Why your headlines are worth almost all your content marketing efforts (and how to improve them)

There was a part of me that used to think that people cared deeply about how good a piece of content looked, how it was written and what it had to say. I’m sure some people still do care about these things, but let’s not kid ourselves that they are a majority. 

My experience at various publishers is that, increasingly, people are looking less at what is contained within a piece of content and reacting more to the limited information that is shown around it. 

The dirty secrets of clickbait. This post will blow your mind!

Over the past year or two, sites like Buzzfeed and Upworthy have introduced a new type of content marketing to the masses.

Lovingly referred to as clickbait, it has so thoroughly revolutionised the way content is shared that there are rumours Facebook has tried to ban it.

So why do people have such a love/hate relationship with these entertaining articles? And what can marketeers learn from clickbait marketing?

Five core elements of audience building content strategy

At a publisher, you normally think about content strategy in a way that delivers growth, engaged audience kind of growth.

Content strategy is about more than that, but I want to address the issue of building audience, since that’s what a lot of people will be aiming to do with their content strategy during 2013.

I’ve worked on a number of large sites, and I normally see the same issues to begin with – get these issues right, and engaged audiences often grow.

What I’ve learned from writing 2,000 blog posts

Since this is my 2,000th article on Econsultancy, I thought it was an opportunity to share what I’ve learned over the past five or six years writing for this blog. 

I started out as a relative novice, but I’ve learned a lot along the way, and hopefully my 2,000th post is much better than my first.

Here are 20 tips for other bloggers…

How to optimise headlines using the 65 character rule

I’m currently developing some wireframes as we pave the way for a revamp of this blog later this year. There are lots of things to think about. One of those things is typography. Closely related to that is optimal headline length. 

I always try to write headlines that fit on one line, though I don’t always succeed. Nevertheless, short headlines beat longer ones for lots of reasons. As such I’d like to introduce the 65 character rule. Actually it’s 65 or less, to be precise. 

Here’s why…

How to extract meaning from retweets

Everybody loves to be retweeted, unless they’ve completely messed up, but it’s worth noting that retweets aren’t created equally.

Speaking from the perspective of a publisher, we love it when our links are shared. But what I really look for is the buzz surrounding an article, rather than the sheer volume of retweets a post generates.

The background chatter is more important to me than counting up the retweets. The problem is, some retweets contain little or no additional information from the retweeter.

A/B testing comes to the masses with WordPress plugin

Multivariate testing is one of the most powerful tools available to
online publishers. But many of them don’t use it for various reasons,
from lack of knowledge about multivariate testing to lack of simple
testing solutions.

At a weekend hackathon event, a couple of developers decided to change
that by building a Headline Split Tester WordPress plugin that gives
WordPress publishers the ability to set up A/B testing of their post

The A-to-Z of online copywriting

The A-to-Z of online copywritingOnline copywriting can make all the difference between a website that engages and converts, and one that stagnates. 

Words communicate to your visitors and influence actions (both positively and negatively). Furthermore, good copy is, as far as the search engines are concerned, the food of the Gods. Words are to Google what oxygen is to you and me.

So I thought I’d try to nail an A-to-Z of online copywriting. As ever, these recommendations are guidelines, rather than firm rules. They’re broadly applicable to web copywriters and bloggers, as well as journalists who have their work published online. I hope it makes for a handy bookmark-friendly checklist…