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5 Simple Tips to Get Great Client Referrals

Word of mouth is one of the most powerful ways to gain new clients. Getting referrals is the most cost-effective way to get your services and brand out there but why does it feel so uncomfortable asking current customers to give one? 

In this blog post, we’ll be sharing some ways to ask your clients for a referral without the awkward feeling. 

1. Target some of the best clients

Instead of asking your entire clientele, ask the ones you already have a strong relationship with and ones you’ve provided value to. They already trust you and the services that are offered, so this type of client will be more likely to refer a new business to yours. Remember to check in with these clients periodically to keep up the relationship. You want to ensure that they feel taken care of.  

2. Be specific with your ask

Once you’ve ensured your customers are pleased with their experiences, ask them specifically if they know anyone looking for what you offer. They should be happy to refer you to their friends and network. 

“Do you have anyone in your circle looking for help with copywriting?” 

Get straight to the point and be confident in what you are asking! You have current clients for a reason!

3. Provide incentives 

Create a referral program for your clients. Incentives could include coffee gift cards, a discount on their services, free merchandise, or anything else you think your clients would be interested in. Send your program initiative to some of your happiest clients and watch the referrals roll in. 

You’d be surprised how motivated people can become when a prize is involved. 

4. Return the favour

Recommend some of your clients to people in your network! This can be done by word of mouth, LinkedIn, Google reviews, or other social media pages. When your clients see that you truly care about them and their business they’ll be more likely to return the favour – especially when you do this without them having to ask. 

5. Make it as easy

The more complicated the process is, the less likely your clients will be willing to do it. Make sure the referral process is simple and easy for your clients to follow. Respect their time and create a template or script for them to use. This form should be both mobile and desktop friendly where they will only need to add in their name. Encourage them to share on social media and tag people in their network. You could also create a contact form where clients can add in the info themselves and send it your way. 

Asking for referrals shouldn’t be awkward or a chore! It is a vital element to your business so make getting those referrals one of your top priorities. Using your existing connections can open up possibilities for more clients, projects and revenue. 

What are some strategies you use for getting referrals? Let us know!

Thanks for reading.

Maddie Medina

Content Creator | Creative Director

THE BLOCK BARD

http://www.theblockbard.com

Join Our Exclusive Contributor Network!

~ Hi there!

If you see anything wrong with this post, be it typos to offensive material, you can DM us at the email below and we’ll try to make it right 🙂

We love finding new, excellent sales professionals to feature in our blog. If you hold a sales, marketing, revenue-oriented title, or even business & growth, you are welcome to submit a pitch — or get the conversation going on topic ideas.

But before you submit, please make sure you read our B&G Content Guidelines We know they look long, but they actually take only a few minutes to read. If you’d like us to spend our time working with you, please invest a little of yours in reading those guidelines.

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Manufacturing Consent: Permission Marketing in 2021

While I don’t have the government’s permission to operate with the clients I do, that didn’t stop me from writing ads for seven figure businesses. Whose permission I would’ve never gotten had I never asked. And just as I gave myself the permission, so too do these corporate giants we’re about to discuss below.

And while I haven’t yet the media’s permission to sell my book in big department stores that didn’t stop me from selling thousands of copies of ‘Strategy for Success’ to real all over the planet.

But let’s take a look at some bigger dogs in the fight, and how they maximized their brand’s recognition and even profits, via permission marketing.

To clear things up right off the bat, however, when referencing ‘permission marketing’ I don’t mean Seth Godin’s definition of ‘permission marketing’ seen here. Although he might’ve invented the term, the #1 way to lose email subscribers is still by asking their permission to confirm their email when they’ve already typed it in and signed up… They just signed up and you’re already sending them spam. STOP.

Hence, why it’s nemesis, ‘interruption marketing’ is still so successfully used in all industries to this day. For example; when sending cold emails to prospective clients whose work I know I could make better, even though they’ve likely never heard of The Block Bard, they’re taken back by this audacious bastard’s ability to not only have the balls(or whatever you want to call it/them) to message the C.E.O., but the knowledge to find said email, and critique respectfully their company’s campaign, or ad copy. (Key word here is: respectfully. No one is going to work with you after you just told them their ads sucked. Believe me.)

The Bigger Dogs’ Take

When NIKE was just a wee little baby back in the swingin’ 60’s of Oregon, U.S.A., Adidas was already collaborating with FIFA and the Olympics. But that didn’t stop NIKE from honing in on partnerships with personal athletes; the same partnerships we see today, only with of course, different athletes; later to become the biggest sports brand by far.

But what does this have to do with permission marketing? Permission marketing is more or less the manufacturing of consent. And when the NBA banned Michael Jordan’s NIKE Air Force 1’s, they manufactured the consent or hype, for every baller outside of the NBA to buy those shoes. In other words 99% of their market audience.

In even more other words, getting something banned was probably their plan all along. And industries such as marketing and copywriting still remain somewhat underground in business schools because they haven’t created any scarcity/competition via regulation.

 the opponent an edge, so there stood the most experienced. In the back we have the older but still experienced soldiers, mostly for emergencies and mainly to prevent the green soldiers in the middle (that’s you) from running away in cowardice.

This is just one of the many military examples that underline the necessity of structures and systems in everything from war to everyday teamwork. War is scary, and even after all that training, the biggest reason people move forward and keep fighting, isn’t necessarily for their country per se, but for the brothers they’ve made along the way.

As soon as half or less of the brothers (or sisters) have decided it’s not worth fighting, it doesn’t matter what their general, their sovereign, or anyone else in charge says, they are done.

WHY IT WORKS

The magic at work here is a structure called social influence. Best described with the old adage ‘if your best friend jumps of a bridge, would you?’ Maybe not, but to blow this philosophically preschool statement out of the water we need only ask ‘if half of your best friends jumped off a bridge, would you?’ And the best part is we don’t need to wait around for an answer because we already no while most people will say no, studies say differently.

Just like asking people if they truly see more value in a 99 cent item versus a dollar costing one, they will almost always answer no. Yet studies again say differently, otherwise we would have stopped seeing this mass marketing method years ago.

  • The most efficient salespeople have scripts (written with A-class copy).
  • The best surgeons have strict standard procedures.
  • The best bankers have rubrics and bars needing to be met by each person.

You get the point.

The only time I would say ‘t’hell with systems and structures’ is when performing artistic activities which have been known to call more on the creative side of your brain, than the analytical. Everyone knows the best art, be it music, or movies, are made from a more divine kind of inspiration; which can only come when and once the mind is cleared free from the strict boundaries of reality.

This is that scene in The Dead Poet’s Society where Robbing Williams (RIP) tells his students to rip up the chapter that claims to be the be all end all rubric for poets and writers from the school textbooks.

Thanks for reading my rant

Mackenzie Andres

THE BLOCK BARD

Founder | Author | Head of Copy

http://www.theblockbard.com

Join Our Exclusive Contributor Network!

~ Hi there!

If you see anything wrong with this post, be it typos to offensive material, you can DM us at the email below and we’ll try to make it right 🙂

We love finding new, excellent sales professionals to feature in our blog. If you hold a sales, marketing, revenue-oriented title, or even business & growth, you are welcome to submit a pitch — or get the conversation going on topic ideas.

But before you submit, please make sure you read our B&G Content Guidelines We know they look long, but they actually take only a few minutes to read. If you’d like us to spend our time working with you, please invest a little of yours in reading those guidelines.

Once you’ve read the guidelines, send your pitch to contact@theblockbard.com.

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Marketing vs. Copywriting; Plus 8 Need-To-Know Industry Terms

All copywriters are in a sense marketers, but not all marketers are copywriters.

Take for example the loads of lingo you need to know and be aware of in the marketing scene if you’re to even work with them smoothly, let alone successfully.

And as a copywriter entirely focused on the message, I like to leave the statistics and scaling to someone more numerically-minded (e.g. marketers).

But these marketers aren’t always blessed with the social swagger of us copywriters 😉

Some of the terms foreign to regular writers but need-to-know’s for copywriters are as follows:

  • CTA’s: call to actions. (This is your main button, or bottom-line, meant to entice people to take action)
  • A/B: split tests. (These are used to get a better feel for what your audience likes. You can split test anything from different headlines on the same blog, to different colours to see which works better for whatever purpose you’re promoting)
  • TOF: top of funnel. (This is where you see a brand new company’s ad for the first time)
  • MOF: middle of funnel. (This is where you happen to see that same company’s ad but a different version. This one is quite often focused more on their brand/product, and if their marketing is good how said brand or product can benefit you specifically)
  • BOF: bottom of funnel. (This is where you’ll find the most urgency to take action, most often by means of FOMO [see below]
  • FOMO: fear of missing out. (Showcased by limited time only offers, early bird specials, and countdown timers)
  • BA: brand awareness. (These are ads depicting the brand and its overall message, rather than their product or offer. Meant to build trust, these work best for cold audiences)
  • ROAS: return on ad spend. (This measures the amount of revenue earned per dollar spent on advertising)

And the list goes on… but this is a blog, not a dictionary.

To explain it best and in the simplest terms the biggest difference between copywriting and marketing; is that the copywriter writes the ad, and the marketers chooses when, for how long, and to whom it goes out to.

Cheers,

Mackenzie Andres

THE BLOCK BARD

Founder | Head of Copy

http://www.theblockbard.com

Join Our Exclusive Contributor Network!

~ Hi there!

If you see anything wrong with this post, be it typos to offensive material, you can DM us at the email below and we’ll try to make it right 🙂

We love finding new, excellent sales professionals to feature in our blog. If you hold a sales, marketing, revenue-oriented title, or even business & growth, you are welcome to submit a pitch — or get the conversation going on topic ideas.

But before you submit, please make sure you read our B&G Content Guidelines We know they look long, but they actually take only a few minutes to read. If you’d like us to spend our time working with you, please invest a little of yours in reading those guidelines.

Once you’ve read the guidelines, send your pitch to contact@theblockbard.com.

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Why YOU Need Systems to Avoid Stagnancy

“If you leave your growth to randomness, you will always live in the land of mediocrity.”

– M.L.A.

One of the biggest things we can learn from the experts in our fields is to structure our days and activities just like they do if we want any hope of being where they are.

People aren’t just born magnificent, skilled, heroic, or selfless… they act and work everyday to get to the places they’ve already envisioned.

This blog is about HOW such people act, and WHY they act that way.

Take a look at the strict structures of Universities, and other professional occupations. Imagine for a second if you will, the same institutes issuing little or no structure to formulate their courses and procedures, and instead saying ‘hey students and employees, feel free to pick your own deadlines from now on.’

Nothing would ever get done…

In-fact the only reason these places give you the freedom of picking your own courses and schedule is to teach you both responsibility and decision making, not because actually they care about what you want. In most cases what young persons want is directly bad for their health. And left to their own leadership; they would eat candy for dinner and never work or go to school again.

Which brings me to my next point: The Army

The armed forces, or hell, even the police force, is a discipline one must pass rigorous training to be part in. And even when you’ve passed the tests, your training is never truly over. Lest your mind be led to lazier thoughts. Psychological structures and systems remain more than ever to dictate the actions of your work, and thus performance.

One of my personal favourites is the old firing line, or phalanx structure examples of reasoning which so eloquently and systematically forces discipline on each member of its ranks.

How It Works

Basically if you were new to war, you would be put in the middle of the line. If you were placed at the front, your greenness might show and give the opponent an edge, so there stood the most experienced. In the back we have the older but still experienced soldiers, mostly for emergencies and mainly to prevent the green soldiers in the middle (that’s you) from running away in cowardice.

This is just one of the many military examples that underline the necessity of structures and systems in everything from war to everyday teamwork. War is scary, and even after all that training, the biggest reason people move forward and keep fighting, isn’t necessarily for their country per se, but for the brothers they’ve made along the way.

As soon as half or less of the brothers (or sisters) have decided it’s not worth fighting, it doesn’t matter what their general, their sovereign, or anyone else in charge says, they are done.

Why It Works

The magic at work here is a structure called social influence. Best described with the old adage ‘if your best friend jumps of a bridge, would you?’ Maybe not, but to blow this philosophically preschool statement out of the water we need only ask ‘if half of your best friends jumped off a bridge, would you?’ And the best part is we don’t need to wait around for an answer because we already no while most people will say no, studies say differently.

Just like asking people if they truly see more value in a 99 cent item versus a dollar costing one, they will almost always answer no. Yet studies again say differently, otherwise we would have stopped seeing this mass marketing method years ago.

  • The most efficient salespeople have scripts (written with A-class copy).
  • The best surgeons have strict standard procedures.
  • The best bankers have rubrics and bars needing to be met by each person.

You get the point.

The only time I would say ‘t’hell with systems and structures’ is when performing artistic activities which have been known to call more on the creative side of your brain, than the analytical. Everyone knows the best art, be it music, or movies, are made from a more divine kind of inspiration; which can only come when and once the mind is cleared free from the strict boundaries of reality.

Thanks for reading my rant!

Mackenzie Andres

THE BLOCK BARD

Founder | Best-Selling Author

http://www.theblockbard.com

Join Our Exclusive Contributor Network!

~ Hi there!

If you see anything wrong with this post, be it typos to offensive material, you can DM us at the email below and we’ll try to make it right 🙂

We love finding new, excellent sales professionals to feature in our blog. If you hold a sales, marketing, revenue-oriented title, or even business & growth, you are welcome to submit a pitch — or get the conversation going on topic ideas.

But before you submit, please make sure you read our B&G Content Guidelines We know they look long, but they actually take only a few minutes to read. If you’d like us to spend our time working with you, please invest a little of yours in reading those guidelines.

Once you’ve read the guidelines, send your pitch to contact@theblockbard.com.

We often find great ideas in unexpected places. The next article published on THE BLOCK BARD ‘Business & Growth’ could be yours!

We Love Your Support!

If you enjoyed this post you can support a small business like us by simply liking our page and sharing below!

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History & Democracy

If the modern understanding of democracy is ‘a torch that shines for a time before burning you’  – think of the great city state of Athens and Renaissance city republics – it feels as if the very social fabric that most democratic institutions are founded on are beginning to go through stress tests, but the question is are they strong enough to withstand the onslaught of social pressure.

To get an understanding of the current political trends, one must conceptualize democracy not as a shining torch that passes from one society to another but as a collection of the highest quality vases that develop independently and are then put on display for humanity to analyze and evolve on. The core feature of democracy – that those who rule can do so only with the consent of the people – has a rich history across time and geography, and is distinguished in each instance where it has developed. 

Over several millennia and across the globe, early democracy was an institution in which rulers governed jointly with councils and assemblies of the people. In fact, here in the Great North developed an experimental form of democracy by the Huron and the Iruquois in the Woodlands of Southeastern Canada. These councils and assemblies were also common in the republics of Ancient India, Mesopotamia, and across various city states.  Classical Greece provided particularly important instances of this thinking about democracy, and indeed even gave us the work ‘demokratia’ itself. But, just like the Founding Fathers of the United States, we must not content ourselves with only one example when many are available, and so early democratic societies from around the world will provide valuable insight into the historical development of democracy. 

The core feature of early democracy was that the people had power, even if multiparty elections (today, often thought to be a definitive feature of democracy) didn’t happen. The people, or at least some significant fraction of them, exercised this power in many different ways. In some cases, a ruler was chosen by a council or assembly, and was limited to being first among equals. In other instances, a ruler inherited their position, but faced constraints to seek consent from the people before taking actions both large and small. The alternative to early democracy was autocracy, a system where one person ruled on their own via bureaucratic subordinates whom they had recruited and remunerated.

Early democratic governance is clearly apparent in some ancient societies in Mesopotamia as well as in India. It flourished in a number of places in the Americas before European conquest, such as among the Huron and the Iroquois in the Northeastern Woodlands and in the ‘Republic of Tlaxcala’ that abutted the Triple Alliance, more commonly known as the Aztec Empire. It was also common in precolonial Africa. In all of these societies there were defining features that tended to reinforce early democracy: small scale, a need for rulers to depend on the people for knowledge, and finally the ability of members of society to exit to other locales if they were unhappy with a ruler. 

To understand the frailties of the modern democractic experience, a closer look at early democracy can assist us in understanding what we might need to do to return to the fundamentals of demokratia.

The first difference between early democracy and our democracies today is that this earlier form of rule was a small-scale phenomenon. In some cases, governance took place only at the level of a small community, as was the case with the Hidatsa, an Indigenous American group living on the banks of the upper Missouri River. When governance was local like this, councils tended to meet very frequently. In other instances, such as with the Mesopotamian Kingdom of Mari, a larger polity existed, but early democracy remained a local phenomenon practised through the assemblies of individual towns. These might meet to consider how taxes should be allotted. It was rarer to see an early democracy that had a larger-scale assembly that drew members from multiple locations as did the Huron confederacy.

Small scale had a critical implication for the nature of politics; in Classical Athens, among the Hidatsa and in the Kingdom of Mari, those who had the right to participate in politics tended to do so in a very direct and intensive way, particularly in local assemblies. In modern democracy, participation is very broad – often broader than in early democracy – but it’s also not deep; for most of us, it’s limited to voting in elections every few years, and in between these moments others make the decisions. One way to address the problem of scale is to delegate much more power to states, provinces and localities. Some form of federalism can help alleviate the alienation brought on by a combination of a large population with varying regional differences and a growing and dispassionate central government.

For example, Canadian federalism maintained a certain cohesiveness to its vast land and scattered population by devolving powers to each province and granting them special political privileges. 

Secondly, polarization seems to be eating democracy alive as more and more polls show that people across the globe are becoming more divided and tribal – potential side effects of the evolution of social media and large population growth leading to distrust of government.

Consider the example of the reforms implemented by Cleisthenes in Athens beginning in the year 508 BCE. In the decades prior to this date, the Athenians had developed a collective form of governance with a Council of 400, which was composed of 100 members from each of 4 historical tribes.  Seeking to change matters, upon assuming power in 508 BCE, Cleisthenes revamped Athenian society by doing away with the four traditional tribes and creating 10 new ones to replace them.

Aristotle later recounted a crucial element of Cleisthenes’ reform: he assigned individual local groups of people called ‘demes‘ by lot into each of the 10 new tribes, therefore ‘intermixing the members’ of the prior four tribes. Aristotle states further that Cleisthenes made sure that the new tribes weren’t geographically concentrated; instead, each had ‘deme‘ membership from the city, the coast and the interior of the Attic Peninsula.

 Importantly, the principle of Cleisthenes’ reform is far from unique; we have eloquent examples of people in other early democracies across multiple continents doing more or less the same thing. To see this, we can return to examples of the Huron and the Iroquois societies, each of which was divided – much like the Athenians – into separate tribes. This might seem like a system that would be ripe for intertribal conflict. But the Huron and the Iroquois had an ingenious system to fight against localism and polarisation.

They divided their society not only into tribes, composed of villages, but also into clans that cross-cut tribal divisions. So, if you were a member of the wolf clan in an individual village among the Cayuga tribe in the Iroquois confederacy, to take one example, then you had a natural affiliation with Cayuga members of that clan from other villages, and you also had a link to members of the wolf clan in other Iroquois tribes. The clear intent of this system was to better bind society together by mitigating polarization along tribal lines.

The lessons are clear: we will be best positioned to preserve our own democracies if we recognise that the history of democracy is much broader and deeper than is often presumed. People around the world, throughout history, have devised democratic institutions and practised democracy. We can learn from their experience to see where democracy today is weakest and get to working on solutions to strengthening it.

Thanks for reading!

Kareem Abdurazag

THE BLOCK BARD

Writer | Culture & Humanities Blogger

http://www.theblockbard.com

Join Our Exclusive Contributor Network!

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We love finding new, excellent social-science professionals to feature in our blog. If you hold a culture or humanities-oriented title, you are welcome to submit a pitch — or get the conversation going on topic ideas.

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Aristotle’s Newest Oldest Advertising Trend?

It’s Honesty…

Here’s why:

Honestly, nothing can be more comfortable from a buyer’s perspective than buying from a reputable and trustworthy source. Yet we’ve still seen advertisers over the decades move more towards social and psychological tactics in their copy and creatives, to the end of well, of course… increasing their sales.

Obviously we wouldn’t have these ‘larger’ companies contending in such irreputable and at sometimes hysterical commercials, did they not serve to increase their revenue’s satisfactorily. I’ll try not to name any names but some examples may prove necessary.

In my humble opinion (even though judging your own opinion humble just isn’t so) I’ve found over and through hundreds of written and performing ads honesty to be the best and most sustainable selling/marketing tool.

What do I mean by this?

Building a brand with an honest story, a background, and relatable piece of culture, is key to making a memorable company in the eye’s of your audience.

Sure, FOMO(fear of missing out), Flash Sales, Social Proof, and many other compliance practitioning tactics work, but at the end of the day what brings people back isn’t just Quality, Value, Convenience, (QVC) but trust, relationship, and the shared belief in a message bigger than both customer and company.

How To Make That Message

Long ago around the 5th century BC in Ancient Greece, there were a bunch of hip kids who loved to talk called The Sophists.

But they didn’t just talk… No, they built upon the art of talking; by developing speaking, reading, writing, and debating skills. They taught people how to come up with persuasive arguments and influence those around them with their words.

Rhetoric is any form of using language for persuasive ends. Akin to copywriting in the modern sense 2 millennia later, it is an art or skill, I would say more useful now than ever with the ease of ability to reach people with your words via the internet and globalization. The only thing is; the more people with words to say, the harder it is to have yours heard.

But competition is key to any survival setting, and after-all capitalism is the most competitive environment of them all.

Despite the popularity of the Sophists, one gentlemen was going on about their methods of persuasion being a little too emotional, a little too poetic, a little too lacking in, well… proof.

Aristotle believed there was a better way at persuading people without using all that fancy stuff (hardcore relations, big words and what not). What we would today call: fake review commercials, political hate-speeches, emoji-ridden Facebook ads, and the like…

So Aristotle came up with these three methods of persuasion you’ll often hear.

ETHOS (Ethic, Moral, Ideology)

He pretty much said having good morals wasn’t enough; you had to establish this to your audience.

In other words, it doesn’t matter how wonderful and ethical a person you are if you don’t communicate that!

This is not about putting on a front, but rather revealing your character with whatever proof you can.

LOGOS (Reason, Discourse, Philosophy)

To put it simply, logos means if you want to make a point, you’d better back it up with relatable representation(Reason).

PATHOS (Emotion, Experience)

Pathos is the part the Sophists were well at because it means whipping up emotions.

Aristotle was all for moving people emotionally to aid his persuasions, as long as it was based on sound Ethos and backed up by staunch Logos.

And while I’m not one for writing by the rules entirely… I completely see the reason to create them, and highly recommend rubric like structures for any writer looking to put their works to the test.

Which Headline appeal here is the best example of pathos?

A. Recommended by 9 out of 10 Dentists.
B. This Crazy Critter Kills More People Than Sharks.
C. Every time you fail to donate, another child misses a meal.

– Cheers

It’s C by the way 😉

Mackenzie Andres

THE BLOCK BARD

Founder | Best-Selling Author

http://www.theblockbard.com

Join Our Exclusive Contributor Network!

~ Hi there!

We love finding new, excellent sales professionals to feature in our blog. If you hold a sales, marketing, revenue-oriented title, or even business & growth, you are welcome to submit a pitch — or get the conversation going on topic ideas.

But before you submit, please make sure you read our B&G Content Guidelines We know they look long, but they actually take only a few minutes to read. If you’d like us to spend our time working with you, please invest a little of yours in reading those guidelines.

Once you’ve read the guidelines, send your pitch to contact@theblockbard.com.

We often find great ideas in unexpected places. The next article published on THE BLOCK BARD ‘Business & Growth’ could be yours!

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3 Do’s & Don’ts to Getting Your Emails ACTUALLY Opened

The number #1 cold outreach method in the World is still, that’s right, you guessed it, email. The number #1 most efficient up-sell method in the World is still, that’s right, you guessed it, email!

So it is safe to say email Today is still pretty important, if not now more than ever.

But are you using it properly?

Whether you’re a business or individual, sending emails isn’t something that should be taken lightly, especially if those emails are meant to get you into an astute University, or land a big contract with a client.

  • The first thing I will tell you is to forget everything you learnt in school about writing professionally. Yep, forget it all! You were never taught how to write professionally, you were taught how to write academically. You were writing for the single purpose of impressing your teacher, we now have a lot more people to impress.
  • The second thing is to scrap all of those graphic designer email templates that look like a shitty coupon you wouldn’t even take for free. This is because capitalist email culture has all but killed that look. What was a professional platform, building cool looking emails and up-sell pages quickly became a dead horse still being beat to this day. If you’re still doing this you look like a desperate scam artist who also beats metaphorical dead horses… And to top off your new online look, your emails aren’t even getting opened because they almost always land in the spam, junk, or promotions tabs.
  • Thirdly, stop getting people to confirm your subscription! People are sooo lazy in today’s day and age I cannot stress this enough. Asking someone to go into their email and click the confirm subscription button is not only unnecessary in 2021, it is actually asking a lot from your customers nowadays. You should be grateful they signed up in the first place. And if you want to make sure your emails land in the right inbox then send them an email with a Free Offer or something of value when they first sign up. This way you know they are going to open it, and their email provider will automatically in the future place you in the right inbox.

OKAY, So that was 3 DON’Ts.

Here are the 3 DOs.

#1. Personalize ! Personalize ! Personalize !

Using personalized messages has proven its ability to increase open rates and actions taken. Everyone has received that terrible message from a total stranger that goes:

“Hey just reaching out to some new connections, I do SEO, If you’re interested in getting some SEO done for your business feel free to give me shout.”

BOOOORING! Get out of my inbox Lame-o before I fall asleep. Even the informality and slang of ‘give me a shout’ is more personalized than most messages I have seen.

“At the balance between personal and professional do we find our prospects.” –MLA

Checkout this DM (Direct Message) that is not only #1 personalized, but #2 engaging, honest, and #3 easy to read!

Cold Email I’ve used to successfully get Email Marketing Clients [TWICE]
#2. Honesty & Engagement

Getting your emails opened is the most important part. The second most important part is getting your first sentence read. The third: getting your second sentence read. The fourth: getting your third sentence read.

Throughout every sentence your job is to basically break out of the friend-zone you put yourself in with your first few sentences. You have to make them like you, before you can make them believe you. Then, you have to make them see you as a professional, if you want any hope of standing out amongst the bombardment of daily emails they probably get.

(Maybe don’t swear in your Uni application though… This was an experiment for me that actually worked, I’m not the most formal but I’m by no means profane, and it was directed at private business owners who are at the end of the day people just like you and I with senses of humour).

#3. Easy To Read

Avoid the fluff; people are busy. Use as little words as possible while getting to the point and breaking up the paragraphs into short but sweet sentences. People aren’t opening their email to read a Lord of The Rings novel…

I hope these simple tips can help your business maximize it’s email potential.

– Cheers

Mackenzie Andres

THE BLOCK BARD

Founder | Best-Selling Author

http://www.theblockbard.com

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The Science of Religion; Philosophy and Faith

For thousands of years our ancient ancestors roamed the Earth alongside a variety of animals as first among equals, fighting tooth and nail against nature to secure a place in the hierarchy. Different “versions” of humans would come and go, but none would have the everlasting impact that the last “update” would bring, Homo Sapiens. What were the conditions and factors that opened the path for Homo Sapiens to dominate the Earth in a mere 3,000 years?

In terms of actual accomplishments, there is nothing in the human record that indicates that our ape ancestors were set to change the course of the planet and its inhabitants. But around 70,000 years ago we start seeing the impressiveness and ingenuity of our species when they started populating the Middle East, Asia and Europe. Relatively soon after, humans manage to cross the last standing land bridges into Australia and the Americas, a huge feat for a bunch of apes who had just recently left East Africa. It is around this time that we start seeing how our different environments shaped our political groupings beyond hunter gatherers and into specialized bands where we begin to see evidence of religion, art, and culture. Since then, humans have been on a journey in learning on how to cooperate more efficiently and productively. Darwin, in his landmark work On the Origin of Species declares:

“In the long history of humankind (and animalkind, too) those who learned to collaborate and improvise most effectively have prevailed”

Is Spirituality Inherently Human?

The real difference between humans and all other animals is not on the individual level, it’s on the collective level. Humans control the planet because they are the only animals that can cooperate both flexibly and in very large numbers. Now, there are other animals, like the social insects – the bees, the ants – that can cooperate in large numbers, but they don’t do so flexibly. They’re cooperation is very rigid. There is basically just one way in which a beehive can function, and if there is a new opportunity or a new danger, the bees cannot reinvent their social system overnight. They cannot, for example, execute the queen and establish a republic of bees or a communist dictatorship of worker bees. Other animals, like the social mammals – the wolves, the elephants, the dolphins, the chimpanzees – can cooperate much more flexibly, but they do so only in small numbers because cooperation among chimpanzees is based on intimate knowledge, one of the other. The only animals that can combine the two abilities together and cooperate both flexibly and still do so in very large numbers is us, Homo sapiens.

Our ability to collectively imagine in a force greater than us grants us a reserve of extra motivation “juice” to keep us alive in life. Religion is one of the oldest and longest serving human institutions and has established itself as a major factor in shaping our history. 

The majority of the world’s population has also found in religion a core belief system fulfills the innate human need for meaning and purpose, acting as a shield against existential angst and moral dilemmas. Additionally, it can be argued that religion establishes a common-belief system which fosters cooperation and understanding between members, thus making society less susceptible to friction. In fact, the use of religion as a social tool may largely explain its staying power and cross-cultural ubiquity. Human societies have indeed found in religion a solution to induce individuals to be nicer to each other as it outsources social and moral monitoring to a supernatural force that is all-seeing and omnipresent. If you believe in a God, even if no one is watching you, you are compelled to be pro-social because God is watching you. 

Religion as a Science

All the religion aside, how does religion affect our identity and brains? Andrew Newberg, a neuroscientist who studies the brain in light of religious experience, has spent his career following this hunch. “If you contemplate God long enough,” he writes in How God Changes Your Brain, “something surprising happens in the brain. Neural functioning begins to change. Different circuits become activated, while others become deactivated. New dendrites are formed, new synaptic connections are made, and the brain becomes more sensitive to subtle realms of experience. Perceptions alter, beliefs begin to change, and if God has meaning for you, then God becomes neurologically real.”

Andrew argues that religious experiences satisfy two basic functions of the brain: self-maintenance (“How do we survive as individuals and how do we fit in society?”) and self-transcendence (“How do we continue to evolve and change as a species?”). While taking brain scans of people partaking in religious experiences, Andrew and his team found that it affects two parts of the brain. The first, the parietal lobe, located in the upper back part of the cortex, is the area that processes sensory information, helps us create a sense of self, and helps to establish spatial relationships between that self and the rest of the world, says Newberg. Interestingly, he’s observed a deactivation of the parietal lobe during certain ritual activities.

“When you begin to do some kind of practice like ritual, over time that area of the brain appears to shut down,” he said. “As it starts to quiet down, since it normally helps to create sense of self, that sense of self starts blur, and the boundaries between self and other – another person, another group, God, the universe, whatever it is you feel connected to – the boundary between those begins to dissipate and you feel one with it.”

The other part of the brain heavily involved in religious experience is the frontal lobe, which normally help us to focus our attention and concentrate on things, says Newberg. “When that area shuts down, it could theoretically be experienced as a kind of loss of willful activity – that we’re no longer making something happen but it’s happening to us.”

No matter your view on religion, the subject begs to ask whether our brains are predisposed to religion or if it’s our own willful creativity?

Thanks for reading!

Kareem Abdurazag

THE BLOCK BARD

Writer | Culture & Humanities Blogger

http://www.theblockbard.com

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6 Proven Ways of Creating Captivating Copy

Have you ever sat in front of your computer with a really great idea but aren’t sure how to get your message across? Creating captivating copy and immersing your audience into your content is key. You want to compel them to stay on your site and read other posts. 

In this blog, we will be sharing six ways to create captivating copy. 

#1. It’s All In The Headline

Writing the perfect headline is no easy task and you’ll probably have an initial idea that you don’t use. In order to attract the right readers, the keyword should be present for SEO optimization. 

A popular tactic is to use numbers in the headline. For example, “4 ways to decorate your bedroom for the spring.”

Keep the reader wanting more by pulling them in with knowledge. An example would be, “This social media secret will boost your engagement.”

#2. Connect With Your Readers

Remember that there are real people on the other side reading your content. Speak directly to them and address their personal needs in the piece. You’re trying to spark an emotional connection. When your readers feel connected, they’ll be more likely to come back to your content. Don’t be afraid to let some personality show either! Encourage readers to leave comments on your posts, share images, and share personal stories when appropriate!

#3. Get To The Point

Cut out the fluffy filler. Ensure that your sentences are clear and direct. Your words matter, make sure every one of them counts. 

If you can cut out extra words without your sentence losing the meaning – you should!

Being specific is more interesting to read and it is also more relatable. 

#4. Stop Writing When You’re Done

Avoid writing bloated copy, ideas that don’t make sense, and random ideas. Once you’ve written all the information you have and it is packed with value, stop writing. Don’t write just to fill a word count quota. When your writing is direct or when you’re writing to hit that word count, it’s probably time to stop. 

#5. Get Inspired

Writer’s block can hit at any moment. There’s nothing wrong with looking at other websites or blogs like yours to get some inspiration and breakthrough. Without plagiarizing their work, take a look at what various writers are doing. What works for them? How can you try their approach on your own work? 

#6. Call To Action

Your reader should know exactly what to do when they read your call to action. Your call to action might urge readers to download a pdf or reserve a spot to a webinar. Play around with the wording but keep the value top of mind. You don’t have to use a verb but it can help get your message across. What are some ways you get your readers to engage? 

These were just a few ideas to create copy that will captivate and engage your audience. 

Knowing your audience and understanding what they connect with is key. Once you have that figured out, you’ll be good to go! 

Have any other ways to create captivating copy? Leave us a comment, we’d love to hear it.

Thanks for reading 🙂

Maddie Medina

Content Creator | Creative Direction

THE BLOCK BARD

http://www.theblockbard.com

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How To Write for the Right Audience

If you’re selling a restaurant owner a piece of new-age medical equipment, you’re going to have a hard time. Not only because they don’t run a medical practice and have no need for such equipment, but because they can’t even understand the sales-copy and product descriptions that come with it.

Canada First Amma Corp. canadafirstammo.ca/

An even better example is the gun and outdoors industry. Having almost a language of its own it’s important to not neglect the culture that surrounds the people participating in said culture. Now, typically you aren’t going to sell guns or work for a gun magazine unless you really like guns, in which case you’re likely already integrated with the lingo and culture.

Take for example my buddy’s ammo company Canada First Ammo Corp. They’ve created these clever and funny comics that everyone in their audience can relate to.

Canada First Amma Corp. canadafirstammo.ca/

I’m not saying all hunters have been scoped down by a deer, but most have had the association that the word buckshot is awfully similar to the bucks they shoot, and now that someone (a company) has made that association appear before them, they will remember the company all the more for it.

I bet you have some friends who are a little more than enthusiastic about cars. Maybe you are that friend. The only time it seems they are not talking about cars is when they are actually driving. If anyone who hadn’t spent nearly as much time talking about cars tried to sell them something car related they would be in for a slightly rude awakening.

“How much clicks? How’s the handling? What’re you running on? Nice 19’s! How’s the cat?”

All contemporary and cultured slang belonging not to groups of shared particular race, religion, or creed, but similar interest, hobbies and passion. Which advertisers must both respect and admire if they’re to be successful in the delivery of any message.

If you are selling expensive medical equipment. I would probably avoid humour altogether as it is a serious industry. Even when selling plastic toy medical equipment to kids it is probably best to play on the potential seriousness of the equipment/toys. This is because kids (and adults) only believe what they want to believe, and if the kid respects the toys like a doctor does his or hers, they will be that much closer to feeling like a real doctor! The whole reason they wanted the toys in the first place.

Who’s Your Audience?

Students across the globe know that unless they are presenting in front of the class, they almost always have an audience of just 1. The good student knows that impressing his or her teacher is more important for their grade than impressing themselves or their classmates. Some teachers may prefer shorter sentences, while you might remember that one teacher hated the word ‘stuff‘ and omit it from all your future essays. This is based on their personal preferences, or paradigms of living. You must include these personal preferences as best you can into every rubric (formula), for every different audience in your campaign.

And just as a teacher has a formula to more easily grade their students efforts, so too does a copywriter have formula’s to grade his or her’s own copy.

But if the best teachers are the ones who teach from the heart and not the formula, then the best copywriters must be the ones who write with their audiences heart’s in mind, and not their formulas.

– Cheers

Mackenzie Andres

THE BLOCK BARD

Founder | Best-selling Author

http://www.theblockbard.com

Join Our Exclusive Contributor Network!

~ Hi there!

We love finding new, excellent sales professionals to feature in our blog. If you hold a sales, marketing, revenue-oriented title, or even business & growth, you are welcome to submit a pitch — or get the conversation going on topic ideas.

But before you submit, please make sure you read our B&G Content Guidelines We know they look long, but they actually take only a few minutes to read. If you’d like us to spend our time working with you, please invest a little of yours in reading those guidelines.

Once you’ve read the guidelines, send your pitch to contact@theblockbard.com.

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Pompeii for Plebs: A Brief on the Smoking City

When the majestic Mount Vesuvius decided to erupt on 24th August 79 CE, it sent shock waves throughout the region of the devastation it wreaked on the people of the small cities underneath its shadow. It didn’t occur to the Romans that Mount Vesuvius was still an active volcano and that it might erupt any moment. So when it violently blew its top, unprecedented chaos and the scrabble to evacuate ensued. Its violent eruption spewed a thick layer of pumice and ash covering Pompeii in five metres of volcanic matter. Herculaneum, which lay to the west of the volcano, suffered an equally disturbing fate. Whilst it escaped the fallout of ash, it was instead mainly overcome by streaming flows of mud-lava, to the depths of up to fifteen to twenty metres deep.

Historians have learned about the eruption from two letters addressed to Roman historian Cornelius Tacitus from Pliny the Younger. His account recalls the violent destruction of the volcano with its “broad sheets of fire and leaping flames.” In the letters is also a description of how “you could hear the shrieks of women, the wailing of the infants and the shouting of the men.” The volcano ejected a cloud of stones, ashes, and volcanic gases to a height of 33k, spewing molten rock and pulverized pumice at an astonishing rate, ultimately releasing 100,000 times the thermal energy released by the Hiroshima-Nagasaki bombings.

The Casualties

A majority of Pompeii’s 20,000 residents did escape the eruption, but unfortunately some 2,000 did not, dying from effects of raining lava and rock and poisonous ash and fumes. A historical record and a reminder of what took place is ghoulishly visible in the ‘moulds’ made of these victims. This was achieved through a technique used in the archaeological digs of Pompeii and Herculaneum, where plaster of Paris was poured in any void found by excavators. Once the surrounding ash was removed it exposed the shape of human or animal figures. These voids would come to represent the remains of victims in the position that they died.

In the aftermath almost everything in these two cities was preserved beneath the ash and tufa, intact with very little damage of remarkable structures, objects and victims. Interestingly, a call to the Emperor Tacitus yielded help for the displaced of the city but no real attempt was ever made to rebuild the cities. Some people and looters returned in time to dig in the cooling ash; however it wouldn’t be until the middle of the eighteenth century before Pompeii and to a lesser extent Herculaneum were first truly excavated.

Influence

In art, since the rediscovery of Pompeii in the mid-18th century, a general fascination surrounding Vesuvius took root in both France and England. From Hubert Robert to Pierre-Jacques Volaire to Joseph Wright of Derby, these artists sketched and painted the infamous peak with dizzy excitement, especially because the volcano had began a sustained period of renewed activity. English landscape and portrait painter Joseph Wright of Derby was in particular seemingly obsessed with painting Vesuivius (over thirty times throughout his career) in the 1770’s. The beginning of the next century, as the excavation of Pompeii intensified, other artists like John Martin and Sebastian Pether were drawn to painting Vesuvius’ terror and beauty. But arguably Russian painter Karl Bryullov above all others, captures our imagination, especially of the horror and madness of the evacuation of Roman citizens in Pompeii in 79 AD in his masterpiece The Last Day of Pompeii (1833).

Of interest are the small staged groups of people huddled together in the painting. In the foreground in particular an image of a woman who has died with her infant still clinging to her is quite emotive. While on the far right in the foreground a mother pleads with her son to flee is also poignant. But above all else, the immense power of Vesuvius illustrated by the fiery sky and the statues toppling from their pedestals is the paintings most terrifying and enduring image.

Thanks for reading!

Kareem Abdurazag

THE BLOCK BARD

Writer | Culture & Humanities Blogger

http://www.theblockbard.com

Join Our Exclusive Contributor Network!

~ Hi there!

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Once you’ve read the guidelines, send your pitch to contact@theblockbard.com.

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If You’re Not Doing THIS, Your Company’s Copy Probably SUCKS..

All copywriters, well all good ones anyway serve to fulfill one purpose with their copy. That purpose? To get the readers to actually read the first sentence!

Well, then what is the point of the first sentence?

To get the second sentence read. And so on, and on, all the way down the slippery slide that is your offer, finally leading them to the beautiful lovely lagoon at the bottom that is your sale. (Yes I am relating jungle-themed water parks to copywriting…)

How To Get YOUR Copy There

Write it down, then rip it apart with this proven copywriting formula, that we’ve used to scale everything from $100 dollar a day ads to simple social media posts at TBB

  1. Headline (the most important part!)
  2. Shocking Statement (why do think it’s called a hook/lead/intro?)
  3. Define The Problem (remember, pain sells more than pleasure. Check out why here)
  4. Agitate (make them really want to fix that problem. I mean really!)
  5. Now, Present Your Solution (how you can help exactly)
  6. Bullets points or Quotes to Stir Curiosity (What we call stirring the pot…)
  7. Credibility Statement (why you, what makes you so special? Avoid talking about yourself up until this point)
  8. Proof (go ahead and prove it. Screenshots, testimonials, whatever you got, Show don’t tell)
  9. Sum Up Offer & Price (this is your pitch but by no means is it your closer, unless they are already sold. The only reason we write anymore than this is to close the sale with any potential stragglers or on-the-fence shoppers)
  10. Bonuses & Pot Sweeteners (okay, you’ve stirred the pot now it’s time to add some sugar and see what settles)
  11. Guarantee (how can new customers trust you? Refunds? Returns? Satisfaction guarantees?)
  12. Call-To-Action (basically a second headline. Crafting your CTA is super important)
  13. P.S. (insert a funny or brand building message that resonates with your copy here in your postscript)

This is The Block Bard’s basic copywriting formula.

After incorporating all 13 steps you will be able to determine where and in which parts your copy is lacking as well as the following:

  • Why a strong, compelling headline is so critical.
  • Why immediately focusing on the reader’s benefit is a must.
  • Why you must back up everything you’ve said with social proof.

And always remember to stay true to your message, and write with your target audiences heart’s in mind. That’s the only way you can play on their heartstrings, which is after all the function of any great piece of poetry or writing, be it sales-copy or political essays.

~Cheers,

Mackenzie Andres

THE BLOCK BARD

Founder | Head of Copy

http://www.theblockbard.com

Apply To Join Our Exclusive Contributor Network!

~ Hi there!

We love finding new, excellent sales professionals to feature in our blog. If you hold a sales, marketing, revenue-oriented title, or even business & growth, you are welcome to submit a pitch — or get the conversation going on topic ideas.

But before you submit, please make sure you read our B&G Content Guidelines We know they look long, but they actually take only a few minutes to read. If you’d like us to spend our time working with you, please invest a little of yours in reading those guidelines.

Once you’ve read the guidelines, send your pitch to contact@theblockbard.com.

We often find great ideas in unexpected places. The next article published on THE BLOCK BARD ‘Business & Growth’ could be yours!

Mac

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The Collapse of Carthage and Rise of Rome

The Mediterranean Basin has been the cradle of world civilizations since the first settlements in Jericho thousands of years ago. Known in English and the romance languages as the sea “between the lands,” the Mediterranean has shaped the cultures and identities of many nations and civilizations over the course of history. No other such basin exists in the world. Looking at a map, one is easily able to see what a unique location the Mediterranean Sea has in the world – with its unique shape, islands, bays, and straits, it creates the perfect environment for a “central highway” for all nations lucky enough to claim its waters. Magnificent civilizations have scattered all around the basin, from east to west, and north to south, from Mesopotamia to Al-Andalus, from the Greek City states to the Nile Delta, from Asia Minor to the Portuguese Empire, and from Carthage to Rome.

Shillings, gods and runes: clues in language suggest a Semitic superpower  in ancient northern Europe

The Carthaginians were famed in antiquity for their seafaring skills and innovation in ship design. At one point, their navy protected stretches of land from the Rock of Gibraltar to the borders of Egypt, and extending north to Italian island of Sicily, the one acquisition that would prove to be their bane. Carthage was founded in 800 B.C. in dramatic fashion after Queen Dido escaped her Phoenician city-state of Tyre. Virgil, in his epic poem the Aeneid, which tells the legendary story of the Trojan hero Aeneas, describes how she fled from her ruthless and autocratic brother Pygmalion after discovering that he was responsible for her husband’s death. Dido is portrayed here as a clever and enterprising women who takes as many men as she can and sails west to start anew.

Aeneas recounting the Trojan War to Dido, by Pierre-Narcisse Guerin. This scene is taken from Virgil’s Aeneid, where Dido falls in love with the Trojan hero Aeneas, only to be left heartbroken when he leaves.

Appian of Alexandria, a Greco-Roman historian, relays the scenes when Dido and her countrymen landed on the North African coast: Aeneas recounting the Trojan War to Dido, by Pierre-Narcisse Guérin. The scene is taken from Virgil’s Aeneid, where Dido falls in love with the Trojan hero Aeneas, only to be left heartbroken by his departure.

 Being repelled by the inhabitants, they asked for as much land for a dwelling place as they could encompass with an ox-hide. The Africans laughed at this frivolity of the Phoenicians and were ashamed to deny so small a request. Besides, they could not imagine how a town could be built in so narrow a space, and wishing to unravel the mystery they agreed to give it, and confirmed the promise by an oath. The Phoenicians, cutting the hide round and round in one very narrow strip, enclosed the place where the citadel of Carthage now stands, which from this affair was called Byrsa, “hide”.

The Phoenicians had mastered both the arts of trade and seafaring, and the former proved to be of utmost importance as their clever and  enterprising nature allowed them to gain the upper hand among the various Libyan and Amazigh tribes. Appian goes on to say: …And engaging in traffic by sea, like the Phoenicians, they built a city around Byrsa. Gradually acquiring strength, they mastered Africa and the greater part of the Mediterranean, carried war into Sicily and Sardinia and the other islands of that sea, and also into Spain. They sent out numerous colonies. They became a match for the Greeks in power, and next to the Persians in wealth.

In Sicily, the Carthaginians would meet their match. 

The city of Rome had been founded a couple of decades after the landing of the Phoenicians in Africa and would stare across the immense “lake” in envy of the growing power of Carthage and its influence. Carthage had a powerful navy, a mercenary army, and through tribute, tariffs, and trade, enough wealth to do as she pleased without fearing retaliation from an internally rife Roman city. Carthage had even managed to restrict Roman trade on waters she controlled and would drown and plunder Roman ships, seeing that Rome had no capable navy to rival its own. Both civilizations were unknowingly headed into a collision that would span almost a century and would be memorialized as the Punic Wars.

First Punic War - Wikipedia
The western Mediterranean by the start of the Punic War

The Punic Wars

In the first Punic Wars, Rome quickly realized that to defeat Carthage they would have to do what they had never done before – build their own naval fleet to rival the growing strength of Carthage. In the spring of 260 B.C., Rome constructed a fleet of 20 triremes and 100 quinquereme, both introduced into the Mediterranean by the Phoenicians. Copying the design of a captured Carthaginian ship, the Romans naturally had to one up the Carthaginians and added the corvus – a rotating 11-metre long platform with a giant holding spike which could be lowered onto an enemy vessel to allow a heavy infantry unit to board. The idea was to negate the strategic advantage that the Carthaginian navy had and make naval combat more akin to land combat, something the Romans excelled in. Consequently, a fleet of 145 Roman ships demolished the Carthaginian fleet, exposing the Carthaginian. Carthage had in turn sent out its best general Hamilcar Barca to push the Romans back and he successfully pinned down the legions, but the navy was unable to hold and was again destroyed. Hamilcar pleaded with the aristocracy for supplies and modest back up, but was refused multiple times, a mistake which was to be repeated again in the future. Many defeats later, the cash strapped Carthaginians would sue for peace.

The Second Punic War was what made the Roman Empire possible due to the amount of territories they gained after the war. The Second Punic War was started because of the economic crisis that Carthage was in after paying the Romans from the treaty of the First Punic War. Rome was in fact the one to declare war on Carthage. Hannibal, the son of Hamilcar, was chosen to lead the Carthaginian army. Hannibal was raised by his father to never befriend the Romans and was a very skilled Carthaginian general. Unlike the First Punic War, the Carthaginians were the ones on the offensive. Sicily was controlled by the Romans and Carthage was unable to push through their defenses. The war was favorable for Carthage in northern Italy at first, because Hannibal was able to assault the Romans with a surprise attack from the Alps.

Hannibal Hits The Alps

Hannibal was known for pushing through the Alps with an army of war elephants and men. At first Hannibal was able to win a series of battles starting with the Battle of the Trebia.

Hannibal's crossing of the Alps - Wikipedia

The Battle of the Trebia took place along the Trebbia River where the Romans and Carthaginians had camps on each side. This battle was won because of a clever strategy by Hannibal, who was relying on scouts to inform him of Roman activity. The scouts had informed him that the Romans were prepared to attack the following day. After hearing this, Hannibal sent a detachment of his force led by his younger brother to hide in some brush nearby. In the morning, the Carthaginian cavalry was sent to attract the Roman army and lead them back to the Carthaginian army. When both sides started fighting, the detachment had flanked the Roman army and caught them off guard. This led to the Romans suffering heavy losses and the rest retreating.

Hannibal was able to use his innovative strategies again in the Battle of Lake Trasimene as well. This battle was the largest ambush in military history, and was another huge victory for the Carthaginians. When Hannibal had received word that his army was being followed by a Roman army, he had been passing along Lake Trasimene, where he was able to spot a good location for an ambush. Hannibal positioned his soldiers on a ridge to the north of the lake. When the Roman troops arrived, they followed some retreating cavalry right into a valley where the ambush would take place. When the ambush began, some Romans escaped in the cover of fog, while most of them were killed. The Carthaginians suffered minimal losses.

After the Battle of Trebia and the Battle of Lake Trasimene, Hannibal had another victory at the Battle of Cannae. Hannibal had captured a supply depot at Cannae, this forced the Romans to attack the Carthaginian army. After the Romans major losses at the Battle of the Trebia and the Battle of Lake Trasimene, the Romans wanted to ensure victory by sending massing heavy infantry. Hannibal’s strategy was to keep his line in a wing formation, where the flanks would be made of cavalry that could swing around and surround the Romans. At the beginning of the fight, the cavalry was able to surround the Romans successfully and cut through the back of the Roman army. Very few Romans were able to escape the battle and Hannibal had a huge military victory.

Even with the very successful victories by Hannibal, the Romans were able to defeat the Carthaginians. This is due to Hannibal never receiving the reinforcements that he requested from Carthage. The Romans found that they could not beat Hannibal head on so they cut off supplies to the Carthaginian army. While cutting off supplies, the Romans pushed an attack on Carthage. This forced Hannibal to rush to defend his homeland, which led to the destruction of his army. The Romans had set up terms that Carthage had to follow. They were not allowed to have any overseas matters. After the terrible losses that the Romans suffered in the battles, the Roman senate shot down any compromise that Carthage suggested.

Destruction' is part IV of Thomas Cole's epic painting series
The Course of Empire by Thomas Cole

The Third Punic War was a very short war when compared to the first two. Carthage, while still limited by the Romans and not allowed to declare war on others, was attacked by the neighboring Numidia. Carthage decided to repel the invaders with what was left of its army, but ended up losing. Rome saw the act of war against Numidia as Carthage disobeying Rome and led a siege on Carthage. This siege lasted for three years and many of the Carthaginians died from starvation. Carthage was burned and destroyed before being annexed by Rome.

By the end of the Punic wars, the Romans came out on top, inevitably destroying all that Carthage was…

Thanks for reading!

Kareem Abdurazag

THE BLOCK BARD

Writer | Culture & Humanities Blogger

http://www.theblockbard.com

Join Our Exclusive Contributor Network!

~ Hi there!

We love finding new, excellent social-science professionals to feature in our blog. If you hold a culture or humanities-oriented title, you are welcome to submit a pitch — or get the conversation going on topic ideas.

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How To Kill Your Customers’ Objections With Your Copy

One of the surest ways to make sure your copywriting converts is to kill upfront and centre any potential objections your ideal customers might have right there in the copy. Start this ad optimizing exercise by taking the top three counters or objections one might have regarding your product or service. Write these three points down, E.G.

  • 1: It is just too expensive.
  • 2: Do other people use this product or service? How many other people? What are they saying?
  • 3: This won’t work for me because I’m different.

Now address the points respectively in some jot-style easy to ready copy, E.G.

  • #1: Too expensive? Hang on, if you’re not 100% satisfied we will refund you in full!
  • #2: Check out what others are saying about this once in a lifetime deal! (Insert some reviews).
  • #3: And before you say “this product won’t work for me” checkout these testimonials of people who said the exact same thing. (We’ve all seen the “at first I was skeptical review” at some point somewhere. There is a reason this is so common).

Think of the popular medicine brand ‘Buckleys’ and their infamous one-liner “It tastes like crap, but it works!”

This immediately addresses the customers likely 2 biggest concerns.

Concern A being: does it actually work? They not only just told you it worked, they told you honestly something most companies might have altogether avoided; that it doesn’t taste good…Making you believe it works even more, because they were so honest in their primary statement. If we were to switch the sentence around and let it hit us with a slightly different rhetoric. “It works, but it tastes like crap!” It wouldn’t have nearly as significant an affect as first addressing the issue of trust. You’ll see why below.

A great example of the importance of addressing the issue of trust first is that of the old-friend cold email that goes as such: “Hey Mac, hope you are doing well, it’s been so long. We have to go for a drink and catch up soon! Oh, and by the way I’m running in this election for such-and-such position and was hoping you could vote for me. Here is the link.”

We’ve all received an email like this at one point or another. Likely from someone we haven’t seen in a while. But had they only opened their message with a slightly different and more appropriate sentence structure, or even the opposite sentence structure, it would have sounded all the more sincere. See the following.

“Hey Mac, I’m running in this election for such-and-such position and was hoping you could vote for me. Here is the link. I know it’s been a while but I hope you are doing well. Would love to go for a drink and catch up soon!”

Doesn’t that sound all the less faked? And you didn’t pander to or flatter anyone in the process!

So Buckley’s with their one liner that I’ve had memorized for who knows how long since that one TV commercial (which runs to this day) addresses their main customers top two concerns with a one-liner that people who haven’t bought the stuff in years can recall. (It’s me, I haven’t bought the stuff in years).

You can find the importance of a one-liner for your business here WHY YOUR COMPANY NEEDS A ONE-LINER/

Concern B being: “we know it tastes like crap, and now you do too.” So that’s definitely not something you’re worrying about anymore is it?

This is how healthy organic food company’s can sell products that taste like absolute garbage. Nowhere on the packaging does it say this product tastes good, it says it is good for you.

So be honest and sincere in addressing your customers… as well as intuitive, alert, and immediate in exposing and understanding their objections.

What objections do your customers, or the ones in your industry likely have?

Write them down! Address them!

~Cheers,

Mackenzie Andres

THE BLOCK BARD

Founder | Head of Copy

http://www.theblockbard.com

Apply To Join Our Exclusive Contributor Network!

~ Hi there!

We love finding new, excellent sales professionals to feature in our blog. If you hold a sales, marketing, revenue-oriented title, or even business & growth, you are welcome to submit a pitch — or get the conversation going on topic ideas.

But before you submit, please make sure you read our B&G Content Guidelines We know they look long, but they actually take only a few minutes to read. If you’d like us to spend our time working with you, please invest a little of yours in reading those guidelines.

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Featured

Admiral Zheng He and China’s Golden Age

One of the most enduring symbols of the Ming dynasty’s eagerness to extend international relations under the emperor Yongle, is the seven sea voyages of admiral Zheng He. Yongle’s predecessors had been cautious to the point of isolationism when it came to foreign relations, especially after the recent Mongol invasion which saw China being ruled by descendants of Genghis Khan and his horde. More secure on his imperial throne, having supplanted it after a  three-year civil war, Yongle sought to legitimize his international legitimacy and extend out to to the rest of the world. 

The traditional presentation of tribute to Chinese emperors by smaller states in Southeast Asia was given as a preventative measure of invasion and to achieve a theoretical promise of protection in the case of an invasion by a third party. The tribute had always been a badge of approval to the Chinese, indicating that their emperor was indeed the Son of Heaven and the most powerful ruler on earth reaffirmed their cultural superiority. In the traditional tributary arrangement, countries on China’s border agreed to to recognize China as their superior and its emperor as lord of “all under heaven,” The system had lapsed during the Mongol invasion of China but Yongle wanted to revive it. Yongle wanted the surrounding countries, and the rest of the world, to be aware of China’s power and history, and to perceive it as the strong country he believed it had been in earlier Chinese dynasties, such as the Han and the Song. 

Yongle would dispatch many diplomatic missions across land routes to such places as Samarkand and Tibet, deep in the Himalayan plateau. For ocean expeditions to the south and west, however, he decided that this time China should make use of its extremely advanced technology and all the riches the state had to offer. Lavish expeditions should be mounted in order to overwhelm foreign peoples and convince them beyond any doubt about Ming power. For this special purpose, he chose one of his most trusted generals, a man he had known since he was young, Zheng He. 

Zheng He
Zheng He | Biography, Facts, & Significance | Britannica
Statue of Zheng He in Kuning, Yunnan Province, China

Born into a Muslim peasant family in Yunnan Province, Southern China in 1371, the future explorer would have a difficult childhood but certainly had the travel bug. At 10 years old he was captured by soldiers sent to Yunnan province by the first Ming emperor intent on subduing the south. He was subsequently sent to the capital to be trained in military ways. He received both literary and military training, then made his way up the military ladder with ease, making important allies at court in the process.When the emperor needed a trustworthy ambassador familiar with Islam and the ways of South Asia to head his splendid armada, he naturally picked his talented court eunuch, Zheng He. 

By the beginning of the Ming Dynasty, China had reached a peak of naval technology unsurpassed in the world. While using many technologies of Chinese invention, Chinese shipbuilders also combined technologies they borrowed and adapted from seafarers of the South China seas and the Indian Ocean. For centuries, China was the preeminent maritime power in the region, with advances in navigation, naval architecture, and propulsion. From the ninth century on, the Chinese had taken their magnetic compasses aboard ships to use for navigating (two centuries before Europe). In addition to compasses, Chinese could navigate by the stars when skies were clear, using printed manuals with star charts and compass bearings that had been available since the thirteenth century.

An important advance in shipbuilding used since the second century in China was the construction of double hulls divided into separate watertight compartments. This saved ships from sinking if rammed, but it also offered a method of carrying water for passengers and animals, as well as tanks for keeping fish catches fresh. Crucial to navigation was another Chinese invention of the first century, the sternpost rudder, fastened to the outside rear of a ship which could be raised and lowered according to the depth of the water, and used to navigate close to shore, in crowded harbors and narrow channels. Both these inventions were commonplace in China 1,000 years before their introduction to Europe.

Because the Yongle emperor wanted to impress Ming power upon the world and show off China’s resources and importance, he gave orders to build even larger ships than were necessary for the voyages. Thus the word went out to construct special “Treasure Ships,” ships over 400 feet long, 160 feet wide, with nine masts, twelve sails, and four decks, large enough to carry 2,500 tons of cargo each and armed with dozens of small cannons (the size of Columbus’ ships eight centuries later.) Accompanying those ships were to be hundreds of smaller ships, some filled only with water, others carrying troops or horses or cannon, still others with gifts of silks and brocades, porcelains, lacquerware, tea, and ironworks that would impress leaders of far-flung civilizations.

The Seven Voyages

The first expedition of this mighty armada (1405-07) was composed of 317 ships, including perhaps as many as sixty huge Treasure Ships, and nearly 28,000 men. In addition to thousands of sailors, builders and repairmen for the trip, there were soldiers, diplomatic specialists, medical personnel, astronomers, and scholars of foreign ways, especially Islam. The fleet stopped in Champa (central Vietnam) and Siam (today’s Thailand) and then on to island Java, to points along the Straits of Malacca, and then proceeded to its main destination of Cochin and the kingdom of Calicut on the southwestern coast of India. On his return, Zheng He put down a pirate uprising in Sumatra, bringing the pirate chief, an overseas Chinese, back to Nanjing for punishment.

The second expedition (1407-1409) took 68 ships to the court of Calicut to attend the inauguration of a new king. Zheng He organized this expedition but did not actually lead it in person.

Zheng He did command the third voyage (1409-1411) with 48 large ships and 30,000 troops, visiting many of the same places as on the first voyage but also traveling to Malacca on the Malay peninsula and Ceylon (Sri Lanka). When fighting broke out there between his forces and those of a small kingdom, Zheng put down the fighting, captured the king and brought him back to China where he was released by the emperor and returned home duly impressed.

The Seven Voyages of Zheng He
A map illustrating the route and destinations of the Seven Voyages of Zheng He between 1405 and 1433

The fourth voyage (1413-15) extended the scope of the expeditions even further. This time in addition to visiting many of the same sites, Zheng He commandeered his 63 ships and over 28,000 men to Hormuz on the Persian Gulf. The main chronicler of the voyages, the twenty-five year old Muslim translator Ma Huan, joined Zheng He on this trip. On the way, Zheng He stopped in Sumatra to fight on the side of a deposed sultan, bringing the usurper back to Nanjing for execution.

The fifth voyage (1417-1419) was primarily a return trip for seventeen heads of state from South Asia. They had made their way to China after Zheng He’s visits to their homelands in order to present their tribute at the Ming Court. On this trip Zheng He ventured even further, first to Aden at the mouth of the Red Sea, and then on to the east coast of Africa, stopping at the city states of Mogadishu and Brawa (in today’s Somalia), and Malindi (in present day Kenya). He was frequently met with hostility but this was easily subdued. Many ambassadors from the countries visited came back to China with him.

The sixth expedition (1421-1422) of 41 ships sailed to many of the previously visited Southeast Asian and Indian courts and stops in the Persian Gulf, the Red Sea, and the coast of Africa, principally in order to return nineteen ambassadors to their homelands. Zheng He returned to China after less than a year, having sent his fleet onward to pursue several separate itineraries, with some ships going perhaps as far south as Sofala in present day Mozambique.

The seventh and final voyage (1431-33) was sent out by the Yongle emperor’s successor, his grandson the Xuande emperor. This expedition had more than one hundred large ships and over 27,000 men, and it visited all the important ports in the South China Sea and Indian Ocean as well as Aden and Hormuz. One auxiliary voyage traveled up the Red Sea to Jidda, only a few hundred miles from the holy cities of Mecca and Medina. It was on the return trip in 1433 that Zheng He died and was buried at sea, although his official grave still stands in Nanjing, China. Nearly forgotten in China until recently, he was immortalized among Chinese communities abroad, particularly in Southeast Asia where to this day he is celebrated and revered as a god.

Thanks for reading!

Kareem Abdurazag

THE BLOCK BARD

Writer | Culture & Humanities Blogger

http://www.theblockbard.com

Join Our Exclusive Contributor Network!

~ Hi there!

We love finding new, excellent social-science professionals to feature in our blog. If you hold a culture or humanities-oriented title, you are welcome to submit a pitch — or get the conversation going on topic ideas.

But before you submit, please make sure you read our C&H Content Guidelines We know they look long, but they actually take only a few minutes to read. If you’d like us to spend our time working with you, please invest a little of yours in reading those guidelines.

Once you’ve read the guidelines, send your pitch to contact@theblockbard.com.

We often find great ideas in unexpected places. The next article published on THE BLOCK BARD Culture & Humanities could be yours!

Mac

Featured

Why I Left Politics To Write

Well I didn’t. But that got your attention didn’t it?

I actually realized after months of arduous door-to-door campaigning and fake smile training that what politicians of western democracies were actually practicing wasn’t the political science taught in elite universities, but rather a modern machiavellian spin on societal issues (or rather their political stance on such systemic issues). You see, bi-partisanship is great for democracies. Especially when there is but 2 parties (like the USA). But what about tri-partisanship? Or quad-partisanship?

The only ‘part-of-this-shit’ people want is the one that compliance practitioners and social scientists haven’t scared them away from. In other words, it would seem the strategies implemented by psychological persuasion are far for effective in politics than even advertising. Which is why I became one of them. I had to see what made such people so successful in politicing.

To become a bureaucrat I had to start a business. To become a leader I had to hire a team. To persuade people to take action with, and from my words, I had to become a copywriter. Now I miss the mountains, a garage, and working with my hands…

But nonetheless find fun in my work, and otherwise wouldn’t be doing it!

What are we seeing?

  • They leverage influencers to draw crowds. 

Campaign endorsements from actors and influencers can swing an entire vote depending on its demography. If used right, these influencers help campaigners persuade voters without even understanding or comprehending whoever’s message it is they are voting for. 

  • Going completely off-topic to keep your attention in online rallies 

Listening to hour-long speeches can be dull (scratch that, it usually is dull). Plus, the absence of social pressure in online events can make it even more tempting to disconnect. 

By alternating between speeches and concerts, et cetera, virtual rallies can ensure their audience is hooked throughout the entire event. 

In conclusion these people know fully well what they are doing, and although it may seem off course at times, everything has an agenda.

“The ends justifies the means.” –Niccolo Machiavelli’s The Prince

~ Cheers,

Mackenzie Andres

THE BLOCK BARD

Founder | Head of Copy

http://www.theblockbard.com

Apply To Join Our Exclusive Contributor Network!

~ Hi there!

We love finding new, excellent sales professionals to feature in our blog. If you hold a sales, marketing, revenue-oriented title, or even business & growth, you are welcome to submit a pitch — or get the conversation going on topic ideas.

But before you submit, please make sure you read our B&G Content Guidelines We know they look long, but they actually take only a few minutes to read. If you’d like us to spend our time working with you, please invest a little of yours in reading those guidelines.

Once you’ve read the guidelines, send your pitch to contact@theblockbard.com.

We often find great ideas in unexpected places. The next article published on THE BLOCK BARD ‘Business & Growth’ could be yours!

Mac

Featured

Give Us Our Daily Bread; Or We Won’t Vote For You!

“The people who once gave out military commands, made magistrates, and summoned legions – the people who did everything – now content themselves and wait anxiously for two things – bread and circuses.” – Juvenal, Satire

The Roman satirist Juvenal observed that the people, who once held some serious political clout, gave up whatever influence they had in return for ‘bread and circuses’, the opium of the masses. Essentially, as long as they had food in their mouths and a gladiatorial game or two to keep them amused, the Roman people didn’t care about who ruled them or how. 

Juvenal, writing about bread, is essentially talking about ‘grain’. Grain was the mainstay of the ancient Mediterranean, potatoes and maize were blossoming in South America, and rice, whilst not unknown, was limited in its usage. IT was grain which was the staple of the Roman diet, and it was from this grain that we get the bread and porridge with which most people would start and finish their days. With so many depending on it, millions of acres stretching from Italy to Egypt were dedicated to the cultivation of wheat. This was not wheat as we know and digest today, but rather heartier varieties known as spelt and emmer. As hardy as it might be, however, the Romans still felt nothing to chance. 

Grain and the Gods

Given their dependence on grain, it is not surprising that the Romans looked to the Gods for support, just like every other sphere in their lives. They had seemingly limitless agricultural deities with the goddess Ceres (from where we get the base for cereal) leading a team including, but not limited to Convector (grain carrier), Conditor (in charge of storing the grain), Promitor (grain distributor), Hostlina (the goddess of grain growth), Patella (goddess of opening up the grain), and Tutelina (guardian goddess of stored grain). The very concept of the Roman grain supply was itself personified as the goddess Annona. Lots of gods and goddesses meant lots of festivals, with the grain-related festivals alone including the Cerealia (a festival for the growth of cereals), Opiconsiva (for the organizing of cereal reserves), and the Consualia (for the opening of the grain chambers). Rome needed its grain, and there was no way that any part of the process was going to be left to chance. It is particularly telling that Ceres was predominantly worshiped in the Aventine Hill, the part of Rome most often associated with the poor. If it was the gods who oversaw the production of the grain, it was the politicians who did all the dirty work. 

In ancient Rome, the production and supply of food were of great concern. Like most societies at the time, Rome was an agricultural society with cities supplied by food from the neighboring fields. As the cities grew, these fields struggled to provide enough for everybody to eat. The city of Rome, which grew from 250,000 to 1,000,000 inhabitants in the space of just over a century, felt these pressures more than most, and the people quickly turned to the politicians to provide a solution. 

Politics of Grain

People needed grain and politicians needed votes, so throughout Roman history, many aspiring consuls took to distributing free food to garner support. In the 120s BCE however, one politician names Gaius Gracchus proposed a controversial law, the Lex Frumentaria, which meant that the state started providing subsidized grain ration to the poor. Another step was taken in 58 BCE and this law was transformed to make the ration free. This was controversial as it undermined the ability of the elite to increase their popularity through displays of charity. By the time of the Empire (Rome was first a Kingdom, then a Republic, then an Empire), a dole of subsidized or free grain, and later bread, was provided by the government to about 200,000 of the poorest residents of the city, an early and long-lasting example of a social safety net. A regular and predictable supply of grain and the grain dole were part of the Roman leadership’s energy maintaining peace and order among a restive urban population who needed to kept satisfied by “bread and circus.” SO much so that in 22 AD, the emperor Tiberius said that if grain rituals and festivals were neglected, it would be the “utter ruin of the state.” 

Grain was not just on the minds of the poor, but also on the minds of the very people running the city of Rome. As long as bread and circus were provided, Pax Romana would endure. 

Thanks for reading!

Kareem Abdurazag

THE BLOCK BARD

Writer | Culture & Humanities Blogger

http://www.theblockbard.com

Join Our Exclusive Contributor Network!

~ Hi there!

We love finding new, excellent social-science professionals to feature in our blog. If you hold a culture or humanities-oriented title, you are welcome to submit a pitch — or get the conversation going on topic ideas.

But before you submit, please make sure you read our C&H Content Guidelines We know they look long, but they actually take only a few minutes to read. If you’d like us to spend our time working with you, please invest a little of yours in reading those guidelines.

Once you’ve read the guidelines, send your pitch to contact@theblockbard.com.

We often find great ideas in unexpected places. The next article published on THE BLOCK BARD Culture & Humanities could be yours!

Mac

Featured

3 Simple Steps To Becoming A Better YOU

This pandemic has proven its ability, or rather the governments, to shut down home and family based businesses quicker than a King’s Court Stalin in the state of Kentucky!

Now, why open with this? Because one of the reasons larger corporations aren’t being hit as hard (or in other’s words; are allowed to stay open) is because well, not only are they larger, but:

1. they are more sturdy.

2. they probably provide jobs for many families.

3. investors… are in the politics (directly or indirectly).

But I’m only telling you this so the next time something goes haywire maybe it will be your family’s business that gets to stay open!

These simple 3 Things have worked for me and millions before to help condition both body and mind, for tough and unexpected times. Which unfortunately will come as sure as the morning sun. Let’s just hope not as frequent 😉

Number 1: (TAKE COLD SHOWERS)

  • Okay, most people are terrified when they hear this, and, I’ll be honest, I generally wash hot and rinse cold. Meaning I only get the physiological benefits (physical and psychological) at the end of the shower for a few seconds; Those benefits?
    • Increased will power.
    • Increased metabolic rate.
    • Increased circulation. (Wakes you up).
    • Increased dominant hormonal gene. (This means Men get more manly and Women more womanly from some cold water… now that’s awesome).

Number 2: (SET CREATIVE GOALS FOR YOURSELF AND OTHERS)

  • But, wait? How do I set goals for other people when I can barely set them for myself? (scratches head). When you set goals for other people it reinforces your belief in them, and thus, their belief in themselves. On the same note, telling your goals to somebody makes you more likely to live up to them. Lest you’re later seen as a liar, loser, or worse, someone who just never did what they said they were going to. Yes, things change, goals change. I am actually supposed to write a blog every Monday, yet find my priorities out of whack at times, I will however never miss that Business & Growth blog for the week. (This is one of my personal creative goals).
    • Find your passion
    • Set attainable and measurable goals in that passion
    • Publicize those goals in said passion
    • Master prolific quality output (P.Q.O.)

Number 3: (CREATE AN URGENCY)

  • Were this blog, on the other hand, for a Client of ours, there’s no doubt it would be done by the deadline. So then that begs the question of whether or not we’ve created the right sense of urgency. We’ve created a deadline (blog post every Monday), so there must be something we can do to instil an even deeper sense of urgency by attributing to it responsibility, accountability, and leadership.
    • Write down next to your deadline why it must be done by then, and why it is important. (E.g. hundreds of readers count on me, I made a vow to sit my ass down and write, if I miss this what else will I miss? et cetera, et cetera).

Realizing that your personality, becomes your personal reality, means you’re that much closer at turning or furthering your art into marketable skills.

And, as many professionals have predicted before, as well as having been touched on several times, or rather drawing itself out as a recurrent theme in The Block Bard’s blog, is the juvenescent elixir that underlies the creative cultural movement of quality over quantity. (Meaning again, more and more people will pay a prettier penny to have their things made in their backyard, by their neighbour).

What you know + Who you know = What you do

~ Cheers,

Mackenzie Andres

THE BLOCK BARD

Founder | Head of Copy

http://www.theblockbard.com

Apply To Join Our Exclusive Contributor Network!

~ Hi there!

We love finding new, excellent sales professionals to feature in our blog. If you hold a sales, marketing, revenue-oriented title, or even business & growth, you are welcome to submit a pitch — or get the conversation going on topic ideas.

But before you submit, please make sure you read our B&G Content Guidelines We know they look long, but they actually take only a few minutes to read. If you’d like us to spend our time working with you, please invest a little of yours in reading those guidelines.

Once you’ve read the guidelines, send your pitch to contact@theblockbard.com.

We often find great ideas in unexpected places. The next article published on THE BLOCK BARD ‘Business & Growth’ could be yours!

Mac

Featured

The Fall of Pax Azteca: The Greatest American Empire

On the night of the 21st of February, 1978, on a residential street in the middle of Mexico City, a group of workmen were digging through the hard asphalt of the road. They were working for the Mexican City electric company and their job was to run cables across the street and through the whole neighbourhood. It seemed like a normal day at work for these men, that is until they struck a hard block of stone 2 meters down. Excavators reported to their managers that the immovable object seemed to have a clear pattern of intricate details that distinguished it from other stones in the area. They quickly notified archaeologists at Mexico’s National Institute of History and Anthropology, who promptly asked for all construction to be halted until they could figure out what was laying underneath the road. Over the next couple of days flocks of archaeologists made their way to the site in anticipation of what was to be excavated. The more they uncovered, the clearer the picture became. It was a carved stone disk measuring over 3 meters in diameter. On its surface was a woman, later recognized as the Goddess Coyolxauhqui, who was bare breasted and decapitated, boasting a crown of eagle feathers, and surrounded by skulls and snakes. 

The stone disk peaked the entire country’s desire to know what else lay beneath the streets of Mexico City. So much so that the president of Mexico, Jose Lopez Portillo, announced that all construction would be halted indefinitely, the entire city block would be demolished, and archaeologists given control of the area. As work continued, there seemed to be no end to the excitement and intrigue derived from the site. Archaeologists would learn that the stone disk was placed at the base of an enormous pyramid that towered over the city. Over the next ten years, more and more of the ruins would be uncovered in the centre of the city, a site which used to be the centre of the Aztec Empire, Tenochtitlan. 

A prophecy Fulfilled
Image result for eagle on a cactus with a snake in its mouth

Smack dab in the middle of the tricolour flag of Mexico is an eagle perched on a cactus devouring a snake. The cactus is portrayed as sprouting from the water, symbolizing Lake Texcoco which used to lie in the middle of the Mexican Valley. The symbol dates back to an ancient prophecy that foresaw the establishment of the Aztec Empire: the wandering tribe would find the destined site for a great city whose location would be signalled by an eagle with a snake in its beak perched atop a cactus. The Mexica people arrived in the Mexico Valley as homeless wanderers in about 1300 A.D to find a region inhabited by various city-states vying for supremacy and hegemony. After falling out with the ruler of a nearby city-state, Azcapotzalcos, the Mexica people were driven out and saw this vision on what was then a small swampy island in Lake Texcoco. 

Old map of Tenochtitlán showing Lake Texcoco surrounding the city. (Photo by Travis S.)
Depictions of Tenochtitlan nestled in the middle of Lake Texcoco. Impressive bridges linked the city to smaller city-states on the edge of the lake alongside with fortresses that were scattered throughout.
Image result for tenochtitlan
Tenochtitlan at the heart of Lake Texcoco

Before the Aztecs, there were the cultures of Teotihuacan, Monte Alban, Palenque, and Tajin. But the Aztecs, also called Mexicas, emerged in the 14th century when they freed themselves from their former masters, the Azcapotzalcos, after forming an alliance with the Texcocos and Tacubas. They began a large expansion across what is now Mexico and Mesoamerica through wars. It is said that when the Spaniards arrived in the early 16th century, the Aztecs ruled over 370 small city-states that paid tribute in goods to Tenochtitlan, the capital of the Aztec empire.

Aztec Culture and Society

The Aztec was fundamentally a culture based on war and agriculture. Their two most important deities were Huitzilopotchli, the god of war, and Tlaloc, the god of rain. The duality of war and agriculture was crucial for the Aztec economy. The Aztecs expanded their empire through military conquest and sustained it through tributes imposed on the conquered regions. Every 80 days, the new subjects of the Aztecs had to pay tributes to Tenochtitlan. As for the Aztec society, it was very complex. It was socially divided between the nobility and the populace. The nobles included the ruler, the priests, and the military, all of whom had privileges and didn’t pay taxes. The poorer people had to work as painters, poets, sculptors, peasants, doctors, or architects. They attended schools to learn their trades and received military training to be prepared for wars. They also attended schools to learn about religion, music, and their language, the Nahuatl, which we know because they left codices with pictograms and texts that told their history. When the Spaniards came, Tenochtitlan had approximately 200,000 people. It was one of the world’s largest cities in the 16th century. The Aztecs were one of the world’s greatest civilizations.

Image result for aztec sun stone
Aztec Sun Stone
Folio from the Codex Mendoza showing a commoner advancing through the ranks by taking captives in war. Each attire can be achieved by taking a certain number of captives.

In fact, one of Cortes’ men was in such awe that he wrote:

When we saw all those cities and villages built on water; and the other great towns on dry land, and that straight and level causeway leading to Mexico, we were astounded. These great towns and shrines and buildings rising from the water, all made of stone, seemed like an enchanted vision from the tale of Amadis. Indeed some of our soldiers asked whether it was not all a dream. It is not surprising therefore that I should write in this vein. It was all so wonderful that I do not know how to describe this first glimpse of things never heard or, never seen, and never dreamed of before.”

According to experts, there are six large regions in the world that are the cradles of civilization. Those regions are Egypt, Mesopotamia, China, the Indus Valley, Mesoamerica, and the Andes, where people developed civilizations independently, boasting large cities and strong states. The Aztec was a strong state due to its military power, its religion, and its tribute system. They developed their own calendar of 18 months of 20 days each, built large cities and huge pyramids and temples, and developed a farming system called chinampas that they used to grow crops on shallow lake beds. They grew maize, beans, tomatoes, pumpkins, chilis, etc. The Aztecs’ contributions to the modern world are extensive, from agricultural products to farming techniques to stunning art and architecture.

The Aztec religion was primarily polytheist. They had different gods, male and female. The sun god was Tonatiuh. There were many deities, and they were revered in monthly festivities with rich offerings. Human sacrifices were meant to please the sun god so that he could continue providing them with light, warmth, and life. They believed that without human sacrifices, the sun could stop and everything was going to die. Just like any being, the sun had to be fed so that it could continue with its movement, so that there would be day and night. But not all rituals demanded human sacrifices. In general, those who were sacrificed were slaves or prisoners of war.

The Aztec Empire thrived on its military reputation and kept a tight grip on the surrounding city states, extracting tributes and taxes from its vassal states. The empire was loosely kept together through the appointment of officials from the Aztec heartland, inter-marriages, gift-giving, invitations to important ceremonies, the building of monuments and artworks which promoted Aztec imperial ideology, imposition of the Aztec religion (especially worship of Huitzilopotchli) , and most importantly of all, the ever-present threat of military intervention. This meant that it was not a homogeneous and mature empire where its members had a mutual interest in its preservation. Some states were integrated more than others whilst those on the extremities of the empire were exploited merely as buffer zones against more hostile neighbours.

Map depicting the extent of the Aztec Empire and its neighbouring city-states.
The Empire Strikes Back

By 1515 CE rumours in the Aztec heartlands and several bad omens of a rapidly approaching crisis were fuelled by sightings off the coast of fantastic floating temples. The visitors from the Old World had finally come.

Once the “floating temples” as the natives had called them landed, Hernan was initially met with hostilities but the Europeans easily subdued the natives with their superior weapons and tactics. As a gift of reconciliation Cortés was presented with some slave girls, and one of these, a certain Malintzin (aka Marina or Malinche), would prove an invaluable asset as she spoke both the local Mayan language and, crucially, also the Nahuatl language of the Aztecs. One of Cortés’ men spoke the former so that now the way was open to parley with any representatives the invaders came across. Malintzin would remain at Cortés’ side throughout the campaign, and together they would have a son, Don Martin. 

As history has plainly shown, empires are notoriously feeble at the extremities and once a disease has taken hold in the outermost parts, the centre becomes increasingly at risk of being infected. When the Spaniards landed in 1519 in what is today Veracruz, the local people there, the Totonacas, complained to conquistador Hernan Cortes that they were subjugated by Moctezuma, the señor of Tenochtitlan. When Cortes heard this, he promised that they would be freed from paying tribute if they became their allies to overthrow Moctezuma. With their help, Cortes gained more allies among other disgruntled groups in the region, and he planned the advance towards Tenochtitlan. There is a myth about the question of how 800 Spaniards defeated a whole empire. They were supported by thousands of indigenous people who wanted to get rid of the Aztec Empire. When the conquest happened, when Tenochtitlan was about to fall, surrounded by land and sea, those groups of local enemies of the Aztecs played a fundamental role in the fall of the Aztec empire. Also, the Aztecs used a tactic that worked against them. Unlike the Spaniards who came to kill, the Aztecs preferred to take prisoners of war for human sacrifices. The Aztecs captured Cortes, and they didn’t kill him because they were going to sacrifice him. But his comrades saved him. Moctezuma was taken prisoner and was killed by the Spaniards.

Image result for cortes and aztecs
Hernan and his men swarming the impressive and technologically advanced causeways that connected the various cities and fortresses to the capital. This oil painting is eerily similar to Alexander the Great’s Battle of Issus painting.

As with all great nations, there could only be one winner, and within three years Mesoamerica, including the Tarascan capital of Tzintzuntzan and the Maya highlands, were under Spanish control. Gradually, Franciscan friars arrived to spread Christianity, and the bureaucrats took over from the adventurers. In 1535 CE, Don Antonio de Mendoza was made the first viceroy of the kingdom of New Spain.  

I highly recommend everybody read Cortes’ Letters to Emperor Charles V in which he describes his adventures, observations, and general information about the New World. The American Historical Association has published them for free on their website.

https://www.historians.org/teaching-and-learning/teaching-resources-for-historians/teaching-and-learning-in-the-digital-age/the-history-of-the-americas/the-conquest-of-mexico/letters-from-hernan-cortes

Thanks for reading!

Kareem Abdurazag

THE BLOCK BARD

Writer | Culture & Humanities Blogger

http://www.theblockbard.com

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Building A Taste For The Finer Things. Why & How

This isn’t a blog about buying that Ferrari you probably can’t afford with the bank’s money who wishes you would, and has even gifted you with the perfectly legal yet morally questionable means of doing so. This is a blog about QUALITY, about 5-star hotels, Michelin star restaurants, family-farms, and friendly barbers, local pubs, and private jets…

Like most blogs, let us start with a quick history lesson; The Romans were often granted the title of one of the most civilized nations in the days of old. Partly because they dubbed every non-Roman person a barbarian… Partly because they had the most structured society, and as a society is merely in the bigger picture but a system, thus functioned the most efficiently.

What we won’t talk about is the vast gaps in wealth between plebeian and patrician (lower and upper classes) that often saw themselves established in both feudalistic and imperial Nations and Kingdoms. For the Romans exploitation of slaves, had little, if anything to do with their economic uprising. As might it have our contrasting cousins of the modern empire the United-States. The Romans came to conquer almost half the known world as a product of their taste for the FINER THINGS. Because Roman slaves were usually prisoners of war, never really debased for their racial heritage or ethnicity, and could even buy themselves their freedom in some cases, they worked alongside the head-engineers and craftsmen in building infrastructures like road (which today, the ol’ Romans are still famous for), barracks, stables, and yes, (in memory of the Greeks they so blatantly culture-copied) stages. Only these stages were set with walls and fortified more similar to our modern arenas so the Roman’s might let a lion or two fight some prisoners… They liked that stuff… We still like it too in-fact, we’ve just universally decided to move it to television.

Trevi Fountain in Rome, Italy

But back to building a taste for the finer things.

A Mark Zimmerman comment from a Quora thread quotes most simplistically the dualities that paradigm the Finer Things cliche:

I am not saying money is evil quite the contrary actually, I am not saying material objects are evil or bad, they are nice to have, what I am saying though is what does all the money in the world give you if you don’t have the time to appreciate it, the flip side is what would all the time in the world bring you if you are penniless, wondering how you are going to get your next meal.

So first define what you consider are the finer things in life for you, if it is only material things you will surely not be happy, and will have many regrets. However material things have their perks, when your relationship or something else devastates you you will find the seat of a 150k Mercedes feels 100x better than the steps of any cold back alley entrance in the middle of the night.

So don’t let yourself get caught up with other peoples expectations figure out what it is you want in life, you might find your finer things have little to do with actual material goods and more to do with inner strength or other ties to family or friends that make enjoying their company worth more than eating a $100 steak. I have eaten one and I admit the flavor was good but the one I ate with some friends that we cooked on a grill tasted so much better.”

Find out what the FINER THINGS are for you. Set the bar, and make the upmost effort to hit that bar, and then raise it and aim higher. The FINER THINGS are after all, about raising your standards. Because there will always be something FINER. And once you’ve raised your standards bar your starting point is also conversely raised. And the threshold on which you fall back, upon failure, is far higher than where you fell upon last times fail. In other words even your fails are getting FINER.

~ Cheers,

Mackenzie Andres

THE BLOCK BARD

Founder | Head of Copy

http://www.theblockbard.com

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Once you’ve read the guidelines, send your pitch to contact@theblockbard.com.

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The Richest Man in History and The History of The Richest Man

The fight for the richest man in the world will surely wage on for the next couple of years between Amazon founder Jeff Bezos and Tesla genius Elon Musk, both with a combined net worth of $250 billion. But by no means are they the richest men in history. That title is believed to belong to Mansa Musa, the 14th century King of the Mali Empire in West Africa. His indescribable and incalculable wealth caused a great shock in the economy of one of the greatest and longest standing nations in the world, Egypt. 

Lord of the Mines of Wangara

Born in 1280 into a family of rulers, Mansa Musa was the great-nephew of Sundiata Keita, the founder of the Mali Empire who claimed to be a descendent of one of Prophet Muhammad’s closest friend Bilal Ibn Rabah, thus giving him religious and royal legitimacy. At the time of Musa’s ascension to the throne, Mali in large part consisted of the territory of the former Ghana Empire, which Mali had conquered. The Mali Empire stretched from the Niger Delta which flowed into the Atlantic Ocean and deep into the desert; consisting of land that is now part of Guinea, Senegal, Mauritania, Gambia and the modern state of Mali. The Mali Empire thus covered lush green lands which were flooded yearly by the great Niger River and “desolate” desert spotted with mines rich with gold and other minerals. In fact, Mansa Musa held many titles one of which was Lord of the Mines of Wangara. During Musa’s reign, he would have been  ruler of the largest gold producing empires in the world.

Indeed, under the rule of Musa, the prosperous empire grew to span a sizable portion of West Africa, from the Atlantic coast to the inland trading hub of Timbuktu and parts of the Sahara Desert. As the territory grew while Musa was on the throne, so did the economic standing of its citizens.

Hajj Pilgrimage and Generosity

It wasn’t until 1324 that the world outside of Mali’s border would get a glimpse of the king’s expansive wealth. A devout Muslim in a majority Muslim community, Musa set off on a journey to Mecca for his Hajj pilgrimage. But the king didn’t travel by himself.

The voyage, which would span an estimated 4,000 miles, was travelled by Musa and a caravan that included tens of thousands of soldiers, slaves and heralds, draped in Persian silk and carrying golden staffs. Although records of the exact number of people who participated in the voyage are scarce, the elaborate convoy that accompanied Musa marched alongside camels and horses carrying hundreds of pounds of gold.

Mansa Musa on his way to Mecca. (Credit: Print Collector/Getty Images)

Of course, this spectacle was noticed by residents of the territories that Musa passed through—after all, a group so massive was impossible to overlook. The impact the Malian emperor left on the Egyptian people would reverberate for more than a decade.

Arriving in Cairo, the Arab-Egyptian scholar Shihab Al-Umari relays the scenes with which the Cairenes welcomed the Mansa and his caravan: 

THe man (Mansa Musa) flooded Cairo with his benefactions. He let no court emir nor holder of royal office without the gift of a load of gold. The Cairenes made incalculable profits out of him and his suite in buying and selling and giving and taking. THey exchanged gold until they depressed its value in Egypt and caused the price to fall… Gold was at a high price in Egypt until they came in that year. The mithqal (approximately 4.25-4.5 grams)  did not go below 25 dirhams and was generally above, but from that time its value fell and it cheapened in price and has remained cheap till now. The mithqal does not exceed 22 dirhams or less. This has been the state of affairs for about twelve years until this day by reason of the large amount of gold which they brought into Egypt and spent there.

An indication of the impression Mansa Musa had made is that news of his Cairo visit eventually reached Europe. In Spain, a mapmaker was inspired to create Europe’s first detailed map of West Africa. Created c. 1375AD, the map, part of the Catalan Atlas has Mansa Musa sitting regally on a throne, wearing an impressive gold crown, and holding a golden staff in one hand and, somewhat gleefully, a huge nugget or orb of gold in the other.

 It was such tales of gold that would inspire later European explorers to brave disease, warlike tribes, and inhospitable terrain to find the fabled riches of Timbuktu, the golden city of the desert that nobody quite knew where to place on the map even in the 18th century CE.

Image result for mali empire map
Edge of the New World

More interesting than the King’s wealth and character are events that led to his acquiring the throne. Mansa Musa’s predecessor was a Mansa Abu Bakr II. A man of great knowledge and insatiable curiosity, he was gripped by his curiosity of what lay on the other side of the Atlantic ocean. Very little is known about the life of Abu Bakr, and only written account about him at present may be found in the work of the same Egyptian scholar who met Mansa Musa.

According to written records of Al-Umari, Mansa Musa explained:

“The ruler who preceded me did  not believe that it was impossible to reach the extremity of the ocean (Atlantic Ocean) that encircles the earth, and wanted to reach that (end) and obstinately persisted in the design. So he equipped two hundred boats full of men, like many others full of gold, water and victuals sufficient enough for several years. He ordered the chief (admiral) not to return until they had reached the extremity of the ocean, or if they had exhausted the provisions and the water. Their absence extended over a long period, and, at last, only one boat returned. On our questioning, the captain said: “Prince, we have navigated for a long time , until we saw in the midst of  the ocean as if a big river was flowing violently. My boat was the last one; others were ahead of me. As soon as any of them reached this place, it drowned in the whirlpool and never came out. I sailed backwards to escape this current.” But the sultan would not believe him. He ordered two thousand boats to be equipped for him and for his men, and one thousand more for water and victuals. Then he conferred on me the regency during his absence, and departed with his men on the ocean trip, never to return nor to give a sign of life.”

An argument has been made by researchers Ivan van Sertima and Malian researcher Gaoussou Diwara that Abu Bakr might have in fact reached his dream. Van Sertima cites the log of Christopher Columbus which shows that the purpose of Columbus’s third voyage was to test the claims of King John II of Portugal that “canoes had been found which set out from the coast of Guinea and sailed to the west with merchandise.” 

Additionally, the inhabitants of  the Caribbean Island of Hispaniola claimed that “from the south and the southeast had come black people whose spears were made of a metal called guanin… from which it was found that of 32 parts: 18 were gold, 6 were silver, and 8 copper.” 

Although there are a multitude of researchers who are heavily against any theories of Africa-Americas contacts at any point in the pre-Columbian Era. They cite that there has been no genuine African artifact that has ever been found in a controlled archaeological excavation in the New World. Nevertheless, it is extremely intriguing that Mansa Musa should disclose such information, which, if it was true, would change our whole outlook on the past 500 years and cause us to question a whole science.

Thanks for reading!

Kareem Abdurazag

THE BLOCK BARD

Writer | Culture & Humanities Blogger

http://www.theblockbard.com

Apply To Join Our Exclusive Contributor Network!

~ Hi there!

We love finding new, excellent social-science professionals to feature in our blog. If you hold a culture or humanities-oriented title, you are welcome to submit a pitch — or get the conversation going on topic ideas.

But before you submit, please make sure you read our C&H Content Guidelines We know they look long, but they actually take only a few minutes to read. If you’d like us to spend our time working with you, please invest a little of yours in reading those guidelines.

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We often find great ideas in unexpected places. The next article published on THE BLOCK BARD’s Culture & Humanities could be yours!

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life coach free video prospecting

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Featured

lazy man’s guide to making money

What if I told you it was possible for you to watch movies, play games, and basically slack off all day for the next one month and still make a million naira ? 

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But it is, so many  people do this consistently and so can you 

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The answer is simple and I will reveal it to you in a minute 

But first let me tell you about myself 

My name is ________ and I can easily be described as the laziest person ever 

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Matter of fact I am typing this now while in my black boxer shorts and typing this is basically the hardest work I have done all day 

But nevertheless I make as little as 10k on a bad day and as much as 100k on a great day 

Please note I am not saying this to boast but to show you what’s possible 

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WORKING SMART!!!!

you see the rich work smart by creating assets that can make them money day in and day out even while they sleep 

There are so many different assets you can create 

Many of which takes years to set up 

But one of those few assets that’s easy to create and make money from is information product 

An information product is basically an information that solves a particular problem packaged in the form of an ebook, video course, webinar etc.

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And I package that as an ebook and sell 

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So now you know the secret to being rich

 Work Smart And Not Hard 

So get started today creating assets that can make you money in your sleep 

If you got value from this post let me know in the comment section below
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grow your coaching/consulting business

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And that is the approach EVERY successful entrepreneur eventually figures out.

𝗔𝗻𝗱 𝘄𝗵𝘆 𝘄𝗲’𝘃𝗲 𝗯𝗲𝗰𝗼𝗺𝗲 𝗧𝗛𝗘 𝗙𝗔𝗦𝗧𝗘𝗦𝗧 𝗚𝗥𝗢𝗪𝗜𝗡𝗚 𝗖𝗢𝗔𝗖𝗛𝗜𝗡𝗚 𝗔𝗡𝗗 𝗖𝗢𝗡𝗦𝗨𝗟𝗧𝗜𝗡𝗚 𝗖𝗢𝗠𝗣𝗔𝗡𝗬 𝗜𝗡 𝗔𝗠𝗘𝗥𝗜𝗖𝗔  (#𝟭𝟳𝟭 𝗼𝗻 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗜𝗻𝗰 𝟱𝟬𝟬𝟬)🥇💪 🏆

BUT….

If you DON’T have the FOUNDATIONS in place…

Or you choose to go too big TOO EARLY (with funnels, masterminds and ads)…

Or think that some MAGIC PILL strategy is the answer to your business problems…

You MIGHT be able to grow…

But NOT for very long…

Or very FAR…

And it won’t be LONG before your BEAUTIFUL business…

Becomes the MOST  STRESSFUL thing in your life.

(Trust me I know 😉)

𝗧𝗵𝗲 𝗚𝗢𝗢𝗗 𝗡𝗘𝗪𝗦 𝗶𝘀 𝗜’𝗺 𝗴𝗼𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝘁𝗼 𝘁𝗲𝗹𝗹 𝘆𝗼𝘂 𝗲𝘅𝗮𝗰𝘁𝗹𝘆 𝗵𝗼𝘄 𝘁𝗼 𝗱𝗼 𝗶𝘁.

The exact same process that EVERY entrepreneur…

Regardless of what they’re SELLING or TELLING you…

Has used to go from nothing, to something, to EVERYTHING they’ve ever DREAMED of.

And you can watch the training for free ➡️ ➡️  LINK

Take notes. 

It’s the entrepreneurial MBA I WISH someone had taught me when I was GROWING and SCALING my business.
Featured

hiring radio writer/producer

______________ and _________ Radio in Calgary AB have an exciting opportunity for an experienced producer who also has kick ass writing skills.
If you are a creative and enthusiastic person who loves coming up with great ideas, we want to hear from you.
Here is what you are not:
– Boring
– Cynical
– Complacent
– Bitter
– A loner
Here is what you are:
– Enthusiastic
– Team player
– Strive to be the best
– Great ideas get you energized
We provide training, leadership, and goal setting to help make you successful. We have a professional radio environment; we strive to build the best promos and campaigns for our clients, and we have fun doing it.
A minimum 3 years’ experience is an asset; however, we are looking for the right person with a positive attitude that will be a good fit with our team.
Please send your resume, demo, script samples and a completed copy of the Jim Pattison Broadcast Group New Applicant Self ID to ____________, Creative Director;
Featured

e-book giveaway

If your website isn't actively bringing you new clients, you need to start thinking like a marketer. Here's how I do it.

Your website isn't just a pretty shop window. It should be the engine that powers your business. And there are some quick changes you can make right now to start automating your marketing instead of waiting to get lucky just by posting on social media. (If that's you, read on...)

👀 My e-book is only a 1 hour read but it *will* change the way you think about your website and how you use it to attract new leads on autopilot.

I'm going to show how to:

☑️ Make your website content work harder so that people fall in love with you and your offer

☑️ Stop seeing your blog as a chore and start using it as a marketing WEAPON

☑️ Set up your portfolio to sell

☑️ Craft a brand positioning statement that strongly attracts or repels your ideal client 

☑️ Convert more enquiries using the ad system that big businesses use (and it only costs pennies).

Intrigued? No smoke and mirrors here. Just solid , easy-to-follow advice, I promise. And you can call me or email me for a chat once you've read it. 

I'm genuinely passionate about helping small, creative businesses tap into the online marketing techniques that big businesses us, but at a fraction of the cost and effort. 

Grab a cuppa and get the ebook.
Featured

how i became a full-time writer

HOW I BECAME I FULL-TIME WRITER (Without Being Published)

While My Brand hasn't yet decided on a niche, we target our audience with at the very least 1 invariabled Campaign Structure (This includes of course the Creative & Call-to-action) 

But if great copy is primarily all about emotional connection, then it bears to reason that the more you run the gamut of the human experience, the better of a copywriter you will be.

In other words, 𝗶𝗳 𝘆𝗼𝘂 𝗵𝗮𝘃𝗲𝗻’𝘁 𝗹𝗶𝘃𝗲𝗱, 𝘆𝗼𝘂 𝗰𝗮𝗻’𝘁 𝗽𝗲𝗿𝘀𝘂𝗮𝗱𝗲 𝗲𝗳𝗳𝗲𝗰𝘁𝗶𝘃𝗲𝗹𝘆.

A couple years ago I was obsessed with the Game of Thrones books, and tried my hand writing fiction, feeling myself drift slowly ever further from reality and into my imagination...

So what did I do in the last 5 years? I allowed myself to go through the highest highs and lowest lows.

I suffered the hells of disappointment, depression, hardship, betrayal, emotional breakdown, missed bills, terrible credit, white-knuckle anxiety and red-hot anger. 😡

I savoured the heaven of joy, peace, love, hope, purpose, spiritual connection, business victories, money in the bank, philanthropy,  humanitarian work, and reconciliation. 😇

And because my money was limited to the time I was trading for it… I’d travel the world every night through my literature (fiction or non), binge-watch a ton of historical Netflix and YouTube shows, and read eye-opening books that celebrate and illustrate the most transcendental natures of human creativity.

So when the time came for me to start writing for other peoples business'… 📝

The sheer empathy I developed for humanity that was bottled up inside… Started spilling out. Newfound potency expressed in familiar direct response structures.

Now I transform scars into stories… embedded in effective sales funnels.

I speak to my audience’s unarticulated urgent needs… commanding attention in an ADHD world. (Which I also have)

I generate big ideas rooted in deep understanding… Bringing the Classics to life across Social-Media with the help of a brilliant well-minded mentor.

So in short… How does one become a full-time writer without publishing a single word?

I believed in myself, before I expected or even hoped anyone believe in me. 

I...

❗️ Burned in the Furnace of affliction.
(This is Charity commercials saying donate today people are dying! ONLY YOU CAN HELP)
I...
❗️ Basked in the Fantasies of paradise.
(This is a restaurant changing the name from just a burger to a Big Mac!)
I...
❗️ Bottled them up. Guarded them like flasks in the Sahara.
(This is Life-Coaches saying you're not a wimp, you wouldn't be here if you were a wimp!)

This is the Persuasion Potion you’ll sprinkle on your landing pages, websites, dinner menus and VSLs.

And almost like magic, see your conversions rise up from the dead.

I call this magic conversion formula  - __________ (Copywriting)

Find out how to implement it across your business Today for an increase in conversions and customer loyalty!

P.S. We Guarantee It 😉
It's OUR JOB and we Love It!

DM me ☆ Let's Chat !
INFO/CTA
Featured

run ads free limited time

Hey,

I just decorated my house and got in the Christmas spirit.

 This Christmas is different than most, with most sales taking place online, it's never been more important to have your brand, sales-copy, and marketing on point...

And I thought, it would be fun to show some small businesses and some of my followers how it’s done.

So, I’m going to take 2-3 people under my wing and run their ads for FREE until the end of 2020.

The only catch is you have a good site, product or funnel or if not, let us help you make one so your ads are actually successful.

Jump on a call with my marketing team and we'll check your site and product - make sure it’s a fit and you won’t just burn money.

I’ll pick 2-3 over the next week or so and get started!
Featured

free guide to grow email list

Here’s the deal: I’m paying for you to see this. ⁣
⁣
Why? Because you’re worth it and also because the truth of the matter is, that less than 6% of the audience I’ve hustled for is actually seeing what I’m putting out into the world. Crazy, right? So if you’re starting to realize that social media is just borrowed space and it’s time to invest your energy into something you OWN, listen up! 💌⁣
⁣
My email list is the #1 way I drive profits into my biz and chances are you’ve thought about starting one but you’re not sure how you’d even get people to sign up. ⌨️ I put together 8 easy ways for you to grow your list (even if you’re starting at 0!) Grab the guide here
LINK
Featured

grow your cleaning company free training

There is a difference between owning a cleaning company, and working for your own cleaning company.

Owners who work FOR their cleaning company get pulled away from growth because they’re:

• Constantly putting out fires that never seem to stop.

• They get stuck managing all client communication and worry every time when their phone rings (or lack of ringing..).

• They are involved in the labor and don’t know how they could ever promise their clients the same results if they didn’t just do it themselves.

But Individuals who actually own their cleaning company:

• Have a process that makes hiring and keeping employees a breeze.

• They understand that their time is better spent building the company instead of cleaning.

• They have an exact road map of where they want to go, and exactly how they plan to get there.

Here at Grow My Cleaning Company, we specialize in working 1 on 1 with cleaning companies looking to grow. We have helped a number of cleaning company owners get out of cleaning and build the business they have set out to build.

We have put together a free training that is made specifically for cleaning companies and are giving away some amazing advice and life lessons for those in the thick of it all!

If you would love to get a little foresight and get your business on the right path, then jump on this link to get access. It’s super easy, and could be the best thing you ever did for your business!

See ya soon!

LINK
Featured

lead gen system free consultation call

Cold calling and list buying sure aren’t what they’re all cracked up to be. 🙅🏻‍♂️⁣
⁣
Many agents waste time and money chasing dead-end leads using the same tactics they see others using for lead generation.⁣
⁣
But what if there was another way?⁣
⁣
Imagine a world where…⁣
⁣
👍 You hear “Yes” more often than “No.”⁣
💸 You don’t have to spend your hard-earned money on leads.⁣
👨‍👩‍👧 You enjoy more time with your family.⁣
😊 You actually get to live the life you want.⁣
⁣
After struggling with lead generation tactics that were difficult and expensive, I developed a way to generate consistent quality leads that allowed me to regain control of my time and money.⁣
⁣
This approach to lead generation helped me build up to selling 500+ homes a year and being named the #1 RE/MAX agent worldwide, not once… but twice!⁣
⁣
And now I’m ready to share my system with you, if you’re ready and willing to do the work.⁣
⁣
Sign up for a FREE, no obligation consultation call to see if you’re a good fit for this systematic approach to generating quality leads.⁣
⁣
What are you waiting for?⁣
⁣
Book your FREE “Better Leads” Call now 👉⁣
LINK
Featured

visit our blog

A writer walks into a bar. 

He starts speaking to another writer and announces proudly:

“I’m writing a novel”

The other man responds:

“Neither am I”...

… it’s an old joke authors tell each other. Because procrastination and ambition is so rife within the community that when someone says they’re working on something… they’re probably not.

When will agency owners come to accept this? 

There’s a MASSIVE difference between running an agency and being a freelancer who trades with a name. 

It’s not an office, it’s not a registered address, and it’s not a website. 

It’s something much more simple: it’s the ability to *procure* your work, not *produce* it.

Agency owners procure work: they manage either contractors or staff members, implement systems and processes and remove themselves from their agencies as much as they can. 

In my new Business & Growth Blog, I show you how you can transform your business into a real operation and remove yourself from it. 

It’s free. And it's also free of ads for the time being!
LINK
Featured

facebook ads masterclass

A product.
A Facebook account.
And an internet connection.

That’s all you need to consistently and reliably 3x your business. 💯

Sounds impossible?

In our newest ________ Masterclass, we’ve brought in world-renowned Facebook Ads expert___________.

He started working for Apple, and now has spent over $80,000,000 across 150+ brands in 15+ industries...

Now, he’s taken EVERYTHING he’s learned and put into this “algorithm-proof” system – the exact framework he uses across all his brand...

...that will show you how to run profitable Facebook ads in any niche, industry or product you can think of. ✅

Even if you:

Have zero experience.
Have no idea where to start.
Or even if you have a tight budget.

Plus, you can steal ________’s ENTIRE strategy in just 30 minutes!

So if you’re ready to start making sales overnight 
& FINALLY free up your time for other things… 🔥🔥🔥

Click here to sign up now: LINK
Featured

a conversation about perceived value

A customer asked a contractor friend of mine how much it would cost to do this project. 

My friend gave him a proposal: $4500

The customer responded: That’s seems really high. 

My friend asked: What do you think is a reasonable price for this job? 

The customer answered: $2500 maximum

My friend responded:  Ok, then I invite you to do it yourself.

The customer answered: I don't know how to.

My friend responded:  Alright, then how about for $2500 I'll teach you how to. So besides saving you $2000, you'll learn valuable skills that will benefit you in the future.

The customer answered: Sounds good! Let’s do it! 

My friend responded: Great! To get started, you are going to need some tools. You will need a chop saw, table saw, cordless drill, bit set, router, skill saw, jig saw, tool belt, hammer, etc..

The customer answered: But I don't have any of those tools and I can't justify buying all of these for one job.

My friend responded: Ok. Well then for an additional $300 I can rent my tools to you to use for this project. 

The customer answered: Okay. That’s fair.

My friend responded: Great! We will start the project on Monday. 

The customer answered: I work Monday through Friday. I’m only available on the weekends. 

My friend responded: If you want to learn from me then you will need to work when I work. This project will take 3 days so you will need to take 3 days off work. 

The customer answered: That means I’m going to have to sacrifice my pay for 3 days or use my vacation time! 

My friend responded: That’s true. Remember, when you do a job yourself you need to account for unproductive factors. 

The customer answered: What do you mean by that? 

My friend responded: Doing a job completely from start to finish includes time spent to plan the project, pick up materials, travel time, gas, set up time, clean up, and waste disposal amongst other things. That’s all in addition to the actual project itself.  And speaking of materials, that’s where we will start on Monday so I need you to meet me at the lumberyard at 6:00am. 

The customer answered: At 6am?!! My work day doesn’t usually start until 8am! 

My friend responded: Well then you’re in luck! My plan is to start on the deck build by 8am. But to do so we have to start at 6am to get materials picked up, loaded and delivered to your job site.

The customer answered: You know, I’m realizing that a lot more goes in to a job than what a customer sees in the finished project. Your proposal of $4500 is very reasonable. I would like you to handle the project.

CONCLUSION:

When you pay for a job, especially a custom job, (whether it’s a physical project or digital project) you pay not only for the material and the work to be completed. You also pay for:

✔️ Knowledge
✔️ Experience
✔️ Custom Skills
✔️ Tools
✔️ Time to plan
✔️ Time to prepare
✔️ Professionalism 
✔️ Work Ethic
✔️ Excellence 
✔️ Discipline 
✔️ Commitment 
✔️ Integrity 
✔️ Taxes
✔️ Licenses 
✔️ Sacrifices 
✔️ Liabilities 
✔️ Insurance 

If you request a proposal for custom work to be done, please don’t disrespect a service provider by trying to get them to lower their prices. 

If their proposal exceeds your budget, there’s nothing wrong with getting other proposals. 

Just remember.. you get what you pay for. 

👉🏼 SERVICE PROVIDERS: Know your worth and be confident in it.

👉🏼 CONSUMERS: Recognize their worth and be respectful of it. 

Sharing this to support all my friends, family and clients who are Entrepreneurs, Business Owners and Tradesman
Featured

how to get hired for writing jobs

4 insights that will help you get hired for $10k+ copywriting jobs...

Yesterday I posted a job in the CoC job board, and had 25 people apply and send me their work...
After going through 70 pieces of copy to see who would be a good fit for us, I started to notice a few things that came up over and over again.
I figured I would share these insights here to help any copywriters who want to know what it takes for get hired for $10k-$40k copywriting jobs.
If you're still sharing every single VSL and letter with prospect employers...
if you're a woman looking to lose 20lbs or more, then this will be the most important letter you ever read" then you need to up your game. I probably read 20 letters yesterday that started out with some variation of that. You're immediately turning off the viewers when you say this, because they've heard it so many times before. It's generic and played out.

Too many people write copy without giving any thought to the audience that it's going to. I looked at at least 10 pieces of copy that could have just as easily been for a 30 year old reader as a 70 year old reader. If you're writing is this broad then you're probably missing the mark with your target audience.

 If the reader doesn't feel like "wow this is for me" when they read your piece, then you're not being specific enough to their situation.
Some people sent me 5+ copywriting samples (all in different niches) that felt like nothing but a clone of each other. This is plug-and-play copywriting, and if you're trying to write to any BIG niche like health, finance or relationships, its not going to work. 

 The "hook" for that product should really drive the copy.

 If you're new and you don't have any examples or controls under your belly, find a product out there and re-write their sales letter for them. Even if that company never uses it, this will at least give you samples to send to people who don't know you.

Hope this helps a few people...
-NAME
Featured

money doesn’t care about you

Money doesn't care about you 😧

No need to get upset, money doesn't care about me either... 

In fact, money doesn't care about anyone. 

Money does not discriminate. 

Even if we take all the money from the elites and distribute it equally among the people, it will crawl back to the pockets of the elites. 

Why? 

Coz the only thing that money cares about is value. 

Are you providing value? Does society value you? How much value are you providing? 

This is why you have 40-year-olds who a dead broke working the same 9-5 job for the last year, and 8-year-olds who are  multi-millionaires 😯

Coz 8-year-olds are providing more value than those 40-year-olds. 

When getting your first 1-3 high paying clients, lead with giving value. 

And the money will follow you! 

What do you guys think?
Featured

Bronze Age Globalism, and The Sea Peoples?

Nestled in the centre of Turkey lies the modern site of Hattusa, the capital of the ancient Hittite Empire. Situated on top of a rocky outcrop overlooking a bend in the Kizilirmak River, Hattusa white limestone walls stand out against the yellow grassland of the hills, lying where they fell over three thousand years ago. One can instantly come to the realization that Hattusa was once a mighty city which boasted 100 towers defending it, gateways carved with impressive sculptures of lions, and rows of houses indicating a complex system of urban planning.

For centuries, this was the centre of the mighty Hittite Empire which spanned all of modern day Turkey and extended into Israel and Palestine. Hattusa’s people cultivated wheat, barley, and lentils, and wore clothes spun from the wool of the sheep that roamed the plains and hills. But if you dig down into the ruins of the archaeological site, what you find is a thin black layer right above the city’s ancient floors. This layer is a mixture of ash, charred wood , and rubble scorched in a fierce fire and dates back to the end of the 13th century BC. 20 kilometres to the north lies the ancient city of Alaca Hoyuk where the Hittites buried their kings in opulent tombs showing the same thing. It is completely covered by ash and rubble at the same level beneath the dirt. Still more, a 100 kilometres to the east of Alaca Hoyuk lies the fortified town of Karagolan which shows the streets littered with arrowheads and bones of men, women, and children scattered. In fact, if you zoom out and look across the Eastern Mediterranean, anywhere you go in an area spanning around a 1000 kilometres, you will find the same evidence across the region. 

Around the years 1200-1100 BC, right at the end of the Bronze Age a wave of destruction razed across the region. It wiped whole civilizations off the map and discriminated against none. Ancient civilization like the Ugarit, Minoans, and Mycenaean Greeks disappeared altogether, completely disappearing from the records and leaving fragmented pieces of evidence behind. Some parts of the region took almost a 1000 years to fully recover from the disaster and its effects can still be seen to this day. What happened in the region stands to be one of humanity’s most hotly debated mysteries.

 Trade, Back in the Day

The Bronze Age marked the first time humans started to work with metal. Bronze tools and weapons soon replaced earlier stone versions. Humans made many technological advances during the Bronze Age, including the first writing systems and the invention of the wheel. Humans may have started smelting copper as early as 6,000 B.C. in the Fertile Crescent, a region known as “the cradle of civilization” and a historical area where agriculture and the world’s first cities emerged.

Ancient Sumer, one of the cities in the fertile crescent which would grow into an empire, is often cited by archaeologists as the first civilization to start adding tin to copper to make bronze. Bronze was harder and more durable than copper, which made bronze a better metal for tools and weaponry. No sooner had they discovered it that everyone else in the region started to increase their production of bronze. In fact, archaeological digs in the Mediterranean Sea have found ships from the 13th century B.C. had products on it from seven different states and included;

  • Egyptian jewelry
  • copper and tin
  • glass ingots
  • resin for the production of perfume
  • various flavours of fruit
  • and weapons of various kinds.
    • From about 1800 BCE until around 1200 BCE commerce in the region flourished to the extent that it can be described as the earliest known example of global trade.
Map of the Bronze Age collapse ca 1200 BCE

After Nearly 2000 years of growth and prosperity, the Mediterranean civilizations unravelled and collapsed. One of the most convincing narratives to this mystery involves a race of mysterious seafaring peoples. Historian Robert Drews argues that barbarian fighters, including the Sea Peoples, motivated by other elements of catastrophes such as drought, brought about the final collapse. “The Catastrophe came about when men in ‘barbarian’ lands awoke to the truth that had been with them for some time; the chariot-based forces on which the Great Kingdoms relied could be overwhelmed by swarming infantries, the infantrymen being equipped with with javelins, long swords, and a few essential pieces of defensive armour… found it within their means to assault, plunder, and raze the richest palaces and cities on the horizon, and this they proceeded to do.” Alternatively, Eric Cline, historian and professor of Classics and Anthropology at the George Washington University retorts that “many explanations have been tried and few have stood. Unparalleled series of earthquakes, widespread crop-failures and famine, massive invasion from the steppe, the Danube, the desert – all may have played some part; but they are not enough.” 

Despite all of the theories, the safest bet is to attribute the annihilation of mass populations and civilizations to a mixture of climate change, plague, drought, invasions of ‘barbarians,’ internal strife, political instability, and socioeconomic and technological changes. Regardless of which theories are put forward, the question of what happened to the vast empires and diverse cultures that inhabited the Eastern Mediterranean remains to be the most intriguing mystery yet to be solved.

Thanks for reading!

Kareem Abdurazag

THE BLOCK BARD

Writer | Culture & Humanities Blogger

http://www.theblockbard.com

Apply To Join Our Exclusive Contributor Network!

~ Hi there!

We love finding new, excellent social-science professionals to feature in our blog. If you hold a culture or humanities-oriented title, you are welcome to submit a pitch — or get the conversation going on topic ideas.

But before you submit, please make sure you read our C&H Content Guidelines We know they look long, but they actually take only a few minutes to read. If you’d like us to spend our time working with you, please invest a little of yours in reading those guidelines.

Once you’ve read the guidelines, send your pitch to contact@theblockbard.com.

We often find great ideas in unexpected places. The next article published on THE BLOCK BARD Culture & Humanities could be yours!

Featured

How Robots Create More Jobs Than They Kill

All too often we see people saying ‘that machine is taking peoples jobs‘. From assembly line automatons yesterday, to self-checkout systems today.

Examples in history are not hard to find if we take a closer look. The industrial age had them. The digital age has them. Heck, even the stone age had them when people began using tools to kill ever larger animals for food, while the people who didn’t adapt themselves to the new technology were still stuck snacking on small sized rodents.

But, you bet your bottom that someone likely said in caveman speak ‘what is Rodi the rodent catcher going to do, now that we eat Mammoth all day!’

Over the eons automation has always served for the most part our best interest. Beyond the deus ex machina and Terminatorstyle takes society loves to make. It frees our time for cooler, more satisfying, and purposeful jobs, one might feel more are more accomplishing as they cannot be completed by a robot. Take for example my two friends that work as powerlinemen for a living. Those are the guys that climb the 50 Foot poles in Canadian Winters and withstand the storms all hours of the day and night, proud to bring power to the people they serve –Literally.

photo from reddit.com

When we pass Calgary’s new and iconic Telus Sky building that plays its display of colourful lights throughout the night, they have said more than once how proud they were to be a part of that projects installation. If we are truly honest with ourselves nobody wants to be a cashier or an assembly line worker for their whole life… Robots taking jobs means more people will be pushed to advance their careers, and thus, new positions will be opened up to fit such want for advanced placement.

Many economists and social scientists are starting to see a move away from wage-working and more toward skill-working. Meaning we are seeing less people paid by the hour now, than we ever have before. Instead, business owners are realizing that pay-per-job is the way of the future. And the future is going to have a higher demand for quality and art, than it will for timeliness and efficiency.

So, in other words,

Robots need jobs too!

~ Cheers,

Mackenzie Andres

THE BLOCK BARD

Founder | Head of Copy

http://www.theblockbard.com

Apply To Join Our Exclusive Contributor Network!

~ Hi there!

We love finding new, excellent sales professionals to feature in our blog. If you hold a sales, marketing, or revenue-oriented title, you are welcome to submit a pitch — or get the conversation going on topic ideas.

But before you submit, please make sure you read our B&G Content Guidelines We know they look long, but they actually take only a few minutes to read. If you’d like us to spend our time working with you, please invest a little of yours in reading those guidelines.

Once you’ve read the guidelines, send your pitch to contact@theblockbard.com.

We often find great ideas in unexpected places. The next article published on THE BLOCK BARD ‘Business & Growth’ could be yours!

Mac

Featured

What Would Your Native American Name Be?

The history of North America begins thousands of years ago when Asiatic hunter-gatherers crossed the Bering strait into Alaska and settled the vast and empty region that is known as the “New World.” Thus began the cultivation of the New World and the gradual flourishing of one of the greatest empires at the time, the vast Native American tribes.

A Brief History

Thousands of years ago, the Beringia land bridge had formed between northeastern Siberia and western Alaska due to lowering sea level during the Last Glacial Maximum. At the time the Beringia land bridge formed the Mammoth steppe, the Earth’s most extensive biome which spanned from Spain to the Atlantic coast of Canada and from the northern arctic island southwards to the china sea, going as far as Indonesia. The Mammoth steppe was covered with vegetation and provided the large herbivores with plenty of fuel to roam the steppe. Dominated by mammoth, horses, and bison, it was a hotbed for hunter-gatherers and was sufficient for population growth.

Scientists argue that diversity of the ecosystem thrived for approximately 100,000 years without major changes, but suddenly became all but extinct about 12,000 years ago. While this theory has proven to be the most resilient, it is important to mention that an opposing theory posits that sea-faring Pacific islanders managed to cross the pacific ocean and land in California.

Native American Cultures
North American Languages Map | Native american map, North american tribes, Native  american tribes

Whether the Native American population came by way of land or sea is rather insignificant. The fact is that they managed to create complex web tribal system across an equally diverse landmass that included: dry arid deserts; vast grass plains; marshes and wetlands; warm and humid coasts; mountainous ranges; and a host of other smaller ecosystems. Accordingly, each tribe would develop a distinct “dialect” of cultures that meshed into a greater identity. For example, the northwest culture area, comprising of British Columbia, Washington, and the northern tip of California, shared common traits such as salmon fishing, woodworking, large villages or towns and a hierarchical social structure. Meanwhile the tribes of the Plains, including the Crow, Blackfeet, Cheyenne, and Comanche shared a nomadic lifestyle and used horses to pursue and hunt great herds of buffalo across the prairie. Thus, indigenous cultures shaped, and were shaped by, the geography of North America. They followed favourable weather patterns, natural agricultural cycles, and animal migration, and were, thus, in every way aware of nature and entangled within in it.

The environment greatly impacted the traditional beliefs and social structure of Native American societies. For instance, the Inuit, native to the Arctic, were deeply influenced by, and revered, the Aurora Borealis. They believed the amazing light displays were images of their family and friends in the afterlife. The Inuit, as well as most other tribes, also believed that all things have souls, and that spirits existed to protect those souls. By respecting the ecosystem (living and non-living ), indigenous communities aimed to maintain a balanced existence.

Naming traditions

Crazy Horse, Sitting Bull, Squanto, Geronimo, Sacajawea and Pocahontas… these are the names of a few famous Native Americans who played a very important part in the history of the United States. Since the first settlers in the US were Native Americans it is not uncommon to also see indigenous names of geographical locations such as Alabama, Illinois, Mississippi, Utah, and Wyoming, not to mention the various landmarks across the US. In fact, twenty-six US states were named by Native Americans.

Native American naming traditions vary depending on each particular tribe as each develops its own distinct cultural identity within a larger framework of cultures. Typically they are derived from nature, represented to symbolize desirable characteristics or a certain trait. A Native American name can reflect your personality, what you accomplish, or what happens to you, but they are also fluid. Some people are like lakes; they change very little during their lifetimes. Others are like rivers that may change dramatically from their small beginnings to become mighty rivers that travel all the way to the sea. Children are given names that suit their personalities, but, if a name proves to be a bad fit, the child’s name is changed.

As they progress in life, names are often changed and family and society award the new names, which provide the individual with a strong social bond to community as well as family. For example, the name Dancing Wind sounds beautiful to the contemporary ear, but Native Americans know that the dancing wind is symbolism for a tornado. It serves as a warning to others as well as an incentive to Dancing Wind to earn a new name. If an individual accomplishes great things, a new name like “Eagle Eye” may be given to recognize and signify that the individual’s clear-sighted perception as well as a special connection between heaven and earth.

The Native American naming tradition inspires the individual to strive to be better, to heal, and to evolve. The bond between society and the individual is very personal. It provides insight into the individual, a strong bond social bond, inspiration, and a link to the natural world from which they are drawn. Additionally, the peculiarity and complexity of the naming tradition is embedded with psychological, social, environmental, and spiritual dimensions inherent in every given name. Because they have the concept of an evolving name that can be earned, their naming tradition inspires them to continue to grow throughout their lives and incorporates all dimensions of their lives into it.

Famous Native American Names and Meanings

Crazy Horse (Tȟašúŋke Witk): Lakota: “His-Horse-Is-Crazy”

Sitting Bull (nicknamed Húŋkešni): Lakota Sioux Plains: “Slow”

Squanto (also known as Tisquantum): Patuxet Tribe: “divine rage”

Geronimo: Chiricahua Apache Tribe: “the one who yawns”

Sacajawea: Shoshone: “Bird-woman”

Pocahontas (Born Matoaka, known as Amonute) : Powhatan Tribe: “playful one”

Thanks for reading!

Kareem Abdurazag

THE BLOCK BARD

Writer | Culture & Humanities Blogger

http://www.theblockbard.com

Apply To Join Our Exclusive Contributor Network!

~ Hi there!

We love finding new, excellent social-science professionals to feature in our blog. If you hold a culture or humanities-oriented title, you are welcome to submit a pitch — or get the conversation going on topic ideas.

But before you submit, please make sure you read our C&H Content Guidelines We know they look long, but they actually take only a few minutes to read. If you’d like us to spend our time working with you, please invest a little of yours in reading those guidelines.

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Featured

A 10 Step Strategy for Success in 54 Pages or Less

After reading the world’s most renowned and best-selling self-help books, I’ve taken the most important and stand-out principles and formulated them in a 54 page Simple but Effective Strategy for Success.

Why would I do this? It’s no doubt a team like Dale Carnegie and Napoleon Hill could explain these principles far better than you or I. However I would argue that reading 10 books that contain mostly the same principles is not the best use of your time, unless you are still trying to instill in the mind, their subconscious manifestation.

The principles written about in these chapters have been written about in extents extending thousands of pages. But your time is money!

And since I’ve always been a slow reader, I took what was originally 20,000 words and 89 pages, boiled it down with the help of some amazing editors and philosophy students, and contained it within 10,000 words and 54 pages of only the best information.

Here is an excerpt from the first few pages of A Simple But Effective Strategy for Success

The Strategy for Success outline will help you organize the responsibility you feel toward improving the lives of both yourself and those around you. It will teach you the importance of faith, self inventory, confidence, planning, communicating, relationships, and more –It will teach you how to manifest those traits in your daily life, and even, I’m not kidding… In your dreams.   

Think of your mind as a camera, and you the master photographer.

We are going to be training our subconscious mind for the next, well… rest of our lives. Most people are aware that when things come into picture from ‘out of the blue’, they come from the subconscious mind and make their way forward into the ‘fore’-conscious, or regular conscious. But what if I told you that there was a way to manufacture your own subconscious thoughts by reversing this process. By bringing the visualizations in the forefront of your mind to the back of it, almost like getting a snapshot taken with a very expensive camera (your brain) by a very renowned photographer (you).

Once the photographer has taken that photo (and they will have to take several), depending on their [your] skill level, they will take multiple snaps of the same image from different angles, until that picture (thought) has manifested its reality as a part of your mind, then soul, and finally body.

Together, these habits form a strategy far more powerful than the sum of their parts. The habits laid out in these next few pages could easily extend into a lengthy novel topping thousands of words, but I know that time is valuable, and I too know that many of these tactics are rendered useless unless they are implemented alongside a structured disciplinary strategy – this is that strategy.”

A Simple But Effective Strategy for Success: The Ultimate Guide To Growing, Leading, and Managing Your Life and Businesses

Can be found here on Amazon in 13 different countries and marketplaces as an E-book or Kindle reader for $2.99USD. https://www.amazon.ca/dp/B08QMTBRLQ

Or Paperback for $6.99USD. https://www.amazon.ca/dp/B08TMV59MB

This book is written in simple english for not-so-simple people. Andres, having a background in classical history and political philosophy, as well as a career in sales-writing… you can expect this read to contain numerous historical references, engaging rhetoric, and controversial questions.

Featured

The Power of Language

It is estimated that the human population currently boasts anywhere between 5,000 to 7,000 languages, depending on the distinction between language and dialect.

This number is quite impressive, and when you consider ancient, forgotten, and extinct languages, it’s even more interesting. Today we see a proliferation of languages never before experienced, even with the creation of various coding languages that computers and software use to communicate across an infinitely wide range of systems. Human language can express thoughts on an unlimited number of topics (weather, war, space, god, math, the past, the future, fairy tales…) It can be used to convey information, solicit information (ask questions), give commands, and various other functions.

But what makes our language any different than that of chimps who are able to communicate with their gang and inform them that another gang of chimps is nearby, or that there’s a tree nearby full of delicious grub?

Animal communication systems typically have at most a hundred “pre-set” calls that they employ to stay alive in such competitive environments.

Humans, in contrast, have developed more complex systems of conveying and elaborating their information. The question is what happened to humans in the 6 million years or so since the hominid and chimpanzee lines diverged, and when and how did hominid communication begin to have the properties of modern language?

According to modern developments in linguistics and neuroscience, the changes crucial for language were not just in the size of the brain, but in its character, the kinds of tasks it is best suited to do.

Why Can’t Animals Talk Like Us?

There are many theories that aim to understand the evolution of human language and what exactly differentiates us from the multitude of species and allows us to develop extremely complex and detailed systems of language. One such theory is known as the cognitive tradeoff hypothesis was proposed by Japan’s foremost primatologist Tetsuro Matsuzawa.
Tetsuro postulates that a tradeoff between superior language facility at the expense of memory ability based on social life occurred sometime during human evolution.

In comparison to chimpanzees, who possess far superior short-term memory abilities, human evolution de-emphasized short-term memory for the benefits of an extraordinary language capacity. Matsuzawa claims that this may be one mechanism for increased collaboration and altruism between humans.
Another theory is by the famed American linguist and cognitive scientist Noam Chomsky. Human language, says Chomsky, “appears to be a unique phenomenon, without significant analogue in the animal world.” Chomsky argues that language is an innate faculty that is largely genetically encoded in the human genome and hence genetically inherited.

Darwin, whose work on evolution is timeless and still applicable to this day, stated that “Man has an instinctive tendency to speak as we see in the babble of our young children while no child has an instinctive tendency to bake, brew, or write.” This is in stark contrast to the theories of behaviourism that developed over the 20th century and argues that human language is a completely learned product of the interactions between humans and their environment.

How we developed language will be an endless debate that will no doubt rage on for the foreseeable future. Regardless of how we developed the faculties of language, it is important to take into account the worldview of the thousands of languages that are found on earth.
Languages are living things, meaning that their vocabulary can change over time. In addition, various communities within a country develop different dialects based on their environment and culture. For example, one can see the distinct change of language from each generation as culture and language evolve simultaneously.

How do Languages Shape the Way We See Things?

One of the most interesting things about language is how it shapes the worldview of the speaker. There was a recent study focused on an Australian indigenous community that lives in the Cape York Peninsula. The members of the community don’t use the “traditional” word of ‘right’ and ‘left’ but instead use the cardinal directions in their daily interactions. For instance, the way you say ‘hello’ in Kuuk Thaayorre is you say, “Which way are you going?”

The receiver would in turn respond by stating which orientation they were walking; north, west, south, east. Even something as simple as saying “You have an ant on your left leg” would be interpreted as “You have an ant on your south-west leg.”

Benjamin Lee Whorf, a linguist and social scientist, was studying Hopi, a Native American language spoken in northeastern Arizona, in the 1940s and came to the conclusion that the speakers of Hopi and speakers of English see the world differently because of the differences in their language. For example, Worf sai that because English treats time as being broken up into chunks that can be counted – 30 days, 5 minutes, half an hour – English speakers tend to treat time as s group of objects – seconds, minutes, hours, days, months, years – instead of as a smooth unbroken stream. This, he said, makes us think that time can be saved, lost, or wasted. In contrast, the Hopi don’t talk about time in those terms, and so they think about it drastically differently than English speakers. It seems likely that language, thought, and culture form three strands of a braid, with each affecting the others.

Another interesting point is that of gendered nouns. Gender can play a significant role across many languages in cultures. In languages such as German, Italian, and Spanish nouns are gendered. This means that there are masculine and feminine words, rather than neutral terms.

For instance, in the Italian language, the word beer is “Birra” which is a feminine noun. The Italian word for wine is “vino”, which is a masculine noun. Research indicates that the way that native speakers describe these objects depends on the gender of the noun. For example, “vino” may be described as strong and full-bodied, which are more masculine words. “Birra” may be described as “light” and “bubbly”, which are more feminine characteristics.

This also explains why modern research has found that multilingualism can induce a
profound change in the neuroplasticity of the brain. Because learning a new language can be such an immersive task, it helps sharpen the brain’s faculties immensely. Being multilingual can help you make choices faster, disseminate information more efficiently, and understand a vast array of perspectives not available to you before.

Finally, some words of wisdom from the Holy Roman Emperor Charlegmane who said “To have a second language is to have second soul.”

Thanks for reading!

Kareem Abdurazag

THE BLOCK BARD Writer | Culture & Humanities Blogger

http://www.theblockbard.com

Apply To Join Our Exclusive Contributor Network!

~ Hey there, Yes you!

We love finding new, excellent social-science professionals to feature in our blog. If you hold a culture or humanities-oriented title or similar, you are welcome to submit a pitch — or get the conversation going on topic ideas.

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Featured

Building A Face for Your Brand

Elon Musk, C.E.O. of SpaceX and Tesla (two of America’s highest valued companies, one of which is privately held), is neither a rocket scientist, a computer engineer, or a business scholar… He is all three!

That’s right, the for one week richest man in the world (January 2021) entered Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario, as a newly applied Canadian citizen. Two years later, he transferred to the University of Pennsylvania after always wanting to go to the United States to chase his supersized dreams, where he graduated in 1997 with a Bachelor of Science (BS) degree in economics (there’s your business) from the Wharton School, and a Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree in physics (there’s your rockets and things alike).

But this isn’t an Elon Musk biography now is it?

No, it is however perhaps the world richest example. He didn’t build the world’s coolest companies, and in other words some of the world’s highest valued companies by being the smartest in his class… He did so by hiring the smartest and most importantly, most dedicated team he could possibly find.

The customers and fans found that value in the very coolness of the companies he created. He now spends his time running those A-Teams and okaying their every decision, as much as he probably spends his time coming up with new and amazing creative technologies, edgy approaches, and goals to be made manifest by the same technologies his team and him create.

Oprah even admits she didn’t know what the word brand even meant for the first few years of her career. Did that stop her from doing it?

Nope.

They say “when you are at the top, you can only come down.” But Elon is reaching for the stars in the most literal sense of the phrase… He took a private company that he might have started in his backyard for all we know, and made public his goal to put people on Mars. (No doubt the vision came before the company).

18 years in, it’s already taken NASA astronauts to orbit. So, in other words, it is showing the very same government (or rather government-run entity), who showed us how to land on the moon and that we could even go to space in the first place, how to get things done. Which is pretty badass to say the least.

By taking space flight into private hands, which really means (available for the public) he indeed made his mark and name in both the science and business books of history. The reason NASA doesn’t get off of its government-funded behind is because there is no political space race so-to-speak with Russia or whoever it may be. Elon Musk, in the case for SpaceX is in a race with himself, and that is the best place to race.

Elon Musk is in other words The Face of His Brand’s.

He may tweet some silly stuff at times but between his tweets and smoking sessions in Joe Rogan’s podcast studio, he is both the mind and face, but not the body, of his dreams turned corporations.

The message, the dream, the goal to colonize Mars that he seeded in the souls of millions with little-to-no advertising efforts or direct marketing, is the true face of the SpaceX brand.

Not the logo. Not the colors, not the design, not even the one-liner or slogan, which is a specialty we take very seriously here at The Block Bard.

Cheers,

Mackenzie Andres

Founder | Head of Copy

THE BLOCK BARD

http://www.theblockbard.com

Apply To Join Our Exclusive Contributor Network!

~ Hi there!

We love finding new, excellent professionals to feature in our blog. If you hold a sales, marketing, or revenue-oriented title, you are welcome to submit a pitch — or get the conversation going on topic ideas.

But before you submit, please make sure you read our B&G Content Guidelines We know they look long, but they actually take only a few minutes to read. If you’d like us to spend our time working with you, please invest a little of yours in reading those guidelines.

Once you’ve read the guidelines, send your pitch to contact@theblockbard.com.

We often find great ideas in unexpected places. The next article published on THE BLOCK BARD ‘Business & Growth’ could be yours!

Mac

Featured

What’s With WHY? Why is WHY important?

Why is water clear? Why is the sky blue? Why do I have to eat broccoli?


Why?
Why?
Why?

Children love to use one of the most powerful tools of language to experience the world around them and engage in a sort of game with adults. It is a part of childhood, that special time when the many forces acting upon our cognitive development converge around a singular desire to ask “Why”. It becomes the central focus of the soul, an unexplainable yearning to jump into the void and explore it. It takes hold of our conversational style and becomes an incessant question that agitates any nearby adult. At the heart of it though, our desire to know why is a marker of the innate human propensity towards curiosity.

Why do we ask Why?

There is so much to know and seemingly so little time to learn it all. The world presents us with a flood of new things, new interactions and new puzzles for us to wonder about.
Formal schooling and the need for “cogs in the machine” transform us. Warren Berger, an American journalist, is rather fascinated by the dynamic of questions. In his book “A More Beautiful Question”, Berger reveals the power of questions to solve problems and encourages us to ask more. He describes the decline in our questioning and cites research by Richard Saul Wurman, American architect and founder of TED (whose slogan is “Ideas worth spreading”), shares that “Preschool kids ask their parents an average of 100 questions a day”. By middle school, they’ve basically stopped asking questions. Around this time, the article points out, student motivation and engagement plummets.

Which raises an interesting question: Have the kids stopped asking questions because they’ve lost interest?” Middle school is around the time when we turn more frequently to another form of the “Why” question- Why do I have to learn that?”. It might be that the traditional response to this question is what has turned students away from asking questions – “You need to know it for the test”. If the only things that seem to be valued are those in the test, why would we ask probing questions? Why would we want to dig deeper into a topic we have no interest in?

This subconsciously implies that the only reason we should ask why is for tests. But what happens when we leave school and we are no longer presented with formal tests?

When we are presented with an engaging topic, when we can see the relevance of what we are learning, “Why” becomes a very powerful question. By asking “Why” we begin to dig beneath the surface and guide our learning towards the issues at the heart of the topic. Facts are interesting but studying facts alone will only ever take us so far.

Exploring the “Why” of the facts opens new avenues for rich understandings. But students do not naturally ask “Why?”, they often need a teacher or mentor to ask the “Why?” question for them and of them.

Thanks for reading!

Kareem Abdurazag

THE BLOCK BARD

Writer | Culture & Humanities Blogger

http://www.theblockbard.com

Apply To Join Our Exclusive Contributor Network!

~ Hi there!

We love finding new, excellent social-science professionals to feature in our blog. If you hold a culture or humanities-oriented title, you are welcome to submit a pitch — or get the conversation going on topic ideas.

But before you submit, please make sure you read our C&H Content Guidelines We know they look long, but they actually take only a few minutes to read. If you’d like us to spend our time working with you, please invest a little of yours in reading those guidelines.

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Featured

Why Statistics are So-Often Bullsh$!

Water:
  • #1 cause of drowning
  • Everyone who drinks water dies
  • 100% of murderers are exposed to water in the hours leading up to the murder. Do You Still Feel Safe Drinking Water?

Here is a perfect set of statistics, that when read, appear just as they did when they were first recorded. So why is it misleading? Did the statisticians lie? Well, no, but in this case, because I chose such a simple scenario that everyone from all walks of life can comprehend and relate to (everyone needs water), if you were to come across the three facts listed above, you would understand that:

A – Water is part of your everyday life, drowning has always been a risk.

B – Everyone who drinks anything dies, who said it was from water?

C – Since non-murderers drink water as well, the cause of murder (or becoming a murderer) cannot be from water alone.

If you like to look at things on a deeper level your first thought might be “what was the author trying to establish, or sew in the minds of their readers?” Since you’re not studying stats they have no reason to appear before you, however this stat (as most you will see) is clearly being thrown at you in the form of an ad, headline, or social media post. Whether it’s from a Government funded News Corp you follow, an independent journalist, or your nutjob friend from high-school who is way too into conspiracy theories. These people want you to read their work, and so, will put the most misleading possible headlines before a blog that talks nothing or very little about what the headline was even about. More commonly known as clickbait. Most readers, customers, and consumers hate it, but…

It works. Otherwise the top-dogs wouldn’t be doing it.

Especially if your website does pay-per-click advertising, in which case most businesses could care less about the posts they are promoting, as long as they are getting clicks.

Test

Choose between two hospitals

– Imagine your elderly relative or close family member needs to go to the hospital for an emergency surgery. You have to choose between two different facilities (Hospital A or Hospital B). According to the latest data, of the last 1000 patients going through surgery at Hospital A, 900 survived whereas only 800 survived out of 1000 at Hospital B.

The choice looks obvious doesn’t it?

Most peoples first assumption would be to choose Hospital A over Hospital B, right? Wrong…

For example, we have to assume that not all patients arrived at the hospital with the same level of health. Therein we can start dividing our results into patients that arrived in good health and ones that arrived in poor health. Immediately we start to see a difference in results. The further we look into the stat, the more variables seem to have been be left out! Differentiating and delving as deep as we need dive in the pool of data until we’re finally data-stricken with a clean conclusive study, and absolved of our confirmative biases.

“Most People”

In the case of Hospital A, for 100 patients that arrived in poor health 30 survived. (30%) On the other hand, Hospital B had 400 patients arriving in poor health and from that total, 210 survived. Thus, we can conclude that Hospital B, with a survival rate of 52.5%, is the best choice for patients that arrive in poor health.

Your Mind Must Be Open to Learn

What doesn’t seem to strike anyone but the marketers and people behind the media who themselves strike with this exact tactic, is the fact that “Most People” are whom our country is run by here in the democratic west. And if: “We need not make democracy safe for society, but society safe for democracy” –MLA. Then we should start by teaching everyday media users, media literacy surrounding how to interpret the information they’re hit with. And how marketers can be taking them for a ride to God-knows-where.

Ok, that’s if the patient is in poor health…but what about if the patient is in good health?

Curiously, Hospital B continues to be the best choice with a survival rate of 98%! So, now comes the real question: how can Hospital A have an overall better survival rate if Hospital B has better survival rate for patients in each of the two groups!? Congratulations, you’ve now understood why it’s a Paradox! The same set of data appears to show opposite trends depending on how it is grouped. This occurs when data hides a conditional variable, which is a factor that significantly influences the results. (And there are plenty of them) Here the conditioned variable is patient’s health when arriving at the hospital.

Moreover, it is often argued that mathematics have no place in court because of their sheer ability to manipulate the Jury with little or no context. Public speakers, politicians, and other people of influence, understand how to exaggerate, or misleadingly state their views, findings, and statements for maximum cause and affect.

This is why information is more dangerous than water, or even poison…

But are you going to stop learning? Because of the toxicity levels of certain information? Or are you going to find better and more meaningful sources for such information?

Cheers,

Mackenzie Andres

Founder | Head of Copy

THE BLOCK BARD

http://www.theblockbard.com

Apply To Join Our Exclusive Contributor Network!

~ Hi there!

We love finding new, excellent professionals to feature in our blog. If you hold a sales, marketing, or revenue-oriented title, you are welcome to submit a pitch — or get the conversation going on topic ideas.

But before you submit, please make sure you read our B&G Content Guidelines We know they look long, but they actually take only a few minutes to read. If you’d like us to spend our time working with you, please invest a little of yours in reading those guidelines.

Once you’ve read the guidelines, send your pitch to contact@theblockbard.com.

We often find great ideas in unexpected places. The next article published on THE BLOCK BARD ‘Business & Growth’ could be yours!

Mac

Featured

Boxing DAYS across the Commonwealth

The week following Christmas is arguably the best time of the year to get your hands on a lot of things that are well below their market value. Boxing Day, which always falls onDecember 26, is observed as an official public holiday in the UK and many European countries, as well as countries in the British Commonwealth such as Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa, among others. America has decided that, much like the metric system and extra U’s in certain words, it will not embrace this particular tradition…

Americans have held fast to their Thanksgiving and Black Friday traditions, the latter signifies the Christmas shopping season and it is after that you start seeing the obvious transition into the Christmas spirit. When Boxing Day falls on a weekend, countries that observe it designate the subsequent Monday as a holiday.

Where did Boxing Day come from?

Origin stories of the holiday are mixed: Some say the name comes from the British aristocracy’s habit of presenting their servants with gifts on the day after Christmas, once their own celebration was over and lowly employees could finally get some time off. Another popular suggestion is that it arose from the tradition of making charitable donations during the Christmas season, wherein people would give boxes of food and other supplies to the less fortunate and churches would set out donation boxes to collect for the poor. Yet another theory posits it is in reference to the Alms box which the church used to collect special donations tied to the Feast of Saint Stephen.

St. Stephen’s Day, synonymous with Boxing Day as they both fall on December 26th, is a saint’s day commemorating the first Christian martyr. Saint Stephen was a deacon at the Church of Jerusalem who was stoned to death after enraging a Jewish audience before the rabbinic court.

Most of the European countries extend the religious fervor and festivities well into the 26th and even consider it a second Christmas Day.
Despite having British origins Boxing Day has been taken on regional transformations as it has developed over the centuries. Boxing Day has become a day of sports, as Vice explains:

“Of the 92 fully professional teams in England’s Football League, there are 46 live matches. Even in the Conference, England’s fifth and sixth tiers, where many teams are semi-pro, every club is at it. In the Southern Hemisphere, things are just as festive and equally sporty. The Melbourne Cricket Ground, the fabled, 160-year-old temple to cricket, is full: Australia is taking on India in the annual Boxing Day Test. Similar matches, in addition to an uncountable number of other sporting events, are taking place in New Zealand and South Africa.”

In the U.S. and the U.K.

Many in the UK show up to their favourite sports matches as players are stretched thin with the large and extended amount of games that are scheduled in such a short time. The Australian National Cricket Team hosts a Boxing Day match against its fiercest rivals and entertains thousands at the impressive Melbourne Cricket Ground. New Zealand and South Africa are hotbeds for Horse Racing and money is won and lost as many bet on their
favourites.

However, one common denominator is that many countries have taken a holiday that’s said to have its roots in charitable giving and transformed it into a massive event that indulges in consumerism and commercial excess.

This is the integration and the coalescence of culture and markets in the West.

Thanks for reading!

Kareem Abdurazag

THE BLOCK BARD

Writer | Culture & Humanities Blogger

http://www.theblockbard.com

Apply To Join Our Exclusive Contributor Network!

~ Hi there!

We love finding new, excellent social-science professionals to feature in our blog. If you hold a culture or humanities-oriented title, you are welcome to submit a pitch — or get the conversation going on topic ideas.

But before you submit, please make sure you read our C&H Content Guidelines We know they look long, but they actually take only a few minutes to read. If you’d like us to spend our time working with you, please invest a little of yours in reading those guidelines.

Once you’ve read the guidelines, send your pitch to contact@theblockbard.com.

We often find great ideas in unexpected places. The next article published on THE BLOCK BARD Culture & Humanities could be yours!

Mac

Featured

Email Marketing isn’t DEAD! It’s more ALIVE than ever. Here’s Why.

Most e-commerce stores… even the big giants like Amazon and Alibaba know all-too-well that the majority of their sales comes from email marketing to already existing customers and buyers.

Let me repeat that: majority of their sales comes from email marketing to already existing customers

People often think it’s dead because every company rushed into it so quickly. The average person gets 121 emails a day. The human race as a whole gets 193.3 billion. Business emails account for 108.7 billion. These are big numbers. And since you cannot buy products without making an account on these platforms for the #1 reason that… they want YOUR EMAIL, we’ve been bombarded with terrible email marketing and advertisements for years now.

The worst is when your email gets sold to a third party and you get these terribly spammy articles you can never seem to get rid of! And this happens all the time, a company says they made X amount from their email-list this year, and then another business thinks they can generate the same amount even if they’re in a completely different industry… And so, says “I’ll buy your list!”

The Good News?

With all the awful ads and emails going around it’s never been easier to make yours STAND OUT, GET NOTICED, and then finally GET BOUGHT!

In fact, email can drive more sales than social media and display ads combined.

And one thing you’ll often here in the entrepreneurial and marketing world is that the only thing you own is your list.

This is because you’ve built it yourself. They either know you, or they know your business, they remember opting in (hopefully), and they likely remember why they opted in. Plus it’s free to message your list. (But don’t overdue it).

This is why it is so crucial to not only know-well your list members, but to continuously nurture, add, and bring value, to those you’ve both just added in, and already had.

What’s Wrong with Most Emails?

While companies realize the impact email has on its consumers, most don’t understand how crucial it is to hire a good copywriter, who preferably knows the industry.

Most online stores will use an ad that looks like this:

NOW… While it’s not a terrible creative, or even a bad offer… there is nothing special about it whatsoever. It might even see 5, maybe 10% engagement… But the problem is it doesn’t quite identify with anyone. This is a classic ad example from the old-school advertising scene where people had to advertise to everyone watching a certain news channel at a certain time, or a certain sports event during halftime. They were usually made for a broad and more general audience because they couldn’t exactly target specific 16 year olds who like hip-hop and McDonald’s on Wednesday nights in January… like we can now.

How To Organize YOUR List

You can separate and group your email-list however you want, and as deep as you see fit. Some might even say the deeper you go the more money is to be made. The basic groups would be of course:

-Gender (men and women buy different things)

-Age (teens and adults buy different things)

-Interests (nerds and jocks buy different things, [this isn’t an 80’s movie but you get the point])

Take a look at this targeted email from Clinique make-up brand:

Obviously female targeted
Obviously male targeted

Notice how much more effort went into the Women directed ad, than did the Mens? This is probably because women are their target market and they have all-the-more competition to compete with when it comes to nurturing those sales. Whereas men don’t spend much time shopping for and comparing cosmetics, so they’re more likely to buy off the same person they bought from last time.

Which Emails are Usually Sent?

  • Invite people to browse your store. (Be unique)
  • Sending product suggestions based on previous purchases and browsing history. (This can be annoying and creepy to customers, so be mindful)
  • Upsell customers as they go through the buying process. (VistaPrint loves this)
  • Send thank you emails after the purchase with more product ideas. (Make it authentic and genuine)
  • Include product suggestions in the shipping and receipt email. (“You might also like” is overdone)
  • Utilize abandoned cart, category, and check out emails to recapture sales. (Make it fun and different. Tailor to your industry)
  • Alert someone about an approaching deadline on an offer. (If you have data that they showed interest, otherwise it might in some cases seem spammy)

According to the Direct Marketing Association, Email Marketing alone yields an estimated 4,300 percent ROI. Every dollar spent on email marketing offers a return of $44, says ExactTarget.

Now that’s a statistic, and while I won’t get into interpreting those right now, it does look pretty AWSOME right off the bat, right?

That’s because it is !!!

Go Start Email Marketing Today! (If you haven’t already) But remember not to do it wrong. There might NOT be a RIGHT way to email market, but there is definitely a WRONG way.

If you need any advice or ideas for engaging email sequences give Me a shout personally.

Cheers,

Mackenzie Andres

Founder | Head of Copy

THE BLOCK BARD

http://www.theblockbard.com

Apply To Join Our Exclusive Contributor Network!

~ Hi there!

We love finding new, excellent professionals to feature in our blog. If you hold a sales, marketing, or revenue-oriented title, you are welcome to submit a pitch — or get the conversation going on topic ideas.

But before you submit, please make sure you read our B&G Content Guidelines We know they look long, but they actually take only a few minutes to read. If you’d like us to spend our time working with you, please invest a little of yours in reading those guidelines.

Once you’ve read the guidelines, send your pitch to contact@theblockbard.com.

We often find great ideas in unexpected places. The next article published on THE BLOCK BARD ‘Business & Growth’ could be yours!

Mac

Featured

How To Write Controversial Copy that Gets Engagements

You’re probably asking yourself: Why would I want to write controversial copy?!

Because any persuasion be it written or spoken starts with you sharing your beliefs for the sole purpose of changing theirs.

And the best way to be sure you do that is by getting them to read your stuff!

Here is a great example of how I maintained ridiculous engagement (by supposedly busy people) on a post where I explained the stark realities of the porn industry and its overbearing affects on men and women. Because I chose to share my views, or rather the views of the most successful and valuable people on the planet (since it is they I aim to take after) with a group that I met at partying in high school… I was of course met with laughs and defensiveness… But nonetheless ENGAGEMENT.

And while we understand you can’t convince everyone, and might be hated for trying –Most people will never see their sickness, or rather choose not to because it is often so painful to look at. We know in our hearts that they will remember what I said because they definitely READ IT. They definitely ENGAGED. And they definitely FELT their semi-conscious crooked value systems under fire as if their thoughts were being attacked by a spiritual Tony Robbins or something.

Without this FEELING there is no change… And since reading, by a term dubbed ‘neuro-plasticity,’ they will never again be the same people. And think twice before supporting a sex-worker who wanted to, and all-well could’ve been, an artist, actor, doctor, or any other noble profession…

NOW if I were to try selling these people a product or service I would be screwed! (But I’ve written long enough and in enough industries to know just who it is I’m writing for, and what it is I’m writing for…

And since I’m not trying to make any friends or sales with that particular scene or audience, I can mess around with what gets reactions and what gets resentment. What gets discussion, and what gets crickets. And use the recorded data to improve my copywriting for future political parties and their campaigns. As-well as my marketing and social studies portfolio, which I could then give away as incentive to showcase my work, in that field.

But Who Would Use This Kind of Marketing ?

Articles in the form of this particular kind of marketing are often put out by political oppositions aiming not so much to get votes, but instead lose the opposition theirs.

You can see it happen every election season by the big media companies, whom in their being paid to smear the ‘op and get traffic for their pay-per-click ads, will go to ridiculous lengths even-so-much-as putting out 300 word nonsense articles with crazy headlines completely off their niche to get you to like, click and share.

Usually written between a grade 3 and grade 6 level, they’re sure to be read by a wider range of peoples. This Blog is written between a grade 6 and grade 9 level. Whereas my essays are written at what I like to call a grade 16 level, as you could spend a good 30 minutes re-reading and interpreting whats being conveyed, and how such conveying is commenced. My poems, found at theblockbard Historical Poems are written at about a grade 8 level… originally meant for kids, and to teach them the classics, I ended up getting a bit too spicy with my wordplay. So now it’s for fun-adults, or to be read before kids, and too them, until one day they can read it themselves.

“Marketing is not a synonym for advertising, public relations, or telemarketing; those are aspects of marketing communications. Rather, as the Canadian Marketing Association (2010) defines it, marketing is “a set of business practices designed to plan for and present an organization’s products or services in ways that build effective customer relationships.” In other words, when applied to politics, marketing entails a political organization using business techniques to inform and shape its strategic behaviours that are designed to satisfy citizens’ needs and wants.” – UBC Press 2011

Notice how at the end it says ‘satisfy citizens’ needs and wants‘, and not their own. This is the paradox democratic nations everywhere face wherein the very people vying for power will do anything and promise anything to please their peoples. Whether or not they choose to live up to those promises and doings is another story, and sort of depends on how proximal and probable such promises are.

Cheers,

Mackenzie Andres

THE BLOCK BARD

Founder | Head of Copy

http://www.theblockbard.com

Apply To Join Our Exclusive Contributor Network!

~ Hi there!

We love finding new, excellent sales professionals to feature in our blog. If you hold a sales, marketing, or revenue-oriented title, you are welcome to submit a pitch — or get the conversation going on topic ideas.

But before you submit, please make sure you read our B&G Content Guidelines We know they look long, but they actually take only a few minutes to read. If you’d like us to spend our time working with you, please invest a little of yours in reading those guidelines.

Once you’ve read the guidelines, send your pitch to contact@theblockbard.com.

We often find great ideas in unexpected places. The next article published on THE BLOCK BARD ‘Business & Growth’ could be yours!

Mac

Featured

How ‘bit links’ are Killing Your Conversions & Click-Rate

Ever looked in someone’s captions only to find a bunch of links labelled ‘bit.ly‘ ?

What is this? And why do people do it?

Originally made for convenience, as well as to shorten any long and or jargon filled domain names, link shorteners are becoming an evermore popular trend in the social media scene, where the entities providing you with these services aim to balance keeping you on their app/platform, with promoting businesses and business owners effectively.

The PROBLEM with this?

Link shorteners not only show people nothing of what they offer as they are too some jargoned code with numbers and letters. But worse, they surprise the client whose taken both automatically and immediately to a page they might not’ve otherwise clicked on.

While these make sense if you’re linking to something you do not own, or have previously explained… including them in your bio or captions which go to and are seen by people who may not even follow you in the first place can be disastrous for your clicks and conversions.

Why? Because of what Seth Godin calls ‘interruption marketing‘. A form of marketing that not only kills your conversions, it… dare I say it; makes peoples annoyed at your company. Even dislike them…

so bit links can get me more clicks???”

“No. They get you WORSE clicks”

Not less clicks. Worse clicks. These clickers taken by surprise aren’t buying your product or service. (Unless your copywriting is that great). They’ve just been surprised or, interrupted. Even if you got them to click on your link, (which is the most important, and hardest part) they’ve clicked on something that changes its domain name directly before their eyes making them feel lesser like a person, and moreso like a customer in a funnel. Which, mind you, they are. But that’s not the experience we’re trying to put upon their lives through our product/service now is it?

The last thing we want to do is betray our customers trust, loyalty, and curiosity.

What about my clicks? This can kill your clicks too for the simple reason that people have no clue what they are clicking on… Is it going to be cars.com? monsters.org? realestateforidiots? or some inappropriate prank website or virus?

“In fact, relying on URL shorteners to aid the social management process can ultimately hurt social media in an organization and downplay its value by eliminating important social traffic data in Google Analytics. If your boss or client sees skewed results – fewer sessions and conversions from social media than should be attributed — it may be decided that social media is something he or she no longer wishes to continue.” – Megalytics

Keep your URLs clean, descriptive, non-redundant and easy to read.

Most marketers know that shorter web domains get more web visits. For instance, I could’ve taken this a step further by removing ‘the‘ from The Block Bard and leaving it as blockbard.com

Using the full URL promotes honesty, transparency, as well as decent digital hygiene. Which can only mean posting short URL’s does the exact opposite.

But the most important aspect of a business isn’t the number of clicks and traffic generated by its various sources; it is after all, its revenue.

And focusing on vanity metrics like followers, rather than conversions won’t do anything for you if they’re not engaged. And engaging.

Every source has it own measures of engagement, for example when making vlogs or short videos, you should care less about the likes, and more about the 3-second versus 1-minute views. As well as shares. Shares are free and they grow your engagement not only fast, but for free! (otherwise known as organic traffic). But if you are making a blog, then you’ll want to see that every reader stays at least a minute or 2 before disengaging. The longer they stay, the better your website (to that particular person or audience) and the more likely they are to trust you and buy from you. Maybe you’ve heard that the longer the sale drags on the less likely they are to buy. While this is true; we wouldn’t have things like FOMO (fear-of-missing-out) and scarcity of supply if it weren’t. The biggest difference is great companies don’t have to sell their product or service, because it is already in demand. Standing on a mound of trust that’s been nurtured since the day that person whose problems you’re going to solve at a profit first found your expertise in the industry.

“The reason engagement has not caught on like wild fire (except in white papers and analyst reports and pundit posts) is that it is a “heart” metric we are trying to measure with “head” data, and engagement is such a utterly unique feeling for each website that it will almost always have a unique definition for each and every website.” –Avinash Kaushik, author of Web Analytics: An Hour A Day

What does engagement with your business look like?

Cheers,

Mackenzie Andres

THE BLOCK BARD

Founder | Head of Copy

http://www.theblockbard.com

Apply To Join Our Exclusive Contributor Network!

~ Hi there!

We love finding new, excellent sales professionals to feature in our blog. If you hold a sales, marketing, or revenue-oriented title, you are welcome to submit a pitch — or get the conversation going on topic ideas.

But before you submit, please make sure you read our B&G Content Guidelines We know they look long, but they actually take only a few minutes to read. If you’d like us to spend our time working with you, please invest a little of yours in reading those guidelines.

Once you’ve read the guidelines, send your pitch to contact@theblockbard.com.

We often find great ideas in unexpected places. The next article published on THE BLOCK BARD ‘Business & Growth’ could be yours!

Mac

Featured

Swiss Influence & the Canadian Alps

Situated on the confluence of Western, Central, and Southern Europe, Switzerland has enjoyed its geopolitical station and has used it to its advantage numerous times throughout history. Switzerland lies in between two mountain ranges, the Swiss Alps which straddle the southern border of the Swiss Confederation and the Jura Mountains which are a sub-Alpine region and cover most of the country’s northern border. Due to the rugged terrain and harsh weather on both mountain ranges, most of the Swiss population lives in the valley that lies at the base of both mountain ranges. Switzerland’s unique geography has played an immense role in the survival of the famous “neutral” state. Throughout the centuries Switzerland has managed to stave off war by embracing its mountainous terrain and using it to its advantage.

During WWII Switzerland managed to become the only neutral state in a ravaged and
war-hungry Europe by playing its cards right. Switzerland’s mountain ranges represented a large part of the country’s transportation systems and they decided it would be the wisest choice to plant thousands of landmines and bombs on their bridges, tunnels, and strategic outposts in the mountains, threatening to blow up any invader that wanted to test their luck.

Canada can be compared to the tiny Swiss state, politically and geographically, in that both modern nations began as confederations and that they share a love for the mountains. Even renowned English mountaineer and explorer Edward Whymper, who was the first to summit the Swiss Matterhorn, one of Europes highest and steepest mountains, once said that the Canadian Rockies are “Fifty Switzerlands in one.”

Canada’s Rocky Mountains represent a small portion of the country but it provided a host of problems for Canada in its infancy. The Rockies were immensely hard to traverse and limited the movement of people and cargo across the country, stifling Canada’s population and economic growth. Thus, Canada embarked on a journey to connect Eastern Canada, which held most of the nation’s population at the time, to the newest addition to the confederation, British Columbia. The Canadian Pacific Railway was founded to provide a link from the province of British Columbia to the eastern provinces. The main difficulty in providing such a link were the Rockies themselves: treacherous mountain passes, fast rivers and sheer drops made for a difficult railway construction process. Nonetheless, CP Rail managed to create Canada’s first transcontinental railway system.
CP Rail was one of the most powerful corporations at the time as it represented the only means by which cargo was transported between the various provinces and across the country.
Additionally, the train provided people across Canada the fastest way of moving in the country and greatly contributed to the settlement and development of Western Canada.
Consequently, CP Rail saw the opportunity to expand its business by funding and building a series of grand hotels to supplement its rail infrastructure and provide travellers with a comfortable and luxurious way of travelling. One of their greatest accomplishments was the building of the great Fairmont Springs Hotel at the base of the Rocky Mountains.

The Fairmont Springs Hotel. Banff, Alberta, Canada.

On August 3, 1896, an American lawyer and avid mountain climber by the name of Phillip S. Abbots slipped and tumbled to his death while free climbing Mount Lefroy. Phillip’s tragic and untimely death on Mount Lefroy in the Lake Louise Region shocked the North American world at the time as it became the first recorded mountaineering fatality in North America. This shocking event led Canadians to see that they were amateurs in the art of mountaineering and decided to invite the renowned mountain experts, the Swiss. The Swiss mountaineers would set up camp in the Fairmont Springs Hotel, sitting at the base of the idyllic Lake Louise. Over the course of the century and with the help of the Swiss experts, Canada would avoid registering another fatality in the Rockies.

Eventually, the influx of Swiss mountaineers would greatly contribute to the unique culture surrounding the Banff Area. R.W Sandford, a Canadian historian and author of “The Canadian Alps: The History of Mountaineering in Canada,” stated that “It was the Swiss guides who made manifest the meaning of having so many beautiful mountains.” Today, 15 of Alberta’s mountain peaks were named in honour of the various Swiss mountaineers.

In 1949, John Monod would open the first ski shop in the Banff area and would enjoy
massive success as the leading authority on skiing. John Monod was a Swiss mountaineer and ski guide who was attracted to Canada by the spectacular Rocky Mountains. John crossed the Atlantic guided by a sense of pioneering spirit and a love for mountains, having been surrounded by them in his native Switzerland. Today, Monod Sports is still operating in Banff and enjoys a famed history. It isn’t hard to see the effects that Swiss culture has had on the Rocky Mountains, from the fondue, a traditional Swiss dish that is shared communally, to the Ski lifts and gondolas, the first ski lift being built in 1908 by a German living in Switzerland, that dot the ski resorts and national parks.

Thanks for reading!

Kareem Abdurazag

THE BLOCK BARD

Writer | Culture & Humanities Blogger

http://www.theblockbard.com

Apply To Join Our Exclusive Contributor Network!

~ Hi there!

We love finding new, excellent social-science professionals to feature in our blog. If you hold a culture or humanities-oriented title, you are welcome to submit a pitch — or get the conversation going on topic ideas.

But before you submit, please make sure you read our C&H Content Guidelines We know they look long, but they actually take only a few minutes to read. If you’d like us to spend our time working with you, please invest a little of yours in reading those guidelines.

Once you’ve read the guidelines, send your pitch to contact@theblockbard.com.

We often find great ideas in unexpected places. The next article published on THE BLOCK BARD Culture & Humanities could be yours!

Mac

Featured

Content Marketing, And How it can Help Your Business

Lead generation and Nurturing are usually defined as collecting someones contact info and building a relationship with them.

What if I told you, you were already starting to form relationships with the people who interact with your content? Even the people who see your content? You’d probably think that’s a hunk of crap, right? But while you may not be building/nurturing these relationships at the same level as you wish, or as companies with good CRM’s (customer relations management)… You are changing the way they see you because content is the brand building tool of 2020’s digital age. Let me repeat that. Content is the brand building tool of 2020’s digital age.

While we run advertisements for companies, and product launches, et cetera, we have no need to run ads to get clients and customers because they all inquire after our content!

I like this post.” “Can you do that for me?” “My company needs X.” And the list goes on… just make sure you have your DM’s on!

I tend to treat lead generation quite loosely. Regardless of the niche, leads are your current or potential customers who don’t mind hearing from your brand. They are your social media followers who might purchase your product/service now and then. These are colder these which often require more nursing or nurturing to finally warm up to your brand.

As Customer Journeys get more convoluted and complex, conversions from those leads become harder to track.

We’ve created content for cleaning companies, real estate agents and agencies, food companies, and a few others, I’m not a photographer or graphic designer and will definitely have to hire one for the team soon here, but in the meantime creating quality content has never been easier with the online tools we’re presented with today. They are in our face, and all over the place, and you don’t need to be an artist or musician, public speaker or professor to create cool photo and video.

So how can content marketing drive your brands leads and conversions through the roof?

Let us take a look:

1. Match Content to Search Intent

Just about all websites are optimized to generate Google organic traffic. In fact my blog gets 100% percent of its traffic organically as of now, and in most cases, this process includes identifying relevant keywords that people are prone to click or search, and including them in the on-page sales-copy, headlines, and anchors/backlinks.

However the corner piece to the optimization puzzle is giving searchers what they were searching for in the first place.

Different search queries imply different search intentions:

  1. Informational intent: Searchers want quick answers, often considered top-funnel intent.
  2. Commercial investigation: Searchers compare options. They are closer to the sale.
  3. Commercial intent: Searchers look for product reviews. These people are ready to buy.
  4. Navigational intent: Searchers want (video) tutorials on how to use a product. These are your current customers who may become your returning buyers or free-trial users who may be converted into paying users.

You need to create different content assets targeting each of those search intents.

For example, I’m not pitching advertising content to my Classical Culture and History followers. Just as I am not pitching Classics and History to my Business Owner Clients interested in advertising… okay, well maybe just a little…

It’s only when they click onto my website that they finally see how my business mediates the two. And we still have separate categories, with separate writers, and ever less separate audiences.

2. Make Your Content Shareable

Let’s say the average Facebook user has 300 friends. If just 10% (30) of those people shared with 30 of their friends, thats 900 people… And it goes on.

Follow groups in your industry and niche, post to them, ask them for feedback.

Match your CTA’s (call-to-actions) with your content, and your audience to your funnel/customer journey.

3. Retarget Bounced Traffic

Email marketing, Facebook Ads, and many other systems and tools are great for re-engaging lost traffic who may have been interested eventually, but forgot the name of your site or business…

Conclusion

Content Marketing is one of the most cost-friendly ways to get your brand and businesses name out there. Especially when starting out. If you don’t have the budget to advertise, or pay someone to help you create the content, you had better be ready to do it yourself. Just remember to ask for help! Crappy content can be more detrimental to your company than none at all.

Cheers,

Mackenzie Andres

THE BLOCK BARD

Founder | Head of Copy

http://www.theblockbard.com

Apply To Join Our Exclusive Contributor Network!

~ Hi there!

We love finding new, excellent sales professionals to feature in our blog. If you hold a sales, marketing, or revenue-oriented title, you are welcome to submit a pitch — or get the conversation going on topic ideas.

But before you submit, please make sure you read our B&G Content Guidelines We know they look long, but they actually take only a few minutes to read. If you’d like us to spend our time working with you, please invest a little of yours in reading those guidelines.

Once you’ve read the guidelines, send your pitch to contact@theblockbard.com.

We often find great ideas in unexpected places. The next article published on THE BLOCK BARD ‘Business & Growth’ could be yours!

Mac

The Holy Grail of Marketing

Today’s market is 𝒏𝒐𝒊𝒔𝒚.

It’s getting harder and harder to contend for a limited amount of attention.

Even more difficult to know who to trust when every guru preaches a different marketing “gospel”.

Maybe you’ve been trying to…

X Build a platform by blogging daily
X Earn trust by creating a lead magnet
X Post free value to social media hoping the market will eventually say “thank you” and buy
X Cold-calling and emailing (yuck)
X Building complex funnels and email sequences you don’t fully understand

and maybe you’re trying all these things at once…

… feeling fatigued, directionless, aimless …

So was I…

I can tell you one thing… the answer is almost 𝐧𝐞𝐯𝐞𝐫 “work harder” or “do more”.

It wasn’t until my business partner and I sat down and made a list of everything we were no longer going to focus on

that we actually started to gain traction and scale…

When we made this list, we were (surprisingly) left with just 3 things…

They’re the only 3 things client businesses need to focus on in order to hit easy, controlled, and sustainable 𝙜𝙧𝙤𝙬𝙩𝙝…

We call these 3 things “The Holy Grail of Marketing”,

and once you have them, you can stop doing a million things at once,

and you can finally have 𝐫𝐞𝐚𝐥 𝐜𝐥𝐚𝐫𝐢𝐭𝐲 on the needle-moving activities that will actually take you to the next level.

Give me 55 minutes, and I’ll save you years of guesswork (that I had to pay in full), by unveiling to you what truly is… The Holy Grail of Marketing.