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?

4 replies
  1. Kimberly Kline
    Kimberly Kline says:

    So true!!! I have stopped reading the articles of a few bloggers because of their misleading titles. When I take the time to click on something, that is because the title promised me something of value or interest. When it doesn’t live up to that promise, I feel duped That is why I am so careful about making sure my title directly relates to the meat of my article. Thanks for summing this problem up so neatly Mallie!

    • Mallie Hart
      Mallie Hart says:

      So glad it rang true for you, Kimberly. It can be very disconcerting and disappointing when you click through and find that the article with the tantalizing title had nothing in common with the very title that it used to beckon readers.

  2. Robin Strohmaier
    Robin Strohmaier says:

    Well said, Mallie! It is frustrating to be drawn in by a tantalizing title only to be disappointed with the actual content.

    • Mallie Hart
      Mallie Hart says:

      Isn’t it though, Robin. Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts and for sharing the article on Google+.

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