Thursday, July 5, 2018 by Kristen Hicks
10 Tips for Creating Great Blog TitlesYou probably spend a lot of time creating the content you publish on your blog. Obviously, creating great content is important if you’re going to get the most out of having a business blog, but people won’t bother reading the content you create unless you also nail the title. Blog titles are the first part of your blog post that your readers will see and the part that’s responsible for getting them to click through and read the rest. They’re frequently what people use when they share your blog post, meaning that any time a reader likes your content enough to share it with their social network, it’s the part of the blog their followers will see. In other words, the success of your post absolutely depends on coming up with a good blog title. To strengthen your title-writing game, here are a few tips that will help you create great blog titles.
1. Learn the Popular Headline Formulas.Over the years, a lot of bloggers and marketers have done research to see how different types of headlines perform in comparison to others and they’ve found some clear trends in what people choose to click on. You can benefit from the work others have done by studying up on the formulas that are proven to work. A few types of headlines that routinely perform well include:
- Number headlines – Any headline that starts with a number, introducing a list post (like this one does – and it worked in this case if you’re reading this post).
- How to headlines – This is a simple option, but a good one. If someone’s trying to figure out how to do something, a headline that lets them know the blog post will deliver on that need gets the most important point across (but your post better deliver on the headline’s promise).
- Famous comparison – These headlines borrow on the popularity of a person or piece of entertainment to get people to click. Depending on the famous thing or person you choose, they can add an element of fun to your blog, e.g. # Business Lessons I Learned from Watching Beyoncé.
- Scarcity headline – This headline promises that the reader will be getting something few people have. Headlines that start with “The Secret of…” or “Little Known Tips for…” are playing on this principle.
- Big promises headline – These headlines are assuring the reader that they’ll be getting a lot of information if they click, this category includes headlines that start with “The Ultimate Guide to…” or list posts that have a particularly high number at the beginning.
2. Pay Attention to Headlines You Like.Every day you encounter titles – not just blog titles, but also the titles of newspaper and magazine articles, the titles of YouTube videos, the titles of emails you receive, etc. You always have a response to those titles, even when your response is to ignore one and keep scrolling. In the same way that starting to read more can make you a better writer, starting to more actively pay attention to the titles you encounter in your life and the way you respond to them will get you thinking regularly throughout the day about what works and why. And that thinking will lead to you getting better at crafting good headlines. So as you scroll through a blog, flip through your favorite magazine, or wade through the links people share on social media, start analyzing your response to every headline you see. Think about which ones made you click, which ones annoyed or offended you, and which ones just didn’t make much of an impression. When possible, jot down notes on how you responded and why. While you’re only a sample set of one, even just by starting with your own responses, you’ll begin to gain some insights into what makes headlines work.
3. Practice Writing Blog Titles.Ah yes, the familiar tip that goes on most lists of how to do anything well: practice. The more you do it, the easier it will be to do it well, so give yourself the assignment of writing blog titles regularly. Not only for the blog posts you write, but just for the practice of writing titles (although you may come up with some good blog post ideas this way). Justin Blackman challenged himself to write over 10,000 headlines over 100 days and found that there was a tangible difference in the quality of his headlines and how quickly he could produce good headlines by the end of his project – which should surprise no one, of course that’s what happens when you commit to practicing something at that level. Luckily, you don’t have to go that far to get better at writing blog titles. You could commit to doing it for 30 minutes each week or 10 minutes a day and still see a difference. Figure out what level of practice you can fit into your life and start doing it.
4. Use Your Keyword Research.If you have a blog, you’re probably already doing keyword research to help you figure out what your audience is thinking about, looking for, and the terminology they use when doing so. Put that information to work in your blog titles. You want to be using the language your customers use. It’s good both for the SEO of your blog posts (which help people find them) and for getting them to click on the post once they see it. You do want to be careful that you don’t try to force a target keyword into a blog title awkwardly, but if your blog post is on the subject you’re targeting, you should be able to include the keyword naturally.
5. Write Multiple Blog Titles for Every Post.I get it. You just did all that hard work of writing the post. You’re ready to be done and get it out there! But as we’ve already mentioned, all that hard work is worth a lot less if people don’t click to read your post. That means your title has a disproportionate amount of power versus the rest of your post and you’ve got to get it right. Some experts recommend spending as much time working on blog titles as you do on the blog post itself. If you do that, you may well find the difference in results is worth the extra time. At the very least though, commit to writing several blog titles for every post you publish (in addition to the headline writing practice you’ve committed to). Share your headlines with friends or co-workers to get feedback. This will accomplish two things at once:
- You’ll have an easier time selecting the best blog title of the list for each post.
- You’ll get more information on which titles people respond to. In other words, you’ll be expanding your sample set of one to however many people you can get to review your title options and weigh in for each post.
6. Don’t Oversell.If you’ve heard anyone use the term click bait, you know it tends to get said in a tone of derision or at least annoyance. People hate clicking on a link based on the promise of an appealing headline, only to be disappointed in the content that’s actually there. For websites that have a business model where they make money based on the number of clicks they get, these types of titles may make a certain amount of sense to use. But if you have a business you want people to trust, they’re a terrible idea. Make sure the blog title you use matches the content of the post. Don’t say your content is going to “blow your mind” when it probably won’t (how would someone measure that anyways?). Don’t say your blog post is the “definitive guide to” what you’re writing about if it’s a short post only covering the basics of the topic. If you decide to make a big sell in your headline, then do the work to make a blog post that delivers, or figure out another headline.
7. Appeal to Emotions.Whether or not we recognize why we click and share blog posts in the moment we do so, researchers have found that it’s often an emotional decision. Blog titles that appeal to the reader’s emotions are therefore powerful, especially for inspiring shares. CoSchedule analyzed the number of shares different posts got based on their Emotional Marketing Value (EMV) Score and found that those with the highest scores got considerably more shares than those with low scores. Where possible, use terms that evoke emotions in your readers, like surprising, exclusive, or delighted. Think about what you want your readers to feel when they click and work on providing that in the post and describe what they can expect in the blog title.
8. Be Specific.People want to know what they’re clicking on. You may feel like being a little vague could make people more interested or give the blog title broader appeal, but more often it will just make it easier for people to scroll past your title without interest. A specific blog title tells them what questions you’re answering and information you’re providing. The reader will recognize if that’s information they want or need and can make an informed decision on whether or not that click is worth their time. HubSpot’s data backs this up. In testing over 3 million headlines, they noticed that titles that give people more information about the type of content format they’re getting (e.g. putting [Interview] or [Template] in the title) performed 38% better than those that didn’t include that information.
9. Do A/B Testing.You can do a lot of headline research into what generally works well (and that’s valuable to know!), but ultimately, you need to figure out what works for your target audience. For that, you need to do A/B testing. While every blog post you publish gives you some data on what headlines work, you can figure out more detailed information by putting two headlines against each other. Whenever your title brainstorming leads to two strong contenders, set up an A/B test and see what happens. You can make some conjectures about what makes the winning blog title work better in each test, but where you’ll really gain insights is by looking at the trends over time. Maybe your audience responds better to blog titles with negative wording in them than positive, or maybe they consistently go for how-to headlines. The more data you collect in your testing, the more you’ll know about how to get those clicks in the future blog titles you write.
10. Write Blog Titles for YOUR Audience.You don’t need everyone on the internet to like your blog titles, but you do need the people in your target audience to like them. General knowledge on best practices for writing blog titles is good to have when getting started, but the longer you publish on your blog and analyze what works for your audience, the more your blog title strategies should be based on your own data. You’re not writing these blog titles for you or to sound clever to other marketers or even your boss. For you to do your job, the only people that need to respond to your blog titles are the ones you want reading your blog. Always keep that in mind when deciding which titles you go with.
ConclusionWhen you have a business blog, it may seem like every day you learn about more work you’re supposed to be doing to get results. It’s frustrating to have to add spending more time on blog titles to your to-do list, but while it seems like a small part of the overall whole of a blog post, it really is the part that each post’s overall success hinges on. If you want the other work you’re doing to pay off, then this is an important step to take.
Wednesday, June 13, 2018 by Kristen Hicks
Free Ebook: Introduction to Social AnalyticsYou know it’s important for your business to have a presence on social media, but figuring out what you’re doing on there is an ongoing challenge. Each social media platform is unique and requires its own approach and strategy. And no matter what you do when you’re just starting out, there will be room for improvement. The only way to learn how to get better as you go is to pay attention to what works. The way to do that is with social analytics. If you’re just starting to venture into social media marketing for your business, our ebook on social analytics provides all the information you need on how to access social media analytics and what to do with them. Click here to download now or keep reading to learn more about what you'll learn in this FREE ebook.
What Are Social Analytics?All of the major social media platforms offer data on how people interact with the posts and content you share. Some of the information they provide is fairly basic, like showing you how many people viewed or liked a post you published. Some of it goes deeper, providing demographic data on the people who interact with your posts or details about their behavior on the platform. All of this information can be put to use to strengthen your social media strategy and get better results for the time you spend on social media, but only if you know where to find it, and how to use it.
Why Social Analytics MatterThere are thousands of blog posts and articles out there about how to do social media marketing well. And they’re a good place to start. Knowing the best practices and seeing examples of what has worked for other brands does help in establishing a solid plan when getting started. But ultimately, you don’t need to know what works on social media for another brand or media property – you need to know what works for your audience. The best way to figure that out will never be someone else’s blog post; you have to turn to your own social analytics for that.
What You’ll Learn When You Download the EbookThis ebook delves into how to access social analytics data for the five main social media platforms:
Download NowYou know from running your website how important analytics are to analyzing what’s working and what’s not. You’d never know if your website was doing its job or not without useful metrics that show you how people find and interact with your pages. Social analytics do the same job for your social media profiles. With their help, you can optimize your social media efforts to make sure you’re reaching the right people, at the right times, with messaging and content they’re likely to appreciate. Download the Social Analytics for Business ebook to learn all the basics you need for success on social media.
Monday, June 11, 2018 by Kristen Hicks
How to Fix Underperforming Website ContentYou put a lot of work into your website and the content marketing efforts you use to get more out of it. And yet all that work just doesn’t seem to be adding up to the kind of results you’d hoped for. On the one hand, you understand that getting attention online is competitive and content marketing is a long game. But on the other, you don’t want to keep throwing time and money at something that’s not working. At some point, any business doing content marketing has to step back and analyze if your website content is underperforming. This post walks you through how to find your poor-performing content, so you can fix it and start enjoying SEO wins again.
How to Identify Underperforming ContentWhether or not your content is underperforming has everything to do with your expectations. It’s worth checking that your expectations are realistic and in line with what you really want your content to do before you assign it that "underperforming" label.
First, Clarify Your Goals.Different content items should be developed to achieve different goals. For most businesses, a solid content strategy will include content meant to achieve three main types of goals:
- Driving traffic and raising awareness of your website or brand. This includes much of your blog posts and other educational or entertaining content you create for your audience.
- Driving leads and conversions. This includes your landing pages, webinars, and any gated content you create.
- Promoting your products or services more directly. This includes product pages, video tutorials about your products, and demos.
- For the content meant to drive traffic and awareness, you should focus on metrics like number of visitors, search engine ranking, and how long visitors stay on your website after they click through.
- For content meant to drive action, the most important metric is how many people took the action you’re encouraging, whether that’s signing up for an email list, downloading an ebook, or setting up a sales call.
- For your promotion-focused content, your goal is getting new customers and sales.
Next, Research Content Marketing Benchmarks.Even once you’ve clarified your goals and the metrics to track for your content, knowing what counts as success can be tricky. Is 500 views of a blog post good, or should you be aiming for 5,000? Unfortunately, there’s no one right answer to that question. It depends on factors like how long your website has been around, how long you’ve been doing content, and who your audience is. If you’re just starting out and targeting a really niche audience, then expecting huge numbers is unrealistic and may not even be necessary. But even recognizing all the factors that make a difference here, it can be helpful to have some idea of what’s considered “normal.” Organizations like Brafton and Pressboard Media have researched averages for some common website metrics like bounce rates and average reading time. With some digging, you may be able to find similar research that focuses more specifically on your industry or type of business.
Finally, Analyze the Relevant Metrics.Now that you know what metrics to watch for each piece of content and some idea of what’s realistic to hope for, start analyzing your content pieces to determine if they’re performing as well as you want them to. This isn’t as simple as looking at a number and labeling a piece a failure. You want to take time to understand what’s going on with each piece of content. Consider individual factors that play a role, like the quality of the headline and the different promotion tactics you used. A lot of different elements go into what makes a piece of content successful or not and you want to analyze what specifically contributed to this one not working.
How to Fix Underperforming ContentIdentifying your underperforming content is just step one. Now you have to do something about it.
Diagnose the Reasons.The analysis you performed above should be a big help with this, but also step back and look at the larger trends in what works and what doesn’t for your website. If you’ve found that a lot of your content is underperforming, it might be worth doing a full content audit so you can better see the big picture trends. It’s not always easy figuring out why something did or didn’t work and unfortunately, some of this process will involve guesswork. But use the analytics you have and consider doing A/B testing or customer surveys to fill in the gap in your knowledge and get a better handle on what your audience does and doesn’t respond well to.
Make Improvements.Obviously, this is where this was all headed. When you’ve figured out why a piece of content isn’t working, you’ll know whether or not you should scrap it altogether or make strategic changes to turn it into something that your audience is more likely to appreciate. Based on your analysis, it could be as simple as coming up with a better headline, or it could involve a more extensive overhaul of the whole piece. A lot of the time, you’ll find you don’t have to start from scratch to turn an underperforming piece of content into something that does a better job of achieving your goals. You just need to identify that it’s not working and why so you can turn it into a better preforming piece of content.
Monday, May 28, 2018 by Shayla Price
5 Influencer Marketing Ideas for Your E-commerce StoreInfluencer marketing is a strategy worth trying for e-commerce stores. With tough competition and a global market, brands are seeking new ways to turn hesitant shoppers into loyal customers. That’s why store owners are investing heavily in influencer marketing. “Significantly, the success of influencer marketing has occurred not just because of the value it's shown as a marketing tactic. In fact, research has shown influencer marketing’s effectiveness at meeting a myriad of goals,” states Entrepreneur contributor Kamiu Lee. There’s more than one way to achieve your business goals with influencer marketing. Here are five tactics to get you started today.
1. Sponsored AdsAdvertising gets a bad reputation. Consumers usually associate ads as something horrible that companies insist they see. Rightfully so, considering most ads consist of mind-numbing content. They may convey a subpar product or misinterpret how the consumer relates to the brand. So when consumers think of advertising, they run the opposite direction. However, you can change consumers’ feelings with influencer marketing. Your audience wants to hear from people they trust and respect in the industry. Influencers bridge the gap between boring ad and amazing content that includes your product. Nespresso collaborates with Food Feels to show off their coffee machine. This gorgeous picture gives fans an inside look at the product experience. Followers express their love in the comments. There’s a major lesson to learn in sponsored ads. Instead of focusing on your brand and product, gear the conversation toward the customer. It’s one of the most effective ways to gain someone’s attention. Moreover, ads don’t have to operate in the traditional channels, like television or radio. You can join forces with an influencer and promote your ad online. Do sponsor ads differently. That’s how you will spark consumer interest.
2. Affiliate MarketingInfluencer marketing isn’t always about brand awareness. You want your strategic actions to actually produce sales for your business. By combining influencer and affiliate marketing, you can build a mutually beneficial relationship with an influencer. The individual can earn cash for every sale they drive to your store. This partnership ensures you’re not throwing money at a partnership without a measurable goal. Plus, the influencer can rack up more money than a normal contract. “Custom affiliate links can be generated using an influencer platform, while marketers can choose to add commission to collaborations…[C]ompanies can benefit from the awareness and personal messaging of a pure influencer marketing campaign, while at the same time being able to track the direct revenue that comes with affiliate marketing campaigns,” writes Nicole Michaelis, chief marketing officer at Referanza. For affiliate marketing to work well, state your expectations up front with influencers. Lay out the process and highlight the commissions for each sale. Understand that not all influencers will accept your agreement. And that’s okay. Take the time to search for individuals that fit your marketing scheme along with your values. Affiliate marketing is an effective tool to get business results. Coupled with influencer marketing, you’ll see your bottom line increase. Learn about HostGator's affiliate marketing program.
3. Influencer TakeoversSocial media has opened the doors for brands to communicate with customers. It’s a channel dedicated to interaction and where influence thrives. If a consumer has an issue, they can contact your team in a couple of clicks. If you want to highlight your latest product, you can promote it in your feed instantly. Now, when you add influencers to the mix, you engage in an opportunity to expand your reach and visibility. Social media becomes more than just a broadcast channel; it turns into an engagement channel. An influencer takeover involves handing your social media controls to an expert in the field who will engage with your audience. The goal is for the individual to add new content and take your fans on a different journey. In the example below, Brian Fanzo, millennial keynote speaker and change evangelist, did an Instagram takeover on Buffer's account. He shared advice about social media and community building. For the best results, use your most active social channel for the influencer takeover. That way, you’re connecting with consumers where they enjoy communicating. You’ll also want to lean on the influencer on what content to produce. Influencers know what they are doing. Try not to stifle their creativity because you can’t fully see the vision. So, start scouting individuals for your next influencer takeover. Your followers will like the exciting content.
4. In-Person EventsAs an e-commerce store, it’s easy to think everything great is happening online. You get stuck in promoting only on the Internet. Well, there’s a whole world full of consumers engaging with brands offline. From pop-up stores to conferences to VIP catered gatherings, you have the power to attract more consumers. Use in-person events to invite influencers to share in the experience. With exclusive access, they can bring their following to the event via social media. “If your event is a food festival, the main social media influencers will probably be on Instagram, posting dramatic pics of sushi and cocktails. If you host a business conference, the biggest names might be on LinkedIn, sharing articles on best practices and business trends,” says Christy Huggins, social media manager at Eventbrite. The first step is to create an event related to your brand and audience. Don’t try to host a hip-hop music session if it doesn’t match your consumers’ interests. Next, select influencers who thrive in front and behind the camera. You want someone who can bring the event to life with live commentary on Snapchat or beautiful photos on Instagram. If you need to hire an event planner, do it. Then, add your influencer to kick it up a notch.
5. GiveawaysConsumers like to participate in chances to win free products. It’s our human nature to want surprises. Remember when Oprah gave away all those cars? It brought smiles to the recipients and everyone who tuned in to watch the show. Giveaways are like small packages of hope wrapped up in our favorite products. Sure, your most loyal customers will buy the product regardless. But it’s always cool to think you may win the free item. Influencers can help you spread the joy of giveaways. You can either tell them to promote on their websites and social channels, or you may even associate their well-known name with the giveaway. Check out this example from Milk Makeup. The brand partnered with YouTube star and celebrity makeup artist Jkissa to giveaway $600 worth of products. In the customer experience, giveaways fall underneath fun ways to connect with buyers. Also, it’s a chance to push product awareness to the forefront. You’ll want to add your signature product to the giveaway—the one item that all your customers love. Then, you can shower the giveaway with new products or lesser-known items. This strategy lets you highlight other products in your store. What will make your giveaway stand out? Talk with your team to get ideas that will thrill your audience.
Start Leveraging InfluenceInfluencer marketing plays an integral role in e-commerce stores. Take advantage of it to expose your products to the right audience. Experiment with sponsored ads to leverage an influencer’s following. Host a takeover giving an influencer full access to your social channels. Also, you can use giveaways to grab consumers’ attention. Market with influence to grow your e-commerce store.