I know your dirty little secret

Ha!  I made you look, didn’t I?
The key to a great piece of content is the subject line.
Doesn’t matter if it’s email, a Facebook post, an AdWords copy, a blog post, or a postcard delivered by the Post Office.
If you don’t catch their attention right off the bat, they’ll never open your message. So all that work you spent crafting your message goes down the toilet.
And your dirty little secret?
Most of your content is never read.  That’s right– people don’t see your tweets or care about what you had for breakfast. They care about themselves. That’s why I called it “your” dirty little secret, as opposed to mine. Do you really care about me?
Here are a few simple solutions to this problem:
  • Recycle the content. 
Let’s say you have a great whitepaper that you invested a lot of time to write. You can put it out there multiple ways— on Twitter, your blog, email, Slideshare, whatever. If you mention it only once but have a crappy headline, then people won’t see it.
  • Try some one-liners.
Maybe your first subject line just fell flat. Hey, we’re not all born stand-up comedians. Odds are your email program allows you to send your subscribers a follow-up email if they don’t open the first email. The content can be exactly the same. You just try a different subject line. Once they open it, don’t feed them the same body again.
  • Inject emotion or intrigue into your messages.
Pretend it’s the high school cafeteria and that you have the latest gossip. Admit it– we’re still kids, just older. My favorite headlines are from Nathan Latka as well as the folks behind Obama’s email campaigns, Take these for example:
  1. we made this for you – 71.5%
  2. We’ll be live in 30 min, should we wait for you? – 65%
  3. Only open if you want revenue from Facebook – 55%
  4. The contest you wanted to run – 50%
  5. Guess what your customers spend 197 minutes a day on? – 47%

It’s the non-formal, uncapitalized subjects that catch people’s eyes. It makes them feel like someone took time to pay attention to them– Short and sweet is the way to go.

So your dirty little secret is that people don’t care about your content— unless you make it about them!  Would you have read this post if the title was “A few reasons why your open rates are low”?

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