The factors that make an article go viral are numerous, but one must-have is a headline that encourages people to not only open the article but share it with the whole wide world as well. That means you need to craft a headline that isn’t just SEO-optimized with certain keywords. It needs to engage the reader without being too verbose. Whether you’re writing a blog or an update on Facebook or Twitter, follow these tips to up your chances of getting your headline — and your article — seen by millions.
For starters, and generally speaking, use action words. That includes minimizing the amount of nouns you use and focusing on choosing descriptive verbs. For example, a headline such as “Dogs are known for increasing our happiness, study says” won’t work nearly as effectively as “Dogs increase our happiness, study says.” The active verb automatically engages the reader, whereas verbs like “are” or “is” simply waste space. By using active verbs in your headlines, you automatically cut down on your headline’s length, which also makes your headline more shareable too.
But verbs aren’t the only words that count when crafting shareable headlines. The science behind sharing shows that using certain words in headlines often leads to more engagement, and in turn, more sharing by your readers. These words include “smart,” “surprising,” “hacks,” “huge,” “critical,” “history” and even “science,” particularly in blog post headlines. In status updates on Twitter, popular words in highly shared tweets include “free,” “how to,” “top,” “follow,” “social,” and “please retweet.” As for Facebook, try active verbs like “warns,” “inspires,” “unites” and “amazes.”
Emotions are key to engaging your readers. By eliciting feelings — from awe to anger — you’re getting a reaction out of your readers. In turn, they’ll be more likely to share their reaction with their friends on social media. But getting personal isn’t just about emotions. It’s about showing what you personally are about. By using the word “I” or “Me” in a headline, particularly on Facebook, you’ll often get more likes. And as many bloggers know, the more likes you get, the easier it is to get your content in front of more people.
Craft your headline using the tips above, but don’t write that post or hit publish on your article quite yet. Rather, make Twitter and Facebook resources that can do some legwork and research for you. Test out your headline as a simple status update. Try tweeting out “A visit to Martha’s Vineyard isn’t complete without Back Door Donuts,” and then an hour later, tweet out, “Must-Try Stops on my Martha’s Vineyard Trip? Back Door Donuts.”
Whichever post gets more retweets or favorites wins and becomes your new headline. You can also use Twitter and Facebook to test ideas for posts and see how well a fun fact does in terms of shares and favorites as well before you pen an article that takes you a good hour to write.
You can craft the best headline possible and have it get lost in the crowd if you share it on social media at the wrong time. For starters, don’t bother posting in the middle of night when your target audience is most likely sleeping. Rather, focus on posting in the morning or afternoon, even if that means scheduling your posts in advance. If you know your target audience is most likely online during their lunch hour, too, test out that time frame as well. As always, track your engagement by looking at your Twitter and Facebook insights so you can focus on what works best for you and your headlines.
There’s no need to be shy on social media sites. After all, Facebook and Twitter are designed for people to share what you share. According to Twitter, when people ask for retweets of their content, those tweets get shared 13% more often — and that can mean a sizeable bump in traffic to your headline and content.
In addition to trying out the above, try these tricks as well to make your headlines even more shareable:
Use numbers. People love lists, often because it means you’re offering practical advice. Just be sure to use the numeral rather than spelling out the number. For example, “5 Things You Must Bring on Your European Vacation” literally spells out what the reader will gain from clicking open your article.
Example of a list post
Teach your readers something new. In the same vein as using numbers, readers love to learn something new, which is why “how to” and DIY articles are so popular. But you don’t need to only use “how” and DIY to demonstrate what you’ll be teaching. For one, a headline like “History of the World’s Tallest Buildings” is not only informative, but it uses a highly shareable word in the world of headlines: “history.”
Word choice clearly matters when it comes to crafting a shareable headline, but it doesn’t stop there. Always consider your audience and what’s valuable to them. If you can capture that in a few words, your headline will be golden.
Adrienne is a freelance writer and designer obsessed with social media. You can get in touch with her on Twitter at @adrienneerin or by visiting her blog.
A great content marketing strategy may essentially be the response you need if you are small business owner seeking quality web traffic for your site. This might just be the strategy you need to increase the quantity of sales you are get without putting off your current customers and breaking your bank.
The theory of a web content strategy is pretty simple. It is a worthy alternative to tiring internet users with hollow marketing campaigns that rudely interrupt people’s lives while you try to make sales. Instead your strategy ought to offer helpful information that is both esteemed and cherished by people who are keenly seeking solutions to their problems.
It is here that content marketing comes into the picture. Content marketing involves aggressively writing and publishing value-based web content that seeks to draw prospective customers that are indirectly looking for products and services like yours.
In other words, a robust content marketing tactic, prepared for you, would look first to understand accurately what your prime target market is keenly seeking, then come up with web content that answers that articulated need, by not only providing useful information but also promoting your product or service in the process.
The plan is often to catch the prospects’ attention, by engaging them with your content. Your first goal in this case is to get permission to deliver your product as a solution to the topic at hand. Doing it this way gives you a chance to build up some trust, which indirectly means having the chance to have repeated interactions with the prospect and probably making a sale later.
There are many ways one can gain by having a well-planned and executed content marketing strategy. One can do this by publishing an enlightening blog, or creating video tutorials, or sending out e-mail newsletters. But if, you are not well acquainted with what, specifically, prospective clients are actively seeking, you will end up wasting a lot of time. That is why you need to remember that the answer to kicking off a triumphant content marketing strategy is, putting yourself in the consumers’ shoes. Think like them as you actively look for information on how to solve their problems or concerns.
If you succeed in doing this, you will be able to look for ways that you can provide the right information that answers their concerns and thereby improves their lives. Meaning, you will educate the prospective customer first on how to solve their problem or what to look out for, before cleverly pointing them towards your product or service.
To introduce your product or service, you will use certain phrases or words in your marketing content campaign that online shoppers often use in their search queries. Then you will optimize these search words by adding your content to turn them into readable and informative web content. This has to be done cleverly to ensure the information presented makes sense and also does not put off the search engines. For example, if your search word or keyword is “E-book creation,” then telling internet surfers something important about E-book creation” and ensuring the keywords are not overused in the articles is key. Most online marketers are even opting to use the keywords only twice in their web content so as not to offend the search engines.
So remember the phrase that “content is king” when it comes to online marketing. Prospective customers are repeatedly seeking information that solves some challenge that they have. They are not directly looking for an immediate sales pitch. They are looking for someone to trust with their problem. They are looking for credibility and an authority in a certain area that is troubling them. It is here that content marketing comes in and, somehow, overcomes sales resistance; while all along providing the information that these prospects are after. In other words, it lets an internet marketer put on two hats; one as a reliable counsel and the other for a salesperson.
This is what online businesses that have the maximum accomplishments in terms of lead generation and sales are doing. They are blending their product in web content that is very informative and useful to internet users. So, if you are a small business owner in need of a content marketing strategy for your Business, then go ahead and get one as you are taking the right step.
Jason Smith is an online consultant for Hitches – speciality hitches . Jason likes blogging about online strategies that are related to SEO, Content, PPC & Lead generation. In his free time he likes to study about web designing and practice Jiu Jitsu.
There are two things you should keep in mind when writing good blog content for your website, 1 is that copy should always be written first for humans and second for search engines. One thing you do not want to happen is to get so caught up in the SEO side of your writing that is becomes difficult to read from the user side. Don’t forget that writing requires some creative flow in order to keep your reader attracted and reading. Too much technical SEO in the writing can cause your readers to simply walk away from your content.
Here are some ways to create good search engine copy for your blog:
You should always have some keyword research as a tool when you start conducting your writing. It is perfectly normal to include high usage keywords into your writing but you need to be supplied with the ammo prior to writing so you can do some preliminary brainstorming. Sure you could conduct keyword research as you go but it is sometimes easier to just do it prior so you can focus on your writing.
I think this is probably a given but copying content from other sites is just wrong. If you see something you would like to quote and write and opinion on that piece that is one thing but to copy someone else’s content because you don’t feel like writing is not going to do anything for your blog, brand or your business. Search engines are starting to realize who wrote a piece of content first so if you want your material to rank this is simply a bad practice.
Outbound links are just as important as inbound links. If you are writing about material that a more influential and powerful source might have touched upon it is OK to link to them. Search engines like to see external linking even if it might be to a competitor’s web site. From a search engine stand point it shows that you are a team player and you are willing to increase the overall user experience on your site regardless. At times you might be reward for this action.
Interlinking web pages and blog posts is just good SEO. If you have written similar topics in the past interlinking those posts will help strengthen your current posts by passing along power in between blog posts and pages. It will also help increase your overall user experience by showcasing some other posts related to the same topic they might enjoy reading.