Blog readership can be increased in three ways: either you directly sign up new people, people find your blog in a search, or one of your readers shares your blog with a contact. Direct sign-ups are a slow and expensive process. Search engines now focus as much or more on social engagement (shares and likes) as the relevance of the content. This makes social shares the most important aspect in increasing your blog readership.
Why do people click on a post? The headline sucks them in.
Which posts get the most shares? A recent study analyzed almost 1,000,000 posts to answer just that question. They found that most posts (89%) get less than 100 social shares. And only 1% get more than 1000 shares. Another author experimented with these ideas and further refined the results. The headlines with the most shares employ Emotional Value Marketing, the latest method to increase engagement in readers. Emotional Value Marketing can provide some lessons for better, share-able headlines for your posts. The results of these articles have been condensed into five tips:
Tip #1 – Turn your post into a list
Lists are most likely to be shared. Although words such as “things”, “reasons” and “should” can indicate a list, the more powerful approach is to include a numeral in the headline, preferably as the first “word”. Example: 4 Tips To Increase Your Blog Readership
Tip #2 – Don’t give away the conclusion in the headline
A newspaper headline gives away the conclusion of the story in hope that the details will be interesting: “Woman Robbed At Gunpoint At Local Mall.” This may work for newspapers. But “Reducing Loan Term Cuts Total Interest Payments” is not going to get an article read. The headline “1 Simple Way To Reduce Interest Payments” will get a click. The content still may not be interesting enough to get many shares.
Tip #3 – Emotionally engage your reader
The concept of Emotional Value Marketing is to engage people on an emotional level rather than a purely intellectual one. As far back as 350 years ago, Rene Descartes said that people are more likely to come to your point of view if they can identify with it as a feeling that they have had themselves. One way to increase a reader’s emotional involvement is to use “You” & “Your” instead of “I” or “We”. This indicates the post is of personal interest to them.
Another method is to help your reader believe there is a simple way to improve their life. This is a reason why lists work well: it implies a limited number of steps to accomplish a goal. There are also certain words that imply improvement. “Free” “Sale” “New” “Giveaway” “Tested” “Powerful” are all emotional words. A list of 180 of these words can be found here.
Tip #4 – Test your headlines
There are two free sources to test your headlines for Emotional Value Marketing content. The Advanced Marketing Institute offers this tool. It also analyzes the emotions (Intellectual, Empathetic, Spiritual) contained within. Coschedule offers another analyzer, as well as an in-depth critique of how the score was obtained. Tweaking the headline can result in a better score. Unfortunately, the same headline or the same tweak that will rate better on one analyzer and can rate worse on the other. But using one or both analyzers will help you write better headlines.
Tip #5 – Different headlines work better on different platforms
Other studies have shown that different social media platforms perform better for different businesses. LinkedIn and Twitter generally work better for technical product/services, Facebook works better for personal services and Pinterest works best for image related products or services. Since each of these platforms cater to certain interests, your headline should reflect this orientation. For example, a headline on LinkedIn might read “5 Methods To Beat The Mortgage Racket”. The same content on Facebook might have the headline “5 Ways To Save On Buying a Home”. By the way, lists work equally well on LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook.
While Social Media Marketing is the latest rage, all marketing channels are about intriguing headlines and solid content. Contact Pat Welch of Impressive Images for help in telling your story.
This article is based on the content of the following articles:
We Analyzed Nearly 1 Million Headlines. Here’s What We Learned
4 Tips to Write Better Headlines