Why aren’t people reading my blog posts?

One way you can increase your clientele is to offer valuable content in the form of a e-newsletter or blog. While you may have some robust content, if you can’t get your audience to click on that email or read those blog posts, your work would be all for naught.

Today’s readers skim and often decide within a matter of seconds whether they are going to invest the time to delve into your content. That’s why it’s so critical to craft a great headline. Below are some tips from my LinkedIn network on how to write compelling headlines that will increase the chances that your next article, newsletter or blog post is read.

Learn from the masters

Clark Olver with the Eaton Marketing Group says that David Ogilvy’s advice on the subject of headlines is still solid. “His ability to connect with the target audience one-on-one was grounded in research, objectivity and a visceral understanding of what motivates people.”

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The End of Marketing As We Know It

Screen Shot 2013-03-10 at 4.58.18 PMConsider for a moment the annoying, interruptive, often obnoxious nature of traditional marketing. Dinnertime phone calls from strangers in noisy call centers. Glossy pictures of the latest fashions worn by models who barely look human. Crowded store shelves with head-spinning arrays of options arranged in no discernable order (“I just need some toothpaste!”). Company websites that give us no clue what the business actually does. Hype. Spin. Pushy salespeople.

It’s hard to believe these are the methods and tools of a profession designed to attract and persuade us to become customers, says Bill Lee—especially when “we the buyers” increasingly ignore them.

“A number of studies are showing that people no longer pay much attention to traditional marketing as they progress through the ‘buyer’s decision journey,’” says Lee, author of The Hidden Wealth of Customers: Realizing the Untapped Value of Your Most Important Asset (Harvard Business Review Press, 2012, ISBN: 978-1-4221723-1-5, $27.00). “Instead, buyers are checking out product and service information in their own way, often through the Internet, their social network, or just plain word-of-mouth or customer reviews. It seems clear that marketing as we currently practice the discipline is on its way out.”

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What good writing books would you recommend?

Clients often ask for my recommendation on books they should have on their shelves to use as a writing reference. While there are hundreds of books out there that can assist any experienced or novice writers, here are my top 5:

The Elements of Style, Fourth Edition by William Strunk and E.B. White: Every reference shelf begins with this classic. It doesn’t matter what edition you have (I have the fourth); Strunk and White’s style manual is guaranteed to help you become a better writer.

Three of my favorite tips:

  1. Revise and rewrite.
  2. Do not explain too much.
  3. Omit needless words.

How can I jumpstart my creativity?

Sometimes I find myself staring at a blank page not knowing how to start that article or find the right words for a headline of a blog posting.  On days like this, I just need to find a way to get over this creative burnout and find that spark of creativity when I’m feeling uninspired.

I know I’m not alone, so I recently asked my social media network of friends and colleagues to get their thoughts on this subject and asked them where they find their creativity when they’re feeling uninspired.

Based on their recommendations, here are 12 ways to jumpstart your creativity:

1. Absorb the World Around You

Christopher Cussat, actor, writer, and a poet with a forthcoming chapbook of poetry, says that as much as creativity can be an amazing blessing, it can also be a burden.

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5 Sure-Fire Ways to Improve Headlines That Will Drive Readers to Your Blog

Photo by Sean MacEntee

Photo by Sean MacEntee

Over the next two months, we’re going to focus on how to capture your readers’ attention when they first come across your blog. Besides the content, your post’s headline and the lead will make a difference on whether the readers will continue to read.

Last month, I queried my LinkedIn connections and asked for their best tips on how to write a snappy headline and an irresistible lead in a blog post. The response was overwhelming. I received over 50 tips, but for brevity, I whittled down what I felt were the 5 best responses for each category. This month, we’ll focus on the five best ways to craft a headline that will make your readers want more.

1. Use numbers

There’s a reason why I used a number in my headline for this article—it works. Think about how many articles and blog posts have caught your attention over the past week just because it contained a number.

One reason why these headlines are popular is that readers love numbered lists. A number in your post’s title indicates your article or post contains a numbered list. People tend to skim, especially on the web, and a numbered list makes it easy for them to do so.

Example: 5 sure-fire ways to write a catchy headline

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Top 4 Scary Internet Threats Business Owners Need to Know

Amid a season of Halloween horrors, the scariest thing most of us will contend with are the litany of Internet threats that can readily crash our computer system and wreak havoc on our personal and business lives.

To help you compute with confidence this season, Nick Nascimento, Chief “Geek” at AGeek2Go—a senior-level IT service and support company—offers this hit list of “scareware”—the 4 creepiest threats Internet surfers should be aware of right now:

1. The FBI MoneyPak Trojan. This is in a class called “ransomware.” which are Trojans or Virus’ that force you to PAY for them to “remove it ” and of course after you pay they never do, If while surfing the Internet your computer screen is filled with a FBI warning page that claims you have to pay the $100 fine, you’re infected! Most of the time, ransomware locks up the user’s desktop, disables task manager and other system utilities to avoid the termination of the process by the user as well. However, FBI MoneyPak ransomware takes it to the entirely new level by adding a little video recording square in the top right corner of the fake FBI warning page. It supposed to be your built-in web camera. Curiously, this little square shows up even if your laptop doesn’t have a built-in camera.

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