If Your Headline Sucks No One Will Listen

Strong Headlines are Vitally Important

In the world of social media your headline is the most vitally important aspect of your efforts to get noticed and if it sucks you can be sure that no one is going to pay much attention to your message no matter how good your content is or the quality of your product

This is something that so many people seem to forget or don’t even realise the full importance and is what separates the successful from the failures.

Its Responsible for 80% Of Your Success

Direct response marketers have already shown that the headline is responsible for 80% of the success of any advert, article or email response. It often becomes the determining factor in the title of a book or the name of your website and is something you need to get right. Its not just your words that are important its your graphics and visual impact above the fold that will decide if people stay to read what you have written or will bounce out after only a brief glance

Stickiness Factor

Marketers have coined a term that they call the stickiness factor, I got a great insight about this while listening to a Rick Butts recent interview with Coach Deb, the undisputed Queen of Twitter about the importance of names. Rick was commenting about the great name Deb had chosen for her blog – “Tribal Seduction” and it had impressed him so much he had signed up to her mailing list while at the same time recommending to others to unsubscribe from all the marketing lists that clutter up their inboxes and distract us from the work we really need to be doing.

A Group Orgy?

“Tribal Seduction” is such a good name because it is short and direct and has a number of levels of meaning. Its also poetic in a certain way by juxtaposing two words that would not normally go together and using a sexual adjective it conveys the image at the unconscious level of a group orgy.

Sex Sells

As all marketers know sex sells. The website had another shocking image of a naked woman sitting on a chair facing us but with her head turned 180 around. It’s a very sexy image and doubles up the sexual implications that the title also suggest. Again its another multileveled image that excites and entices while at the same time has a certain artistic tasteful quality. It keeps enough covered up so as not to offend. And jars you into paying attention in a different way because the woman’s head is not facing the direction you would expect it to. Again a symbol of how they hope to make you look at social media in a unique way and reveal new perspectives within this world.

Advertising Magic

The combination of all these factors gives a name that stickiness factor, and is why large companies pay advertising agencies millions to perform the same magic to rebrand and repackage their products and services so that their names stick in a customers mind and instantly returns whenever they make a purchasing decision.

A Personal Lesson

Last week I wrote a blog series about the changes Facebook have made to their design and the implications it would have to people using facebook for business purposes. I was struggling with the title for the posts and following a strange twist of my intuition I settled on a title that I knew was less than satisfactory. It was boring and had none of the usual excitement or interest that I usually chose for my blog posts. The content of the article was great, I was happy with the results and what had started as a quick outpouring of my anger towards the new facebook design had turned into a lengthy and detailed analysis that I had to split into four parts

Bad Strategy

I finished the blog post on a Friday and instead of waiting to optimise the time of publication I released them all at same time heading into a weekend. Again my intuition said this was the right thing to do even though my conscious mind was complaining that it was a bad move strategically and I was wasting all the work and effort I had put into those posts.

A Poor Result

As I expected no one took much notice and I only had about 80 visitors to my blog and received only 2 comments. On Monday I tagged all my friends on the note that had been imported and started to get some response.

Beaten By Brian?

Meanwhile my close friend Brian Campbell had made some almost identical posts and had given his much more powerful titles. The Funny thing is that the titles were very similar to ones that I had originally considered using.

“New Facebook Layout – beginning of the end?”

“New Facebook Changes – A Wake Up Call for marketers”

Are much more sticky than my titles

Facebook S.W.O.T Part 1 – Strengths

Facebook S.W.O.T Part 2- Weaknesses

My article series is full of great content but it never had the impact that I had originally intended and the payoff was unimpressive considering the time I spent writing them. This is all the result of choosing a poor headline

Don’t Cripple Yourself

I am really happy now to realise that there was a purpose behind choosing weaker names because I now get the opportunity to use this as a teaching example to others. What often happens in marketing is that someone might have a great product but have no clue how to present it to the world. Its very difficult to be objective about your own work and I think a lot of people get stuck or don’t realise their full potential because they have crippled themselves from the start with a weak name.

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