Words by Mike Blog

Fan Magazines

Hardly have any words. Pictures with captions. There are some words but they don’t help much. It’s the pictures people want to see. Mostly the readers know the subjects without reading their names. There are many many “celebrities” these days and the fan magazines are glad to show them going shopping or attending fancy parties.


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What Trump teaches us about connecting

What does Donald Trump really believe? What is his worldview? What would he do if he had the power?

Of course, we don’t know.  And we will never know if we try to divine these issues from his uttering.

The problem is that Trump has no interest of giving us information that might be valuable in determining if he is actually the best candidate.

He is playing another game: to keep his name in the headlines and to stir up strong feelings among people who vote.

Trump knows that many people are frustrated. The economy stinks and even though gas prices are down, everything else is up. People do not feel secure and they don’t know what to do about it. Trump rushes in and tells us. The reason we are financially insecure is because of illegal immigration. This is nowhere near the truth but it is a satisfying answer to give to a frustrated citizen.  Most of us don’t know an illegal immigrant so it is pretty easy to demonize them.

People say he is a great communicator but he actually isn’t communicating. He is a pied piper leading his followers to a wrong — but emotionally satisfying conclusion.

Trump is a master of word pictures. Building a 2,000 mile fence is another absurdity. But everyone can visualize a fence. It is a strong image.  By connecting the frustration of people to a concrete image Trump once again seems to be making sense. But all he is doing is stirring the pot..

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On balance zoos are good things

There are many who disparage the concept of a zoo. They say it is an artificial environment and removes the sense of dignity that will animals normally possess.  This is a good point but on the other hand living in the wild is risky and many of those animals in zoos would be killed by natural events if they remained in their natural habitat.

On the other hand, if you visit a zoo and look at the visitors (instead of the animals) you will see no end to looks of delight and joy. People love to look at animals and you rarely see a zoo visitor scowling or visualizing depression.

So on balance I vote for zoos. Most are now run by wildlife preservation organizations that support efforts to save animals in the wild. If an animal goes extinct, the whole world suffers and it is better to be helping animals than just reading about them in books..

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Not all information has value

The stock market went down almost six hundred points today. At the opening it was down a thousand. It was down 500 points yesterday and the down again the day before. All the big stocks got hit and the news of the decline was everywhere.

On every network reporters told us about the market decline. But that was about all they told us.  Nobody was really sure about the reason for the devastation but China’s recent devaluation was mentioned tentatively. But again, nobody was sure. So you have this big story. You have hundreds of reporters and talking heads trying to say something but very few of them have anything valuable to say. They don’t know. But there they are under  the breaking news banner and it is expected that they should say something important. But they don’t know so they tell us the market crashed and gives us the numbers and that’s that.

They all give us the same information with different voices and different faces.

Informative maybe but not valuable.



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We didn’t see it coming

Wars are fought over real estate and resources. People are moved to revolution by personal outrage against their daily lives.

The problem today is that the conditions that should enrage us are either unknown or little understood. It turns out that the most prestigious American universities spend millions (Yale spends $500 million a year) on fees to manage their endowments. These universities pay millions to make more millions and all of it is tax exempt. This means that the students who attend the top universities are helped by this subsidy but the millions of students who attend lesser colleges are not. This is an outrage. But how do we get outraged. How did this come to be? What can be done about it?

There are lots of other outrages. It used to be that people entered politics to help their communities. Now we are told that most ex congresspeople finish their terms and then go to work for lobbyist firms where they enjoy the good life and earn big bucks. Another outrage. But where do we focus our anger? What can we do to change this around.

Jeb Bush is one of the sleepiest presidential candidates in memory. He seems like even he is not interested in what he has to say. Yet as the “mainstream Republican” candidate he has been able to raise huge piles of cash. How will this money be spent? Probably on negative ads about his opponents which will benefit only Jeb (maybe) and the ad agencies and networks that carry his ads.

The world is more complicated these days but most of us do not have the expertise or focus to figure out how things really work. Unfortunately, the big money interests who are pushing the levers know exactly what they are doing. They also know that most of us don’t know and that’s the way they like it..

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Why websites fail

Most websites do not work very well. How could they when most of them have not been planned to succeed. If you ask 100 business owners the purpose of their website, you will probably get 100 different answers.

If your website is only meant to be a handy online brochure that’s a pretty easy goal to achieve. But then again, what good is a brochure if nobody comes round to read it.

Marketing of a website needs to be built into the original design and often this does not happen. Typically, the business owner hires a web designer provides some input and the web designer puts it together and makes it look pretty.

To create a website that works  you need to consider your market and the search terms needed to reach them, your method of marketing (SEO, SEM, social media, online publication services). You then need to write and design your website and finally, you need to test your marketing plan to make sure that you can obtain a customer at a cost that allows you to make a profit.

All this requires time and considerable effort. In other words hard, disciplined work.

Most site owners don’t pay the price and this is why most websites do not work..

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Human touch still compelling

Talking to a customer on the telephone is not popular with many websites. Too inefficient. Unnecessary. Just complete your order and type in your credit card number.

Many websites don’t even bother to include a telephone number and in many cases they don’t even give you an address. This may work with younger more trusting prospects but most people who have done business in the world will not trust a website without a phone number.

The message is clear: once you deal with us you are on your own. Whatever problem you have, it is your problem and we are not going to coddle you by listening to you complain on the telephone.

On the other hand, if you include an address and phone number on your website you are inviting contact. You are stating that you are really there and will be there if needed..

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Describe the result

People want results. They want to meet the perfect mate; get the perfect job; find the perfect outfit or mountain bike.

Of course this is not a rational desire. But this is what we want. We get something in our heads and pursue it with action.

It’s the same with the copy you right. Don’t focus on what you have to offer. Concentrate instead on understanding your prospect and figuring out what she wants. Then tell her what it will be like when she gets it.

Remember, the desire came along before you did. People get their ideas and you can help yourself by figuring out what they want and helping them visualize the result..

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How to get attention

The presidential candidates try to get attention by attacking and being proactive. Some of them resort to name calling. None of them are very much concerned about the truth. Attention is the name of the game and they will do whatever they can to get it.

Does it work? Short term it does but the value of that is dubious. You score a few points, your opponent gets a thumb in the eye but then you are back to the day to day.

What if want to get attention for your business. You could make an unbelievable offer.  FREE haircuts to the first ten people who call. You will likely get some results but does it really make sense to attract customers who aren’t interested in paying you?

If you want to get valuable attention for your business, the first thing to do is to think about your customer. What is important to her and what will convince her to keep using your services?

The message here is that getting this kind of attention cannot be done quickly. You can blurt out that you are skilled, responsive and reliable. You could but who is going to believe you. The better way is to find a way to get in front of your best prospects and slowly and honestly become their friend..

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After a week of taking strong antibiotics it is hard to muster energy. If the body is busy fighting disease or pain that takes energy. It is logical that after healing energy levels will be low.

But what is the source of energy? Is it the food we eat? Or is it more? A physical lack of energy can quickly affect the brain and thoughts of being weak and listless can be overwhelming.

Is energy like a self-fulfilling prophecy? When we have some we can unleash it and make more? The thing is how to get things started. The medical advice is to eat acidopholus and to eat light healthy meals with lots of vegetables. The problem is credibility. Maybe it works but it doesn’t sound inspiring.  I am thinking of the bolt of energy that Popeye got from spinach. Clear, simple and immediate. Much different than sighing and eating some yogurt.


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