Stop writing blockbuster headlines for prosaic content
I understand the grind of using articles for traffic, revenue, and marketing, but aren’t you tired of the same let down time after time–an article promising punchy, life-changing wisdom only to be met not just with the same old information, but worse than an article you just read or largely copied but not credited?
They’re trading incremental short-term growth for long-term blog credibility.
Here’s some examples:
- 3 Must-Do’s for a great figure: diet, exercise, and pretty much any third thing
- Are you making this crazy retirement mistake? Not maxing out your RRSP/401k/IRA
- Guaranteed for the hottest sex of your life! Get him/her in the mood first!
- Develop ultra hard punches: good technique, hit a heavy bag, use your hips
- Secret to my success: hard work and perseverance
Uh yeah, we know.
With the need to generate ‘new’ content far eclipsing our need to consume it, mindlessly latching on to what the marketing gurus say is part of what is making the internet shitty. Article here and here that have some good basic principles. Hell, doting on their advice in general has made a lot of the real world shit.
Repetition is important, and new people always need to come to the information at a time that’s right for them so the constant stream does serve a function. But we can voluntarily elect to shout less, make the blogosphere a better place, and increase our blog credibility at the same time, all in exchange for a few less meaningless bumps in traffic.
Here’s some advice I’m trying to follow myself:
- Post less often if you have nothing to say.
- Selectively use over-promising (what Jeff Goins more charitably but bullshittingly calls an Audacious Promise) headlines without devolving to blind daily practice
- Link to a better article and just bullet point or summarize
- Change the article from generic over-digested advice to a personal story, either of yourself or someone else. I’d rather read about how you stopped midnight snacking than another paragraph whose entire content sums to, “diet is important for weight loss”
What do you think–how do we get headlines and articles seen that not only matter, but are good?