In an information-dense world, headlines prevail

By Neicole Crepeau, Contibuting {grow} Columnist

I’ve been extremely busy, lately. With a lot of client work, I have neglected my blog and have been sharing content less on Twitter and G+. Often, I only get to read blogs and share content one or two days a week. When I do, I have to pick which blogs and posts to read from my Feedly list and FeedMyInbox items. My position now is a lot more like that of the average social media user. And it made me ask myself how I’m deciding what to read.

When you’re pressed for time and can only read a few posts, which ones do you pick?

We work to build a subscriber list and a fan base, and we hope that our fans will loyally read our content. For those who have chosen to opt in to our blogs, we hope when push comes to shove, they’ll choose us to read.

I’m finding that being a subscriber isn’t, by itself, though. For me, it’s a combination of:

  • The feeds from people I’ve subscribed to. I click less on links posted on social networks now, because I’m spending less time scanning my Twitter feed or G+. I’m more inclined to look at posts from my short-list of trusted bloggers. That’s the good news.
  • The headlines that speak to me. When you’re scanning, the headline makes all the difference. Whereas before I might have clicked on a headline that I deemed semi-interesting, now I only click on the headlines that convey a topic that really interests me.
  • The hit-rate, or historical quality of the author’s post. This is the one that I think most of us wouldn’t expect. I subscribe to a lot of blogs. Some of them put out posts almost daily. Others weekly or even intermittently. It doesn’t really matter to me how often they post. What does matter to me is what percentage of the posts I find valuable.

It’s the last bullet that I want you to think about. Because I expect that our readers have the same back-of-head quality meter that I do. How many times have you seen a killer headline, clicked on it, and found the post was sub-par? It’s happened too often to me. So while I certainly judge a post by the headline, that’s not the only factor.

Over time, we develop a sense of how often a given author’s posts prove truly really valuable. We have an idea of how well the author delivers on the headline. And when all other things are equal between bloggers, I’m going to open the posts of those writers who have a high batting average—the ones whose posts I almost always find valuable, insightful, thought-provoking, or useful.

So, if you’ve been striving to post every day, even when you don’t have something really ground-breaking or valuable to say, remember that the average reader has a quality meter. When push comes to shove, the historical quality of your posts may be the deciding factor on whether users read your latest post.  That fact might change your approach to blogging.

Neicole Crepeau a blogger at Coherent Social Media and the creator of CurateXpress, a content curation tool. She works at Coherent Interactive on social media, website design, mobile apps, & marketing. Connect with Neicole on Twitter at @neicolec

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