Better Blogging With A Little Help From Depeche Mode!

Better Blogging With A Little Help From Depeche Mode!

Anyone who knows anything about the Harts (Mallie and Derek, if we haven’t connected already) knows our creativity and productivity are fueled by two stimulants. Both 100% legal, of course! Caffeine and music. With iTunes files nearly bulging at the seams, numerous Spotify playlists and record players in each office, as well as in the living room on the floor between – music is part of our work flow.

We realize we’re not unique in this, so we thought it would be fun to bring more of our music love into our content and social media marketing. What better way to do so than to tie better blogging to one of our long-time favorite bands? While Duran Duran was my first concert, I saw Depeche Mode on the Violator tour in 1989 and I’ve never lost my love for their sound.

Without further ado …

Better Blogging With Depeche Mode

Get The Balance Right

This song’s a perfect fit for bloggers looking to better impact their audience. Like the song says, it’s all about getting the balance right. Dave Gahan belts out that you should be be responsible and respectable. Your readers will appreciate it.

What’s the best balance? There’s no one size fits all solution. You have to carefully craft articles that create the right balance for your audience.

Are you balancing education and entertainment? How about popular ideas and belief with a deeper look at the other side of the story?

Two Minute Warning

Get to the point already. Lose the lamentably long article intros. Get to the nitty gritty before you lose the interest of your audience.

Your intro is a big part of the blogging experience. It has to draw the reader in. But if you go on and on without getting to the meat of your article, to the hook promised by your title, you’re going to see your readers lose interest.

Just Can’t Get Enough

Make sure your sharing the kind of content that your clientele and your audience just can’t get enough of. Your goal is to keep them coming back for more AND more. Are you tracking your article metrics to see which topics really ring the bell of your audience? If not, you might be missing the subject matter that takes your articles to the next level. Which leads into the next song and idea …

Everything Counts

Does everything you write really resonate with your audience? Did you give it 100% effort. Your audience can tell when your publishing simply to publish, when you’re phoning it in.

Don’t disappoint by publishing lackluster content that simply regurgitates the unique ideas of others. Your blog is the hub of your online home. It’s got to showcase you’re very best efforts and ideas. Every article counts and should be published only when it’s actually valuable to your audience.

People Are People

It’s important to realize that you can’t please everyone with every article. Because people are people, we are made up of differing opinions and ideas that don’t always harmonize.

Sometimes the ideas you share are going to create pushback, maybe even dissenting discussion. Consider this a good thing. It means your article is creating an actual reaction, which is fantastic. It’s generating discussion and causing your audience to think. The discussion might just lead to new connections and future article ideas.

Stripped

Sometimes an article is going to be deeply personal. These can be difficult to share, leaving you feeling raw, emotional and even stripped of your defenses. But these kinds of articles resonate with an audience looking for something real and honest amidst a sea of sounds-alike content all trying to latch onto that latest buzz-worthy topic.

Let me clarify a bit. When I say a deeply personal article, I’m not saying you should dive into difficult topics like religion or politics in an attempt to be shocking or simply to create tension. I’m talking about sharing personal experiences, lessons learned, and even failures that might help your audience better their own businesses as they traverse the same paths you trod.

While they’re not easy to write, a really personal article is something to consider from time to time of you’re looking to make a real connection with your audience.

A Question Of Time

Topics are important, of course, when it comes to better blogging. But it’s just as important to consider the timing of your topics. It’s important to consider whether or not your article will got lost in the noise if it’s a currently trending topic. Even if you’re sharing a truly unique take on a trending topic, you face the possibility of your message moldering away if it’s a topic that has gone beyond saturation to stagnation due to overload.

From time to time you might want to consider shelving a topic if the timing isn’t right. And sometimes you’ll want to hop on the buzz train. Only you can decide if the time is right.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this musical wander down the road of better blogging? Have any better blogging tips you think I missed? That DepecheMode missed? Feel free to share them in the comments!

Social Design: Choose Your Words Wisely!

Social Design: Choose Your Words Wisely!

I’ve said it so many times, I’m sure I’ve lost count – but your presence, the vision and tone that comes across as your online or social design is about so much more than font choice, color schemes and custom graphics. The very words you choose, and how you choose to use them, makes a lasting impression on your audience. Wouldn’t you rather that lasting impression didn’t leave you looking like an idiot?

Typos happen, even incorrect word choice typos. We all post the occasional it’s when we should use its. How you deal with these makes all the difference. I fess up, immediately. If it’s a post that has yet to receive any comments or nods of approval, I delete it and start over. Fast fingers and busy schedules often result in typos. But, I’m not talking about the occasional typo. We all know when it’s a typo and when it’s much more.

Copyediting is just one of many tasks on my plate as a content marketer. From run on sentences to poor comma placement, I read, revise, read again. Copyediting is also a service I provide under contract. Commas, spacing issues, misspellings and more tend to fill my days. However, I think word choice errors are the errors that can play the most havoc with your brand and your reputation.

Admit it, when you see someone post something similar to the sentences below you feel a momentary twinge, a feeling of shame:

Your the best fans ever.

Their is nothing wrong with the occasional fill in the blank post.

I would of called you if I knew you were going to be in town.

We love are followers!

The last one, especially, makes my eyes want to die a little bit!

Who’s to blame? The expectation of our fans, followers and customers/clients? Does the expectation of a rapid response negate the need for a second set of eyes? Should we blame the education system?  Or the government for handily and repeatedly reducing education spending? My answer might not make any of my readers happy. We can only blame ourselves. The blame falls on the individual author. Because, you see, we all know better.

We know that the contraction would’ve comes from the words would and have. But we think it’s cute and trendy to say “would of”. Trust me, it’s simply wrong, not hip. We could attempt to blame text speak and the propensity to use ur instead of you are. But that one loses its merit when you realize your isn’t the same as you are or you’re and has nothing to do with text speak.

So, I’ve called you all out, in a somewhat snarky fashion. But I’m not going to leave you hanging. I plan to offer you two easy solutions to your word choice woes.

1. Ask someone you trust to be your second set of eyes. Someone who won’t skim, someone who will read with the intent to seek and destroy faulty grammar and improper word choice/use.

2. Can’t get someone to act as a second set of eyes? Use your lips. What? Your eyes aren’t deceiving you. Read your article/post OUT LOUD. Expand those contractions. I would’ve, expanded, reads out loud as I would have. Which is correct. HOORAY. They’re coming to see me expands to they are coming to see me. Correct again. If it sounds wrong when you read it, it’s worth that second look with your own eyes.

While our fans, followers and connections do expect a quick response, a short pause for a second set of eyes or a quick read aloud can save face when it means weeding out word choice errors.

Nail Your Message Before You Measure!

Nail Your Message Before You Measure!

ROI. Knowing what you’re getting in return for your efforts. It is important. However, it’s important to put measurement, metrics and ROI in their proper place in your marketing order.

Like anyone who works with social media, who has clients paying for social media services, I’m asked to provide some sort of measure of overall effectiveness. Of the implementation and continued update of social media systems and campaigns. And, of course, I do have means of tracking various types of engagement and reach. But, for the companies just launching their social media initiatives? I stress the importance of focusing on the message before worrying about the measurement.

The message, YOUR message, isn’t a single post or link. It’s not your bio, your logo, or even your “overall” brand. Your social media message is the engagement of your community, no matter how big or small.

Is your online community answering if you ask a question? Do you get a like when you post an informative article? Do you see a steady growth of fans, followers and/or connections without actively soliciting them? If you can answer yes to any of these questions, then your social media project is working and on the right track.

In the long run, yes, you’re going to want to track more than the engagement of your fans and followers. You’ll want to track brand mention, say with Google Alerts. You’ll want to monitor your brand’s reputation on Yelp and other review sites. You’ll want to see who is linking to your blog and track and possibly engage those who comment on your blog posts.

Of course you hope to generate and nurture leads, with the intent to make a sale. You are running a business and success involves sales of your products and/or services. Failure to track leads and follow up on leads and win sales can only be followed by business failure. And that’s certainly not what you’re after!

But, not one of the many reports you can run will really makes sense if you haven’t first put in the time, research and creativity that makes social media a unique way to not only pass along your message, but also lets you build and maintain a loyal and dedicated brand following.

Have you dialed-in or nailed down your message? Is it uniform across all of your marketing channels and efforts?

Web Design Woes: Team Problem or Team Solution?

Web Design Woes: Team Problem or Team Solution?

Today I’d like to dig a little deeper into two web design truths that we deal with on nearly every project we contract.

Those truths:

  1. The customer is NOT always right
  2. The designer/developer is NOT always right

I often state that you have to “get the balance right,” and that holds true on web design and development projects.

In order for a website to succeed – and there are several levels of success, it must balance one or more (we suggest ALL) of the following:

  • form and function
  • sales and stories
  • questions and answers
  • professionalism and personality

Understanding and agreeing to create and maintain this balance must occur before the design/development process begins. It’s vital and far more important than choosing sliders or no sliders, sidebars or no sidebars. While those choices are important, they don’t make up the core of your website. The balance ABSOLUTELY does.

Almost every balance decision ties, to some degree, to content – this includes images. Content delivery is often the part of the web design project that causes the most delays. It’s imperative that designer and client agree on the details of creation and delivery of content from project start, so there are no surprises down the line.

Amazingly, not all web designers are brilliant copywriters. In fact, some can barely string a sentence together. And that’s A-OK. I’m guessing they didn’t portray themselves as such during initial discussions. Don’t assume your web design team includes content marketing expertise.

Most web design contracts include a clause or line item detailing the specifics and deadlines for content delivery, including images. If the design/development team is going to seek out images, often stock photography, it will be detailed in the contract. They’ll usually detail reimbursement fees for those images, too. But that’s another blog post.

Those contracts also detail the delivery and deadlines for written content, the backbone of your site project. Without that carefully crafted content your new site is just a pretty shell. Visually appealing, but lacking substance.

If you cannot, designer and client, come to an agreement on who delivers what, the project is going to meet obstacles early on. Problems at the outset often lead to continuing issues that cause the project to drag on, often causing missed due dates and even missed launches.

Web design projects often hit stumbling blocks. It’s nothing too alarming, as these kinds of things happen on all collaborative efforts. It’s important, though, to start as you mean to finish. Are you going to be part of Team Problem or Team Solution. Are you going to work together to help the project progress as easily as possible, or are you going to point fingers and lay blame. As one part of the web design team, I know which option I prefer.

How do you deal with differing opinions on creation and delivery of content as you work on collaborative projects? I’d love to discuss!

Proofreading Content: Seek A Second Set Of Eyes

Proofreading Content: Seek A Second Set Of Eyes

Who is giving your copy a careful look & critique before you publish?

There’s a big difference between a typo and poor writing!

Most careful content curators are willing to overlook a true typo. What’s a true typo? In its simplest form a true typo involves a fumbling of the fingers, a press of the wrong letter on the keyboard. There are some common typos:

ans for and

tip instead of top

and a variety of other “missed” the letter misspellings

We also realize that, from time to time, you might put the apostrophe in the wrong spot. When it comes to possessives, sometimes we just type the wrong one – even when we know better! Even with careful proofreading, these mistakes sometimes occur, slip through the cracks.

But, as I stated above, there’s a VERY big difference between the occasional typo and bad writing. Bad writing displays itself in a variety of ways:

  • improper use of punctuation or lack of punctuation
  • misspellings
  • improper word choice
  • and combinations of the three mentioned above

When we see an author repeatedly making the same mistake, be it using your when you’re is actually correct – or something else just as grammatically incorrect, we wonder if they are practicing the “second set of eyes rule” before they publish.

Proofreading Is Professional

The second set of eyes rule is simple and very effective. Nothing gets published until a second set of eyes actually check the content, deeming it suitable and correct. Longer or more complicated documents often benefit from two, three and even four sets of eyes. Simply put, that second set of eyes provides a secondary proofreading before content is published.

Even if you’re a very strong writer with a large and varied vocabulary, a second set of eyes can be of huge benefit. Heavy writing schedules sometimes mean we work on written projects in fits and spurts, saving them in draft format after each session. When you work on a document or a post for a long time you begin to see what you “believe to be” there, rather than what is actually in front of you. How often do you see a sentence that appears to be half formed, followed by a complete sentence that states the same thing but in a slightly different way?

We see it all the time. What does it mean? It means the author was working in draft format and chose to change sentence structure and word choice, BUT forgot to delete the preceding partial sentence.

Even when you rely on a second set of eyes the occasional error will slip through. But, as we stated above, true typos are apparent. Good readers recognize good writers and will overlook what is truly a one time, simple mistake. But they won’t forgive, and certainly won’t share, a poorly written article or document.

Do errors and repeat typos keep you from sharing an article with your online audience? Is proofreading part of your content marketing plan?

Conversational Social By Design: Get Rid Of The Geek Speak!

Conversational Social By Design: Get Rid Of The Geek Speak!

Ditch the Dweeb Discourse!

When you’re a geek you have a language all your own (OK, the other geeks understand – sometimes). As a self-professed geek (card carrying frequent ThinkGeek shopper who casually peppers conversation with Star Wars, Marvel Movie and Princess Bride quotes), I work hard to keep my social voice just that. SOCIAL.

Ever been cornered by the enthusiastic web developer at a Business After Hours event? The horrors! While his/her enthusiasm is initially charming, the egregious elocution soon becomes an assault on your ability to show even the minimum of polite interest. Sure, you know that CSS stands for Cascading Style Sheets, but you never know they were a topic on which you’d be expected to feign interest for fifteen minutes or more. You poor soul. Go get yourself that martini – and treat yourself to extra olives!

At least at the BAH event you can hope a friend or colleague will notice your glassy, unfocused eyes and come to our rescue. When this type of activity occurs online it can be hard to “step away”, as our choices are limited to unfollowing or muting. Which is sad, because we geeks have a lot of wonderful and valuable information to share. We just have to sort out how to do it without boring or bombarding our audience.

I’ve chosen to detail three types of geek speak today, but know there are dozens of geeky sub-dialects.

Jargon Dropping:

Every industry and niche within that industry has a language of its own. It’s part of business culture, we strive to differentiate ourselves from our competitors and it’s easy to do so with language. However, the propensity to make things more difficult than they need to be is a growing concern among the brotherhood of geeks. We can differentiate and still be easily and readily understood. Word choice is a key part of communication best practice. The way you choose to express yourself, the words you choose to share can make a difference – good or bad – when it comes to making that connection, taking it up a notch to a real relationship and even a future sale.

There are several types of jargon to avoid:

  • Acronyms: Sure. Cute little three letter abbreviations make it easy to get our point across, especially on Twitter. But, too many can clutter the conversation requiring those with whom you are speaking to search their brain bank to equate those letters with real meaning. While they’re doing that they aren’t listening and nothing you’re saying has any real impact.
  • Buzzwords: While we understand the meaning, they’re so often repeated and so often misused that they no longer have value, i.e. “engagement”. When buzz words pepper your conversation you’ll find your audience tuning out and taking no note of what you have to offer.
  • Niche/Industry Specific Verbiage:

ver·bi·age

/ˈvərbē-ij/

Noun
Speech or writing that uses too many words or excessively technical expressions.
Synonyms
verbosity

 

Name Dropping: A.K.A. (Wanna Be) Geek Chic Clique

I’ve seen a real rise in this of late, and it takes me careening back to high school. Yes, HIGH SCHOOL. Remember that second-tier group of wanna-be popular kids? The ones that hung on every word of the reigning cool kids, the popular crowd? Instead of finding ways to stand out on their own, through sport, drama, or extracurricular activities, they made sure that the group of students they deemed third-tier heard them name and event dropping in an elusive bid to appear popular and cool. The funny thing was, that supposed third-tier were the real cool kids. The ones that were secure in their own skin, pleased to be part of a circle of friends – no matter the size, with shared interests and ideals.

Now, look to social business and social media marketing. There’s certainly a list of cool kids – and just like high school some stay for the long haul and some drop off into oblivion, forgotten and even frowned upon. And there’s definitely that second-tier eagerly waiting in the wings, name dropping and link sharing with no intent except to get notice, offering no unique value-added ideas or opinions to the discussion. As with high school, with the benefit of hindsight, it’s that third tier that makes the biggest impression. Comfortable in their own skin, able to share and discuss ideas and differing opinions, striving to add to and benefit the conversation.

Of course I share links from bigger names. Names like Jeff Bullas, Jon Loomer, Mari Smith, etc. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with sharing and discussing great content and ideas. But I do not engage in tagging volleys and comments for commenting’s sake in order to ensure the cool kids take notice. If they do take notice, great. Wonderful even. But it’s not the end goal, it’s not my intent and purpose. That intent and purpose is to create discussions with those who want to learn, laugh, lead and launch their own initiatives. It’s a cool place to be!

Platform Dropping:

You know what I’m talking about. These are the people that tell you that Twitter is the greatest thing since sliced bread and is going to out-American apple pie, but never seem to do anything except share articles from the same ten sources. It’s the people who wax rhapsodic about Facebook while at the same time wondering why they are getting less response to the same tired inspirational quotes layered over sunset images.

No matter how much we prefer a certain social business platform over another, we know two things:

A one-trick pony isn’t going to win first prize

AND

Almost everything that provides value can also put us in debt

Rose colored glasses create a pretty pink hue, but they also obscure the fact that if we want change, we have to ask for it, even clamor for it. If we get moored too deep into platform lovin’, no matter the reason, we miss the opportunity to help shape the platforms for the greater good – creating real relationships and valuable discussions.

In closing, geek speak is often used as a crutch when we can’t engage in real interactive conversation. As stated by many of my industry peers and friends, we all want to converse and connect with real people. Lose the geek speak and get to the good stuff. Real conversation!

Have I missed a particularly nefarious or heinous type of geek speak? If so, please share via a comment below. Only together can we create the kinds of conversation that educate, entertain and enlighten.

Social Media Marketing IS ABOUT Y-O-U

Social Media Marketing IS ABOUT Y-O-U

I know this flies in the face of much of what we hear touted by the experts. We’re so often told that everything about social media marketing should be endeavored with your ideal client in mind. I realize you’re possibly scratching your head and wondering if I’ve gone round the bend and completely off track. But give me a minute and I think I’ll get you on board and we can all round the bend to a better place where social actually IS about us.

Social media marketing “IS” absolutely about Y-O-U:

It’s about you taking the time to read and form your own opinions before you retweet an article or infographic.

Why? Because you’re in the process of building trust as an expert. And experts don’t share random crap, or worse – ideas and articles that are incompetent or irresponsible.

It’s about taking the time to read industry articles and share relevant information that benefits your audience.

Expertise isn’t gained in a silo. Social media isn’t possible solo, as we certainly can’t pretend that every idea, tip and tool is generated by us alone. It takes a village to stay up to date and on track with all of the changes to the platforms and more. Maintaining a smart and savvy peer group is a must.

[clickToTweet tweet=”Expertise isn’t gained in a silo. #Socialmedia isn’t possible solo!” quote=”Expertise isn’t gained in a silo. Social media isn’t possible solo!”]

It’s about you sharing the lessons you’ve learned during your own business journeys and travails with those about to embark on their own journeys.

We all make mistakes and we all celebrate triumphs. The highs and lows of business and entrepreneurship are the stories that help us appear human across social channels. While it might be painful to share some of these stories, it’s also freeing to share mistakes and keep your potential clients from setting down the same wrong path.

It’s about you actively engaging in conversations with others via social platforms.

While you certainly can schedule your posts in a relatively small amount of time, you can’t schedule the actual engagement. You never know when a conversations will arise and you have to be ready to actively converse, even in 140 characters or less per post.

It’s about you choosing to share of your real self and coming across like a human being, rather than an automaton.

It all goes back to that idea that you can’t schedule engagement. Social media marketing involves conversations, sometimes off the cuff and unexpected. You have to be willing to put in the time and effort. Canned, cut and paste or obviously scheduled responses aren’t social.

It’s about you sharing your ideas or your take on an idea so you can add something new to the discussion.

It takes knowledge and understanding to look at both sides of an idea or issue. That knowledge and understanding comes from being well read, sure, but it also means you’re willing to discuss differing ideas and interesting concepts with an open mind.

It’s about you choosing to share the other side of the story if you feel that a discussion has become a little one-sided.

If we all liked the exact same things the world would be a very boring place. There are two sides to every story, especially when it comes to social media marketing, where there are no one-size-fits-all solutions. There are many ways to converse and share with your audience and your peers. Looking at both sides of an issue shows you care enough to dig in and really seek answers that will help both you and your audience.

It’s about you making the effort.

There are no short cuts to social media marketing success. You’ve got to put in the time and effort. From reading to reaching out to peers and influencers, your task list will sometimes be long and the to-do items will be diverse. But that’s part of what makes it so exciting and fulfilling.

I think you’ve probably sussed out where I’m going with this, right? Social media marketing IS about Y-O-U sharing what your carefully cultivated audience actually wants. It involves Y-O-U making an effort, investing time and energy and actively tapping into your creativity to ensure your shares stand out from the steady stream of posts.

How do you ensure the real Y-O-U shines in your social media shares and conversations?

Building Relationships By Design

Building Relationships By Design

Do you know why salespeople need to look polished at all times? Because people judge them within the first 30 seconds of meeting them.

We would all like it more if people were able to listen to what we have say, rather than focusing on how we look. It’s superficial. Shallow. And like it or not, people are going to judge you this way, too.

You have precious seconds, not minutes, to make or break your first impression.

The moment you walk in the door, your potential dream client is judging you based on how you look.

Today, your customer’s first impression happens online. They are typically 70%-80% into the buying process before they ever contact you. Those few seconds of attention they give your website can make all the difference.

Don’t Underestimate First Impressions

Relationships, in business and in life, are all about trust. We want to buy from people we know, like and trust enough to give us sound advice.

Your goal, then, is to reach out your hand to each potential customer and bring them into your world. Let them explore. Let them get to know you, and what you offer.

You can build trust with your customer through your consistency, your authority, and your service. But what about your first impression?

How are you conveying these ideals to build trust with your audience when they first visit your site? Or see your Twitter profile? Or look at your business card?

It starts with design.

The visual design of your brand is the most important tool you have to instantly make a positive impression on people. It should communicate who you are and what your story is to anyone who happens to visit. And that message should stay consistent throughout your online and offline presence.

Does your website do this for your brand?

Ask yourself:

  1. What is the most important thing I want my site to communicate?
  2. Does it show who I am and what I do within a few seconds?
  3. Can my visitors easily determine what the next steps are from the pages they land on?
  4. Do my social outposts share a common design that ties together my online presence?

If your site gives your visitors flashbacks to the nineties, or leaves them confused in any way, you’ve already lost credibility.

Thinking Through the Entire Customer Experience

Like it or not, your customers will be vetting you throughout their experience with you and your business. Every interaction you have with them is a chance to win them or lose them all over again.

After they buy from you, your customer service matters. During the sales process, what you say and how you act matters. And before they even talk to you, your appearance matters.

A professional, compelling design for your website may be the first thing people see. It can help

communicate your story to the viewer, draw them in, and begin to build trust. It’s the very first step in

the relationship building process.

People will do their research. They are probably out there right now, comparing you and your

competitors based on the first impressions they get from your website.

How will you win them over?

Clueless? Consider Keeping Quiet!

Clueless? Consider Keeping Quiet!

While many of my followers know that I’ve taken up tennis in the last two years, many may not know that before I was bitten by the tennis bug I was an avid cyclist. While I did ride the road, my real love was for the trails.

One of my long-time clients is actually a fairly well known machining company that creates industry standard bicycle components. I manage all of their social media and often find myself moderating conversations that get out of hand.

Why do they get out of hand? Because cycling creates strong opinions. And there are MANY different types of cycling. Mountain, road, cyclocross, BMX, track, etc. And everyone has a different opinion. You’ve heard the phrase about opinions, right? You know, they’re like an unmentionable (at least in polite company) body part!

Your Opinions Aren’t Always Ripe For Sharing!

Opinions in and of themselves aren’t a problem, even when they’re strong. As long as they’re based on some sort of real understanding or smarts. It’s when the opinions have no basis in actual fact that things get a little heated and I have to start throwing my social media manager weight around. And don’t even get me started when the topic turns to the riding of wet trails. Chaos reigns.

Why am I on another one of my tears? It’s not necessarily about the smarts, or lack thereof, of potentially ruining your bike and a stellar trail system. Nope. It’s really about the need of many social media managers and “experts” to take part in conversations when they really don’t understand or grasp the topic being discussed.

Getting away from cycling, I can easily share another example. Many of us share movie or music quotes. They’re fun and can help set the mood for the day or for the project. Until some clueless looky-loo feels the need to chime in with a response that leaves anyone “in the know” shaking their heads.

If I post “No more rhymes now, I mean it,” there’s only one acceptable response. That response? “Anybody want a peanut?”

Sometimes Silence Showcases Smarts!

Yet, with every post about the Princess Bride, the Big Bang Theory or REM song lyrics, there’s that one person who chimes in despite being ABSOLUTELY clueless. They don’t ask a question if they’re outside of the loop, they respond as if they know what’s going on. Even when this couldn’t be further from the truth.

I find this almost as annoying as the people who repeatedly share hoaxes as truth. Is it really that hard to check Snopes.com? No, it’s not. Just as it’s not that hard to take the thirty seconds to Google search whatever’s being talked about before you chime in if you’re not 100% sure you’re in the know.

While I’ve shared two rather silly examples here, this clueless chatter happens on professional posts and shares all too often. It not only makes the chatterer look like a charlatan, it detracts from the professional conversation.

When you don’t understand the premise or context of a post or share, it’s ABSOLUTELY okay to remain quiet. Commenting for the sake of commenting, in these cases, just makes you look clueless!

When Cheap Cheats You: Titillating And Tricky Titles

When Cheap Cheats You: Titillating And Tricky Titles

Misleading Marketing: Take It Out Of Your Article Titles!

tit·il·lat·ing
ˈtitlˌātiNG/
adjective
  1. arousing mild sexual excitement or interest; salacious.
    “she let slip titillating details about her clients”

While we have a tendency to equate the the word “cheap” with money and fees, it’s important to understand that it’s quite possible to cheapen a reputation and the perception of your expertise. While as business owners we certainly do trade dollars, we also trade on trust. To lose trust could soon lead to lost leads and income.

How can something as small as a title lead to the loss of trust? In so many ways!

Whether your target lead is a business owner, a social media manager or a customer service rep, there are some simple truths that apply to all:

  • They’re all busy.
  • They all are overrun with content.
  • They want what they want, when they want it.
  • They don’t like wasting time.

As these busy bees seek out content for sharing, learning or to help them collect their own leads, you have one chance with their trust. Do you hope to earn and maintain that trust? Of course you are. We know that people do business with other people and businesses that they know, like and trust.

Do you like to be lured in by false promises? Of course you don’t. Your title is the initial promise as to the value of the content that goes along with it. Your title prompts the clicks to read the article in full, peruse your email newsletter, check out your offer. If the title is misleading and you don’t deliver on the promise hinted at with that title, you’re going to disappoint and potentially anger your audience. An angry audience can soon turn to a dwindling audience.

While we all know that titles are meant to entice readers, there’s no room for trickery. It’s possible to create interest and even evoke emotion without deception. Or sex. AHA! You were wondering how I was going to tie in “titillating” and the definition above. Gotcha.

Sex might sell in certain industries and a sexy title might draw some clicks. But are you seeking an audience that finds you sexy or one that finds you smart and savvy enough to deal with and solve their business needs and pain points? I don’t know about you, but the latter is what I’m after.

While a carefully crafted article title can certainly assist in drawing more eyes to your stellar content, make sure your content matches the appeal of the title. If it doesn’t, you’re cheapening your content marketing value and the readers will remember, and might not return!

Ever been misled by an article title? How does it make you feel. Does it detract from your trust of a brand or business?