...Just because you send a piece of business analysis to a client, don't assume they'll read it. You need to work to make that happen.
For any professional or organization using content to connect with clients and prospects online, there are two groups of readers: those who know you already ... and those who don't.
Typically, in professional services, the smaller of the two groups — readers who know you already — are clients. Most content initiatives within firms started years ago as Client Communications. These publishing efforts pre-date social media, blogs, the Content Marketing wave, and perhaps even the Web, for that matter.
Regular alerts and insights on important matters of the day remain an essential dialogue between firm and client, an important part of an overall Communications strategy. (As they should be.)
In this relationship, titles are often exercises in firm branding, not attempts to explain with any urgency why busy clients should stop what they are doing and read you now.
Implied: our clients will read us because of who we are.
And so, for example, a typical title-as-brand-extension might be constructed to look something like this (note how the firm name takes precedence over the actual point of the article):
- Employment Alert: Smith, Smith, Jones, and Smith LLP: Focus on the Workplace - Volume 17 Issue 27 - Part Three - February 23, 2015: All Employers Must Now Give Employees Free Lunch on Thursdays
Buried towards the end of that title is a crucial piece of information. As is often the case, it's something people need to know, and need to know now.
The problem is, most readers won't even get there. The long line is too busy with gratuitous noise; a quick scan (the most you can expect of busy readers) probably won't help clarify the matter.
Even readers who know you already are busy. They're inundated daily with information from multiple sources; competition for their attention is fierce. You owe those readers simplicity; you owe them a concrete reason to stop what they are doing and read you now.
Additionally, such a title means even less to an audience that doesn't know you but should. Those readers (and there are lots of them available to you if you take the trouble to engage them correctly) discover what you have to say via search, in a social setting, or via subscriptions to various news feeds of the day. Under the best of circumstances, most new readers will only see this part of your title, as above:
- Employment Alert: Smith, Smith, Jones, and Smith LLP: Focus on the Workplace- Volume 17 Issue 27...
... and you don't stand a chance to earn a click with that.
I once heard the marketing director of a law firm say that her firm writes with clients in mind and the rest falls into place on its own. I agree with this, with one or two caveats.
One such caveat: In this age of ubiquitous information, corporate journalism, and the 24/7 news cycle in which everyone is a publisher, everyone must consider each title as an opportunity to earn readership. Just because you can send a piece of business analysis to a client doesn't mean they'll read it. Work to make that happen. It starts with a clear, urgent, concrete title.
In my example (above) really the only element of the title that works, for both readers who know you and readers who don't, is:
- All Employers Must Now Give Employees Free Lunch on Thursdays
That's the title that will earn you a click and get you read.