School communicators would never fall for this. – SCN Encourager 9/16/2013

Are you the rule or the exception?

Ready to find out? (Even on a Monday?)

Well, here’s what my research revealed.

When I wrote last Thursday’s Encourager (Life advice from Steve Jobs, Oprah, and me) I created the headline after reading a “tips list” created by a prominent social media guru.

Included in the expert’s tips were recommendations for composing magnetic headlines, incorporating powerful phrases and keywords, and crafting authentic emotional connections that will leave readers “wanting more.”

Except for the impossible call to be magnetic, powerful, and authentically emotional, I thought the “tips list” still contained a couple of nuggets for me.

Certainly, I’m already building a growing body of friends – school communicators like you – who “want more.”

While it’s true that most of you “want more of something else” – that’s actually my purpose for the Encourager.

After plodding through a bit of daily encouragement from me, all of the other challenges you face throughout the day never seem so bad after all.

This arrangement makes us an effective team, don’t you think?

Indeed, the piece of advice offered by the guru that I followed last week involved constructing good headlines.

He said that most writers of blogs, emails, and newsletters use boring, uninteresting headlines.

I was more than a little distressed to find this out.

“Boring and uninteresting” headlines come so easily for me, it’s just my luck to discover now that readers don’t prefer them.

It would’ve been nice to have found this out back in July when school wasn’t in session.

Mick Jagger & Carrie Underwood would spice up every school lunch menu.

Mick Jagger & Carrie Underwood could spice up your school lunch menu.

People want headlines that are provocative or trendy or connect with celebrity-type events or people. (And preferably all three.)

They don’t want impersonal headlines like “from the principal’s desk” or “Superintendent’s Corner” or “the coach’s whistle.”

They want references and tie-ins to contemporary names, places, and events they know.

So, I thought “what the heck?” Maybe I should give this expert’s advice a go.

What would happen if I inserted the names of Steve Jobs and Oprah into one of my headlines?

And, sure enough – the expert nailed it.

Last Thursday’s Encourager with its celebrity-driven headline revealed a bump in readership by 23%.

Don’t worry. I believe this statistic to be a total fluke.

School communicators would never fall for the gratuitous manipulation of a headline.

And I’m confident my best friend Morgan Freeman would agree.

Tom Page, SCN
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