Everyone has a dirty secret, a few skeletons in the closet, a few things you are grateful no one knows about. Everyone.
Content marketing is no exception.
Content marketing has a secret, a dirty little secret that no one wants to talk about.
The Dirty Secret Explained
In addition to blogging 3 times each day and hosting a very successful webinar series, we've created several White Papers about call tracking. We put a great deal of effort into these White Papers. They're generally between 15 and 25 pages long. They contain tons of research, data, and information. Much of the research is taken from other sources, however, some of the information is actually data that we've gathered through our own intensive research and data-mining.
These are good White Papers. And thousands of people have downloaded them. They fill out a form on a landing page and they download the White Paper.
But here's the secret: most people don't care about the content, they only care about the title.
Well, very few people, our research shows, actually read these White Papers. They download the White Papers by the dozen, but they never read them. We know this because we call EVERY single person that downloads a White Paper to see if they have read it.
Almost universally they indicate that they have not read the White Paper. They intend (or intended) to read it, but they didn't. Maybe work got busy. Maybe they just stuck the White Paper into a file of useful resources and forgot about it. Maybe a secretary was downloading the White Paper for the boss.
Whatever the reason, most people don't read these White Papers.
So...here's the second part of the secret: titles matter more than the actual content.
Now, this isn't true of blogs. People do read blogs. They read blogs a lot. Titles AND content matter for blogs. But for White Papers, titles matter more.
Now, obviously this doesn't mean that you can write a terrible White Paper with an awesome title. That will not engender good feelings toward you among those who actually do read the White Paper.
But, it does mean that you should spend SIGNIFICANT time to come up with the sexiest and best title possible.
How the Content Process Usually Works
Generally when a company sets out to create a White Paper, there is significant thought put into the topic, content, research, data, and writing style. There is probably also significant time spent on design, images, and overall 'feel'. Title, though, is generally an afterthought. Usually someone will think about title at the very end, and then only briefly.
Maybe 5% of the total time spent on the project is devoted to crafting a really good title.
How the Content Process Should Work
Instead of 5%, that number should be 40% or 50%. Marketers should spend nearly half of the time they invest in to create a 20 page White Paper, on the title.
The title is the most important part of the entire document. Good design, flashy charts, great research, incredibly written copy....none of it matters if the title isn't good.
Focus on your titles.