Social Media Marketers’ Secret Weapon: The Headline

Hello there! It is amazing to know you enjoyed my headline enough to click into this post!

Did you know that only 20% of people that read a headline will actually read the rest of a post?

Now let’s consider a Twitter news feed. The numbers begin to fall even more. As a small business owner, this can become disheartening. You spend so much time crafting a great post only to have 8 out of 10 people read the headline and move on. So what should you do? You should focus more on writing great headlines!

Headlines Are Rarely An Area Of Focus

We are all guilty of ignoring the headline. We get so wrapped up in writing the paragraphs or finding the most eye-catching images that we end up using the first title that comes to mind. The problem with this is that without a good headline, all of the hard work you put into the other aspects of your content will be a waste. After all, isn’t our main goal to get as many views, comments and shares as possible when we create content?

The Worst Type Of Headline

In order to be successful as a content marketer, you must build trust with your audience. The best marketers create so much trust that people turn to them any time they need information. You know the best way to lose trust? Click-bait headlines. An example of a click-bait headline is: You Won’t Believe What Happened Next! The problem with these types of headlines is they do not tell a reader anything, and their sole purpose is to get as many clicks as possible. What ends up happening most times is readers click into the article excited to see what it is about, only to realize it was a giant waste of their time. Rule of thumb: don’t waste people’s time. Ever.

Great Headlines Boost SEO (Search Engine Optimization)

Search engines are the librarians of the internet. When you enter in keywords into Google, it scans the internet for information containing these keywords. Headlines help search engines quickly understand what a piece of content is generally about.

When you create headlines, you want to make sure you include powerful keywords that will help search engines find your content. Be as specific as possible when it comes to optimizing for SEO. If your target market is small businesses, then including “small business” in your headline makes it easier for search engines to show your content to small business minded searchers.

A strategy I have found effective is defining a keyword or phrase I want to include in my headline and then building the rest of my headline around it.

Spend At Least 30% Of Your Time On The Headline

Writing great headlines takes time. If you really want to take your content to the next level, you need to be willing to spend time on headlines. Spending about 30% of your time on the headline will help prevent your great content from going unnoticed.

5 Easy Ways To Come Up With Great Headlines

  1. Set a timer for 10 minutes and write every headline that comes to mind: Even if the headline seem ridiculous, write it down! You can always come up with a better variation once you see your entire list.
  2. Go for a walk
  3. Study the headlines top media outlets or bloggers are using
  4. Brainstorm with co-workers: Create a Google Doc and share it with everyone you work with so they can suggest both content topics and headlines
  5. Don’t overthink it: Great headlines are specific, unique and have a sense of urgency. Stick to these three criteria, and you will be well on your way!

headlineFinal Thoughts

The average attention span online has now dropped to just eight seconds, one-second shorter than the average attention span of a goldfish. Embarrassing, I know. Eight seconds certainly isn’t enough time to read your entire post, but it is the perfect amount of time to read a headline. What are some of the creative ways you come up with engaging headlines? Let me know in the comments below!

xavier davisXavier Davis is the Social Media Superhero at eClincher, a single platform which allows businesses to efficiently manage and track social media and website activities with insightful, actionable, and meaningful real-time reports. Companies can view, plan, manage and analyze social media activity and online advertising campaigns and, crucially, understand the impact of that activity on the business website. When Xavier takes off the cape, he can be found watching basketball, playing Xbox or enjoying the outdoors.

Super-Charge Your Content Marketing Strategy With Keyword Research

Like many of you, I am also a small business owner. In my case, I spend every day and even most weekends trying to generate new business for my clients. With time being my most valuable asset, I have to be wise about the limited time I can spend on content marketing for my own business. So believe me, I know your struggle.

When it comes to blogging, guest blogging, or any type of SEO or content marketing plan for my own business, I have to think very carefully about what to write and where to post it. In fact, every word in this blog post you are reading now, including the text and the title, all have a very specific purpose. The goal is not only to reach you, my ideal customer, it’s also engineered to create SEO value for my business, as well as build authority for my personal brand, – while at the same time, giving you the most valuable advice I have to offer. Let me explain how I do it.

keywords make content kingOne of my biggest competitive advantages over other providers of content marketing services is my keyword research methodology. I spend a little bit of time to determine how prospective clients search for content; then I create content around that topic.

If that strategy sounds familiar, it should. My inbound marketing strategy is all about building content around my ideal customers. In other words, I am practicing what Duct Tape Marketing preaches. I am just applying it in a hyper-focused way for SEO.

I have been reverse engineering websites from consumer search behavior for ten years, which is why I instantly fell in love with Duct Tape Marketing and eventually became a Duct Tape Marketing Certified Consultant.

My biggest and best content marketing tactic is based on a free tool. I use Google’s Keyword Planner, and I use it every day. In this case, I used it to find out what and how people are searching for content marketing services.

I compiled the data and created a topic and title around the search data, and then found the best possible home from my existing content distribution channel. I define a content distribution channel as all of the websites, people, and social media channels in person’s network.

I only spent five minutes pulling up the data below. Check out the keywords in the following screenshot, and then re-read this post and to see how I have strategically and naturally used wording that matches the way people are searching for this content right now. By spending an extra 5 minutes on strategy, I’ve made this blog post 500 times more valuable by engineering the content around search behavior.

Note: you do not need to stuff a post with keywords, just try to include some of the most searched, most competitive phrases with higher suggested bid amounts. For example, I could not find a way to use the phrase “b2b content marketing” because I could not find a creative, natural way to include it in this post. Oops, well, maybe I did. You get the point:

seo

This is the way a professional content marketing agency does it (or should do it) and now you can too. I just gave you a way to vastly improve the SEO value and inbound marketing potential of every new blog post you or your team writes.

philipsingletonPhil Singleton is a search engine optimization and small business marketing consultant based in Kansas City. Phil is also a Duct Tape Marketing™ Certified Consultant and is currently writing a book with four other Duct Tape Marketing Consultants called: The Small Business Owner’s Guide To Local Lead Generation. To get more tips and advice on how to get more sales out of your website and online marketing efforts, follow Phil’s Google+ Page or visit: The Kansas City Marketing Agency™.

4 Ways SEO is Evolving in 2015

Today’s Guest Post is by Jonathan Long – Enjoy!

SEO is constantly evolving and in order to be successful you need to be willing to adapt. The algorithm updates and data refreshes aren’t going to stop anytime soon, and neither is search engine optimization. Here are four areas that you need to pay attention to moving forward.

1. Mobile is here, and it isn’t going anywhere.

Google just announced that starting on April 21st mobile-friendliness is going to be a mobile search algorithm factor. This shouldn’t come as a shock to anyone, as they recently started to include a “Mobile-friendly” notation in the mobile search results next to websites that they deem to provide a good user experience for mobile users. Google also released a tool that will analyze any URL and instantly tell you if it has what they consider a mobile-friendly design.

IMAGE-1Mobile traffic has already surpassed desktop traffic so if you aren’t currently focused on mobile when laying out your SEO strategy you are falling behind. Google, as well as Bing, have made it public that they like to see single-URL responsive websites rather than a separate mobile site. You can see if Google thinks your website is mobile-friendly by clicking here.

2. Keyword ranking reports are out, and conversion reporting is in.

Ranking on top of the organic search results is great but it doesn’t always translate into revenue. SEO companies used to send out a monthly keyword ranking report and as long as they showed improvement (or continued top rankings) everything was dandy.

What good does ranking #1 for a non-buyer keyword do aside from allowing an SEO company to claim top rankings? Let me ask you something. As a business owner what would you rather hear:

• “We have excellent news! We have you ranking #1 on Google for ten keywords, but we aren’t sure if it is delivering a strong ROI for you.” 

OR

• “Last month the infographic we created earned 37 high-quality links and attracted 46 conversions, which accounted for $18,675 of your monthly revenue.”

Your leads, sales and revenue tell you whether or not the SEO strategy is working — not ranking reports.

3. You need creative and well thought out link-earning strategies.

Everyone and their brother are preaching to “create quality content” but let’s be real for a minute. The reason is to gain inbound links. Throughout all of the algorithm updates, the importance of high-quality links has never diminished. They still are and will continue to be, an influential signal of authority and trust.

It just takes some creativity to attract them, and that is where the quality content comes into play. Publishing great content on your website will get your audience to return on a regular basis and share it via social media. You can also pick up some relevant natural links from this.

Content assets such as definitive guides and infographics, when done right, attract natural links because if they truly are well done other websites won’t be able to resist linking to them. Focus on creating something new and exciting and then do an aggressive outreach alerting the media and major players in your industry about what you just created. I’ve seen infographics continue to attract inbound links years after first being published.

4. SEO and traditional PR are morphing into one.

A large part of SEO is all about building relationships, similar to how a PR agency builds relationships. A great PR firm has built strong relationships with journalists and reporters to the point that they can reach out directly as soon as they have newsworthy information to share. From an SEO perspective, these same kind of relationships can help you earn links from amazing industry related websites that Google views as having authority.

While links are very important, you have to also understand why brand mentions, or “implied links” need to be part of your strategy. When a brand is popular and major media outlets are mentioning them are they linking out to them every single time? No. There will be many occurrences of just implied links, so keep that in the back of your mind when you are laying out your SEO strategy.

This is just the tip of the iceberg — how else do you see SEO evolving? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.

Jonathan LongJonathan Long is the Founder & CEO of Market Domination Media, an online marketing agency that develops custom online marketing strategies utilizing outside the box thinking. Connect with him on Twitter and visit his company’s blog for more tips.