Blog

Here's an archive of blog posts I've shared since 1999, including articles, interviews, books, and news. Topics include marketing, digital marketing, copywriting, communications, and business.

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home office, workstation, office

Helpful Hints for Writing

December 22, 2006

An interesting question was recently asked of me in a discussion forum: “I agree with the idea of submitting articles [in order to get] a lot of targeted visitors to a site, however, I was wondering, ‘What keeps Michel Fortin writing?' I mean, Michel, what is your 3-, 5- or 7-point formula to get an article on paper? What are [some of the specific] steps you follow?”

Here's my answer.

1. I'm subscribed to a ton of ezines and blogs.

As an “expert” (if I dare call myself that) in my field, I must keep abreast of my industry — so should you.…

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assistance, background, body

Five Things You Don't Know About Me

December 19, 2006

Edited to add: For people who don't know, there's a meme (a new thought, trend or “buzz”) going around. It's called “tagging.”

Looks like I've been tagged by Rob Sellen. Here's the rule: I'm supposed to list 5 things you probably don't know about me, and then “tag” 5 other people who are asked to do the same. Okay, here goes…

  1. I was born with flat feet. Yup, in fact, they're so flat that, when I go swimming and walk around the pool, my feet make sounds as if they were “suction cups.”
  2. When I was 18-19 years old, I used to have long, blond hair as a drummer in a heavy metal band (and we're talking 80s metal, like Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Ozzy Osbourne, you name it).
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hands, fingers, positive

My Favorite Copywriting Blogs

November 27, 2006

What seems to have exploded lately are blog networks and multi-author blogs. It's part of the whole “social” concept that seems prolific in today's Web 2.0 environment. Take Engadget.com, TechCrunch.com, Performancing.com and others.

Because of the trend, I decided to allow guest authors to post to my blog. (If you wish to contribute, you may contact me for details.)

Blogs are definitely in. And copywriting, advertising and selling in particular are blogs I'm very fond of. Beyond a typical “blogroll,” some people have asked me what blogs do I read on a regular basis.

Here's a list of copywriting blogs I have in my RSS feed reader (of course, I read blogs on other topics, too, but these are about copywriting specifically).…

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macbook, notebook, home office

These Test Results Are Dense!

November 21, 2006

Something's been going on. Something behind the scenes that you may not know about. Something that's been helping me increase the effectiveness of my websites and blogs.

Right under your nose. Er, I mean finger.

As you know, I'm a fanatical tester. And I test constantly. But what you may not know is that, it is not only limited to split-testing copy.

Well, let me let you in on a secret.

Right now, as you're reading this very post, I'm watching you. Yup, I see exactly what you see, where your mouse goes and what catches your attention most. (And what you read, too.)…

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workplace, team, business meeting

Master Your Mind, Mind Your Master

November 12, 2006

If you've ever been a follower of Napoleon Hill's “Think And Grow Rich,” then you've certainly heard of the concept of the Mastermind Group.

The concept is quite simple: find people you want to associate with, and try to meet with them regularly. People who you admire and trust, who are supportive, and whose opinions you value.

But there's a big difference between what Napoleon Hill teaches, and the way most groups today are formed. (And in that category I include blogs and forums, too.)

In fact, participating in one may hurt you. And perhaps do so without you even knowing it.…

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box, boxing gloves, hanging

Failing To See The Happy “Medium”

November 10, 2006

While some people have chimed in on the salesletter debate about whether long-copy salesletters are scammy, I believe we need to stop and take a closer look at what this whole thing teaches us.

Will this debate ever stop? No. In fact, it's nothing new. It's been around for hundreds, even thousands of years. Even as old as right-wing versus left-wing ideologies.

Push versus pull. Direct versus indirect. Advertising versus publicity. Long copy versus short copy. And now, Internet marketers versus bloggers. Nothing's changed.

The Internet is just a new medium in which it takes place.

While old-style direct marketers will defend their position that the medium doesn't change things and the rules of copywriting still apply…

… The early adopters will fight tooth and nail to preserve virgin turf from being adulterated by would-be-contaminators from the other side of the spectrum.…

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office, startup, business

Copywriting Productivity Tools

October 5, 2006

When I write copy, some tools help me tremendously. Whether it's the copy itself, or interactions with my clients, there are certain websites I use that help make it a lot easier for me.

There are quite a few pieces of software, so let me just stick with the web-based ones. How about posting yours? What are some of the tools you use in your work to improve your productivity?

Here are some of mine…

Google Writely

Google is coming out with some pretty impressive tools of late. Writely is certainly one of them.

Writely is an online web-based word processor.…

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microphone, recording, audio

Interview by Guru Knowledge

September 18, 2006

Last week, after returning from the hospital following my wife's mastectomy, something really cool happened. I was interviewed by Dale King, copywriter and owner of GuruKnowledge.org.

Why cool? Because I was a bit of a nervous wreck, thinking of my beautiful Sylvie and her battle with breast cancer. And being interviewed is somewhat therapeutic. It made me remember the things that are important to me, even though the interview was business-related.

That said, a lot of people said they loved the interview, so I decided to reprint it here, on my blog, for you. It also offers a few tips about how I write copy, how I think and how I view marketing in general.…

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money, coin, investment

The Secret To My Success

August 29, 2006

Now that I'm back from my honeymoon, my inbox and forum have been floodingly busy! In fact, one thread on my Copywriters Board garnered so much interest that it created close to 10 pages worth of posts.

It's a member's take on “Michel Fortin's Success Secret.”

Dale King, the author in question, postulated that in every post and article I write, there's a “secret” to my success. Although he hinted that the secret can be found in the book “Think and Grow Rich,” the reason why the thread became so popular was because Dale never revealed it until the very end.…

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newsletter, hands, smartphone

The Truth About Mega-Headlines

July 7, 2006

There's an interesting debate going on in my copywriting forum, about copy cosmetics and specifically the formatting of headlines and subheadlines.

My post here is not to discuss those issues directly. I'll reserve that for another article.

However, I do want to add my thoughts on one issue that seems to keep coming back in the forum — the issue of using long-winded, excessively wordy headlines that are prevalent on websites nowadays.

One extremely talented member, JayKay, is a graphic designer with a flair for direct response. His thoughtful — and often thought-provoking (and sometimes controversial) — posts are a wonder to read.…

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Strategic marketing consultant Michel Fortin