You MUST Read This! Right Now!

computerWhy did you click on this post?

You did it because you HAD to see what was so important that you had to read it NOW, right? Your curiosity had to be satisfied. So, you clicked. It’s simple, right? But is it?

Social media is a main source for communication in today’s society. With an extensive variety in media platforms, you can gather information and convey your own opinion in a quick comment and click. And in terms of business, your involvement in social media is an essential and valuable means of marketing.

But what happens when that marketing falls flat?

As a writer, you have work you want to be seen. It could be a novel, a short story, or a blog. The whole point of laboring over every word and sweating each sentence is to have others read your work, right? The next logical step is to put your work into the universe of social media in an effort to find your audience.

So, you post. You tweet. You splash your work on Facebook, Linkedin, and any other source you have read or been told would get you exposure, right?

You publish. You wait. Then you wait a bit more. Your post gets one or two likes and perhaps a comment. Then…nothing.

Why?

Let’s assume that your work is well written. Where are all those people—the ones just sitting in front of their computer waiting to read your beautifully and carefully crafted prose? We both know that they are out there so the question really becomes how do you reach these potential readers?

Put simply, you must grab their attention!

How?

One of the first things that your potential reader sees is the title of your work. This is applicable to short stories, novels, etc., but it is most important for articles and blog posts.

In Neil Patel’s article, “The Simple Guide to Writing Social Media Headlines (That People Click),” he reminds us that it is about presentation. The first words a reader sees is the title and that reader only gives it a few seconds consideration so YOU have to make it count. This article is worth a perusal, especially to get a sense of what titles work and why.

Getting your work read is really about curb appeal. Have you done all you can to present your work in an aesthetically pleasing package? Remember, most people scrolling are only giving your writing a gnat’s attention span worth of consideration. You have to draw them in. Once they are in your pretty painted house then you can show them all the reasons why they should curl up and stay a bit.

I would be remiss if I didn’t add that curb appeal shouldn’t be confused with trying to unload a dump with some strategic landscaping and fresh paint. In social media, this is referred to click bait.

What is click bait?

The following “titles” are examples of click bait.

  •  “Shocking truths about the common food you are eating”
  • “A woman held her baby, sneezed, and you won’t believe what happened next”
  • “7 odd tricks that work for losing weight”

You’ve read them. You’ve clicked on them. You’ve been had.

These titles are false advertising—cheap ploys to get clicks. They are beneath you. Don’t do it.

Instead, write titles that will catch a reader’s attention, ones that showcase the interesting bits of your work without undermining your talent and integrity as a writer.

Thank you for reading. I look forward to your comments.

 

5 thoughts on “You MUST Read This! Right Now!

  1. The reference article was the longest non-academic article I ever read, but worth it.

    I made a mental note to point out that clickbait titles is a bad idea but you beat me to it by the end of your post.

    I do however want to point out that Buzzfeed is basically clickbait headlines at this point. And also that Facebook has been working on an algorithm for some time to reduce the exposure to clickbait articles, though I never did hear if they finished it.

  2. Sherry, great post! I clicked on it through twitter not even knowing what the article was about haha. I really like your point about people giving you a gnat’s attention span of time. I have been trying to work on my copy writing skills lately to be more succinct but also get peoples attention.

    I try to focus intentionally on my blog titles and book titles above other factors. I think it is so important to write worthwhile content sure, but if you don’t focus on grabbing that attention no one is going to read.

    1. Thanks for your comments, Jordan. It’s funny that my title proved my point! Being more succinct is so important in today’s culture of short attention spans. Good luck with your work!

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About Sherry Parnell