Monthly Archives: July 2015

Writing Effective Content Headlines

With so much content online, it can be difficult to stand out from the crowd. Internet users are getting shorter attention spans and this is reflected in the way they interact with content. If a headline doesn’t grab the attention of surfers immediately, they are unlikely to progress to the actual body of the content. In fact, it is estimated that only a fifth of readers will continue beyond the headline to read the article itself. With this in mind, it is imperative that copywriters choose a headline which will entice users to continue reading.

Make a list

When you look at the success of sites such as Buzz Feed, it may not be surprising that list posts can really resonate with readers. Headlines which promise a number of different answers to a specific question can instil curiosity which is one of the reasons they are so popular. These types of posts are also relatively quick and easy to read and this is another explanation as to why they are often favoured.

Changing the style of an article to more of a list based format can be done without altering the overall content but could help to increase your readership. Headlines for these types of article should reflect the list format and include numbers. This is tactic which has been used by magazines for many years, with these types of headlines gracing many covers.

Humanise

Users are more likely to click on headlines which they feel a connection with and this means creating articles which are more ‘human’. Articles based on topics such as lifestyle, food and home are some of the most popular and this should be kept in mind. Content based on business, finance and technology may be a more difficult sell but choosing the right headline can help immensely.

For example, an article on cloud computing can be completely changed with a simple alteration to the title. So ‘The Benefits of Cloud Computing’ can be changed to ‘How Cloud Computing can transform your Working Day’. The actual body of the article doesn’t have to be different but the headline will help to make more of a connection with readers.

Listen to Consumers

It may seem obvious but answering questions directly asked by customers can be a particularly successful tactic. Usually if a question is asked numerous times then it is something that a large cross section of consumers want to know. Therefore basing an article around one of these questions can attract a large amount of traffic.

When creating a headline for this type of article try to keep it simple and straight to the point. Don’t reveal too much in the title or readers won’t want to continue on to the body of the piece. Also, try to use words such as ‘why’, ‘what’, ‘when’ and ‘how’, these are recognised as trigger words and can attract even more attention from consumers.

Promise

Readers want to get something out of an article and this should be remembered when crafting a headline. Some of the most popular articles guarantee that readers will learn something that they didn’t already know. This doesn’t mean you should offer something you can’t deliver but you can try to reshape headlines to meet this formula.

For example, an article with a headline such as ‘What is Big Data?’ can be changed to ‘How Big Data can Benefit your Business’. Both headlines describe an informative article but the second makes a direct promise to the reader.

The Questions to Ask Before You Outsource Your Blog Content

Outsourcing within business has become commonplace. Whether its security, customer service or even manufacturing, companies have the ability to outsource nearly any aspect of their infrastructure. Businesses do this for many different reasons, some to save time and effort whilst others don’t have the resources or expertise to complete the tasks themselves and are therefore forced to outsource. Whatever the reason behind it, delegating work externally can offer a host of benefits but business owners should still remain cautious. This is especially true when it comes to something as personal and reflecting as blog content.

What arrangement are you looking for?

Before you progress with any plans to outsource your content production you should decide on the precise arrangement you are looking for. If you outsource to an agency, they will have complete control over your content and could even delegate the work elsewhere. If you work directly with freelancers then you have a greater degree of control over the work itself.

Both arrangements have their advantages and disadvantages, it really just depends on how much you want to be involved.

Are they experienced within your field?

It would obviously be beneficial to employ an agency or freelancer who have some experience within your industry. Do some research before you make the final decision, this includes customer reviews, word of mouth or even just Googling the prospective content producer. Also, don’t forget that you can just ask them questions outright. If you would like an idea of their writing style or previous topics they have worked on, ask for example articles.

It should also be noted that not all content writers will have experience within your field but that doesn’t necessarily mean they won’t work well. An attentive writer who listens to you and does their research can do just as good a job.

Do you know how to handle disputes?

When working with agencies or individuals outside of your organisation, you need to be prepared for potential disputes. One of the main causes of problems within this area is money. Companies should outline a clear agreement between themselves and their content writers. This agreement should include details on pricing, deadlines and what happens if either party fails to meet their end of the bargain.

Another dispute which can arise within these situations concerns plagiarism. Discuss this with your content partner prior to commencing work and ask them about their policy on plagiarism. Any recycled content which is posted on your website will only reflect poorly on you.

Who gets the by-line?

Those who are looking to outsource content are likely looking for a silent parent. Ghost writing for a company is actually commonplace but should be worked out at the beginning. This is another factor which should be included in the agreement between you and your writers. You may want to keep the rights to the articles for a set amount of time or permanently, this too can be discussed.

Can you do it yourself?

It may seem like an unusual question but it’s something that should seriously be considered prior to making a commitment. Outsourcing can save time but it can also cost money and it’s not always guaranteed that the content you receive will be suitable. With this in mind, companies should ascertain whether they could create their own content. You could delegate the task to an employee or even hire somebody on a part time basis.