labor over subject lines
Unlike headlines, you can use your subject
line in an unconventional way.
78. “Thought of you while I was
at the steam bath.”
Who’s NOT going to open
that email up?
And make sure to measure responses,
adjust, and test more ideas.
79. Exercise #5: Labor over your tweets
Twitter is the perfect mechanism for perfecting
You are forced to say a lot in 140 characters.
And you get feedback.