Writing your headline? Think “storytelling” first.

Copywriters mostly agree on one thing: Headlines are important. You’ve probably heard that 7 (or 8, depending on who you read) out of 10 visitors will read your headline and skip the rest of the copy.

The purpose of the headline is to get readers so curious they’ll continue on past the headline.

So you’re getting ready to write a sales letter. Do you begin with the headline? Or write the copy and tack on the headline later?

Brian Clark in Copyblogger says to write the headline first. The idea is, your headline represents…


Tell a story that changes the way your audience thinks about an idea.

Photo by Adam Walker on Unsplash.

Recently I shared the idea that your story doesn’t have to be a hero’s journey. You’ve got many other types of stories to choose from. You can read about some of them in my kindle ebook, Grow Your Business One Story At A Time.

My favorite kind of story is the concept story — a story that explains, preaches, or proclaims an idea. I just talked about this type of story on Episode 22 of my Strategic Storytelling podcast.

People tend to be receptive to a new…


Your secret research tool might be your sales letter.

My first ebook flopped because I didn’t do this.

I still remember the first time I wrote an ebook. The topic was “changing careers at midlife.” I didn’t pay any attention to features, benefits, or headlines. I just wrote about what was interesting to me.

When it was time to promote the ebook, I had to write a sales letter.

But I was stuck. Now I had to give people a reason to buy the book. The content was filled with information — terrific information. But it was up to me to make the connection between the awesome content and the buyers’ urgent needs. It was…


Content creation for small business owners and entrepreneurs who know who they are and don't want to be someone else’s dream.

Image by Brett Jordan on Unsplash.

Loni Love (now a television personality) was taking a stand-up comedy class It’s in Chapter 10 of her book, I Tried To Change So You Don’t Have To). Loni’s material drew on her work experience as an engineer working in a cubicle at Xerox. One joke was about why have a “Take Your Kids To Work” day. You go to work, she says, to leave your kids.

That’s a low-key but funny joke. …


Copywriting tips to replace that tired old fish story.

Image from Damir Spanic on Unsplash.

Anita just got back from a family reunion. Everything went well, she said, except for that one uncle who shows up every time and tells the same story over and over again.

“A fish story — the one that got away? No, but it might as well be. It’s a great story about how he met his wife right after he left the Navy and got lost in New York.

“The new people who just married into the family? They love it,” she said. “But the rest of us have heard…


Headlines are critical to your digital marketing success…but don’t let anyone tell you it’s rocker science.

Image by Thought Catalog on Unsplash.

Yes, headlines are critical to your copywriting success. Yes, changing a headline can dramatically transform your audience’s response to a landing page, blog post, or sales letter.

But no, you don’t have. to get tied up in knots to write. a headline. You can certainly use headline generators, such as Portent’s content generator.

Headline generators can help because they focus on. the benefit you’re trying to promote.

They can hurt because they can tie up the benefits in a fancy package that actually makes the benefit less clear to the reader. They can als encourage you to try…


Entrepreneurship means preparing for growth before it happens.

Image by Andreas Lassen on Unsplash.

Recently I was working with a client who had begun to experience more success than she had anticipated.

Of course, she was delighted. But she was surprised. She’d have to make major changes in order to continue moving forward on this path.

I’ve also been surprised as my business has grown. Here are three lessons I’ve learned over the years.

(1) Everything takes more time.

Before I got into WordPress, I worked with a terrific designer named Michelle. I found her on Fiverr and she began working directly for me. …


“Simplify your digital marketing by starting with a story.”

Photo by Brands & People on Unsplash

When I talk about using stories for strategy at network events, at least one person will say, “I don’t see how I can use storytelling in my business.”

Typically the speaker is an entrepreneur who is connected to money, such as financial advisors or money coaches. But you might also hear this warning from therapists and life coaches.

Why do small business owners think stories are frivolous?

  • You hear, “Stories are supposed to entertain and capture the interest of your audience.” That is partly true. Definitely, one way to use stories. But not the only way.
  • You get told, “You…


Numbers make your content more concrete and credible.

Photo by Susan Holt Simpson on Unsplash.

Copywriting almost always gets better results when you can use numbers. Think of saying, “We get the job done faster,” versus, “We used to spend 40 hours a week on this task; now we finish in 10!

Numbers paint word pictures. It’s hard to see a number without imagining a stack of blocks or sticks.

Here are 3 tips on how to present numbers You’ll need to test because not all markets respond the same way.

(1) Use aggregated numbers to communicate value.

Let’s say your service offers 3 calls a month. You can set it up as a quarterly program and promise 9 calls over three…


Entrepreneurs who follow this web development advice will get cookie-cutter websites without personality.

Photo by John Schnobrich on Unsplash

Recently a client showed me an article about websites, written by a well-known marketing coach. The article’s premise seemed reasonable. Look at these 10 terrific websites, he said, and use them as models.

Any time you’re encouraged to model your marketing on someone else’s, question it. This marketing coach chose some excellent websites to use as guides. But they wouldn’t be useful for my client. Here’s why.

(1) The websites were all from large-ish companies that sold SaaS products.

Their clients bring different problems, concerns, and backstories…

Cathy Goodwin

Helping entrepreneurs and independent professionals grow their businesses one story at a time. http://cathygoodwin.com

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store