Great Content is More than a Catchy Headline
If you came across an article titled “How to Start Saving for Retirement,” what would you expect to read about? If you’re like me, you’d expect actual methods and tips for saving money, maybe even a numbered list featuring information about compounding interest and tips on choosing mutual funds.
Do you know what I found? Reasons people don’t start saving for retirement sooner. There was not a single sentence about how to save.
In a recent post about what makes great content great, we established that great content is empowering, grammatically correct and strategic. Another mark of great content is that it always delivers on the promises it makes.
Content that delivers helps develop a relationship with your audience and helps transition them into becoming customers. However, content that doesn’t live up to the expectations created by a flashy headline ruins the trust you’ve worked so hard to establish, whether the offense was intentional or not. Don’t promise in the headline what you’re not willing, or able, to deliver in the copy.
If your post is titled “5 Ways to Increase Web Traffic,” then you better give readers five distinct, easy-to-follow ways that actually work and that readers can use. Vagueness is your enemy: Give step-by-step instructions or relevant, specific examples.
Delivering what you promise applies to other types of content creation and curation as well. One of the cardinal sins of Pinterest is misleading your followers or other pinners by taking them somewhere they didn’t want to go. Never change the source of a pin to your own website, or use images that have nothing to do with the content they link to.
Catchy headlines, strong keywords and engaging images are important ways to attract attention. But your goal isn’t to trick people into interacting with your company or your content; it’s to make yourself indispensable because of the value you offer your readers.
What types of bad or misleading content drive you crazy? You can vent to us in the comments below.
(Original Image via Beck Gusler on Flickr)