Forget the Overly Creative Headline and Deliver Great Content
Before I dive into this article, I want to note that I do believe every article needs a title. I gave this article a title. However, the amount of articles and other content around the web that do not live up to the creative headlines they are given is astounding. I don’t get it. After clicking, people arrive at the LinkedIn post or blog article and are disappointed, and subsequently bash the authors in the comment section for not living up to the attention-grabbing title.
Using misleading titles will eventually catch up to an author. There is a lot more to great content than a creative headline. In my opinion, the following six aspects are a good place to start when working on a content marketing strategy.
Create appropriate titles:
I like to give my articles their titles after I have written them. Of course, I jump into a piece of content with a plan, but I do not give it a name until it has reached a certain degree of completion. An appropriate title sums up the article and catches the attention of scanners. It can be controversial. It can be a question. It can be short. It can be long. But it SHOULD NOT be misleading. This is where some authors get into trouble with their readers.
Be your reader
Great content is of course subjective. Be sure you are tailoring your offering to your desired audience. You cannot please everyone. There will always be trolls and haters. Don’t let that discourage you from producing great content! If you know your audience and are delivering insights that help them be successful, you will likely develop a strong reader base. Using the exercise of “putting yourself in someone else’s shoes” will allow you to tailor your content and continually come up with new ideas.
When was the last time you heard someone say “wow, that was a really helpful title!” When I hear and read statistics that 80 or 90% of people will read the title but only 10 or 20% will continue reading, I wonder how many people within that delta are simply disappointed by the first few sentences they read and feel duped. That is why reputation is key in the content arena. Be known for great content, not great titles. Provide your audience with actual tips on how they can improve their business, life, vacation, health, and so on. It is not a coincidence that articles with “Tips” or “How to…” in the title do so well. These titles are not overly creative, but address specific problems for which people are looking for solutions.
There are two aspects to the topic of reliability. Firstly, being reliable refers to the consistency of your posts. When I started my first blog, I set the goal of delivering content every Monday and every Friday. This is a rhythm I have kept for the past five years. Readers of this blog know when to check back for new content. The continual updates to website are also beneficial for organic search rankings.
The second aspect of reliability has to do with the actual content matter at hand. A major goal is to have readers and visitors feel comfortable taking your message and sharing it with their network of friends, family and colleagues. This requires the use of reliable and trustworthy sources as a basis for your work. Be sure to check the sources you link to!
Blogging and content creation are all about bringing a new perspective to the table. Articles should be original and encourage discussion. If your entire industry is writing about one topic, don’t just write what your competitors are writing. Instead, add a twist to the story line. Shed some light on your personal experience. Ask questions that haven’t been asked a thousand times before.
Just like a stock portfolio, content should be diversified. Laying all your content eggs in the text blog basket is not enough these days. Sure, this might help with search engine optimization in the long run, but so will video blogs, infographics, microblogs and podcasts. There are so many opportunities and platforms to get your message out. The right mix is certain to draw attention to your content, and in turn, your product or service. If you are like me and don’t like getting in front of the camera, find an expert in your field who does and share their insights on your platform!
Some people have a knack for creating one liners that grab your attention. It is a great skill to have. However, in order to produce successful content, there needs to be more substance. If not, people will eventually stop clicking. It is a pretty clear one-two punch situation:
1. Serve as a helpful, reliable and diversified source of original information.
2. Write an attention-grabbing title that clearly states what the reader can expect
What tips do you have for producing great content?