There is no more obvious place where this transition is happening than in the worlds of search and social media.
Search, either natural or paid, provides an active way to discover information. A prospective buyer actively seeks information on a given topic based on keywords. Successful marketers are able to ensure that their content is present at the top of the search results, either through an effective search engine optimization strategy, or through good search engine marketing and a healthy search marketing budget.
In the various social media channels, however, information is not pushed out directly, but rather it is published, and then discovered by an audience based on recommendations from their peers, content syndication, and chance. The more interesting and relevant your content is, the larger an audience of influencers will share it, forward it, and link to it, bringing it to the much broader audience that they influence.
Distribution via Influencers
Unlike in search marketing, however, there is no clear metaphor for applying a marketing budget in order to achieve broader distribution of your information within social media. Although a variety of paid structures are being experimented with, none have received the wide acceptance that paid search marketing has.
Your long term reputation with each of these key influencers is based on a history of creating high quality content, but each individual content piece stands on its own in terms of its ability to be found to be interesting and sharable. The techniques of great journalists are of use here in making each content piece most interesting and most likely to be read.
Headlines, Teasers, and Discovery
Whether it is an article title, an interesting statistic, a tweet, a news headline, or a catchy name for an eBook, the majority of your potential audience will only encounter the briefest of summaries of what your content is about. Convincing your audience to take the step from headline to content by clicking on your content is as much art as is it science.
The better the headline catches the potential reader’s attention, without being misleading, the more the content is read and the messages within it discovered.
The art of writing provocative, catchy, and intriguing summaries of information in just a few words was originally developed by newspaper editors writing headlines. Their goal was to have their publication “discovered” by those passing by a news stand. Now, in a world dominated by the need to make information discoverable, these skills are required more than ever. Each article, headline, or tweet should be thought of in the same light. The better the headline catches the potential reader’s attention, without being misleading, the more the content is read and the messages within it discovered.