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Saturday, April 21, 2012

How To Speculate Your Way to Success: Doug Casey

If it were just the banks and the governments, I wouldn't care; they're just getting what they deserve. The problem is that many prudent middle class people are going to be wiped out. These folks have tried to produce more than they consume for their whole lives and save the difference. But their savings are almost all in government currencies, and those currencies are held in banks. However, the banks are unable to give back all the euros that these people have entrusted to them. It's a very serious thing. So European governments are trying to solve this by creating more euros. Eventually the euro is going to reach its intrinsic value – which is nothing. It's the same in the U.S. The banks are bankrupt, the government's bankrupt and creating more dollars so the banks don't go bust and depositors don't lose their money.

more from Doug Casey -

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Thursday, April 19, 2012

Growing Numbers of Tax Refugees Exit USA – Permanently by Mark Nestmann

If you’re a U.S. citizen or long-term permanent resident (“green card” holder), you have a unique responsibility: you must pay tax on your worldwide income, even if you live outside the United States. Not to mention capital gains tax, gift tax, and estate tax.

Posted via email from iPT Perpetual Traveler

If You Ever Need To Escape With Your Wealth From a Totalitarian State... by Robert Wenzel

If You Ever Need To Escape With Your Wealth From a Totalitarian State...

by Robert Wenzel
Economic Policy Journal

Recently by Robert Wenzel: My Small Contribution to the History of the JFK Assassination


Keep this story in mind, which was told to me yesterday.

During the height of the Soviet Empire a physicist was planning to escape the USSR. He was cleared to travel, but, of course, he was not allowed to take with him any wealth he had.

The man cleared the Soviet checkpoint with one piece of luggage and a couple of suits thrown in. And, oh yeah, he managed to take all his wealth with him.

How did he do it?

Before he left, he sold off all his assets and bought platinum with the funds. He stretched the platinum into wire and made coat hangers out of the wire. He threw his suits over the "hangers" and cleared the checkpoint without incident.

Reprinted with permission from Economic Policy Journal.

April 19, 2012

©2012 Economic Policy Journal

The Best of Robert Wenzel

smart cookie -

Posted via email from iPT Perpetual Traveler

Mail Order Brides in the Internet Age

Shocking Truth About Mail Order Brides

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Category: International Dating Agencies
Published on Tuesday, 17 April 2012 23:33
Written by Super User
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The Shocking Truth about Mail Order Brides in the Internet Age - Real, Ideal, or Scam

 Most international online singles, dating, personals, matchmaking, and marriage sites are stuck in the distant past (selling addresses and translation).  The term “Mail Order Bride” is avoided like a social disease.  While scams have always existed when men and women get together, the fall of the Iron Curtain and the rise of China have made MOB scams a growth industry. 

You would think the Internet Age would have made scams more difficult, not easier.  After all, if you can both get in front of webcams, you can chat directly.  You can see what she looks like (was the profile photo 10 years old or photoshopped) and if you can communicate at all without an interpreter. 

Our Sample Dude: 

The best way to talk about using international dating sites to find your next ex-wife is to create a fictional dude as our model.  We’ll call him “Chuck”. 

Chuck’s “Bio”: 

  1. 60 years old
  2. has a penis and a job
  3. 2 weeks vacation coming up
  4. has at least $10,000 to start ($25,000 would be better) 

Finding your bride abroad is not a cheap proposition.  If you are American, you must have met in person for even a Fiancee Visa.  If you are not married and are inviting her on a K-1, you will also fall under the evil provisions of IMBRA (agencies can help you with this). 

17 Common Scam Indicators 

  1. multiple profiles with different info in each
  2. profile disappears from the site
  3. her photos look like models from a magazine
  4. photos flash too much flesh (is she selling sex or looking for a husband)
  5. young woman with a huge age range for potential partners
  6. she asks for money
  7. she asks for travel money to visit your country
  8. she falls in love too fast
  9. she refuses to give you her email address, postal address, or telephone number
  10. she wants to meet in a 3rd country
  11. she says she needs money to pay the agency (sometimes true)
  12. sudden change of email address
  13. way too much correspondence
  14. she speaks good English but insists on you paying for a translator
  15. agency insists you use their travel agency to book your trip
  16. after you met, just correspondence and stringing you along
  17. she has relatives in the U.S. (they know how to game the immigration system) 

Who’s Your Scammer? 

  1. Big Agency (not likely) 

Big introduction agencies like A Foreign Affair or AnastasiaDate have too much to lose by being part of a MOB scam.  In fact, much of their time is spent monitoring thousands of local agencies around the world to guarantee a real experience for their clients.  They have a vested interest in keeping the game clean. 

  1. Local Agency Abroad (often) 

Source of most scams.  The agencies make money by signing up girls, arranging face-to-face meetings, and translating emails, phone calls, videos, and personal meetings.  For every woman who finds her man, they lose a source of income.  Individual agency owners and translators can fake emails, photos, and whole relationships. 

  1. Woman (sometimes) 

We’re guys.  We’re stupid.  Any beautiful woman can manipulate us with a simple promise of future sex.  If you don’t keep your eye out for the scam signs, you can be taken.  If all she wants is Dom at the most expensive nightclub, you are being used.  And don’t believe that her mother suddenly needs an operation.  Knight in shining armor might mean sucker. 

The Zen of Age Differences 

Most men looking abroad are searching for younger.  Much younger.  Chuck is a little ambivalent about the age of a potential bride.  If she’s under 40 and he falls in love, he expects that she will want children.  Over 40 women have fewer suitors and he can concentrate on a partner, not child drama. 

For a 60 year old man who wants a young woman, here’s what I recommend: 

  1. 20s 

If you are 60, and you just have to have a young, eye-candy bride, the Philippines is your venue.  Companies like Cherry Blossoms have been introducing couples for over 30 years beginning with a true mail order bride glossy catalog.

In the early 80s, I served as a Consular Officer in the American Embassy in Manila.  I have issued tens of thousands of visas (denied a few too).  I have issued visas to successful marriages with a 50 year age difference.  Kids and all.  Even back then, Cherry Blossoms had a good reputation with the Embassy staff.

To be honest, I would not consider any Filipina over 30.  Why?  Because I know I could go as young as 18 and make it work.  According to INS Officers I spoke to years ago, they are the least likely to get divorced of any mail order brides.  (Divorce is still illegal in the P.I.)

Filipinas speak English, are mostly Catholic, and are very friendly to Americans.  After all, we have been messing up their country for over 100 years.  If Chuck was over 65 and receiving Social Security, he should consider retiring in Manila or Cebu.  Also, if he decides to live there, he can drive out any scammers looking to get to the U.S. 

  1. 30s 

Russian, Ukrainian, and FSU women must be the most beautiful in the world.  Stunning.  Jaw-dropping hot bodies.  Some of the profiles from 25 year old will say she is seeking a husband up to 65.  Maybe - if you have Bill Gates money.

My problem with Russian women in their 20s is trust.  I have trouble believing that a typical woman in her 20s is really interested in old Chuck, especially if she has no children.

From mid-30s on, I believe the Russian women are more sincere and have their wild sides behind them.  Remarriage is difficult when children are a part of the picture.  She may well be ready for an older man who can provide stability and a fresh start.

Caveat:  A Russian man once told me if you marry a Russian woman, knock her up right away.  If she doesn’t want more children, it could be a sign she is not really that committed to you. 

  1. 40s 

Visiting sites like Chinese Love Links and ChnLove, it seems that Chinese women are better looking in their 40s than their 20s.  The typical woman looking to marry a Western man is divorced, has grown children (most likely living with the father’s family), is financially independent, and is truly looking for marital happiness. 

An older, divorced woman’s prospects for a good match inside China are dismal.  In her eyes, you might as well be George Clooney.  You will find a more dynamic and exciting partner in China than at home, if this is your age range. 

Caveat:  I have seen some bad posts about ChnLove, but most of it seems dated.  They sure do have some stunning Chinese women, especially in their 40s. 

If she is in her 50s, why bother going abroad. 

Warning:  Don’t Settle

My biggest caveat for those looking for a mail order bride is don’t settle.  If you are going to travel halfway around the world and spend some big bucks, you should target ONLY those women who have the total package for you. 

  1. good enough is not good enough
  2. if she doesn’t turn you on completely, move on
  3. photos are a start, but be sure the chemistry is right
  4. you are never too invested to back out or move on 

If what you want is a 20 something, leggy, busty, 5’10”+ blonde who is a medical doctor, you can find her (if you can win her heart and mind).  And if you have the stones to keep her happy. 

7 Steps to Find Your Perfect Mail Order Bride 

  1. join A Foreign Affair free
  2. search the profiles for your potential matches
  3. when you are ready to go, upgrade your membership
  4. fill out your info for IMBRA compliance
  5. pick a tour city and schedule your trip
  6. enjoy the private dates and large socials
  7. really get to know your perfect bride 

A Foreign Affair Tour Info

Don’t waste your time on letters and email.  A tour with AFA makes sense both dollar-wise and time-wise.  If you’re 60 like “Chuck”, you don’t have time to waste.  In a one week visit, you will meet a number of women you found online, plus hundreds at socials.  You don’t know where the chemistry might be. 

Also, these guys are pros.  They take care of all of the administrative crap and leave you maximum time to mix it up with the women.  What’s more important?  Your money or your life? 

For many more online agencies, visit our directory - Free World Dating Sites - 


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Mail Order Brides in the Online Age -

We’re All Branch Davidians Now by Anthony Gregory

Matters are no different here. The myth of a free America was always seen with bitter irony by those not blessed by such freedom. In the founding generation, as half a million labored in slavery, many who fought in the Revolution genuinely believed in liberty, but for the ruling elite who chided them on, liberty was hardly more than a slogan. This has always been true of our political leaders. The Father of the Country was a centralizing slaveowner. Old Hickory talked up freedom as he threatened war on South Carolina and forced the Cherokee to flee from their ancestral land on a barbarously murderous walk of shame. The Great Emancipator turned America into a military dictatorship and abolished the revolutionary right of secession. Wilson’s New Freedom was cover for a Prussianized war machine generating revenue for his profiteering buddies on Wall Street. Roosevelt’s Four Freedoms failed to include the freedom not to be drafted or interned in a concentration camp. Ronald Reagan threw the word freedom around as he trained Latin American torturers and raped the Bill of Rights in the name of fighting drugs. The United States has never lived up to its rhetoric.

Can we really

Posted via email from Points of Hype

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Do You Include These 5 Relationship Builders in Your Content? | Copyblogger

image of five hands linked together

As you probably remember, relationships build the first pillar of Internet Marketing for Smart People.

After all: no relationship, no market, right? We need to have some kind of connection with folks before they’ll pull out their wallets.

Sometimes people think that great relationships “just happen.” It’s your mom’s theory of marketing — “just be yourself and everyone will love you.”

But you might have figured out by now: no one loves you like your mom does. And just being yourself sometimes needs a little help.

Here are five strategic ways you can think about building the kinds of relationships that lead to sales, as well as to retweets, recommendations, and referrals for the great stuff you sell.

1. Generosity

We human beings are rather simple at heart. If you do nice things for us, we tend to like you more.

Fancy marketing types who have read their Robert Cialdini (and you should join them, by the way) call it reciprocity, even though Cialdini himself actually calls it reciprocation.

Much Obliged: The Power of Reciprocity

But the concept is too much a part of our DNA to need a fancy term. Basically it’s:

Do nice stuff for me and I will want to do
nice stuff for you in return.

The Millionaire’s Secret Trait that Attracts Success Like Crazy

In particular, there’s a type of content that will repay your generosity many, many times over. It’s what Frank Kern calls “results in advance” content — a tip, trick, or tutorial that lets your reader get a desirable result in her life before she gives you any money.

So if you’ve got a wonderful home study course on how to raise naked mole rats for fun and profit, your “results in advance” content might be “5 Things to Look Out For When Choosing a Naked Mole Rat at the Pet Store.” That content would tell people how to take home a chubby, healthy, happy naked mole rat rather than a weak, sickly one that’s just going to have problems.

If your reader can put your advice into practice and get a great result, you’ve given her a delicious “free sample.” It greatly increases the chances that she’s going to want more, now that she’s experienced for herself how good it is.

How Tasty Are Your Chips and Salsa?

2. Relatability

One of the most powerful marketing messages you can send is “I’m a lot like you.”


I’ll give you an example. I don’t have a lot of faith that weight loss tips from the latest hot supermodel are going to do me any good. I’m not 6’ tall, I’m not built like a gazelle, and I don’t think I have the discipline to live on 4 potato chips and a skim-milk latte per day.

But weight loss tips from Janeane Garofalo? I’m a lot more interested. Because she starts out looking a lot more like I do, I have more confidence that her advice will be something I can use.

One of the most overlooked sales objections is:

“Probably everyone else can make that work,
but it won’t work for me.”

Most of us have such lousy self-esteem that we’re willing to concede that the diet, the money-making strategy, the stock tip, the parenting advice will work for most humans on the planet — but not us.

The more you can get your reader to relate to you, to feel like he’s basically like you, the better chance you have of communicating, “Hey, if it worked for me, it will totally work for you.”

That’s why, even though you don’t want to undermine your authority (we’ll talk about that in a few minutes), you also don’t want to puff yourself up to be some kind of superhero.

Or if you are a superhero, be one with a really dorky alter ego, like Peter Parker, not a billionaire playboy like Bruce Wayne.

Unleash Your Inner Dork to Become a Better Copywriter

3. Liking

There are two primary ways to get attention.

  1. You can do tons of great stuff for people, make yourself useful, be incredibly nice and friendly, and maybe crack a joke from time to time.
  2. You can make a belligerent, loud, annoying pain in the ass of yourself.

They both work — if your goal is to get attention.

If your goal is to convert attention into customers,
#1 has a lot of advantages.

Some people have a gift for drawing attention to themselves by being spectacular jackasses. And that can work, actually — if you’re a likeable jackass.

It tends not to work too well (commercially, anyway) if you’re just an ass.

4. Frequency

Dave Navarro made a great analogy when I interviewed him recently for a Third Tribe Marketing seminar on email copywriting.

He talked about the marketer who only emails around launch time as being like your annoying relative who only calls when he wants money.

What’s your emotional reaction when that deadbeat cousin calls? You roll your eyes and let it go straight to voice mail, right?

If you’re building relationships by providing valuable content, the best way to do it is to keep it slow and steady.

Show up. Day in, day out.

Create a steady, predictable rhythm with your content, whether it’s your blog, your email newsletter, your podcast, whatever. Keep giving that high-quality free content, delivering those results in advance, and letting everyone know you’re a good egg.

A nice, predictable frequency also demonstrates that you’re reliable. If you show up every day (or every week, or every other week) on your blog, predictable as clockwork, your audience gets the sense that you probably won’t skip to Costa Rica as soon as they’ve sent you PayPal funds for your new consulting package.

5. Authority

Bloggers are often excellent at letting their audiences know they care, that they’re good people, that they share the same problems as their readers.

Sometimes they’re not so good at actually demonstrating that they know what they’re talking about.

Authority Rules

Worse, they often think that the call to be “transparent and authentic” is an open invitation to show off as much dirty laundry as possible.

Good: A blog post about how you went from design klutz to design wizard.

Bad: An endless stream of Twitter tweets about how badly you’re blowing your clients’ deadlines because you’re just not in the mood to fire up Photoshop today.

Transparency is not the same thing as oversharing.

A certain amount of talking about your cat or your kid or your funky apartment can be good for bonding. And selectively talking about your insecurities can do great things; no one likes someone who’s too perfect.

But blathering about your bad habits and body fluids is just . . . well . . . off-putting.

I hope it goes without saying that bashing other bloggers for the sake of getting attention is a “success limiting maneuver.”

Constructive, legitimate criticism is fine. But being a professional hater is just lame.

It can work (a little) in the short-term, because negativity attracts attention. But bashing someone just to have someone to bash turns you into a jerk and a whiner. And anyway, there are too many nasty people on the web — it doesn’t actually make you stand out.

Your homework for this week

Take a look at the content you’re producing (email, blog, twitter, Facebook, special report, whatever) and see how many of these relationship builders you can include. Could you squeeze in all five?

Which of these do you think you’re strongest at? Do more of it — build on that strength.

And if there’s one of these relationship builders that’s a little out of your comfort zone, schedule some time to create a message around it before the end of this week. Your customer relationships will thank you for it. :)

Sonia Simone


Get here from a link from a friend, or Twitter? This lesson is part 13 of a 20-part free email course on the essential pillars of internet marketing that works, without the hype and sleaze. Learn more about it and sign up here.

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Elecom new Bluetooth keyboard fill the gap between keyboards and phone « Akihabara News


wireless folding keyboard - only in Japan at this time - amazing -

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Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Time To Pay Your Taxes, Slaves by Jeff Berwick

As an expatriate PT (Permanent Tourist or Prior Taxpayer) I legally do not have to pay income taxes. Nearly a decade ago when I lived in Canada and complained about the socialist government and the taxes many brainwashed government lovers would tell me, "if you don't like it, leave."

I happily did and it's been easily one of the best things I've ever done. Nothing feels so great as not having to track all your income and expenses and spending hours, days or weeks "filing" your taxes. So, each year around this time I get awakened from my own little bubble in paradise when I see a headline reminding the serfs that it is time to pay their due. This year in the US it is April 17th. In Canada it is April 30th.

Canadian PTs -

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A Primer for Those Considering Expatriation by Mark Nestmann

Yes, it's a radical step. However, if you're a U.S. citizen, you can make nearly all of the preparations for a possible future expatriation without permanently leaving the United States. This is a four-step process:

  • Phase 1. Relocate your assets from the United States to other jurisdictions, preferably where the assets won't be taxed.
  • Phase 2. Identify foreign countries where you would consider living,
  • Phase 3. Obtain a suitable second passport
  • Phase 4. Expatriate – give up your U.S. citizenship and passport

Or live PT without much in the way of assets, but with an Anywhere Income -

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Congress to U.S. Citizens: Pay Your Income Tax or Forfeit Your Passport by Mark Nestmann

Congress to U.S. Citizens: Pay Your Income Tax or Forfeit Your Passport

by Mark Nestmann
The Nestmann Group, Ltd.

Recently by Mark Nestmann: A Primer for Those Considering Expatriation

One of the strongest enforcement mechanisms any government has over its citizens is to restrict their ability to travel internationally.

Since international travel to almost anywhere requires a passport, requiring citizens to adhere to specified rules to obtain this travel document is a highly effective mechanism of social control.

Many governments therefore temporarily or permanently suspend a citizen’s passport under a variety of conditions, or refuse to issue or renew it at all. For instance, under U.S. law, several circumstances exist under which authorities can confiscate your passport, or the State Department can refuse to issue or renew it:

  • If a federal court has issued a warrant for your arrest
  • If a federal or state court has ordered you not to leave the United States
  • If another country has requested your extradition
  • If you owe more than $2,500 in delinquent child support payments

I’ve long predicted the U.S. government would eventually add “lack of tax compliance” to this list. Now, the U.S. Senate has taken an important step in that direction. The 2012 highway funding bill (S. 1813) sets up a mechanism to deny or revoke your passport if you have a “seriously delinquent tax debt.” This is defined as a tax debt that exceeds $50,000 for which the IRS has filed a notice of lien or levy. It remains to be seen if the House of Representatives will go along with the Senate proposal, but it seems highly unlikely that anyone in Congress–or President Obama–will object to forbidding a U.S. citizen who owes $50,000 or more in back taxes from traveling internationally.

Since federal law generally prohibits the IRS from disclosing taxpayer data to other federal agencies, S. 1813 makes an exception to this rule for purposes of disclosing “seriously delinquent tax debts” to the State Department. Once receiving this information, the State Department “may not issue a passport or passport card to any individual who has a seriously delinquent tax debt….” It must also “revoke a passport or passport card previously issued to” such persons.

Even if you don’t fall into one of the categories under which the government can confiscate your passport, don’t assume you can renew it when it expires. If the State Department requires you to complete its “biographical questionnaire” as a condition for renewal, you’ll be hard-pressed to come up with some of the requested information (e.g., for a male, your circumcision records).

If you’re a U.S. citizen who values your right to travel internationally, S. 1813 makes it more important than ever to get a second passport. If you don’t qualify for a second passport by virtue of marriage or ancestry, it’s still possible to acquire one by making a contribution or investment to a handful of countries. In exchange, you’ll receive citizenship for life and a passport.

The Commonwealth of Dominica and the Federation of St. Kitts & Nevis are the only countries with an official, legally mandated, citizenship-through-investment program. Several other countries, including at least two EU members, will award citizenship and passport upon performance of an outstanding service (including an investment).

April 17, 2012

Mark Nestmann [send him mail] is a journalist with more than 20 years of investigative experience and is a charter member of The Sovereign Society’s Council of Experts. He has authored over a dozen books and many additional reports on wealth preservation, privacy and offshore investing. Mark serves as president of his own international consulting firm, The Nestmann Group, Ltd. The Nestmann Group provides international wealth preservation services for high-net worth individuals. Mark is an Associate Member of the American Bar Association (member of subcommittee on Foreign Activities of U.S. Taxpayers, Committee on Taxation) and member of the Society of Professional Journalists. In 2005, he was awarded a Masters of Laws (LL.M) degree in international tax law at the Vienna (Austria) University of Economics and Business Administration.

Copyright © 2012 Mark Nestmann

The Best of Mark Nestmann

We all may need 2nd passports.

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58 Ways to Create Persuasive Content Your Audience Will Love | Copyblogger

image of pen and paper on wooden desk

Would you like to become a better writer?

Would you like to create content that people will remember, tweet, and plus?

How about content that inspires your audience to click, subscribe or buy? That’s the Holy Grail, right?

It may sound difficult, but it really isn’t.

You’re about to become a writer that’s incredibly persuasive and completely unforgettable.


Let’s start with structuring your content so your message becomes irresistible.

How to streamline your content creation

Are you forever chopping at and changing your text?

Use the following tips to structure your writing up front, so your message isn’t buried deep in your post:

  1. Write your headline first. Include a compelling reason why anyone should read your content.
  2. Then write your subheads. These will help structure your post.
  3. Don’t forget captions. People are more likely to read your captions than your copy, so don’t miss this opportunity to communicate!
  4. Delight with your opening paragraph. Remember, your opening paragraph has to draw your readers into your story. Each sentence has to make them want to read the next.
  5. Energize with your closing paragraph. Make sure you write a few kick-ass lines that inspire your readers to take action or change their beliefs.
  6. Create fascinating bullet points. Most people won’t read every word of your content. They’ll scan the headlines and the bullet points.
  7. Don’t disappoint. Remember the compelling reason in your headline? Make sure you deliver on it.

How to write headlines that convert

You know that — on average — only 2 out of 10 people read an article beyond the headline, don’t you?

If you don’t write irresistible headlines, even fewer people than those 2 will read your content.

Use the following seven foolproof steps to avoid obscurity and boost your reader numbers:

  1. Present a benefit in your headline. Everyone’s time is precious — so how will you reward your readers for paying attention to your content? How will you make them feel better?
  2. Command attention. You have less than a second to grab someone’s attention. So tickle the right brain and gain interest with power words such as doomedfailure, and lies (or more positive words such as inspiration and breakthrough).
  3. Be specific. If your headline is generic, nobody will be interested. Get to specifics and people will react.
  4. Don’t try to be clever. Clever headlines are difficult to write, and even the good ones often fail.
  5. Don’t try to be original for its own sake. Take your cue from professional copywriters, and use strong, proven structures to build your headlines around.
  6. Keep practicing. Write several headlines for each post. Study headlines of popular blogs, magazines, and newspapers. Practice. Every day.
  7. Write with a purpose. Make sure you know what action you want your readers to take. Doing so will help structure your content.

How to write content your readers will remember

You’ve made so much effort.

You write, and write, and write. People are reading your content, but your message doesn’t stick. Your readers are forgetting it, and fast.

Don’t worry.

The following nine simple tactics will make your message unforgettable:

  1. Use sound bites. These are easy-to-remember, easy-to-quote nuggets of wisdom, just like proverbs. And haven’t generations of people remembered proverbs?
  2. Avoid routine common sense. You won’t win reader loyalty with your breathtaking grasp of the obvious.
  3. Surprise your readers. An element of the unexpected will make your reader pay attention. And when they pay attention, they’ll remember.
  4. Add concrete details. They’ll help your readers picture your story.
  5. Use vivid adjectives. Use adjectives and adverbs that are specific, sensory, or emotional. And ditch the bland adjectives that don’t add anything.
  6. Use stories. They bring your message alive.
  7. Make your readers feel something. Emotion makes people care and remember.
  8. Use metaphors. They’ll help people understand what you’re trying to tell by relating it to something they know.
  9. Use the rule of three. Our brains are wired to remember three things more easily. Why do you think we have three little pigs, three wise men, and three musketeers?

How to become a more persuasive writer

Why are you writing?

Do you want people to buy something? Or believe in something? Or subscribe to your newsletter?

You have to choose one objective.

Whatever you want, use the following 12 steps to writing credible and convincing content:

  1. Use the word because. You should always give people a reason why they should take action, and using the word because is the most powerful way to do it.
  2. Anticipate objections. No matter whether you are selling a product, a service or an idea, you have to address all objections of your readers.
  3. Create incentives to read on. Joe Sugarman calls these seeds of curiosity – short phrases like Not only that … and But here comes the best part will keep readers moving through your content.
  4. Use statistics. These add credibility to your story.
  5. Sell with true benefits. True benefits connect with readers’ desires. Beware of fake benefits – they’re the antidote to persuasion.
  6. Be passionate. It’ll shine through. If you’re not passionate about your ideas or products or services, why should your readers bother to take action?
  7. Show your readers the gap in their knowledge. Get them to pose questions that you’ll answer one by one. Each answer should lead them to pose the next question.
  8. Beware the curse of knowledge. Don’t assume readers know everything you do about your topic. Try to get back into that beginner’s mind.
  9. Write about what you know.  Being persuasive is much easier when you know your stuff.
  10. Engage the left and the right brain. Follow facts with stories or quotes. Use a blend of logical and emotional approaches.
  11. Don’t sell before the prospect is ready. Educate your readers, inform them about your cause, and help solve their problems. Become a trusted source of information and your readers will more readily buy from you.
  12. Have an impeccably clear call to action. Tell your readers exactly what you expect them to do next, and remind them why it’s in their best interest to buy, click or subscribe.

How to enchant your audience

If you try to sell right off the bat without building trust, the sceptics will quickly click away.

If you delight your readers with your product or idea, if you provide real solutions to their problems, they’ll want to find out more.

Use the following tips to engage, delight, and ultimately sell:

  1. Understand your readers. Know their fears, dreams, and desires. How can you engage with someone you don’t understand?
  2. Don’t write for a large audience. Choose one person, picture him, and write to him as if he’s a friend.
  3. Use a conversational tone of voice. Nobody wants to chat with a company.
  4. Be engaging. Using the word you is the most powerful way to be more engaging.
  5. Be remarkable. So much content is out there, how can you stand out? Disclose your point of view, tell your personal story, and develop your own writing voice. If your readers feel they know you, they will connect with you.
  6. Use familiar language. Check Twitter, Facebook or Google’s Keyword Tool – and find the wording your readers use. 
  7. Avoid jargon. Always choose the simplest possible expression of your idea. Avoid obscure words.
  8. Don’t insult your readers. Being clear doesn’t mean you have to tell your readers things they already know.
  9. Be likeable. Do great things for your readers, help them out, and be generous. It’s obvious isn’t it?

How to self-edit so you don’t look dumb

Whether you are a good writer or not doesn’t matter.

Does this surprise you?

The only way to become a master writer is to become awe-inspiringly good at editing. Advertising great David Ogilvy says this:

I am a lousy copywriter, but I am a good editor. So I go to work editing my own draft.

The following tips will make your potentially crappy content great:

  1. Plan ahead. Give yourself time to let your first draft rest.
  2. Read your text backwards. This is the best way to spot typos.
  3. Use a spell checker. You do that already, don’t you? 
  4. Proofread on paper. You’re less likely to skim the text.
  5. Read your text aloud. You’ll find where you stumble.
  6. Simplify. Remember your purpose? Cut all ideas that are irrelevant.
  7. Know the common mistakes that will make you look silly. Check your there’s and theirs, your complements and compliments, and your thens and thans.
  8. Scrap vapid clich├ęs.  David Meerman Scott calls these gobbledygook: Words or phrases without a real meaning, such as synergisticbest-in-class and too good to be true. Each word should have a meaning that adds to your readers’ understanding.
  9. Shorten your first sentence. Short sentences are more likely to draw readers into your content. And don’t forget, the only purpose of the first sentence is to make people read the second sentence.
  10. Scrap redundant sentences. If a sentence doesn’t add to your story, it’s unnecessary. Remember, saying the same thing twice in different ways is needless. Don’t repeat the same thing using different words. (See how boring and irritating that is?)
  11. Cut excessive words. Read each sentence carefully and delete each word that isn’t necessary. Words you can almost always delete include: ought, perhaps, in my opinion, just, actually, truly, and very.
  12. Replace complicated words with simple words. Do you want your content to be difficult to read? Cut long words and replace them with shorter ones.
  13. Check your engagement level. Is your content focused on your readers? Count the number of times you’ve used I and me versus you.
  14. Now, go back to your headline. Have you delivered on your promise? Will your readers benefit from reading your content?

The harsh reality of becoming a very good writer

You’re smart. You have good ideas. And to spread your ideas you need mind-blowingly good content, because too much information is out there.

I’m not saying you can become a remarkable writer instantly. You need to practice each day. You need to focus. And you need to be prepared for criticism.

But if you persevere, if you focus on becoming enchanting, persuasive, and memorable, you can succeed.

Set your goals. Just do it.

And let us know in the comments — which of these techniques has been the biggest help in your own writing?

About the Author: About the author: Henneke [Heh-nuh-kuh] is a UK-based marketer who loves copywriting, good food and content marketing. You can connect with Henneke on Twitter.

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Monday, April 16, 2012

A Guide to Buying Travel Insurance | Nomadic Matt's Travel Site

One of the best travel insurance companies is World Nomads. They are the one I use and are one of my favorite travel companies in general. They are very reputable, and claims are quickly and fairly processed. While their insurance policy is similar to many of the other companies listed in this section, I enjoy World Nomads for the following reasons: I can purchase and renew my insurance policy online in a matter of minutes, they have a very friendly and responsive staff who answer questions and help solve problems via social media, and they have great customer feedback. Moreover, they are also recommended by Lonely Planet guidebooks and National Geographic.

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