Marketing Communications & PR

If the headline doesn’t tick, people won’t click!

Jeff Bullas, a social media marketing guru, recently wrote a wonderful blog titled “How A Great Title Got Me A Link From The New York Times.”  The Marketing Id subsequently tweeted about it and as is customary included a link to Jeff’s post at the end of our tweet, which read as follows:

“If the headline doesn’t tick, people won’t click–as the saying goes, ‘well begun is half done!’”

In our February 2012 post, “Five i-Factors That Can Ensure Every Business Tweet Counts,” The Marketing Id had posited the following:

“In the B2B world, Twitter has the potential of becoming the launching pad of choice for all sorts of business communications beyond traditional PR and marketing to include sales, financial, engineering, operations, customer relationship management, et al.  Given the fact that a tweet can be used to initiate several different types of business communications, never has a tweet’s 140 characters seemed more valuable to the enterprise.”

However, in then going on to elaborate a tweet’s business purpose, in the wake of its, what we called, an “‘I’ journey from Interrupt to Inquire,” The Marketing Id failed to emphasize the significance of the “headline” aspects of a tweet in that blog post.  We highlighted the importance of classical AIDA (Attention, Interest, Desire, Action) principles in constructing a tweet by saying:

“It is vitally important to remember that the very first purpose of a tweet is to interrupt a follower’s thought processes.”

Nonetheless, we had neglected to mention the role of a catchy headline in capturing attention and the afore-mentioned Bullas post reminded us how critical this can be to cause a click-through as well as earn a favorable link in a prestigious publication just like Bullas did.

So as an experiential exercise, The Marketing Id went back and checked its tweets (@MahaTweeter) from the past couple of months to see if they offered more attention-grabbing “headline” material than the titles of the original articles that each of our tweets were actually promoting or linking to.  While The Marketing Id recognizes that mainstream business publications tend to be conservative with their story/article headlines, we nonetheless believe that these stories/articles should be promoted via Twitter with more “i-catching,” i.e., clickable, headlines.  This is becoming an imperative for traditional and online content providers, who want to gain/maintain readership within the new digital media content publishing/distribution paradigm.

So below we offer five examples of actual unedited tweets that The Marketing Id recently sent out to promote marketing items of interest:

    1. On September 3rd, Forbes published an article titled “Winners And Losers In The Microsoft Nokia Deal.”  The Marketing Id tweeted about this story and included an embedded link to their full article as follows:

$MSFT MyPhone strategy–buys $NOK to replicate $AAPL $GOOG success–too much, too little, too late?

    1. On August 12th, The Wall Street Journal headlined an article with BlackBerry Puts Itself Up for Sale.” Here’s how The Marketing Id promoted this revelation and included an embedded link to WSJ’s complete story:

$BBRY tried a name change, but brand had already been tarnished–lesson for marketers, you snooze, you lose!

    1. On July 24th, Forbes published an article titled “Mark Zuckerberg Says Teenagers Aren’t Leaving Facebook.” The next day we tweeted about this disclosure and included an embedded link to their full story as follows:

Teenagers Aren’t Leaving Facebook… $FB is leaving teenagers!  Rents & rentals (ad space) are turning kids off!

    1. On July 4th, Bloomberg headlined “Yahoo to Buy Software Firm Xobni for About $70 Million.”  The Marketing Id’s tweet of the story highlighted Yahoo CEO’s buying binge as follows:

In #socmed era a video is worth a 1000 pictures, so $YHOO makes a Qwiki acquisition–15th since CEO Mayer leaned in!

  1. On June 12th, Forbes announced “With Waze, Google Signals Arrival Of New Business Model.”  Here’s how we tweeted the story:

$GOOG realizes it takes a village–wades into #crowdsourcing space with WAZE acquisition–for real time Google Maps?

The moral of our lesson here is that even if an original article does not “nail the headline,” make sure your social media message does.  Whether it originates from Twitter, LinkedIn or Facebook, the message that subsequently plugs an article to your followers/readers must entice them to click-through and actually read it?  Because, quite simply, if the headline doesn’t tick, people won’t click!

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