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Sunday, January 6th, 2013

50 Examples of Headlines that Forced Me to Read On

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Back when I was a journalist, I used to be a horrible headline writer — my editors would replace whatever headline I wrote just about every time. I would get pi$$ed, but they were right.

I’ve since embraced the notion that if a headline is no good, the reader won’t continue on to your actual story or ad.

I’ve studied headlines over the last 5 years and gotten a bit better. Whenever I see a good headline idea, I try to jot it down, especially if it strikes an emotional chord.

Below are a list of my favorite headline templates/examples by categories. The categories are proven winners

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Tuesday, December 25th, 2012

How I Created My Own Circle Of Competence

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The Circle of Competence was one of the most important exercises I did before founding our current company Ongig.

The circle of competencies includes all of the things you are good at.

I started a new business after sitting with my "circle of competence" on my wall for a few months

The Circle of Competence is simple: you write down the things that you are competent about and draw a circle around it. And then, as Buffett explains, remember that the more you go outside your circle of competence,

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Wednesday, December 19th, 2012

A Non-Techie’s Guide to Starting Her Web Site!

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[This is a guest blog post by Angela Privin, a "super-healer," digestive coach and my friend]

When I was diagnosed with severe digestive issues (Irritable Bowel Syndrome) the doctors told me it was incurable. It was one of the worst days of my life.

Angela, a non-techie, walks through the steps she took to start her Web site (DIYHealthBlog).

Angela's apprentice in building a new Web site is puppy Mishka

But, finding a cure for my “incurable” condition after 6 years of dedicated searching, learning and trial and error was one of the best things I’ve done.

The experience of getting sick and healing myself was not fun, but it awoke

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Sunday, July 8th, 2012

12 Simple Outlines For Writing A Business Plan

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If you need to write a business plan I recommend you start with an outline.  I found a dozen free templates and have included them below with links to dig deeper. Good luck!

1) Ongig’s Business Plan Outline

The business plan outline I wrote for Ongig (below) was geared towards raising an angel round of funding.The 3 biggest sections were Business Model, Sales & Distribution and Financials.

  1. Why Should Someone Care (“The Grab” or Executive Summary)
  2. Company Purpose (In one sentence: the vision/mission stuff)
  3. The Problem You Are Addressing
  4. The Solution You Provide
  5. Why Is This Important Right Now?
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Saturday, September 10th, 2011

How I Use This Nerdy “Money-Making Pyramid” To Prioritize Business Activities

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Are you leading a business, new or old?

I’ve done both: I’ve started businesses from scratch and I’ve also taken over leading a business that was already a few years into the game.

Either way, the difference between success and failure is what you and your team are working on…and when!

Caution: If you entrepreneurs out there don’t grasp this, your business is very likely to fail (especially my friend who’s spending a couple of hours a week figuring out Quickbooks instead of focusing on making money!).

My marketing-guru friend and previous business partner Eben Pagan inspired the money-making pyramid (he called it the “productivity pyramid” in his awesome GetAltitude “Top Gun For Entrepreneurs” program — it’s a neat visual using a pyramid to illustrate what’s most important to work on in a business.

I’ve riffed a bit so blame me (not Eben) if you don’t like my “Money-Making Pyramid” version.

The money-making pyramid illustrates that the money-making in your business belongs at the top (most important) with the items below it less important the lower down on the pyramid.

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Saturday, August 6th, 2011

10 Easy Tips On How To Write Better Headlines (Warning: Response Rates May Soar 20X)

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The “Dean Of Copywriters” John Caples famously said that an effective marketing piece/ad can have 19.5 times the success of a poorly written ad. And the most important aspect of advertising is the headline.

In fact, 5 times as many people read headlines as read the body copy of an ad, according to David Oglivy in his Oglivy On Advertising (A Top 20 Best Business Book Of All Time).

The headline of this ad is considered one of the most effective in the history of advertising due to its appeal to self-interest and curiousity.

Maybe you’re not directly in marketing/advertising, so should you care?

Big time!

If you do any of the following you will benefit from improving your headline writing skills:

  • Write emails (the subject line is your headline)
  • Name things (whether your product or your business or, in some cases, your child!)
  • Write blog postings
  • Write a description of yourself on your resume or LinkedIn profile

I’m by no means a copywriting expert, but I hang out with some and I’ve studied some of the greats (David Oglivy, Al Ries, Jack Trout, John Caples).

So I am going to share 10 awesome headline-writing tips I’ve learned along the way.

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Saturday, July 30th, 2011

The 7 Unusual Fundraising Lessons I Learned While Raising $1 Million +

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[Warning: This post is geared for high-integrity people; if you're dishonest, please don't bother reading on or raising money from anyone.]

I’ve raised money twice: $1 million for ExpressDoctors (a flop) and $350,000 for Mojam (which got sold and is still around!).

I’m by no means a pro — you’ll find many others with more experience — but I don’t see too many of them writing about their experience.

I enjoy sharing my learnings with others in hopes of creating more awesome businesses, non-profits or other organizations in our Universe!

I’m leaving out the “Fundraising 101″ type tips such as: Define the uses of the money you need; investing takes longer than you think; have a good business plan, have a name-brand/or trustworthy bank and law firm to process paperwork, etc. — you can find those tips anywhere.

My tips are, hopefully, a bit outside the box.

7 Tips On How To Raise Money

1) Create An Investor Pipeline

Crafting an investor pipeline is an easy and effective way to help raise money.

The reason you need to create a pipeline is

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Friday, July 1st, 2011

The 5 Core Skills Every CEO Should Have

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I’ve met with about 75 CEOs since Halloween when I left my CEO role at Hot Topic Media to pursue new ventures.

I’ve begun to notice a pattern of what makes for the best CEO. There are five general CEO skills I believe are most important to being an excellent CEO:

1) Vision…A Clear One

A good CEO must be able to provide a clear vision of what it is the organization is doing.

What makes a good vision statement? As I wrote in 3 Tips On How To Write A Good Vision Statement, it needs to be concise, specific and answer this question for the team:

“Are we working on the right thing?”

Examples of good vision statements include:

“Making the best possible ice cream, in the nicest possible way” (Ben & Jerry’s)

“To provide access to the world’s information in one click.” (Google)

“To provide freedom and independence to people with limited mobility.” (The Scooter Store)

Check out this List Of 50 Awesome Vision Statements I compiled.

2) Mastery Of The Business Model

A good CEO masters the business model of an organization.

A good CEO knows the answers to the 9 questions in the different sections of this "Canvas."

The above image is of a “Canvas” used to master a business model (in this case, Gillette’s) from the book Business Model Generation.

The Canvas pushes you to answer 9 questions that are imperative to mastering how a business should work.

The 9 questions to answer are represented above by a two letter acronym…such as KP for “Who are your Key Partnerships?”).

If found it most effective to answer the 9 questions in this order:

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