In her Saturday morning session, Jaime Endick talked about the different factors that catch audiences’ attention and engage them in sharing, liking and commenting on social media.
Endick is a digital communications strategist at Rotary International and has had other jobs in different industries focusing on digital strategies to promote audience engagement.
Endick started the session off by sharing what the engagement process would typically look like. She said the first thing needed is to learn the audience, saying that once you have an idea of who you want to target, find or create content that will appeal most to them. Additionally, engagement is most valuable when it’s tied to a measurable goal. Make the headlines searchable, digestible, clickable and shareable.
As for SEO content, write headlines based on how normal people would search things. Search engines try to think like humans, and humans don’t search for a single keyword.
She suggested using 60 characters or less, as to not overwhelm the reader. An important thing she suggested was to put the more eye-catching and important words to the left since often times many people scan the content.
Clickable headlines are those that don’t give all the content away immediately in the headline; they prompt curiosity in the audience. Headlines should also be clever, but she cautioned against using puns or clichés. And lastly, she encouraged headlines to be immediately clear.
According to research, 16 percent of viral headlines contained either “you” or “your,” and negative superlative headlines, like “5 worst foods to eat,” had a 63 percent higher click-through rate than headlines with a positive superlative. Endick also suggested to tell the audience what they’ll learn by reading the article and the amount of time it will take them to read it.
Below are models of some phrases in headlines that have found success.
Below are phrases that performed the worst in headlines.
Toward the end of her session, she suggested different analysis tools to help editors with headlines, including Facebook’s Dynamic Ads and Sharethrough.
Alexandra Martinez is a student at the University of Kansas William Allen White School of Journalism and Mass Communications.
Header photo by Matthew Guay on Unsplash