Content Marketing Blog

Interesting headlines best driver of search and social clicks for online news [STUDY]

Creating your own news stories about what’s been happening in your industry is a great way to get more of the right people on to your website.

Industry news keeps your blog fresh and interesting and helps you reach out to potential customers much earlier in the purchase process.

With so much free information available on the internet these days, getting to people before they make a decision is becoming harder and harder.

A blog that’s regularly updated with news, tips and other types of fresh content will dramatically expand the keyword reach of your website and can be a huge asset for your business. It’s your chance to start building relationships with potential customers before they even know they need or want what you sell.

But if you’re putting in the time and effort to create your own news stories, what can you do to increase the chances of your target demographic getting to see them?

Headlines trump big brands and referrals

According to a major international study, your top priority should be your headlines.

The Reuters Institute Digital News Report 2015 canvassed the opinions of people in 12 countries, including Australia. It revealed that when it comes to selecting news stories from search results, interesting headlines trumped other considerations, such as recognising or trusting the publisher.

On social media, the average across the 12 countries put referrals from friends or contacts slightly ahead of headlines, but in some bigger markets, including the UK and the US, headlines were still the most important driver of clicks.

This represents a great opportunity for brands using news to pull in visitors from search engines and from popular social media sites, such as Facebook and Twitter.

READ: Twitter and Facebook bigger sources of news across all demographics [STUDY]

Headlines are 100 per cent controllable unlike who shares your content and whether or not you’ve built a reputation as a trusted news provider.

That means crafting really clickable headlines can give your brand a stronger chance of hooking relevant people and bringing them into your website.

These people may not become customers right away, but you will have an opportunity to start building a relationship with them, using your regular, high-quality content to keep your brand front and centre for when they are ready to make a purchase.

If you want to start using industry news to power your blog here 4 ways to do it:

1) You can be first

Not all breaking news stories require the sort of inside information and privileged access that only professional journalists can get. Follow influencers in your field on Twitter and build a list of blogs for your favourite RSS reader and you can sometimes get the drop on mainstream news providers.

Being among the first to break a story is a great way to get traction in search, particularly if your blog is in Google News. You’ll also find that your social media audience will be much more likely to share your latest post if it’s told them something they didn’t already know.

2) If you can’t be first, you can be agile

It won’t always be possible for you to be among the first to report on a story, but if you’re agile enough you can still take advantage of time-limited spikes in interest. Keep an editorial calendar built around events and landmark dates in your industry and you can have timely content already created and ready to go.

Alternatively, you can take a look at the big stories already doing the rounds and find a unique angle, such as picking a different element of the story to lead with or your making your own comment on what’s happened. A slightly different spin on new or very recent story is enough to justify you putting it out there and if you do it quickly enough you’ll be able to tap into the breaking news buzz.

3) You can back in to older stories

Stories that have already been well-covered on the leading blogs in your space can still be a great source of new and interesting content for your blog days, weeks or months later.

You should always keep an eye out for stories that can serve as examples for arguments you want to make. These stories provide excellent material for your blog if you handle them in the right way.

For example, let’s say you sell wireless headsets. A recent survey about how many people injure themselves at work tripping over loose cables could be a great opportunity for you. You don’t have to be the first blog to report on that survey and you don’t have to mention your own product.

Instead, you can use the survey to back up your argument that there’s an important safety consideration around selecting a headset and that wireless options might just be safer. We describe this approach as “backing in to news stories” because in traditional news reporting you would start with what’s happened and provide context later on. These stories will start with the context and then use what’s happened to as an example.

4) Your headlines can use story-specific keywords

One of the mistakes a lot of people make when they’re writing content with search engines in mind is that they focus too much on keywords. They have a list of terms they want their site to rank for so they repeat those terms as often as possible in the content they create.

Aside from the risk of generating repetitive, spammy and unwieldy articles, this can mean you ignore potentially more valuable keywords that are specific to each story. You should be thinking about the keywords someone might search for if they were looking for what you’re writing right now.

Using product names, brands and celebrities that feature in your story in the headline will not only help you pick up short term spikes in search while the story is hot, they will also help make your headlines more noticeable and clickable.

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