I know. You're musing what to get Aunt Sophie. Or you're trying to figure out if this is the first year you might actually send one of those seasonal newslettery updates along with the card, to save time … and you plan to get the cards tomorrow so you can post them by Friday.
So who has time to do serious thinking just now, right? Whether you are lighting candles, enjoying the Festival of Lights or trimming the tree, you really want to be relaxing, feeling all warm and rosy. It's that time of year.
So I'm going to celebrate. And I'm not going to make you think too hard. In fact, I'm letting you, my dear reader, do my thinking for me, and it won't even hurt! Herein, please find the five articles you guys have enjoyed most over the past two and a half years.
In Fifth Place: Pump Up Your Verbs (10/15/2001)
You woo and persuade most effectively when you write with verbs. Useful nouns and lots of verbs. Not adjectives or adverbs. So click that link, peruse the incredibly insightful ideas and see how to pack more copy punch with a verb.
In Fourth Place: Personality 101 – Who Are They? (1/01/2002)
Okay, I'm being a little shifty here because I'm giving you the fourth most popular title, but I'm linking you to a later article that pulls it all together much better (and links you to the original). Everyone here at Future Now firmly believes in the importance of understanding exactly who is buying, so you can figure out how best to sell to them. We take the dazzling array of personality research and pare it down to four critical types. See who they are and learn what they need.
In Third Place: Think Active! (6/15/2001)
Funny how grammar comes back to haunt you. Didn't think it was that big a deal at the time, did you? And yet, some of those grammar fundamentals are really important to constructing persuasive copy. Like, for instance, the voice of your verbs. Don't know the difference between active voice and passive voice? Then let The Grok refresh your memory. It will make a difference in your bottom line.
In Second Place: (Wire)Frame Yourself (7/01/2001)
We've been thinking a long time about the importance of a methodology – what we now call the Minerva Architectural Process (MAP) – to help folks like you create a commercial Web site (or undertake a redesign) that accomplishes not only your goals, but also helps your visitors accomplish their goals. We consider such a Web site to be a form of Persuasive Architecture. One of the central ideas that make up the MAP process is Wireframing. And that concept made it's debut last year, courtesy of my brilliant buddy John Quarto-vonTivadar. So check out the preliminary shape of things to come.
In First Place: 12 Common Mistakes in Email Marketing (11/01/2001)
You know, you guys are incredibly nice. You almost never chew me out for some of the stuff I throw at you, and if you do, you say it so pleasantly, I barely notice the bite. But I got more fallout from this article than any other. Thing is, you guys didn't take issue with the substance, just with the delivery. It got to running so long, I decided to make it a two-parter. I promoted 12 mistakes in the title, but only delivered 5 (the other 7 came in the next issue). I was battered and bruised for weeks for over-promising and under-delivering (beat up with my own words, no less!). This time, guaranteed, you'll find all 12 in the same place.
Someone around here asked me if I saw a useful trend in the top articles. I squinted all my eyeballs, examined carefully and, beyond noticing there are two copy-related pieces, sighed. I'd like to conclude the only useful trend was they were all written by me. But I can't even do that. Sometimes life works out that way.
But rejoin me in 2003, for lots more of me and maybe the odd other here and there.
The best of the season to your and yours, from me and mine!
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