Presented live on Tuesday, Aug 8, 2017
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So how do you write blog posts that bring in big traffic? In this tutorial, Joanna Wiebe of Copyhackers and Airstory shows you how she writes epic blog posts – the kind that bring in big traffic spikes like this one:
Joanna is writing in Airstory, the writing software for research-based projects.
Use this Airstory template to write an epic post today
Joanna Wiebe: Hi there, everybody. Joanna here from Copy Hackers, joined by Sarah right back here. Okay, cool. Good. That’s what we do here. Welcome to Tutorial Tuesdays. Tuesday, August 8th. Today we are in for something somewhat intense. Howdy, howdy to those who are starting to chat over howdies. Hello, hello. Oh, I guess before we really dive into it: basic housekeeping, if you have a question that you need answered, please put it in Q and A. Everything else, cool, goes in chat. That’s awesome, people are already in there saying cool stuff. It’s only coming to panelists, which is interesting. It like defaults to that. Cool, awesome. Hello to people who are from Arkansas, California. I love when people just start doing that. You don’t even have to ask and like volunteer where you’re from. It’s amazing. Thank you. Hello from Calgary-
Sarah Dlin: What?
Joanna Wiebe: Alberta, Canada. Marcus says Edmonton. Copenhagen. I know, turtleneck in August, seriously? But I also really like sweaters so if it’s like … It’s like 21 today and I’m like, I think that’s sweater weather. So on comes the sweater. Hello everybody all over. Very cool, all right. Dig it. Look at, Orcas Island, Washington. Must be pretty there. [crosstalk 00:01:21]-
Sarah Dlin: Calgary.
Joanna Wiebe: I did. I moved to Calgary from B.C. That is the topic of another Tutorial Tuesday. How to cross provinces and try to get your car registered in the next province, don’t ask [inaudible 00:01:34]. Okay, so, we are talking today about blog posts. Now I know copywriting and blog writing are two different things but not everybody treats them that way. That’s another topic separately anyway, but for so many of us trying to grow our businesses, we want to get our authority built. We want to get great content out there and sometimes or a lot of times, the content that you put out might not be performing as well or even close to as well as you want it to.
In the email that I sent out this morning, I showed you a little spike in traffic that we got to … Let me share my screen here, of course my screen goes wonky, to a blog that we had just started for Airstory. I’m going to share this with you. You should see it now. Okay, cool. This is called the better story. We had just started it. It was like a challenge for a team to do this over the course of the month of June. This was one of the posts that I wrote and I wanted to share with you how I wrote this post, because the results were really, really good. It was the one post that I wrote that properly followed the rules of writing an epic post.
I didn’t want every post to be epic. Not every post has to be like this intense thing, but when you’re putting your editorial calendar together or your content strategy together, both of those together, it’s good to think through how some posts might just be short posts but other ones need to really be rich. This is one of those posts that was a very rich post. It got shared a lot and we had a huge spike in traffic to the blog because of it. More than 25,000 visitors in a single day to a blog that had previously seen, I think, a couple hundred visitors in a day. That’s kept paying off.
This is why, and when I see people writing blog posts and wondering why it’s not paying off for them or why it’s not working, I always want to teach them this. So I’m teaching it to you now. I’ve taught it in my mastermind, which actually, I taught it in great detail. We’re not going to be able to get into that level of detail but I want to go over the core of how to get to a place where you write a really … I mean the term epic is kind of annoying, but for lack of a better word and in keeping with what people say when they’re talking about these things, this is an epic post. How do we actually get there and what’s the point?
You saw in the email today, you saw why you want to get there, right. If you believe that traffic is good for your website, which it is, or for your online business, how do you get that traffic? How do you get qualified traffic, so that’s all about the topic that you choose. I want to kind of scroll through and show you, if you can see the scroll bar off to the side. I don’t think you can very well because the zoom recording green bar is covering it, but this is a very lengthy post. This is the kind of thing that most people look at and go, “Whoa, how long did that take you to write?”
You look through it, you can see that there’s lots of sources, lots of quotes from other people. Little templates actually that you can take away, like here’s how to write that email after you’ve done a demo. The topic of this particular post was demos. This keeps going and going and if you want, you can go to this link, which I’ll actually just chat over if you haven’t had a chance to see it, just so you’ve got a point of reference here. Let me chat that out to everybody. One momento.
Okay, so this is the one. It goes and goes and goes and goes and goes. I think it ended up at … Here, I say at the bottom what happened. It’s 4,300 words and I wrote it in nine hours. That’s a single work day, and not just the writing of it. Every part of it outside of coming up with the idea for it. Everything else happened in a single day. All the research, all of the writing, all of the editing and getting it to a place where I could publish it. Nine hours to write that.
Now, if you’re like, “I don’t have nine hours to spare,” then you don’t have time to build your authority, to grow your business. If you can see, okay I could block off a day, a day a week or even just a day a month to put something really epic together, then we can actually help you with that. We can talk you through that. That’s what I’m going to do today. There you have the post as a reference. Now, how did we actually get there?
I’m going to go into the original post itself, which is this. This is the final version. Then I can go into time travel and just show you how we moved through, like what happened as I wrote this. Here is the core of it. These two cards are really the lesson for the day, the big takeaway for you. You’ll see what I did but you’ll need a takeaway so you can go forward and do this yourself. That’s what these two cards will help you understand. Todd asked, “How many cards did you use for this post?” I think it was over 100. Over a hundred cards got in there. Might have been closer to 200. It gets pretty intense when you’re doing the research side of it.
Let me show you first where I kind of get into that. Let me show you what you need. The reason that I think this is worth noting is because again and again, I see people write … They spend a lot of time working on content upgrades and working on tweetables for their post and far less time working on the hard stuff that is actually writing a post people will give a damn about and want to share. That’s fully within your power, but I think it feels intimidating and hard for a lot of people. How will I get there? Your first go at it might be dry because you might not find the right research or whatever it might be. It might not be as outstanding as you want it to be, but the more you do this, the more it pays off.
Your first go might be amazing, too, because as you’re going to see and if you read that post, the majority of it is not your own thinking. The majority of it is what other people have said, so the research you’re doing. Here’s what. Let me just expand the size of this so you can actually see things, in case you’re on a tiny device. Okay, so what your next great post needs. Three key things.
One, a why. So like why are you writing this? If you don’t have a why, then people will feel that. It has to be something that’s like okay, honestly, why am I writing this? And that’s not, “Oh, I want traffic.” Obviously, but what’s really behind it? That can tie closely into that personal story that you have. For this post that I wrote, I had a why. The reason that I wrote everything I wish I’d known before I started demoing SASS was because I really wish I’d known a lot more before I ever sat down and did my first demo of Airstory, so I had that why. With that came a personal story.
This personal story for me was hanging up the phone, this moment of conflict where I finished a meeting, where I was demoing Airstory to a team and the manager, after the team showed interest, the manager still said, “Okay, but why aren’t you guys funded at Airstory?” That was like this moment of like, holy crap, something’s going wrong here. That’s the story that we’re looking for.
Then you need a lot of data points. You need a lot. This is the part that really turns your good post, this good story with a good why, and you add all this research in. That’s where you start to see your post really come to life. People read it and go, “What? This is huge. This is so epic. I have to share this with my team. We need to share this around.” And then they do. They post it to Hacker News, like that’s what happened here. [inaudible 00:09:35] or some other influencer in your network retweets it, or you share it with Ann Handley and she’s like, “That was amazing,” and she tweets it out for you.
It has to be amazing to get shared. It has to be amazing today to get shared. There’s a lot of room to be amazing and amazingness often comes in that additional data that you’re going to research. All of these quotes you’re going to find, data points, things like that. That’s what you need. If you’ve only got two of those three parts, your post is not going to be as good as if you have all three. Again, why are you writing this? What’s the personal story behind this and who else has said a lot of stuff about this?
To kind of build on that, here’s what I recommend you do. I’m going to show you kind of using our time travel feature in Airstory, so you can see, because right now, all I have behind here is the finished product, but we can go back in time and see how I moved cards on the page etc. This is how you write that epic post. Jay, that’s awesome. Thank you. Number one is really … And this is part of just being in the world of writing anything. Whatever it is that you’re writing, you have to be kind of aware of the things in your life or when you notice a problem moment in your life, there’s usually a story there.
Let a recent … Allow this to happen. Let a recent problem-based event in your life inspire your topic. Now, a topic can often come from all sorts of different places, like your editorial calendar or what your client wants you to write about, but the better post is going to be about something that was recent in your life or that’s been building up over time in your life. That sort of event is a great trigger for a post people will care about.
I’ll get to some of these questions. If you need your question answered, please do put it in Q and A. Number two, after you’ve got the trigger, after you’ve got that, then comes the part where you do a couple hours of research into how others have tried to solve the problem that you had. What are other solutions people have … People have been through your problem. Chances are very good people have been through what you’re going through. How to get your page to rank at the top of the [inaudible 00:11:54]. Well, people have had that problem and they’ve written about it. You can sit down, just nail through, just go through a ton of research of reading and clipping things in that time, to see how others have tried to solve your problem.
Go in, do all sorts of research, then organize those notes. If you block off, which is what I did. I blocked off about five hours to do this research. Turned it all if this is your first time seeing Airstory, you might be surprised but Airstory’s made up cards in a document. You take those cards or I did, at least, and this is what I recommend you do if you want to make short work of long content. Organize your research notes. That is like tag them. Then put those notes in an outline. Start making sense of them. We go through kind of orders or sort of different grouping of how we do our research.
You start by doing all the research and then you make sense of the research in ways and then you start putting those on the page. You want to organize those notes in an outline. Then comes the writing, and the writing, and I’ve said this so many times in my mastermind. The writing is not about writing. The writing is about stitching together other people’s ideas. It’s just like academic writing. If you were in university at all, at graduate, undergraduate, any level, you’re probably used to the idea of your idea not being the most important thing. Your interpretation of other people’s ideas is a very useful thing. That’s what we’re stitching, those notes together section by section. I’ll show you what that really looks like.
Then as you go through and you start to see gaps in your research, that’s where you do ad hoc research. I can kind of show you a bit of that but that’s a bit self-explanatory. If there’s a gap in research, either decide, do I need to keep this part in here or if I do need to keep it, can I go do more research to fill in that gap? Then finally, and this is kind of a big one. This is a topic that will probably come around in an upcoming Tutorial Tuesday, but tying the conclusion. Not just summarizing what you said in your conclusion, but tying it to your product or your offering. The thing that you want people to take you up on, the reason that you wrote this post to attract this traffic, how can you tie your product to it?
Okay, so that’s what we’re really looking at. I’m going to quickly look over at … There are a few questions. If they’ve already gone through, if I don’t get to them now, please do paste it over into Q and A unless Sarah’s already answered it. [inaudible 00:14:37] said something about emotions in the story, personal. I’m not sure what that means. Kristen wrote, “What if you don’t have a personal story related to the work topic?” Then know that it won’t be as powerful as if you do. That’s it. So hold out. So fine, that might not be the one that you put a lot of your effort into.
If the topic that you’re assigned is something that’s a necessary thing, like it’s keyword phrase you want to rank or it’s just a topic that you’re boss or client wants you to write about or that you think you ought to write about because keyword research has shown that people care about that. Okay, fine. If you can’t find that story, if you don’t have that story, can you put off writing it until you do have that story? If you can’t put it off, then for me, I would look at it as like an okay, that’s too bad. This post isn’t going to be as good as it could.
That’s really it. That might sound slightly defeatist but it’s not. It’s fine. If you have to churn that thing out, churn it out and move on with your life and keep paying attention to new things coming up in your life, new problems you have, and make those into those big ass posts that you want. Because if you don’t have that kind of first-person narrative in your blog post, it’s not going to be as interesting as if you do. Our most shared post on Copy Hackers, outside of the copywriting formulas post, are all first person. They’re always about a personal thing that you were going through, something that was happening. It doesn’t have to be personal. It could be at work, whatever it is. The thing that you’re going through where you can write it in the first person. Those are the ones that get stared at the most. Keep that in mind.
Okay [inaudible 00:16:15] explained a bit more. Do we use our own personal emotions in the story to hook readers? Why would you leave them out? Emotions are incredibly … I want to read what your feeling more than what you’re thinking. In most cases, that’s what we’re interested in. You can of course see as you go what feels like it’s crossing a line, what feels like it’s just far enough into your emotions to pull others in with you. Okay, so what did this really look like for us? You’ve seen those two key parts that you have to pay attention to when you’re writing something. What did that look like for this post?
This is the whole finished post before we published it. I published it over on better story. Let’s go into time travel and have a look at the history of it. Let’s go back. My mouse doesn’t even go that far over. Back to the beginning, this is the very start of it, the problem. I used frameworks. I recommend you do as well. What’s the problem, how can we agitate it, how do we solve it? Then solution becomes a very big thing but point being, you want to hook people with your problem. There, that was my problem. Agitation, solution. Then I started doing some research. What time travel doesn’t show you is all the research that was happening.
This is the part where you can start to organize your cards on the page. What I had here was, I knew what my topic was. I knew that I was going to have a story about this because I have a story about it, but I didn’t open with that. What I wanted to do first was get the research done and then get it on the page. Cool. Get the research done, get it on the page. Your job is not to start writing the post from the top down, where you write the opening sentence and you sit and think about it. Write the next sentence and sit and think about it. That’s going to keep you from actually doing the work and getting the thing done.
Start with the research, organize the research, outline the research. What this also isn’t showing is that this was all done in outline view. Time travel shows document view, but this was happening in outline view. We’re going through this. You can see I’m starting to organize things. On the page, this is all you have to do. The story kind of starts to tell itself. So we move through, expanding on sections. How to think about a demo at the start, chit chat, ask questions, listen, mirror back. I’m organizing things on the page. It’s starting to fill in a little bit.
I haven’t merged any of my research at this point. I’m just putting stuff on the page. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking you have to write while you’re organizing. There are really these stages. Research, organize, write, which is really just stitching, and then edit. That’s it. Writing doesn’t get to happen at all or parts of it. It only happens in one part. The other parts have to be allowed to do their job. You’re allowed to just focus on researching when it’s time to research. You’re allowed to focus on organizing and organizing alone when it’s time to organize. Okay?
This is how we’re starting to see the page fill in. I’m not going to, because I know we’re at the end of this Tutorial Tuesday, the 20 minutes, but let me kind of quickly fly through what that looks like. You can see as we go how this starts to come together. How to think about demo, we’re still doing that. I’m starting to organize images on the page, starting to make sense of what I’m going to say. Now let me scroll down, because a lot of the change is happening down here. This is as I showed you, incorporate research, section by section. We are doing the actual writing part of it, when you’re in that writing part and you’re incorporating section by section.
You don’t have to go in and say, “Merge all,” and all of your cards or all of your notes become now part of a document, because that’s going to be chaos. What I recommend, for an epic post. For a short post, it’s not. For an epic post, you’re going to suddenly have a lot of stuff on the page. Your going to want to move around. Just go through section by section. We can see that there are sections here where nothing’s been done with them. We’ve got cards organized in them. Lots and lots and lots and lots of research. That’s all organized in here and that’s when I start to actually go in and do the writing. We can see at the top, I’m starting to make sense of what I’m going to say.
Let’s fast forward quite a bit along. I’ve got a title. Oh, this is I think the end because I’ve come back in every so often. Let me go back here. Yep, organizing things in still. So you can see, this is the process. This isn’t a made-up process. This is exactly what you do to put together an epic post. Section by section, incorporating your research and if you need more, doing more research as you go, working your way down the page. Let’s go down some more. You can again, see that, right? You’re getting a sense for how this goes.
Now, what happened here was fully do the research, take five hours, let yourself get so overwhelmed with how much you suddenly know about it that by the time you’re done researching, you should feel that you’ve exhausted the topic. Okay, that’s how you should feel about it, because then you might have enough to share or to put together a useful post for other people. That’s really the core of what I wanted to show you in today’s Tutorial Tuesday. I’m seeing that there are a few questions there, and there are some nice comments. Thank you for those who are making nice comments about Airstory. This is why Airstory exists, for research-based writing.
So, let me take some questions. If you have any questions, if it’s not clear. If it’s like, “What are you talking about?” Feel free to just let me know and I’ll clarify because it’s something I’ve been doing for so long that I could easily be kind of glossing over things that you need to take apart. [inaudible 00:22:12] writes, “Is it legit to swipe words from forums without looking,” so is it like plagiarism? We do it all the time.
If you are concerned with copyright law, cool. That’s a good thing to be. But this is stuff that goes back to … So Mr. Roger’s song, “What do you do with the …” What is it? “What do you do with the angry feel …” I don’t remember what the exact line is. Whatever it is, he took that line. He wrote a song out of something that he heard a child say to him. Like, “What do you do with the angry feel, when you feel so mad you could bite?” Or, “What do you do with the mad that you feel when you feel so mad you could bite?”
A child said that to him. Now, is that, because it wasn’t written down, is that allowed? Did he have to get the child to sign off on this or his parents sign off on it? Now, I know that’s an exaggerated example but every time I get this question in conferences and things like that, where there’s this fear of plagiarism … If you are afraid of it, don’t do it. I’m not your legal department, so I’m not going to say, “Yeah, go for it!” For me, this is what copywriters do. This is just purely what copywriters do.
In the case of writing a post like this, you’re citing every single source. The point is to cite all those sources. You’re not taking what they’re saying and just using it, otherwise it looks like an opinion piece. You don’t want that. Your pulling in 100+ data points and citing each one with links, with quotation marks around the quotes, doing all that kind of stuff so people have the reaction that is, “Wow, there’s a lot of research in here.” Like where they look at it like it is a source to refer back to again and again because it’s so well cited. That’s what you want. You do not want to hide your source material. You want to make sure people notice it.
All right, [inaudible 00:24:14] asked, “Do you get approval for all the quotes you’re using? Can I do this while interviewing?” Yes. No, I don’t get approval for it. I go out to blog posts, to Quora, to places like that and I use the Airstory researcher. I highlight and click that text that I think is interesting or worth using in my actual post and Airstory of course clips the source material with it. We call it citations, right, but it’s really just like taking in the URL, the author, the date, things like that, that it can scrape. That’s going to be attached to a card, so this is a card that I made up, so there’s no citation here. But if I had clipped this from somewhere else, the Airstory researcher would take that information and have it attached here, which is why when you’re going through this post, I’ve got these all linked out.
All these blue links here were what was attached, were in citation under that card. You don’t have to entry people. What you do with this is if you’re going to quote, in this case Rob Gonzales, you reach out to Rob Gonzales and say, “Hey, I quoted you in this post. Would you mind sharing it?” Now, that’s what people say to do. I’ve never done this but people say it all the time. If I had done that, I probably would’ve got these people to share it, too. As it happened, a lot of them found out that they were linked to in this post and they shared it anyway and reached out separately, saying good things. People want a link to their site, so if you are going to quote someone and you link to their site, that’s a good inbound link for them. Unless you are a black hat person and you’re doing shady things, which hopefully you’re not.
Jen asked, “Is there a word count threshold?” Like in general? In Airstory, there is not. If you’re going to write an epic post … We’re talking about an epic post here today, but … No, Neil, I didn’t mention cats. I wish that I had. This works also for an ultimate guide or an e-book you’re writing. This is the kind of stuff that turns into a non-fiction book, where you have chapters and chapters of things. This is how that authority-building content gets created. Word count threshold, how long do you want to go? How interesting is your topic? How much is there to say on your topic? That’s how long it is.
Sarah Dlin: [inaudible 00:26:33] question. Does epic come with number of words or quality of content or both?
Joanna Wiebe: That’s a really good question. I mean, epic isn’t a scientific term in any way, so it’s hard to say, “Here are the lines around what makes it epic.” I’m describing it as epic because that’s the natural reaction of things like, “That’s epic.” That’s more of like a colloquialism rather than just like, “Oh, here is how you create an epic post.” Generally speaking, in the world of content, the longer the post is and the more skyscrapery it is, almost like Brian Dean’s Skyscraper Technique, the more likely it is to be described as epic. It’s not a meaningful term, in my opinion. If it has a lot of meaning for you, sorry, it doesn’t have that much meaning for me outside of being kind of an obvious descriptor for something that’s like an epic poem, something that is long, detailed, that pulls you through this whole big story.
Does keyword research come into this? Yeah, absolutely. I might be a fault in my content but I never start with the keywords. I don’t do keyword research. I do research. I go to Ask The Public sometimes and see what questions people have, but I don’t do a lot of keyword research. I want to write a story that has a why, that’s well-researched, and that has my own personal story in it. That means sometimes, I’m going to hit the target and other times, I’m not. That’s the way it goes. Some posts that we do are really just as epic but don’t get strong reactions. As long as it was still interesting to me and I had a why, I feel like that is the right way to approach content. Thankfully, the Copy Hackers audience at minimum has reacted and supported us with that. That’s how we’ve always written.
You should do keyword research if you feel you should do keyword research. I want to write things that are interesting, and that doesn’t mean keyword research won’t make it interesting, but I don’t want to worry that oh, this post has to say how to demo SASS 300 times or something like that, whatever that might be. But I also won’t write some crazy, out of nowhere like who would care about this kind of post either. Let’s not get started. Tim on why I moved from Victoria to Calgary, but indeed I did do.
All right, Bryce says, “How do you bring a first-person perspective to products that you don’t have a lot of personal experience with?” I’m thinking in terms of really specialized products, like dentistry tools that I have no business using myself. We have to come to, like there’s a reason that certain people write certain things. I would never be a sports reporter, ever. I don’t give a crap. I don’t know anything about it. I’m happy people like their sports. Go ahead. I don’t know what to do with them, so it wouldn’t make sense for me to write anything there. Go sports, yeah right.
It’s hard for me to give you any recommendations that are outside of charge through it. Try your hardest. Look for topics that are better suited to what you actually care about. People can tell if the writer cared or didn’t care. That’s the question. If you’re writing for dentistry clients or specialized products of any kind, if you can’t find your way into a story, that’s going to be just a career challenge and I would encourage you out of writing that kind of stuff and moving toward a place where you can write things you actually care about. Now, that might sound like, “Oh, well, gee, great, thanks.” But that’s the reality of it. You can go write for other things, so go write for other things that you actually care about.
Short of that, if you can’t switch over, then it becomes part of your job not just to do the writing, but to figure out how to connect this thing you don’t care about, that you have no business using yourself, to real life. That’s just what it comes down to. It’s not an easy answer but that is my answer. Andre asked, “Does putting the research first solve the writer’s block problem when finding an angle for a blog post?” Yeah. That is what I have heard ever since … I don’t know. Maybe I was 18, whatever it was. Somebody once wrote that the cure for writer’s block is research. I fully agree with that statement. Yep, if you don’t know what to write, start researching. If you do know what to write, start researching.
Paige says, “Can you show an example of the ending tie to your product?” Yeah, so for this, the ending here … Very quick, short bit here. That’s like, “Are you ready to start demoing now?” I might cut this out if I were to rewrite this. Then we do the PS, where I’m talking about Airstory at that point. If you can get to a place where you can write a post and finish the post, and this is where we talk about content that converts. Not just copy that converts but content that actually acts like a sales page. So by the end of this post, if I could say, “Hey, this is all written in Airstory using the researcher …” Oh, sorry. 79 cards. I thought it was 100 cards. 79 cards, nearly 7,000 words, all this kind of stuff.
If you read through this post and you were moved by it and you thought it was like oh, good post, good post. You get to the bottom and you hear this didn’t take me weeks to write. This took me nine hours to write, then that’s how we get to a place where we can tie it to our product. That’s an ideal state to be in. It doesn’t mean every single thing you write will always tie to your product, but if you challenge yourself to finish your post by tying it to your product, then you are more likely to see better …
Like we saw really good sign-ups for Airstory trials after this post went out. That’s an important thing. If we hadn’t mentioned this at the end, no one would know, right? No one would care. No one would do anything about this. But in doing that, we were able to get people to sign up and start trying Airstory. If you did that every time you wrote an epic post, it would really pay off. Meg. Meg Ruffman. Sarah and I watched your show all the time.
Sarah Dlin: We did, loved it.
Joanna Wiebe: “The basic rule in Airstory is to hold off on merging cards until pretty close to the end of writing.” Yeah, basically. For an epic post or for a long-form sales letter. If you’re working with a lot of research and a lot of words, it would be very, very … For me, it would be very hard to merge all cards and then try to make sense of it all. Rather, I find going through them section by section, and this is where if you have an outline, you’ve got H1, H2, H3, H4.
You can move through those like H2s. The H2 that you’ve got, the heading two that you’ve got, you work through that incorporating card by card, because you’re likely to find when you’re organizing and epic post, you’ll find that as you drag cards in to these different parts of your outline, you might drag them in in one order, but as you’re writing, the cards kind of belong in a slightly different order. That way, you can just drag the card around on the page and kind of just work section by section, instead of looking at the whole post as one big post and trying to write it as one big post. Write it section by section and you’re more likely to actually get through it without feeling overwhelmed. That’s been my experience and that’s what I recommend. Thank you.
Cindy says, “Do you recommend using the problem why as the title of the post?” Title tips. Title tips is awesome. That’s another post, another Tutorial Tuesday that I can absolutely do. I find that it’s useful to title something, whatever is going to keep you on track as you’re writing. If this is how to demo SASS, that was how to demo SASS. I could have got into my why around how to demo SASS or what my problem is that I need to solve, but I didn’t. You could, absolutely. Give it a shot. Let me know how that goes. For me, that’s how this went. I’m not going to suggest that I have a certain rule that I follow when titling a post, because I sadly, at this point in my life, do not. But if you do, let me know.
Bob, not even hockey? Nope. Especially not hockey, actually. No, I’m just kidding. Okay, Paula asked, “Will we get an Airstory template for this epicness? I was late for the first part.” What we do have, Lisa Pearson put together for us a Skyscraper Technique blog post template, so if you go into our templates, over on Airstory on market.airstory.co, you will find under blog posts or blogs, you’ll find a template for a skyscraper. Grab that. If you’re using Airstory, go ahead, use that. That’ll help a lot.
Okay, Aubrey asked, “You mentioned put the research in and organize later. Can this approach solve writer’s block? Finding an angle for the opening of a blog post. Can you expand more on that?” What I find … So let me just show you. When I’m writing this, I definitely reorganized whole sections as I went, but the point was just to start getting things on the page. Start organizing your ideas because you have a deadline and you want to hit that deadline. That’s a good thing to do, otherwise things never, ever get published.
I think what you’re saying is to find … Is organize later, can it solve writer’s blog, finding an angle for the opening of a blog post. I mean potentially, right. If you’re looking into it and you’re seeing that yes, what I’m really suggesting is that you get stuff on the page. I’m not going to try saying your name again, that you get stuff on the page and then you can absolutely reorganize. We could take whole sections and I could move humility of the mother of education down to the very bottom if I felt like it and now my post would have that at the very bottom of the page. I don’t know if that’s what you mean. I’m not going to scroll all the way down, but now it’s at the bottom of the page and this is at the top, for start or stop thinking about. I’m not sure I’m answering your question at all, actually. Let me know if you want to explain it a little bit better for me.
Bryce says, “Fair enough.” Okay, thank you. Dan said, “Do you have a [inaudible 00:37:23] story slash narrative fiction to tie your article together?” Oh, like make it fictional? I haven’t. If you’re really struggling, I suppose you could. You’d have to … I wouldn’t know how to do it, but if that’s something that feels right to you, give it a shot. Hopefully nobody finds out and thinks it’s a true story though and then it’s not a true story and suddenly you’re like that Million Little Pieces guy on Oprah who like got his life destroyed by making up a fiction that he said was real. I’m sure it’s not going to be that bad, but yeah, I haven’t and I probably wouldn’t, in my case. But if it’s really a struggle for you, maybe make that your first draft, where you make up the story, just to get through it. Then give it some time to sit and see if your brain comes up with the actual story from real life.
Okay, anonymous says, “Can you elaborate a little bit more on stitching of the cards?” I know that we’re way over time, but we’re doing Q and A here and people have to drop off and I get it. Thank you for coming, those who have been here. I know people are dropping. Feel free to stay. I’m going to answer all of these questions. Anonymous says, “Can you elaborate a little bit more on stitching the cards together?” That is without question a huge topic and something that I’ll cover in probably more detail training that we’ll do for Airstory. The stitching together of the cards, if we go into time travel, I can try to show this to you. Just give me a sec here.
If we go back to random point and see where a card is. Okay, so we’re starting to see, like here. The pre-demo, we’re trying not to look like an idiot. Here, I’ve got a card that you can see, I’m starting to write around the cards. I’m starting to pull pieces in so this, because there’s a quote here or there’s a link here. This suggests that what follows here all came from [inaudible 00:39:26] on Reddit. Okay, cool. This is where I’m saying okay, you should do a little research before you talk with anyone in business, but the demo pros know that the pre-demo phase is not to be taken lightly.
Now we’re going to get into … We’re just doing a little intro, right. How not to look like an idiot when you’re demoing, quick intro on it, a little research is just scratching the surface, so we’re still just saying something. This is not cited. This is our opinion. Some people, like Rob Gonzales. Now we’re starting to get into the cited stuff. This is the extent of what I wrote. That’s the extent of my thinking on the subject and now comes all sorts of research. Rob Gonzalez said this. This person said this. All we’re doing is incorporating what other people said. To get this info, [inaudible 00:40:11] suggests you and then I might merge this at that point.
Here, I’ve also done here’s what to do to kill your pre-demo. I’ve pulled in a bunch of other people’s thoughts here on scheduling, on scheduling the day before, the day before. This is the extent of the writing I’m doing, is organizing this stuff. Showing the reader how to make sense of what they’re reading. That’s it. That’s all you’re doing when you’re stitching the cards together. Everything else is someone else’s thought. Cool. Okay.
Liba asked, “How do you decide how much information to put on each card?” This is a very common question, good question. Do you do it by idea or source or how? Sometimes I get overwhelmed with how much info I put on a card. Don’t put that much info on the card. For me, I don’t. The only cards I have that have a lot on them are cards that I treat as templates or reusable content, like problem [inaudible 00:41:02] solution, where I might get into it. We have templates for that, but I just put them into cards, so I can drag them quickly onto the page. Then just hit merge and work in them. Those are the ones that get long, otherwise it’s a single data point, for me. That’s just one data point. If it’s a single quote, just do the one quote, because when you go to use that, you want to be able to move it around as freely as you need to move it.
If you have three quotes, even if they’re all on the same topic and you’re like, “Oh, yeah. I should just keep those together.” Still, if you put like three of them on a single card, now they’re all committed to that card and you have to then drag it onto the page, merge it, and then cardify each section again, which you can do easily. It’s an easy enough process in Airstory, but why would you do that? I wouldn’t do that. I would just save each card as its own, like quote as its own card. Then I can easily tag it. I can easily move it. It’s all very flexible, et cetera, et cetera. If you’re overwhelmed by how much you put on a card, put less on a card. There are no limits in Airstory as to how many cards you have. You could have a million cards and as long as you can make sense of those and tag them and stuff, that’s fine. You can do it. Do it all day long, so individual cards. Sarah’s [inaudible 00:42:14]. Liba asked that as well.
Oh, Dan clarified to be clear to the reader, that’s not a true story. Okay, gotcha. I think we’re at the end here. Andre says, “I always have difficulties starting blog posts because it helps me flesh out the rest of the content but it takes me a long time to get started.” Yeah. Don’t think about the start. Don’t think about it. Don’t think what the end of what you’re trying to create here. Just do the research, organize the research, start putting it together on the page, feel free to move that around, feel free to abandon if it’s not working. But that should be a last resort. If you just keep abandoning stuff that you’re working on because you’re like, “It’s not coming together,” this is where you sit down and you just say, “Today is the day I’m going to finish this post.” And you do it. That’s it.
Don’t think about the start. Don’t think about the finish. Just take it step by step. That’s the Anne Lamott book, Bird by Bird. Just one by one. Don’t get overwhelmed. Just piece by piece. Okay? All right. The replay, yes I just saw that I was asked. The replay is always available here on copyhackers.com under Tutorial Tuesdays Copy Hackers or you can just go into the bar here … I mean this because I’m signed into WordPress so you can see my WordPress bar, but here at the top for your tutorials, it’s there. We’ve also now added it to the sidebar on copyhackers.com as well, so you can go there and see any of our past … Almost all of our past replays. Some we didn’t record, but those that we did, they are posted there for you. Thank you, everybody, for participating. 45 minutes Tutorial Tuesday. Yeah, that’s awesome. Thanks for your questions. Thanks, Sarah, for answering them as well, and we’ll see you next week for the next Tutorial Tuesday. Thanks everybody.