March 12

Never Look Like You’re Scraping the Barrel


If you’re a regular reader of blogs, listener of podcasts, or consumer of social media, you’ll be well acquainted with one of the biggest issues of our time: barrel-scraping content.

You know what I’m talking about. This is the social media influencer making a video about their trip to Costco. Or a podcaster bringing the same guest on for the ninth time. Or a blogger going over the same concept they’ve discussed dozens of times before, pretending like they have some new perspective on it.

As soon as you see the title of their latest content piece, you know it’s just a desperate attempt to retain your attention… even though they’ve long past the point at which they had nothing left to say.

Needless to say, as serious marketers, you can NEVER fall into this trap.

In recent newsletters, I’ve shared a couple of tips on how to come up with content ideas. If you follow them, you should find it much easier (and less stressful) to identify good topics to write about without constantly harping on the same 2-3 concepts.

Added to that, everyone on this list is in some form of B2B technology field. That’s great, because there are ALWAYS new and interesting things happening in B2B technology.

But having things to say is only part one of the solution… and it’s not enough.

Even if your content is fresh and interesting, you can still fall into the trap of LOOKING LIKE you don’t have anything new to say.

How? By writing boring or unclear headlines.

For years now, marketing blogs and courses have constantly harped on the idea that headlines are simple things. Just plug the relevant words into a headline template and you’ll have a winner every time. Sadly, this stopped being true several years ago, largely because the traditional headline formulas have been so badly abused by BuzzFeed, The Huffington Post, Business Insider, and every other major blog going.

Now, readers are so accustomed to the basic headline formulas that they barely even notice them.

So here’s an alternative from the minds of two of the driving forces behind modern advertising copywriting: Bill Bonner and Michael Masterton.

(Headlines have to be strong in the advertising world, or the ads don’t make money)

Instead of a plug-and-play formula, write headlines that conform to the “Four U’s”: Urgent, Useful, Unique, and Ultra-specific.

URGENT — why should your prospect drop everything and read/listen to/watch your content NOW?

USEFUL — how does your content relate to your prospect’s deeply held concerns/pain points?

UNIQUE — how is your content different from everything else on this topic?

ULTRA-SPECIFIC — What benefit EXACTLY will your prospect get by consuming your content?

That’s it. Tick off as many of those U’s as possible (at least two) with each headline, and there’s a good chance you’ll have something strong on your hands.



You may also like

Where Content Goes to Die

Where Content Goes to Die
Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked

{"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}

Get in touch

0 of 350