You gave us 3 headlines – we gave them sparkle

Back in February we asked people to get in touch with content ideas they wanted attention grabbing headlines for.

We might have underestimated how many people would get in touch, and have actually been somewhere inundated with suggestions – some of which we have to confess we’d love to read the actual blogs for!!!

However, we’ve chosen three to work with and are going to use our tried and tested formula to give them a headline makeover.

 

Ben R – Health benefits of chocolate

Frankly we thought this headline might be enticing enough – it’s chocolate, and apparently healthy, so of course we want to read on.

However, it’s not very “sexy”.  It would be easy to spruce this up by combining any of the tips we mentioned last week:

  • 5 amazing health benefits of chocolate
  • Lose weight by eating chocolate now
  • Why eating chocolate is better for you than broccoli
  • How you can use chocolate to kick start your diet

These suggested headlines are more likely to illicit a reaction in a potential reader, and encourage them to read on.

Cathy S – Sell your home quickly

If you’re in the process of selling your home, who wouldn’t want to sell it quickly?  This would be an amazing article to read, but the current headline is so boring I’m probably just going to skip by it.

However, adding in some figures or adjectives might grab my attention and imagination a little more. We suggested trying:

  • People sold their homes five times quicker by doing this
  • 7 unbelievable tricks that will sell your home quickly
  • Sell your home in 24 hours with our top tips
  • How to sell your house in a day

Following our suggestion, Cathy chose one of our headlines as well as her original one.

The difference was striking. The original headline “sell your home quickly” had a 5% open rate; whilst our headline had an 80% open rate. It really does make a huge difference.

Stephen P – The difference between successful and unsuccessful writers

We’ve collaborated with Ste in the past, and know he is more than capable of coming up with a better headline than that.  We feel a test coming on – challenge accepted, Sir!

This current headline gives us no reason to read on.  Is there one difference, many differences, will you explain them, will it help us in any way?  There is no way of knowing unless we click and read, and to be honest, we’re too busy to take the chance that the content is as bad as the headline.

Instead, the following suggestions are bound to get people thinking, and might speak to something inside them:

  • What successful writers do that the rest of us don’t
  • Do this and your content will be a hit
  • 3 things successful writers do that you’re not
  • How do you make sure your writing is hitting the spot?

These headlines pose questions that you’re going to want to find answers to, or they promise to tell you things you’re dying to know.  People who want the answers to these issues are precisely the right audience for Ste, and as such he is speaking directly to them with these revised headline.

 

Give it a try

Why not experiment with some of your previous headlines, and republish content you’ve written in the past.  We bet you’ll have a better click-through rate if you spend a bit more time on the sundae, rather than assuming your headline is just the cherry.

 

Your headline is the sundae, not the cherry on top

With any luck you’ve been reading our previous posts about content marketing, and have decided you want to give blogging a go.  Perhaps you’ve earmarked some time to pull together an editorial plan, you might even have written some great copy, but what’s the point if your headline is rubbish?

The simple truth is people don’t know what your content is like until they click on a link to open it.  All they do see, initially, is the headline.  And if it’s boring, they’re not even going to bother to do that.

If you think of blogging as an ice-cream desert, your headline is the sundae, not just the cherry on top! The reality is, it’s the most important thing you’re going to write.

Use numbers, not just words

Some of the best attention grabbing headlines are those that feature numbers.

  • 50% of people who do this have lost weight
  • 7 of the worst things you can do when blogging
  • 90% of business owners are getting this wrong

Use wow words

You can tell we’ve got kids – “wow” words (aka adjectives) are great and simple ways to garner interest.

Think about words such effortless, fun, FREE, essential or absolute to hit your message home

Use what, why, how or when

If you are trying to persuade someone to do something, then why and how can be fantastic ways to get them hooked.

  • Why you should hire a content writer
  • How to improve the quality of your blog

However, it’s always good to mix things up a bit with alternatives:

  • What the most popular blogs have in common
  • When should you review your marketing plan?

Make a promise

One reason people don’t bother to read passed a headline is because they can’t immediately see what they’re going to get out of it.  Why not make it clear by making a promise to your reader from the outset?

The key here is to offer something that will genuinely entice them, based on the things you know your audience is interested in or wants – but for goodness sake, make sure you deliver!

For example; Instantly improve your blog for FREE

 

Get in touch

We’d love you to get in touch and let us know if you’re struggling with coming up with an attention grabbing headline, and we’ll be happy to help.  Make sure you email lu@timesavingheroes.co.uk by Thursday, 17th August and we’ll include it in our next blog!

 

 

New year, new content?

What can you do to make 2018 the best year as far as content marketing is concerned?

Make a plan, stick to it

One of the hardest things about content writing is doing it consistently.  For many people it’s easy to get started, but after a few weeks they find they’re posting when they find the time. This sort of approach means that it won’t be long before you realise you haven’t posted anything new for months!

The best thing you can do is come up with a content schedule.  How in depth this is, is up to you; however, it’s better to have something rather than nothing.  Perhaps you want to push company news on a Tuesday, or specific services on a Thursday. Maybe you’ll only blog once a week, in which case you can start to think about what might be topical and relevant to your audience.

Making a content schedule is a lot like having a work out plan – it’s no good if you have too many cheat days.  You certainly won’t see any of the benefits! The reality is the more you post, the more visible you become and this gives you, your business and your site more credibility.  Try to post at least once a week!

Do something different

If you’ve never embraced content before, now might well be the time to think about.

On the other hand, if you have and even use a content schedule to good effect, 2017 is the year for you to start thinking about spicing things up.  Adding the occasional infographic, or even video might encourage your audience to interact.  Could you even add a few free eBooks for people to download that help them with a particular issue or subject?

Promotion, promotion, promotion

It’s all well and good ensuring you have great content on your site, but how are you getting people to see it?  You need to make sure you’re getting it out there, otherwise what’s the point?

Not only do you need to make sure you have a schedule for creating and uploading content, but you need one to promote it too.  It doesn’t matter what social media platforms you use, or whether you completely automate the process, the key again is consistency.

The great thing with content, especially if it’s evergreen, is that you can use it so many times.  Play around with what works for your audience, and start tracking what days or times you get the most hits.  You can then work this in to your scheduling plan.

 

Does your content have these three things?

A few months ago we tried to answer what the term content marketing actually means.  Hopefully now you have a slightly better understanding, and how it can impact on your business, and more importantly, your relationships with your customers (and prospects).

When it comes to creating good content you have to look at three main factors, and this week we wanted to look at these in a bit more detail.

Valuable

Your content has to be valuable to the people who are reading it.  Ultimately you have no control over who stumbles across your blogs or articles, so what this means is the people you are specifically targeting.

No matter what your business sells you need to have a good idea of who you are trying to sell to.  It is these people that need to find value in what you are offering in the way of content.  For everything you choose to share, you need to ask yourself what they (the audience) are going to get out of it. What makes it worthwhile?

Your audience should finish reading your blog, or watching your video feeling as though they have learnt something, or have been entertained in some way.  Your content needs to resonate with their lives and values.

Relevant

This follows on from value. Not only must your content be valuable, but it has to be relevant to them and what you’re able to offer.

The best way to do this is to become their trusted expert; demonstrate that you know everything there is to know about your industry, so they can turn to you with any questions they might have.

Show them that you understand them, and they will turn to you the second they need something.

Consistent

There is no benefit to posting three times a year, or just when you remember you’ve not done anything for a while. No matter how good your content is, if it’s not consistent no one is going to remember it. Which means no one is going to remember you.

Posting regularly over a period of time will ensure you are instantly recognisable, and therefore in the forefront of people’s minds when it comes to looking for a solution to their problem.

 

If your problem is coming up with content, or writing posts that are entertaining, factual and engaging then we have the solution. Give us a call on 0161 883 2024 or email lu@timesavingheroes.co.uk

 

Write like nobody’s reading

I often get asked how many people read my Time Saving Heroes blogs, or how popular the blogs are that I write for my clients.  I also get asked how best to define a “good” blog.

You might think these are easy questions to answer, but the truth is, they’re not.

My viewing numbers vary from post to post – I can get two views on one, and over 1,000 for another on a similar topic.  Sometimes it’s just not your day.  Sometimes it is.

As for the popularity of my guest blogs, or those I ghost-write for clients, it’s the same issue. However, if they’re popular with my clients, the people who are paying for them, then that’s the only metric I need to refer to.

Finally, a “good” blog – yeah, I can’t even with that one.

All too often blogging and any form of content marketing is measured by its reach, the number of people who have seen or shared it.  People seem to constantly be hoping for a post to go viral – the Holy Grail of social media.  But that’s far too short sighted.

Good content needs to make an impact.  Perhaps it only makes one person stop and think, challenge their perceptions, learn something or want to find out more.  Does that make it a bad blog because not enough people have interacted?

A piece of writing that’s seen by hundreds but is forgotten within minutes is not a good one, surely?

The vast majority of people who ask these questions are not the ones that are contemplating “buying” content from me – they’re actually the people who create their own.  Essentially they are looking for an answer to the question “Why am I even bothering?”

For those people, the ones still too scared to ask the question, here are my reasons:

  1. Practice makes better (I don’t believe in perfection). The more you write the better you will get at it. You will find your voice, you will find it easier to put words to screen, and you will learn to stop over thinking the whole process.
  2. It’s therapeutic. When you write for the right reasons, to inform, to engage, to encourage or educate then it can be a hugely therapeutic experience.
  3. You’re always visible. Even when people don’t read your piece they might have seen it pop up (depending where you’re sharing it in the first place). That still means you’re visible.  You’re still out there.  If that happens enough then there’s a good chance that a little spark of curiosity is going to get them to connect.
  4. Blogging gives you a chance to expand your own knowledge base. I’m lucky to be able to write for a wide variety of people, who work in completely different industries.  Sometimes I know nothing about the products they’re selling, and I have to do a lot of research to pull a piece together.  That’s fine, I love it as it gives me the chance to learn and explore. Even if you’re writing about your own industry, something you should know a lot about, you’re bound to pick up more information which will be an advantage to you and your customers along the way.
  5. Blogging also gives you an opportunity to make some really random questions. Putting your content out there encourages people to say something back, to comment, to like, to share – even if they don’t do it immediately.

If you’re struggling to work out whether you should carry on with your blog or not, take some advice from me.  Stop worrying about who’s out there, and start writing like nobody’s reading.  Take the pressure off and write for the sheer heck of it.

It’s a beautiful thing when you just let it be.

Five topics for when you’re stuck for things to blog about

You’ve decided you wanted to start producing your own content for your website, blog or perhaps LinkedIn, and things were going great. For a few weeks.

Then you started running out of things to write about and consistency of posts is a thing of the past.

Sound familiar?

If so, don’t worry, you’re not alone.  It can be really difficult to come up with fresh new ideas every month, or week (depending how often you plan to post), and if you didn’t come up with a content schedule before you started, you’ll find it even harder.

However, there’s no need to panic.  Here are 5 great ideas from Lu for things to blog about if you’re suddenly feeling stuck

# 1 – Customer successes

People buy from people, and one thing that works really well is hearing from other people that have had good experiences of your business.

Why should a potential client believe what you say about yourself?  Of course you’re going to say you’re amazing, and your service is second to none.  No one’s going to believe that, but they will believe a real live customer that has taken the time to leave you a review.

If you’re short of time you could just share a review a customer has left for you, although the best thing would be to turn it in to a proper story. Perhaps a case study, guiding your audience through the when, what, where, why and how of what you did.

# 2 – Seen something you wished you’d written?

It is often the way, you read a post and kick yourself for not being the one to write it yourself.  If that’s the case, you could always write a comment about the post, and link back to the original article. Give your own perspective, agree or disagree with certain points and invite other people to comment.

# 3 – Get controversial

One of the best ways to get people to interact with something you have to say is by disagreeing with public opinion. However, it is always best to only do this if you do actually have a different opinion and are happy to stand by it.

If you do kick up a storm, always make sure you’re able to monitor any comments that come through, and that you are respectful of those who disagree with you.

# 4 – Talk about the news

Has anything happened in your industry, country, or the political world that has an impact on your business or your customers directly? If so, write about it. Give your opinion or explain what you’ve seen happening.

Many of our clients commissioned pieces on how a leave or remain Brexit vote would impact their industry and more importantly, their current clients.  Responses were very positive as it answered specific questions relating to some quite niche areas.  It was information their audience would have struggled to find anyway else.

# 5 – Do a roundup of opinions

If there is a new product, or a problem your customers all face, why not compile a blog on all the different opinions?  You can link to other people’s blogs, or perhaps just provide summaries.  It can be a great way to get people talking about issues that impact them, and might even give you some ideas on how you can improve things.

 

Here at Time Saving Heroes we provide content writing services for all types of business and industry.  Whether you already have topics in mind, or you need us to come up with some suggestions, we’re on hand to help.

Call 0161 883 2024 and speak to Lu, or email us on lu@timesavingheroes.co.uk.

Why do I even bother?

If you’re self-employed you have possibly uttered the words “Why do I even bother” at some point in time.  If you haven’t, then the chances are you’ve probably thought it.

Of course, if you’re a parent you’ve definitely said it – possibly at full volume to a room full of children that have long since stopped listening.

Whilst those five words could be prompted by anything, today I want to focus on social media marketing.

In the last few weeks I’ve seen numerous contacts and fellow business explorers lament lose their shit about the lack of interaction from their “friends”.  I’ve seen such rants (for, that is what they are) on a variety of social media networks, and always by different people.  Even different industries.

It seems to be a theme that is plaguing many.

“I set up this business and none of my friends, family or previous co-workers interact with it.”

“People I help and support don’t ever share my posts.”

“What do I have to do to get them to pay attention to me?”

It’s a shame.

Really.

Admittedly that possibly sounds a little insincere, but it’s not meant to.  I genuinely sympathise. And perhaps just as importantly, I really do get it.

In fact, I’ve been there.

And whilst there I realised something the people still tearing their hair out probably haven’t come to terms with yet.

Running your own business is a lot like being a parent. No one asked you to do it, no one’s particularly impressed and once the initial novelty has worn off no one else really cares anymore. Eventually everyone but your very nearest and dearest are going to get bored of the fact you can’t talk about anything else. Don’t even get me started on the constant stream of photos and myriad of hashtags that come with them.

The point is your friends, no matter how long you’ve known them or the scrapes you’ve been through together in the past, don’t owe you anything.  They don’t have to like your posts, or your page.  They don’t have to share anything you do. They are not obligated to you.

Yes, I get that it might be nice if they did once in a while – but what’s their incentive?  When they do help you, do you actually stop and say thank you?  Do you return the favour in any capacity with anything they need help with?

Only you know the answer to that, but it’s something many people forget about.  If they do interact then that’s them taking time out of their day to do something that benefits you.  That’s worthy of a little acknowledgment. If you start giving, you may find yourself on the receiving end a little more often.

Equally, and this is something far too few people seem to really grasp, there is a distinct possibility your friends are not seeing any of your posts.  When it comes to social media we have a tendency to be a little egocentric – you know you’ve posted it, therefore everyone else must do.

But think about it. If your friends have liked your business page purely because you asked them to once upon a when you set it up, then the chances are they’ve not had much cause to interact with it since.  If that’s the case, then all the magical algorithms that determine what content people see, will rank your content low for their newsfeed.

That means they just won’t be getting anything you post out, and you ranting and raging at them is unlikely to change that.

If you’re not getting any results then it’s totally understandable you’d ask yourself why you’re bothering. However, the correct question that needs answering is what are you doing wrong?  Because I assure you, it’s something.

If you can figure that out, and approach your social networking from a different angle, you may just start seeing results.