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10 Tips To Write Engaging Content Previews for Social Media



10 Tips To Write Engaging Content Previews for Social Media

Social media users scan their feeds, so marketers fiddle with images to compel their target audience to stop scrolling. But bright pictures shouldn’t be the only hook for them to stop, click, and read.

Scrollers who catch sight of an image often go to the text to see what it’s all about. And if this content preview doesn’t motivate them to click to read more, the promotion endeavors are in vain.

These 10 tips can help ensure your social media content previews turns scrollers into readers of your full-length content.

1. Emphasize content’s popularity

This trick serves as social proof, an indicator that other readers found your content worthy of a click to read more. It also includes a component of FOMO – fear of missing out. Scrollers don’t want to miss content that others found truly informative and valuable.

By promoting a content piece as the best or most likable, shareable, or debatable resource offered, you’ll evoke curiosity and motivate them to see what all the fuss is about.

Use superlatives to promote #content on @SocialMedia. You’ll evoke curiosity and motivate them to click, says @LesleyVos via @CMIContent. Click To Tweet

In this tweet, I promote an article, How To Deal With Cognitive Biases in Social Content, by introducing it as “one of my best writings of 2021.”

Honesty is critical here. Don’t use this tip to trick readers. After all, brand reputation matters far more than a few extra clicks on social media.

2. Mention a bonus inside the content

Tell your readers that a nice bonus awaits them in the article. These can be free templates, a list of the best blog posts of the year, or practical checklists on a topic.

Long story short, make them understand there’s an added value in your content. In this Instagram post, CoSchedule promotes an article about how to do a content audit. But it doesn’t stop there. It also mentions the inclusion of a template and checklist.

3. Add a humorous yet relevant picture

Technical or detailed content can be difficult to preview on social media. It’s challenging to convey terms and concepts in a brief format because of a few cognitive biases experienced when the brain sees too much information to explore or too much content to remember.

Appealing to humor and using picture-superiority effect can help. Complement the content’s meaning with a fun and attractive visual. You’ll smooth out its complexity and thwart those cognitive biases.

The example I shared in the first tip contains the funny giraffe visual to attract attention to the seemingly complex topic of cognitive biases.

If you don’t find the humorous route possible, an alternative to promote technical or detailed content is to use a bright illustration that will stand out in user feeds like this colorful rainbow and brightly dressed model to preview an article on social listening research.

4. Reveal the table of contents

Describe the main point of your article in a sentence followed by a table of contents. This writing trick works when simplified main point sounds too general or vague. It lets users see the details behind the topic to determine if it’s valuable and relevant to their needs.

Share a table of contents to promote your full-length asset on #SocialMedia, says @LesleyVos via @CMIContent. Click To Tweet

In this social preview post, WordStream identifies the topic (types of emails to send in 2022), followed by a bulleted table of contents listing each type addressed in the full-length article.

5. Write as you would talk to a friend

Concerned about looking unprofessional and overly friendly, some writers make their previews too formal and impersonal. That type of content can make it difficult to attract social media users who scroll to find something interesting.

I’m not talking about being too personal, but you can take steps to be more conversational in your previews:

  • Don’t use professional jargon, complex words, massive grammar constructions, and long sentences. Further proofreading and slight editing also will help polish the preview.
  • Write as you talk. Imagine you are telling an interested friend about the content.

6. Use a citation from the content

You see this trick often because it works well. Write a preview for a piece by including a quote or citing a statistic from the full-length article. This social preview from the environmental company Jacobs includes a quote from the employee profiled in the article.

7. Answer the why-should-I-care question

This tip relates to the earlier ones, but I separated it for emphasis. In a preview, explain briefly why a person should invest their time reading your content. Maybe the author is a well-known expert whose opinion matters for the niche. Perhaps the information is structured in a convenient format. Perhaps it brings some extra freebies or other benefits. The point is to let the scroller know what’s in it for them.

In this example, Ahrefs promotes the reader-friendly structure (short and sweet) and mentions a new feature.

8. Tag well-known sources

If the author or sources are well known in your niche or globally, mention them in the preview. Make sure to tag them, too. The preview will grab your audience’s attention and may be shared by the author or source so their followers can see it, too. (It also indicates the content is authoritative.)

This preview from Digital Olympus identifies the participation of experts Winnie Sun and Jason Barnard for its weekly webinar.

9. Mention a mind-blowing fact

You have a moment to hook social media users. Create a wow effect in the first sentence of your preview by using:

  • Weird words or expressions
  • Extraordinary insights
  • Shocking information
  • Exclusive facts

In this example, Semrush highlights that 7,000-plus word articles drive almost four times more traffic than articles of 900 to 1,200 words. (Now, that’s a wow!)

10. Speak directly

You know your buyer persona inside out. With their character traits, motivations, fears, and frustrations in mind, craft content previews so the reader would exclaim, “Oh, that’s about me!” and click to continue reading.

In this example from Elna Cain, she writes in second person: “Stop saying sorry in your freelance business! Are you always apologizing for not having the right niche, the right rate or the right type of writing? Stop saying sorry and say these instead …”

Be ready for rewrites

Crafting effective social media previews for your content isn’t accomplished in a single draft. Use two or three of these tips to write several previews to publish on social media. Analyze the audience’s reaction to each to understand the most attractive preview structure and tone for this particular type of content promotion.

Want more content marketing tips, insights, and examples? Subscribe to workday or weekly emails from CMI.

Cover image by Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute

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The ROI of Digital Accessibility



The ROI of Digital Accessibility

The author’s views are entirely his or her own (excluding the unlikely event of hypnosis) and may not always reflect the views of Moz.

In a recent AudioEye survey of 500 business leaders and web professionals, 70% said that “cost” was their main concern when it came to digital accessibility. Many of the respondents also thought they would have to rebuild their website from the ground up in order to deliver an accessible browsing experience.

This perception of digital accessibility as a cost center without an easy remedy is one of the reasons that just 3% of the internet is accessible to people with disabilities, despite the 1.3 billion people globally who live with a disability.

In this post, I discuss three benefits of digital accessibility — and hopefully, make a case for why inclusion isn’t just the right thing to do, but a huge business opportunity.

Three reasons to prioritize digital accessibility

Many business leaders are aware of the risk of non-compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and other accessibility legislation. Over the last few years, there has been a record number of digital accessibility lawsuits. More companies are receiving demand letters or being taken to court over alleged violations under the ADA. And when that happens, other business leaders pay attention.

What business leaders don’t always consider is the opportunity that digital accessibility represents, whether it’s reaching more potential customers, building a more inclusive organization, or improving the browsing experience for all users — not to mention search engines and voice assistants.

1. Digital accessibility is not an edge case

Illustration of two piles of monetary bills. On the left, $1.9 trillion the income of people with disabilities. On the right, over $10 trillion the combined income of their friends and family.

One of the biggest misconceptions about digital accessibility is that it’s some sort of edge case. In fact, people with disabilities are the largest minority in the United States.

In the United States, one in four adults lives with some type of disability. That number goes even higher when you include temporary disabilities, like broken limbs or short-term impairments following surgery or medical treatments.

According to the Global Economics of Disability 2020 report, people with disabilities control $1.9 trillion in disposable income, globally. That number reaches over $10 trillion when their friends and family are included.

By designing for accessibility, you can make your website and digital experiences work better for everyone.

2. Accessible design is good for everyone

At its core, digital accessibility is all about eliminating barriers that can prevent people from browsing your website.

By following the best practices of accessible design, you can help ensure that everyone can interact with your digital content — regardless of age, disability, or any other factor.

For example, the World Wide Web Consortium’s (W3C) Supplemental Guidance to WCAG 2 includes best practices for clear and understandable content, such as:

  • Avoiding double negatives, such as “Time is not unlimited.”

  • Using short sentences with one point per sentence.

  • Putting the key takeaway or objective at the start of a paragraph.

  • When possible, using bulleted or numbered lists.

The goal of these recommendations is to remove confusion for people with dyslexia and other learning disabilities. But it could just as easily be a general writing best practice.

Every user can benefit from simple, direct language that removes friction and gives them a clear next step. It’s the foundation of any conversion-optimized website — and it just happens to overlap with the best practices of accessible design.

3. Digital accessibility supports discoverability

There’s also a clear overlap between accessibility and discoverability. For example, sites with clear, descriptive headings — the same kinds of headings that make navigation and comprehension easier for people with disabilities — are also easier for search engines like Google to crawl.

Because of this, there’s strong evidence that Google rewards accessibility when ranking websites. In fact, its Webmaster Guidelines — which outline the best practices that help Google to find, index, and rank your site — read like accessibility guidelines — and often correlate directly with WCAG.

Accessible websites are also beneficial to users who access websites with voice search. According to the Google Mobile Voice Study, 41% of US adults and 55% of teens use voice search daily. Businesses with websites that are optimized for voice search, have a better chance of being discovered and used by potential customers.

Making the business case for digital accessibility

Illustration of monetary bills in front of a web page.

The first goal of any digital accessibility initiative should be to deliver an inclusive experience to everyone who visits your website. Not only is it the right thing to do, but it can help you reach a market that’s traditionally been underserved.

However, it’s important to note the other benefit of building an accessible website: greater conformance with accessibility standards like the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG), which are used to assess a site’s compliance with the ADA.

Based on recent guidance from the Department of Justice, it’s clear that businesses of all sizes are expected to meet accessibility standards like WCAG in order to comply with the ADA.

When you calculate the ROI of digital accessibility, you should factor in that the cost of defending a digital accessibility lawsuit — or even settling a demand letter — can often surpass the cost of making your website accessible.

By taking a more proactive approach to digital accessibility, you can comply with the law while also turning a requirement into an opportunity to grow your business and deliver an inclusive experience to every customer.

As you invest in digital accessibility, it’s worth measuring your progress over time. To get started, you can use a free accessibility checker to assess your website’s accessibility — and then see how it improves as you implement accessibility best practices.

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How to Edit a PDF [Easy Guide]



How to Edit a PDF [Easy Guide]

If you regularly send PDF files over the internet, knowing how to edit PDF files quickly will make your life a lot easier.

PDF, short for portable document format, is a type of digital file that allows you to send content that is readable by other users regardless of what software they use to view the file. And in order for PDFs to adapt to various viewing platforms, the file’s text and images can’t easily be modified once packaged into a PDF.

But it’s not impossible.


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3 recession-defeating marketing strategies



3 recession-defeating marketing strategies

At least thrice a week, somebody asks me if our agency business has declined because of economic uncertainty. My answer: No. Enterprise companies have not slowed down or pulled back. If anything, they are accelerating.

Consider this: 17% of companies are planning RFPs this year, according to the 2023 State of the ESP RFP. You might not think that sounds like a large number, but it is if you scale that number to industries. So, that doesn’t sound like a pullback to me.

Among the clients for whom we manage RFPs, we see more requests for technology platforms that help marketers execute and innovate faster. They ask, “What can I do to insulate myself from the coming economic apocalypse if it happens by being innovative and agile?”

Below are smart decisions to improve your business, whether the economy goes sour or not.

1. Rethink that RFP

Before you replace or add technology, ask yourself whether you maxed out your current functionality. Whenever anybody asks me to start an RFP, my first question is, “Are you using everything the platform gives you right now?”

Dig deeper: Economic uncertainty means marketers will re-evaluate ad buys more frequently in 2023

A rule of thumb holds that marketers use only about 20% to 30% of what a tech platform offers. Maybe they didn’t have time to learn how to use the really cool stuff. Or the vendor didn’t offer training. Or they couldn’t get the platform to integrate with external data sources. Sometimes it doesn’t matter how innovative the platform is. It has so many other deficits that you still need to switch.

Today’s vendor marketplace makes the RFP process much more challenging if you don’t have someone to do the work. Look at what you’re paying for now but not using before beginning the time-consuming and potentially disruptive process of finding something new.

2. Develop a plan to shift your marketing priorities

Remember when, at the height of COVID, email saved ecommerce? That’s not an exaggeration. Many companies rediscovered how well email drives sales and revenue and builds customer relationships, especially during a crisis.

Your CEO might remember that. If the CEO asks how the company could change its marketing approach, what would you say?

If your email program became your company’s hero this past few years, it’s even more likely that your CEO will seek your input now. But even if it just kept on keepin’ on, you should still have a plan for the next few months that lays out your options and how you could use them for marketing against a downturn.

What to put in your plan

It shouldn’t begin and end with “Send more email.” If your customers don’t have the money to buy more often or to fill larger carts, sending more offers won’t move the revenue needle.

Look at your targeting. Consider your segmentation program. Review your price structure on promotions. What should it look like to stimulate more sales?

Dig deeper: 5 tips to get more value from your tech stack

Identify segments that can be more lucrative to target, such as regular buyers, people who buy at full price instead of waiting for sales and shoppers who send you clear purchase or upgrade intent signals. 

Look for propensity to purchase. Consider developing a next-logical-purchase plan that moves beyond cross-selling or upselling.

If your CEO asks for your advice, that’s as much of a blue-sky question as you’ll ever get. So be ready to jump. Don’t stop to think about the process. Be able to respond quickly with a plan. 

It could go like this: “We need to structure campaigns around our best customers’ propensity to buy in these lines. Here’s what those email campaigns would look like.”

Develop your plan now, and have it ready to go when the CEO or another high-ranking executive comes calling. But even if that call never comes, if the recession doesn’t happen, or if your customers keep buying, why not execute your plan anyway instead of doing business as usual? This is an excellent opportunity to think strategically without getting bogged down or distracted by tactics.

If you’re unsure where to start, begin with an email audit. This can help you find gaps and other weaknesses in your messaging strategy. (Get background information and details in this earlier MarTech column: 10 questions to ask when auditing your email program.)

3. Educate yourself and reach out to your community

Think about all the advice — in columns like this on MarTech, during webinars, in white papers and guides — that poured out as the business world shifted gears during the pandemic. Expect the same if the economy stutters.

Besides these thought leadership sources, you can call on your email communities for advice and ideas. These communities thrive because the members feed off each other for support and advice. 

Watch the news every day. Raise your sights and educate yourself about what’s happening in the broader economy beyond your vertical. Maybe you weren’t directly affected by the mass layoffs that have rolled through the tech industry, but the repercussions could affect your company or industry.

Spend at least an hour a week reading up on everything that’s happening in email, social media and mobile marketing, in privacy legislation and customer expectations. Add to this cauldron of content news about changes in consumer behavior, the unemployment rate and the economic impact they could have.

Be informed so that when your CEO asks for your advice, you can report what’s happening in your immediate market. CEOs can call on higher-level business forecasts, but you will be the expert on your market conditions.

Wrapping up

Use these suggestions to jumpstart your own thinking. If you want to tap into the added functionalities a new vendor can provide so you can increase your business, then go for it. Suppose implementing propensity is the right strategy to improve your marketing results; get it done. 

The one thing that marks a potential recession is what we saw during COVID: fast-reaction pivots that scale to a new market condition. A recession doesn’t have to be scary. But now is not the time to rely on the adage that email is recession-proof. 

Keep your eye on the future. Think back to November 2019. How would you have prepared if you had known that the world would shut down three months later? You have that time now. What’s your plan?

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Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily MarTech. Staff authors are listed here.

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