Do I write the page’s headline first or last?

(What follows is the outline I wrote in advance of recording the video. They’re my talking points. Not a regular post or article. Just an outline.)

Great question from Lynn who is taking my course, How to Write Better Headlines.

The answer to whether I write the headline first or last is… yes.

I do both.

Let me explain. And this is the case whether I’m writing a page of content or a sales page. Same process.

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Without segmentation, email marketing just ticks people off.

email list segmentationWhen it comes to buying gifts for my wife, I’m pretty useless.

So I fall back on jewelry almost every time.

And I often buy her jewelry at a particular online store. I like their stuff, and so does she.

After over 5 years buying from them, I would consider myself a fairly valuable customer.

Which is how they fooled me, just for a moment, when they sent me an email recently.

Here’s the subject line:

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Why strong subject lines are killing your email marketing.

slick salesmanHigh open rates are not the most important thing about email marketing.

Nor are click-through rates or conversion rates.

These are not the metrics to watch.

There is only one thing you really, really need to watch. And it’s not even a metric.

The thing to watch is your reputation.

Without a solid and positive reputation for delivering high-value, honest and useful information through email, you’re dead in the water.

Not even the best subject line will save you.

Let’s look at how this might play out, in two scenarios.

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The more skills you have in your online copywriting toolbox, the greater your value to your clients.

online copywriter toolboxWay back when I wrote copy offline, I was pretty much a one-trick pony.

I wrote direct mail. That was my thing. I have never written a radio spot. I have never written a TV commercial.

Back then, it was fine to focus on a single copywriting skill, because there was no connection between what I wrote for a client as a direct response writer, and what their agency copywriter wrote for TV.

Sure, we all worked to the same brief, keeping within the same campaign idea.

But the key point to understand is that the quality of my direct mail piece didn’t depend on my knowing anything about writing for TV, radio or any other medium. Why? Because each medium was separate from the other.

All that changed with the arrival of the web.

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4 Ways in which the best e-newsletters are a little like blogs.

[Note: I first wrote and published this article about 5 years ago. But it still strikes me as relevant and useful.]

blogs and e-newslettersThe best e-newsletters share many of the same qualities as a good blog. It may seem strange to be comparing an e-newsletter with a blog.

But when you think about it, it’s not so strange at all.

Just think back to the days before blogs existed.

It wasn’t so long ago.

Back then, where did you turn to find interesting, engaging, timely, and topical news and information?

The answer for many of us is that we signed up for some great newsletters. We didn’t go to Web sites for the latest information and opinions, because in those days most sites tended to be too static.

If we wanted to know what was new, important, and interesting, we turned to newsletters.

Here are four ways that good newsletters share the same qualities as blogs.

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