6 Amazingly Simple Headline Tips to Transform Your Existing Content

It’s springtime, a perfect time to review what’s in your closet and see what existing pieces can make a new outfit or a new look.

The same principles apply to Content Marketing.  With a few headline changes, you can change the appearance of your content to be brand new. Much like a wardrobe has essential components, there are six distinct components to a headline. An outstanding headline should be explicit and have at least three of the six components. And, just as some outfits work better for certain occasions, some headline words and components are more optimal on diverse social platforms.

1. Emotional

The headline should include an emotional trigger word using a superlative.  Examples are amazing, humorous, electrifying, stunning, inspiring, extraordinary, and successful.  Know your audience and speak to them, carefully choosing the words that will most appeal to your target customers. For example, the word “successful” is much stronger on LinkedIn than on Facebook or Twitter.

Creating a clever headline can also appeal to the humorous side of the reader and intrigues the audience to click into the blog. One of Zircon’s most popular blogs, “A Wall is a Wall is a Wall” tells a simple headline narrative that beckons the reader to find out more.

We used the superlative, amazingly, in our headline. We could easily change it to “6 Successful Headline Tips”, or “5 Effective Headline Tips”, depending on our target audience.

2. Content

Use a word or phrase to indicate the type of content the reader should expect. A picture or video can be useful in demonstrating to the audience how a tool works; Zircon, for example, often embeds video content into a blog via our YouTube channel. Other examples of content words within a headline include charts, quotes, facts, tips and tricks, habits, warnings and mistakes.

“Tips” works well across most networks. We used the word tips in our headline.

3. Topic

Hot topics can be trending topics found on Right Relevance, Buzzsumo, Hootsuite, Buzzfeed, Twitter, Facebook and more. Within the DIY world, hot topics include the words DIY, home remodeling, tools, kitchens, bathrooms and more. Select a topic that resonates with your audience.

Our topic is content.  (The word headline in our headline is a descriptive word. The headline would work with or without it.)

4. Format

Content Format reveals the style of your content.  Ever notice the numerous examples of a “Top 5 list of” or the viral impact of a quiz or the special interest people pay to personal stories? These examples, plus research reports and how to posts work effectively throughout social media.

The number 6 is in our headline to indicate a list post.

5. Promise

What happens if the reader clicks into your headline? What can they expect? This is what the promise should deliver to the audience. Perhaps they’ll receive a how to guide in home improvement or practical tips of how to install shelving and lighting or a way to create a larger space within a smaller dwelling.

Our promise is to transform your existing content with some simple headline changes.

6. Number

The headline length makes a difference and lengthier headlines spur increased clicks. Experiment with the number of words that are ideal for your target audience.

Our headline has 10 words, not too short, but not so long that is it is not catchy.

Did our headline live up to your expectations?

What’s in your content closet that can be refreshed with a new headline?

At Zircon, we’re continuously looking for ways to help solve end user problems and communicate our solutions in the most effective manner. We would love to hear from you about your content ideas and invite you to share your marketing experiences with us. Please visit us at zircon.comlike us, or follow us.

Please join us the 1st and 3rd Thursday of each month for #diytrends. Engage, learn and share. We would love to hear from you!

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Sharpen your tools with Sharon as she shares her key insights of the tool world and her impactful marketing strategies and tactics. Sharon image

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Is Content Still Meaningful?

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Is the written word still viable?  In our fast-paced world that often resorts to the shortest method to communicate, from text messages to tweets, companies may question if a blog, article, or more substantial content is still relevant. Businesses do still indeed need written content – and lots of it – to continue to embrace the company’s brand followers and attract new customers. Use these helpful tips to develop your next content piece.

  • Make it content worthy. Content, in its many forms, is defined as relevant information that provides value and insight to the reader. It can take many forms, including written content for web pages, e-books, white papers, infographics, and blog article. To be valuable, how does your content solve a problem, answer a question, or inform your customers?
  • Use the E word. Engage, engage, engage. Engaging content prompts a response from the reader. Ask your customers thought provoking questions and propel discussions. Will the person reading your content find it useful enough to share, favorite, bookmark or link to your piece? If not, see how you can add or change your content piece to make it one that will propel your message by your followers and fans.
  • Ignite Your Vibe. Although the voice and style of writing depends on the type of content and platform used (i.e. e-books are more formal and social media is more laid back), many times, the same content can be used on multiple platforms. Rather than starting from scratch, subtle edits can be made to the content to make it viable for different channels. For example, the writer may want to utilize the same blog article on various social media platforms (e.g. Facebook, Twitter) by posting a comment with a link back to the blog post.
  • Create or Curate? Original content, true to its name, means that the content is created by the originator. It is an original work, whether it is a blog, article, e-book or more. On the other hand, curated content can consist of third party data that the writer aggregates and make sense of, for the reader, through commentary. Another form of curated content is when a company adds an organizational perspective to existing third party content; this form is fairly common in social media.

At Zircon Corporation, the company has an extensive library of content that it continuously produces for its domestic, as well as international, audience. Content includes videos, news releases, white papers, emails, ads, web copy, packaging, merchandising, instructions, and more.

Zircon bloggers and social media experts seek to inform and engage readers via the Zircon Pro ExpertZircon in the Real World, and Zircon’s Marketing ToolBox blog sites, as well as the Zircon Facebook page and Zircon Twitter. The “How to Use” tab on Zircon’s website contains a wealth of information in the form of tips, how-to instructions and videos. If you’ve ever learned anything from these sources, we’d love to hear from you!

Sharpen your tools with Sharon as she shares her key insights of the tool world and her marketing strategies and tactics. Sharon image

The Shapes of Social Media

Social media is shaping business communication. A brand’s influence expands and contracts to the shapes of social media and a flow of new content provides companies with new ways to engage and share their brand with fans. Marketers can be, however, challenged to write content. By using the shapes of social media as your content template, you can more readily create new posts and articles.

Square

You’re at square one with a seemingly lack of content ideas. Know this: The ideas are there. Do you have a new product, service, or program to talk about? Perhaps you are challenged by an issue or would like to brainstorm? Go ahead and ask questions, write answers, query your readers, write how-to’s, provide tips, and lend ideas. Use your keyboard to talk to your readers. Let your imagination take you from Square One to a new dimension. Social media content providers also can help you with the idea generation. Hootsuite, for example, has content suggestions which are handy when you’re challenged to get started.

Inverted Triangle
Invert TriMore readily draw in new readers by using the inverted triangle approach. Start with a macro view and then continue to provide interest to your readers with specific details, ending with your product or service.

Hexagon

Want help from social media influencers?  Consider cross-promoting your blog with other bloggers. Guest blogging on someone else’s site, with a link back to your own, will open up a whole new audience to your products and services. Another cross-promotion strategy is to, within your own blog, reference and link back to articles of other bloggers.

You can also form an alliance with other bloggers, thereby multiplying the comments and shares of content to each other’s content. For examples, please take a look at these popular and successful blog sites for do-it-yourself tips and techniques: Range Hoods, Inc, Saw Dust Girl, and My Fix It Up Life.

Another simple to implement hexagonal idea is to blog roll – provide a list of links on your blog sidebar to the blogs that you like and also ask other bloggers to do the same for you. Bloggers are truly a community, so consider promoting your blog via these popular places: WordPress, Medium, StackStreet, Triberr, and LinkedIn Groups.

Circle

You don’t have to reinvent the wheel every time you need to create content, but it’s important to keep that wheel turning and the momentum going.  Repurpose your blog post and publish it to all your social media channels with catchy headlines and photos tailored for each platform. If you’ve got more than one blog, use reciprocal links with images, linking one blog to another and vice versa. Write posts for multiple platforms – one idea goes a long way. Your content was meant to be enjoyed and shared. Start posting and you’ll soon see a reciprocal effect. Zircon has four popular blog sites, Zircon’s Pro Expert, Zircon in the Real World, Zircon’s Marketing Toolbox, and Zircon Japan.

One or more of the social media shapes can help guide your content. Do you have a (different) shape that works best for you? We would love to hear from you. Join us every 1st and third Thursday, 11 am PST for our #diytrends chat, visit us at www.zircon.com, or like us on Facebook.

Sharpen your tools with Sharon as she shares her key insights of the tool world and her impactful marketing strategies and tactics. Follow us on Twitter or like us on Facebook. Sharon image

How to Host A Successful Twitter Chat

Hosting a Twitter Chat is an excellent way to build avid followers, elevate your social media engagement, and position you and your company as an expert in your field. Once you have set up your Twitter profile, established a following, and are actively tweeting, retweeting, and replying with relevant content within the Twittersphere, take your Twitter account to the next level by hosting a Twitter Chat.

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Ten Steps to Twitter Chat Success

  • Participate. Before you host your own chat, participate in others. Take a backseat approach, familiarize yourself with the structure and see how others are doing it in your industry. To find relevant chats, comb through your news feed or search via relevant keyword hashtags and keep a log of what chats are occurring and when. Jump in. Examine how the Twitter chat works by paying special attention to how chat participants respond to each other and how the host engages with the attendees. You may also wet your feet by co-hosting, sponsoring, or being a featured guest on another party’s Twitter chat.
  • Theme. Determine your objective. Your Twitter chat theme sets the stage on how you want to be positioned in the industry and helps you identify the key components to a successful chat. Who is your target market? What days and times are most optimal to your attendees? What topics would they like to discuss versus what you want to focus on? Make sure the theme is enticing to the audience you want to attract.
  • Hashtag. Develop a concise hashtag that resonates with your audience, conveys your overall chat theme, and, ideally, is not already in use. Research existing Twitter chats to determine the optimal hashtag. Then BRAND it as your own. This hashtag reinforces your brand and can minimize the instances of Twitter chat crashers who may inadvertently attend your chat thinking it’s another.
  • Save the Date. Based on your ideal attendees, determine how often you’ll host your chat, and whether a specific date and time of day works best. Will it be weekly or bi-monthly? Will each chat be 30 minutes or 60 minutes? Does it coincide with other popular chats? Once a date and time has been determined, schedule your chats with consistency to better establish a loyal Twitter chat following. Other questions to ask are: What will be your format? Will you be the sole host or will you have co-hosts or guest hosts?
  • Schedule. With your overall theme in mind, create and schedule topics for each session to create an overall calendar. This will better enable you to flag and piggyback off key industry events, holidays, and company news. Draw from past, present, and future experiences and trends. If you’re tackling a challenging subject, consider whether it could make for a good Twitter chat topic. Chat audiences often are grappling with similar issues and your chat could provide an opportune time for both parties to brainstorm and find new solutions. Schedule your topics with your internal team.
  • Promote. Promote, promote, promote! As great as your topics are, people cannot attend your chat if they do not know about it. Promote your chat via all channels: Twitter, Facebook, and other social media networks, email, company website, blogs, and more. On Twitter, create a Twitter chat “preview” by teasing your audience with the subject theme. In addition, develop a list of top industry experts and invite them via a direct message (DM) or “@” reply. Encourage retweets of your chat invitation. To boost your promotion, create a Twitter chat invitation image that provides an overall branding for your chat with more visual appeal.
  • Plan. Once your overall schedule has been defined, it’s time to delve into the details. For each topic, draft eight to ten questions that will engage the audience. Create lively questions that illicit more than a yes/no response and can spark valuable discussions. Post your hashtag, chat image, and questions on Facebook for cross promotion.
  • Lead. Effectively host your chat by making sure that you and your audience use the #hashtag. Utilize a service, such as TweetChat, which automatically adds the hashtag and creates a running stream of the chat conversation. Keep attendees actively tweeting. Ask follow-up questions and comment positively. Reply, retweet, and favorite their tweets. Pay close attention to newcomers and those who are not tweeting as much as others. They may need a helping hand. Don’t let them sit on the Twitter chat sideline. Like a grand party, the host makes everyone feel welcome.
  • Thank. Everyone knows the phrase “time is money.” Your participants are taking a chunk out of their day to chat with you and fellow chat participants. Make sure to recognize their time and contributions. Invite them to the next chat and tweet to them often! Consistency and two-way engagement are key in developing a loyal following.
  • Assess. Analyze your chat, attendees, strength of questions and answers. TweetBinder is a handy platform that encapsulates your Twitter Chat statistics. Identify areas for improvement. Tweak your next chat as needed. Repeat these steps for each new chat.

ZirconTools hosts its own #diytrends chat every other Thursday. Catch our upcoming one on Thursday, May 21 at 11 a.m. PST. You’re invited! Learn, share and engage with us!

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What do you want to read or chat about next? Leave a comment below.

Sharpen your tools with Sharon as she shares her key insights of the tool world and her impactful marketing strategies and tactics. Follow us on Twitter or like us on Facebook.Sharon image

Your Recipe to Blog Success

The holiday season is upon us. And I don’t know about you, but even with Thanksgiving over, I’m still hungry. Hungry for cookies, treats, pies, and… great content. Yes, you read right – great content.

Yet, this hunger is year-round. And blogs are just what my appetite has in mind.

Blogs are everywhere, but not all are appealing. What makes a great blog… great? Well, as with all things, there are vital elements one needs to consider and, just like any culinary dish, having a great recipe to start from is key.

So where does one begin? How does one effectively create the main content course? Is there a ‘secret sauce’ to this marketing mix?

Blogging is one way to engage your audience, especially if you utilize some of these tasty ingredients (quick hints) from these successful bloggers.

Fill Your Heart and Mind

Heartwarming, informal stories can create lasting blogosphere fans. Anticipate what your audience wants to read about, much like you would tailor your dinner party to the guests you are hosting. Then, tie the message you want to convey via an easy-to-follow story as if the reader were right there with you. Zircon in the Real World readers are entertained while also receiving how-to tips through an informative, yet light-hearted blog series. Learning while also having fun? It can’t get any more engaging than that!

shutterstock_135988217What’s in a Name?

You’ve probably heard (and used) the saying, “Never judge a book by its cover,” but does that also hold true with blog titles? Titles should be captivating, relevant to the blog content, and compelling. Titles should give a quick glimpse into what the blog will be about in the two seconds it takes for a person to read it because let’s face it… we’re all short on time and nobody wants to invest time in something, only to feel misled and cheated because it was exactly not what he/she was looking for.

Preparation and Cooking Time

More modern culinary recipes note the time it will take to prepare the dish – even breaking it down to prep and cook time. And like we said before about time… it’s a luxury not all of us has. So while prep/research time for a blog can be unlimited, the actual cook/read time for a blog should follow a basic rule of thumb. If it’s not necessary to the reader, don’t include it. Less is definitely more!

Presentation – Tantalize with Key Product Attributes

A dish may taste good, but you also want it to look good! Never underestimate formatting. Make it easy to read and follow. Some prime examples are Amy Wax’s Color911 blog which focuses on color accenting, painting, and beautifying the home while seamlessly tying in the color911 mobile app. Zircon’s Pro Expert blog also shares in-depth ways to use Zircon’s stud finders in an easy-to-understand, step-by-step fashion.

Don’t Forget the Dressing – Photos of the Finished Product

Entice avid readers by including images, videos, and graphics that add interest, depth, and something to aspire to. Combining ‘before’ and ‘after’ photography and works-in-progress are some of the hallmarks of success for Riggins Construction’s blog. Likewise, Avente Tile’s blog effectively includes photos that produce a more impactful blog series while Home and Stone’s content informs and engages its audience with stylish imagery and functionality.

Variations

And as with any recipe, don’t be afraid to have fun with it and substitute ingredients to make a traditional blog your own. Giving your blog a slightly different taste of the same recipe will surely make your blog stand out from the crowd.

For hands on tips, please join our “Gifts” #diytrends Twitter Chat on Thurs, 12/18 at 11 am PST. Get insights on this gift giving season.

Please also check out these blogs from some of our #diytrends professionals:

@aecdaily@organized82@usspecproducts@kitchens4living@rangehoodsinc@pstldesigns,

@kitchen_sync@artofpowr@pegasuslighting@tradewindsimp@ronfeir@homeadvisor@improvecenter

Sharpen your tools with Sharon as she shares her key insights of the tool world and her impactful marketing strategies and tactics.  Sharon image

What is a Blog (Part II)

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In Part I, we explored what a blog is versus other forms of writing.  Optimize your blog today by reading our “How to Blog” tips!

Keep it light.  Readers turn to blogs that are conversational in tone and have a humorous, airy, and entertaining tone. Successful blogs have a “voice” that resonates with readers.

Be thought provoking. It is important to hold the attention of the reader and provide tangible and useful information. Blogs should read well and offer information or a key takeway that the individual can use in his everyday work/job site environment.

Tone down the technical.  Although a blog, similar to other Zircon content, must be 100% accurate, the content should appeal to a broad audience and shouldn’t be an instruction manual, white paper, or technical paper. The objective of the blog is to engage the reader, not necessarily provide a complete how to use the product.

Make it short, but sweet.  Keep the copy simple and concise.  Content that gets to the point and isn’t bogged down in unnecessary jargon or details will obtain higher readership, better shares, and more likes if the information is not too stuffy, confusing or lengthy.  Keep it brief, but not too vague.

Bright Idea iconBring on the visuals.  As strong as words are, think of how the blog can be enhanced with images.  It is often easier for you to get to a key point with a pictogram than many words. One strong visual, in concert with writing, creates the emphasis.

Zircon bloggers tackle everyday business challenges via the Zircon Pro Expert, Zircon in the Real World, and Zircon’s Marketing ToolBox blog sites.  Check out these blogs to get an idea of what a blog is.  What topics would you like to blog or read about?  Comment on our Facebook page or follow us on Twitter and share your blog with us. We’d love to hear from you!