Would You Read This if I Promised You a Free Baby Unicorn?

Posted: June 24, 2012 in General Business Fodder

Just read some interesting articles on the concepts of FOMO (fear of missing out) and TMI (sharing too much information), specifically concerning social media.  Both articles resonated with me, on both a personal and professional level.   Perhaps I will comment more on them later, but out of these articles sprouted another business social media “ah-ha,” which is…

                Do not underestimate the importance of a compelling title or subject heading.               

By now, most businesses realize that they need to have an online presence, regardless of their industry or niche.  But as the two articles above make clear, there is literally a daily flood of information out there online, and much of it is, in fact, simply noise.

As a savvy businessperson, you have something significant to share with your customers and prospects in the way of content.  You have ideas and opinions and anecdotes.  You have white papers and webinars.  You have blogs and tweets and posts.

So why doesn’t your stuff get read more?  Well, it is competing with a LOT of crap out there on the interwebs.  Don’t get me wrong, there’s a lot of really good stuff out there, too.  Content that’s better than mine, and probably better than yours, too.  And does it all get read?  Hell, no.  Same problem – too much noise out there.  That, coupled with people’s overwhelming need to not miss out on anything cool, means that actually getting someone to read your stuff is really a competitive sport.

Bingo.  The best tool you can use to get read is a really, REALLY compelling title or subject heading.  And don’t go all high and mighty intellectual.  Remember, in this age of social media and online communications, you are no longer simply competing against other businesses in your industry.  Oh no.  You are now competing with EVERYTHING.  ALL the TIME.

Yes, one of your greatest competitors for people’s attention may be cute kitten photos with cleverly misspelled captions!  And if you work for, say, a venerable financial institution, that may be hard news for you and your management team to swallow.  Doesn’t make it any less true, though.

So don’t be afraid to take some chances with your titles and subject headings.  Loosen the knot on your tie, Don Draper!  Go ahead and say something outrageous, and then use the article or blog or post to explain it.

I realize that many old-school marketers will see this as sort of beneath the dignity of their craft, but the world of business has changed, and the best practices must change along with it, lest ye get drowned in the flood of info-noise.

Oh, and here: 

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