burgundy flowers, pen and notebook on a desk

Happy Anniversary, Seven Oaks Consulting!

Happy anniversary Seven Oaks Consulting!


Celebrating 15 Years of Service: The Anniversary of Seven Oaks Consulting

You've got to go with the flow for content creator success.

Saturday, October 1, represented a big milestone for my company, Seven Oaks Consulting. We celebrated our 15th Anniversary! According to the SBA, only 25% of small businesses make it to the big 1-5. Half close in 5 years, more by year 10, leaving a scant 25% still running 15 years later.

I had a lot of exciting promotions I wanted to launch on October 1. The remnants of Hurricane Ian, however, decided otherwise, smashing trees down and wiping out the power for my area for most of the day. (It's back now, thank you Dominion Energy).

Like that first day we moved in here 15 years ago, nothing this past Saturday was working. Although unlike that October day 15 years ago, at least I could find my coffee pot (albeit the old-fashioned 1950s stovetop percolator!).

We've Grown and Changed from Acorn into Oak

As I sat at my kitchen table with pencil in hand, writing down a few thoughts and wondering when the power would be back on, I realized the symbolic significance of the events today compared to the events 15 years ago...

You have to go with the flow!

A successful business must adapt, change, and grow with the times. We as a company haven't remained static. We've changed with the times. We started out as a small consulting firm to the education marketplace (the industry I left when I left I moved from New York City.) Over the years, we adapted, adding writing services when my skills as a writer were in demand, finally melding the two skillsets into content marketing. A flair and passion for technology and manufacturing stories made that part of the agency come together, and two years ago, we branded as a B2B content marketing agency for the technology and manufacturing industries.

Today, as the sun shines, and the power is back on, I have to laugh at how my big plans - press releases, an online event - all came to naught thanks to an oak tree, of all things. Seven Oaks Consulting's 15 year anniversary celebration was temporarily postponed due to an oak tree wiping out the power.

You've got to laugh at the fun the universe has with us.

Happy anniversary Seven Oaks Consulting, and here's to another 15 years of great content marketing and writing!

How to Improve Email Metrics

Understanding email marketing metrics is more important than ever before, given that the email marketing industry is growing at a rapid pace. Today, around 90% of all adults have an email account. As a result, businesses of all sizes have the opportunity to reach this massive audience!

As you continue to learn more about content marketing KPIs, consider these email marketing metrics as part of your overall program to measure and monitor the effectiveness of your campaigns.

What Are Email Marketing Metrics?

So you’ve grown your email list and sent out emails as part of your business marketing efforts. But do you know how well they are performing?

Email marketing metrics help businesses understand how effective their email marketing is. Email opens, clicks, unsubscribes, and bounces are all examples of email metrics. Businesses use these metrics in Google Analytics (GA) or other analytics software packages to better understand how well your emails performed over time.

How to Elevate Your Emails

Here are some sure-fire ways to take your email marketing up a notch… or two.

Personalize Your Message

Personalization is a must in email marketing, and it's an easy way to stand out. You can gain trust, get your message read and opened, and create positive experiences for your customers.

Provide Value to Your Potential Customers

The best way to improve email marketing metrics is to provide value for your potential customers. If you can present something helpful, entertaining, and informative, you will skyrocket your open and click-through rates!

Produce Compelling Copy

It would help if you made your audience feel something while telling a story with your landing pages and emails. Be mindful of your target audience's tone, word choice, and headlines. This is crucial because different audiences prefer different things. For example, young adults will likely respond better to conversational language than senior citizens.

Write a Catchy Subject Line

When it comes to successful email marketing, the subject line is the first thing that people see, and it is what draws people in, so you want it to make an impression. 

You need a good subject line that:

  • Is relevant to the content of your email
  • Is short and concise (no longer than 15 words)
  • Personalizes each message sent for maximum engagement
  • Factors in when your customer sees their email (e.g., don't send emails during peak hours if possible)

Craft a Well-Designed Email

Your email should look good no matter the width of the screen. People viewing it on mobile or desktop should be able to enjoy the same aesthetic. Use a responsive design that works across all devices and browsers. This way, the email will resize according to its available space. If you use a service like MailChimp, you won't have to worry about this—the platform does it for you!

Use Striking Images & Colors that Complement the Text

Images and colors can highlight important information, illustrate your message and break up the text. They also create a sense of urgency and add charisma to your email.

Images should have a purpose in helping you to deliver a point. If an image does not match the topic of your email, it will distract subscribers from what is most important.

Include a Call-to-Action

You should always include a call-to-action (CTA) and conversion triggers in your email marketing campaigns. A CTA is a request for action from the reader, while conversion triggers are actions the reader takes after reading your email. These can be as simple as clicking a link or as complicated as filling out a form. It can also be a purchase if you sell things online.

content marketing KPIS

Clever Email Campaigns Get More Conversions

We have all seen generic email blasts go out to a large group of people, hoping that a few customers will respond. Unfortunately, this strategy is ineffective and can result in lost money and wasted marketing efforts. So, create personalized emails that are more likely to yield positive customer responses.

The first step in personalizing your email campaign is understanding your customer base and what makes them tick. Once you know their preferences, it's time to create an email campaign with those preferences in mind.

The second step is making sure the content speaks directly to each recipient as if they were having an actual conversation with you. For example, use text like "Hi [name]," rather than "Hey there." Studies and tests have shown that personalized emails can increase email open rates by 23% and click rates by 57%!

Measure Email Performance to Meet Your Business Goals

Email marketing is a strategic and effective way to reach customers, build relationships, and get people to buy more. Businesses that can effectively leverage email marketing find it easier to close deals with new customers while maintaining their existing base.

Today, many companies still struggle with getting the most out of their emails. They do not know what metrics are important or how to use them to measure their success. If this sounds like you, get in touch with Seven Oaks Consulting to discuss your business objectives and how we can help elevate your email marketing!

More Content Marketing Resources from Seven Oaks Consulting

Why Article Spinners Will Never Replace Writers

AI-generated content is increasing in popularity, as more companies are now using article spinners to create content faster and in a shorter amount of time. This number is bound to grow, as per Statista, and the global AI software market will reach $126 billion by 2025.

Various software programs in the market can help you create content quickly; some can even rewrite or paraphrase text, such as article spinning tools.

Are Article Spinners Useful For Content Marketing?

An article spinner is a software tool that rewrites or paraphrases the input text while keeping the original meaning intact. This results in a distinct article with the same meaning as the existing text.

While article spinners can be helpful to ramp up content production and meet the continuous demands, they don’t come close to the original, research-backed, and comprehensive pieces that are written by a demonstrated expert.

Here are three reasons why article spinners will never replace creative content writers.

Article Spinning Tools aren't creative

Creativity is inherent to us. It comes from our experiences, memories, and emotions and cannot be replicated and automated by software. Content written by humans has the power to inspire, motivation, and entertain, which is difficult for AI.

At best, the automated software programs can take a chunk of text and convert it into a semi-coherent and legible piece of writing. Still, they cannot duplicate the way writers process the language and come up with ideas or words that strike resonance.

Article spinners Cannot Write A Lengthy, Coherent Piece Of Text

Article spinners can do a decent job producing short-form pieces, but they cannot create cohesive, engaging, and meaningful long-form articles that are often used in content marketing strategies.

A good long-form strategy involves neck-deep research, laying the groundwork, composing sub-sections, and ensuring structural flow in the article. AI struggles to connect the dots and often does not have the required knowledge on various topics to build a solid, valuable piece of writing.

a person wearing an orange sweater typing on a laptop

Definition: Article Spinner

An article spinner is software that paraphrases or rewrites the original text often by substituting synonyms for words.

Article Spinning Tools Cannot Add Variety

Sometimes short sentences work better. Sometimes longer sentences establish a better flow and rhythm to keep the readers hooked. The automated rewriting tools cannot vary the sentence length or change the flow to make the article engaging.

Of course, you can program style guides and tone into AI tools, but for that, too, you need a professional writer.

AI Cannot Replace Marketing Writers

While AI has come far and is now integrated into all spheres of our lives, it still has a long way to go in replacing the originality and creativity of experienced writers.

Rather than looking at AI as a replacement, it’s more useful to look at it as a guide or aide that can help marketing writers to research faster, structure sections based on SEO suggestions, and automate repetitive tasks in content marketing as and when required. But the actual job of writing should be left to the experts in the field.

More free marketing education resources

A Creative Content Writer Is Irreplaceable

Nothing can replace a creative content writer, a marketing writer who hand-crafts unique content.

In a world where we are used to shortcuts, it’s no surprise that article spinners exist. While they can save users time writing fresh content from scratch, they don’t come without drawbacks. Even with innovative technology coming out in efforts to make life easier, creative copywriters are here to stay for the long haul.

a person wearing an orange sweater typing on a laptop

How Do Article Spinners Work?

An article spinner repurposes existing content without paraphrasing. For example, you may have an article for your company blog that you want to publish on other mediums to increase traffic to your website. Using an article spinner to recreate a similar piece is an inexpensive way to achieve this. If not done right, though, it can get you into big trouble.

Search engines punish websites with cross-published identical content. The problem is, most businesses don’t want to spend time rewriting articles. They want a shortcut - and an article spinner is just that.

Article Spinners Ruin SEO Efforts

Though made to be time savers, article spinners come with a host of problems. They produce low-quality content that is difficult to understand. The whole point of search engine marketing is to provide quality content with which visitors can engage. Article spinners do the exact opposite. Low-quality spun articles will not hold a viewer’s attention, resulting in increased bounce rates.

The Verdict: You Need a Creative Content Writer

Marketing writers are here to stay, no matter the AI-driven technology. Creative, relevant content is irreplaceable because:

Every Brand Is Unique

Article spinners don’t take personality into consideration when refreshing articles. In contrast, a skilled copywriter produces content that is natural and conversational, rather than robotic and monotone. This is crucial for search engine optimization. A well-written article encourages an audience to interact. In turn, businesses reap the benefit of more organic traffic and sales. Establish authority and get on Google’s good side by sharing made-from-scratch content.

Quality Content Drives Better Leads

Word of mouth has been one of the most effective ways of marketing. When people like what they see, they’ll spread the word to their network. Similarly, top-notch content marketing encourages high-quality clients and sales. If visitors find your article easy to understand and packed with value, they may share it on their social channels. These shares are powerful because they could reach prospective clients.

According to a study by BrightEdge Research, 65% of online experiences start with a search engine. This is impressive, considering HubSpot reported an average of 2 trillion Google searches each year! It has been proven that going the extra mile to make sure your content is unlike any other pays off.

Invest in the Best Content You Can - Because It Pays Off in ROI

In life, you get what you pay for. If it sounds too good to be true, it most likely is. Poorly written content is more detrimental to your brand than having no content at all. Instead of spinning content with software, hire a marketing writer to create authentic content. It goes a long way in sparking discussion and building a community!

At Seven Oaks Consulting, we curate top-notch content that will boost your search engine ranking and drive new traffic to your website. Our team of creative content writers offers unique, search engine optimized B2B content. Contact us to learn more about our copywriting services!

MOre Content Marketing Resources for You

Digital Content Strategy Hacks

Your digital content strategy doesn’t have to reinvent the wheel. One of the most persistent fallacies in content marketing is the belief that a website always needs a ‘steady stream of new content’ in order to educate, inspire, and motivate customers to take action via a content marketing campaign.

While it is true that frequent website updates appeals to Google’s search engine algorithm, that does not mean continually searching for new ideas and creating brand-new, from scratch content each time you wish to publish. To create a digital content strategy, you need one solid idea that supports your marketing goals and appeals to your target market. 

Reuse, Repurpose and Recycle Your Best Ideas

Reuse, repurpose, and recycle applies to content marketing as well as to thrifty living. Here’s how “thrifty content marketing” can transform your approach – and significantly reduce your workload.

One Idea Can Generate Multiple Marketing Pieces for a digital content strategy

Most ideas can generate more than one content marketing piece. In fact, one idea can usually generate at least four or five. 

One large topic often has multiple smaller topics hidden within it like gems in a mine waiting to be picked apart from the rock.

Let’s take a recent topic I that came my way through my bank’s weekly email to their business customers: How to Boost Business Credit. The original article published by the bankfocused on the steps a small business could take to improve its credit rating and, by extension, borrow more to fuel business growth. It was a well-written 500–700-word article, but that was it – it was one article.

It could easily have been seven different content marketing projects, each appealing to the same audience but shared through multiple marketing channels.

As a small business banking customer, it’s easy for me to slip into the mindset of their target market. This makes it an idea sample to show you what I mean by one idea fueling multiple content pieces to achieve the client’s objectives. 

One Idea – SEVEN Content Marketing Pieces

Using the method my team at Seven Oaks Consulting and I use with our B2B content marketing clients, one idea can be spun into multiple content marketing pieces for a digital content strategy. One idea can be used to generate multiple content pieces along the content marketing continuum, helping to generate awareness, support customer education, and nurture the connection into a lead for business credit.

The Seven Oaks Consulting Content Marketing Process

We consider the persona, or target market, for the client’s services, asking ourselves, “Where do they go for content? Which social media platforms do they visit? How do they prefer to consume information: video, audio, or text?”

Next, we look at the tactics available to the client. Some client have multiple touchpoints established with their target market: a blog, a website, social media channels, emails. We leverage these touchpoints and may suggest additional ones for content amplification.

For the content creation process, the bank has several steps to generate a lead for its credit (loans) services:

  • Education
  • Awareness
  • Motivation

Education comes first because most small business owners desire to learn more about the entire credit process. And, because credit is a complex and often new subject for business owners, the educational phase is crucial to the lead process. The bank wants their potential loan applicants to understand the process well before they apply for the loan. This helps the bank by saving time with customers and helps customers find the right credit source.

Awareness moves people from education (this is what business credit is all about) to “Bank XYZ offers such services.”  It is moving people from the understanding of the topic into understand that Bank XYZ offers the service.

Lastly, motivation comes into the picture – motivating customers to take action and apply with Bank XYZ for credit and loans. 

From our one idea, I’ve generated seven content types:  

  1. Microblogging/social posts 
  2. Multiple blog posts – small business credit, credit cards for small businesses, how businesses can check their credit rating, how credit ratings for businesses are calculated, what can help or hurt your credit rating etc.
  3. Infographics showcasing any of the ideas from the blog posts
  4. Case studies showing how the bank’s consultants helped small businesses improve their credit, fight credit fraud, or obtain credit 
  5. A video of a bank manager explaining how the bank makes their credit decisions, key concepts in small business credit, etc.
  6. A gated white paper or longer position paper on small business credit: what businesses need to know/do
  7. Newsletter content based on the blog posts

Of course, the actual content deliverables depend on the desired budget, staff availability, and timeframe. Perhaps the bank wants to create all the pieces with their own marketing team. The list of suggested content pieces must be pared down to encompass the team’s strengths and bandwidth. Also, if the bank managers aren’t comfortable going on camera, the seventh idea needs to be adapted or changed. And of course, if clients don’t wish to be identified in a case study, that can limit the ability to create them. 

These 7 content types can now be divided into each phase of the content marketing process:


  • Blog Posts
  • White Paper
  • Infographics


  • Social Media Posts
  • Case Studies
  • Videos


  • Social Media Posts
  • Emails

Come up with one topic per month or quarter, then work it to the best of your ability. It will generate more momentum through repetition of concept and ideas. This momentum typically outweighs whatever organic SEO boost a site gets from adding unique ideas by building content clusters. Linking among similar topics on the site boosts organic SEO better than generating dozens of new ideas in the same amount of time.

With this method, executed by professionals such as my team at Seven Oaks Consulting, you can accomplish the following marketing goals:

  • Build and sustain organic SEO traffic
  • Build awareness for your company as an expert in a topic
  • Educate potential customers
  • Nurture customer relationships
  • Augment and support paid lead generation campaigns
  • Generate leads

Content marketing takes considerable time and effort to do right. Generating fresh ideas is one of the most challenging aspects of the content marketing process. But who says you need to have a fresh idea every day, month, or week? One idea can generate multiple creative concepts that supports marketing goals and sustains the lead generation pipeline for many B2B businesses. 

More Content Marketing Resources for You

The Big Reason Why Marketing Campaigns Fail

What is the single biggest reason why marketing campaigns fail? There is no guaranteed equation for producing the most effective and longest-lasting results. Marketing campaigns are multi-faceted and require a high degree of effective collaboration from all marketing team members.

Creativity is another essential aspect - considering that no two marketing campaigns are the same. We will explore why lack of focus, which can lead to other problems, is often the single biggest reason marketing campaigns fail.  

a leaf against a blurry background with the word focus

The Need for a Well-defined Set of Goals

A lack of focus can result in a poorly developed marketing campaign. It can also lead to other problems in marketing strategies, such as poorly executed research and misinterpretation of data analytics. Here are some insights to determine if you are on the right track:    

  • Effective collaboration is key to crafting a successful marketing campaign, as with any team-based project. Although working with a team can help to foster creativity and generate new ideas, it can also lead to a lack of focus. Establishing a well-defined set of goals is critical to ensure that everyone is on the same page. 
  • Marketing campaigns help establish a brand image and raise consumer awareness. A vital aspect of establishing a brand image is to provide valuable information, not just eye-catching advertisements. The desire to produce immediate results may negatively impact the marketing campaign's effectiveness due to lack of substance.

The Importance of Continuity   

Once you have defined your goals and established your brand, it is important not to lose sight of your long-term marketing strategy - and this is where continuity comes in. Continuity helps establish trust with your target audience and stand out among competitors. 

Remember, the first step to any successful marketing campaign is to create a well-defined set of short-term and long-term goals. Some helpful questions to ask include:

  • How will your marketing campaign evolve based on your target audience and changing market trends?
  • What is your brand's message, and how can you keep it consistent as your marketing campaign adapts to consumer demands?

In a world often obsessed with the latest trending topics and hashtags of the day, don't underestimate the power of continuity. A strong, clear, and consistent message can help establish the foundation for a successful, long-term marketing campaign. 

eyeglasses, paperclips, a notebook and pen, and flowers on a beige desk

9 New Year's Resolutions for Content Marketers

Happy (almost) New Year! Do you make New Year's Resolutions? I'm actually not a big fan myself of resolutions. I always feel that every day is a fresh start. We each get 24 hours with which to make progress on all fronts of our lives - spiritual, physical, mental, personal, business, you name it.

But I know that New Year's Resolutions are an important tradition for many. In that light, I've put together the marketing manager's spin on them.

If you do nothing at all in 2022 but follow these resolutions, I can almost guarantee you a happy, prosperous, and business-filled year. Happy New Year!

9 New Year's Resolutions for Marketing Managers

Repeat after me: In 2022, I resolve to....

  1. Prioritize marketing over other business tasks: It's so easy to tackle everything BUT your marketing! Yes, I own a marketing agency, but before founding Seven Oaks Consulting, I founded and ran an e-commerce business. And I can say from experience that often everything but marketing took priority in my day: answering customer emails, sourcing new products, shipping orders, and more. But the longer you put off marketing tasks, the greater the risk of being forgotten by your customers. With so much competing for customer attention online and off these days, it is essential to make marketing a priority. Resolve to do at least one marketing activity each day to promote your business!
  2. Keep abreast of updates in my field: Whether that means listening to a podcast each week or reading emails from your favorite blogger, make it a point to learn something new each week about your chosen business field or your specific marketing discipline.
  3. Focus on a few tactics to do well: Some businesses try every marketing tactic under the sun, using a "throw spaghetti at the wall to see what sticks" marketing method. The result is usually an uneven hodgepodge of marketing tactics. Each method might work, but without the energy, enthusiasm, consistency, time, and measurement behind each, it's impossible to know. Instead of trying everything and seeing what works, focus on one or two marketing tactics you believe will work and try them for several months (or even a full year).
  4. Measure the results: Not all marketing methods are easily quantified, but most can be quantified in some way. Whenever you can, measure your marketing activities and use the data to support marketing decisions.
  5. Avoid one-size-fits-all marketing: Just because everyone is on TikTok (or Instagram, or running Google AdWords campaigns, or mailing postcards out) doesn't mean that it's right for your business. Always check the demographics to see if your target audience is reading, listening, or responding to a particular channel before investing in marketing activities there. Your audience may love Facebook and hate Twitter, or may be hard to attract using Google Ads but respond well to content marketing. No two businesses have - or should have - the exact same marketing strategy.
  6. Keep your eyes open: Keep your eyes open and start a 'swipe file', or a sample file, or marketing materials that strike your fancy. While you cannot and should not copy anyone else's marketing materials directly, use this file as inspiration to discover what you like about the marketing activity and why.
  7. Ask for professional help when needed: Don't try to DIY all aspects of your marketing. You can't. I've been a marketing manager for over 30 years and even I don't DIY everything anymore. Besides not having the time anymore to fuss with certain things, I know that my skills lend themselves better to some forms of content marketing (writing) and less to others (video). It's much smarter to invest my time in what I know I can do well and pay someone to do things I don't do well so that the overall end product - the marketing deliverable - is fantastic than to try to save a dime and DIY the entire campaign.
  8. Invest in professional development: Early in 2021, I made what turned out to be a fantastic decision for my business. I invested in my own professional development. I joined a blogging course and weekly mastermind group. And while my blog did not turn into a money making machine, it did teach me a lot about various SEO skills I lacked and helped me to focus on what produced revenue. It was a great experience and one I recommend to anyone able to invest in professional development whether it is a recorded course or a weekly meeting with a coach.
  9. Plan, but be flexible: Resolve to create and follow a marketing plan but remain flexible enough to "go with the flow" should the occasion warrant it. My plans evolved in 2021 but my initial focus remained the same: to build Seven Oaks Consulting into the agency of choice for expert, unique and creative content marketing solutions. This focus, combined with a flexible approach to achieving my goals, enabled me to achieve the goals I set for myself at the start of 2021. Planning, flexibility, and regular check-ins with yourself are the best way that I know of to achieve your goals, too.

2021 was a wild ride, and 2022 is also starting off a bit rocky with so many problems worldwide, including the continuing global pandemic. Through it all, one thing remains: we all wish for a happy, healthy, and prosperous New Year.

So here's to your new year, and may your New Year's resolutions yield abundant results. Happy new Year!

5 Tips for Strong Writing


Flabby prose. Flat, uninteresting sentences. Trite, cliché-ridden advertising and marketing copy. We've all seen it. Heck, maybe we've even written it. I'm here to help you turn that fat-ridden body of words into a lean, mean, athletic machine. I'm here to help you turn flabby, 90-pound weakling words into buff Charles Atlas-fit writing fit for kings. These 5 tips will help you write well whether you are writing for print or web, school or work, fiction or nonfiction, but they are aimed at people writing business documents.

Five Tips for Strong Writing

  1. Write from the verbs: Verbs provide action. The stronger the verb, the more interesting the writing. A strong action verb immediately sets your prose apart because 90% of people writing blog posts, web copy and marketing copy do not know this trick. The passive voice prevails among academic papers, technology companies, and websites where a 'scholarly' tone is desired. Yet you can write in an active voice even when creating serious, scholarly works.
  2. Use for strong verbs: A corollary to writing from active verbs dictates writing from strong verbs. Strong verbs describe, inspire, and connect readers to an immediate mental picture. If you use strong verbs, you are less likely to reach for adverbs or adjectives to enhance the reader's mental picture because they already have a clear image in mind of what is happening.
  3. Shorten your sentences: I'm guilty of this, and it is something I have to work on, especially in my business writing. I love writing lengthy, complex sentences. Blame my earlier training in linguistics and literature, especially Victorian literature. I can string together independent and dependent clauses to rival the most purple-prose riddled Victorian text, but it's ineffective in business writing. Shorten, tighten, and shorten again when writing business copy.
  4. Start with your conclusion: Business writing begins with the end in mind. State the conclusion first, then back into it with supporting details. In school, triangles were used to help us imagine the structure of a paragraph; an upside-down triangle adequately represents strong business writing. Lead with the conclusion or desired action, then add your strongest supporting details and so on.
  5. Incorporate a personal tone: Too many business documents sound impersonal and robotic because somewhere, someone learned that to be 'personal' in a business document smacks of  ineptitude. Nothing could be further from the truth. A warm, professional and personal tone lends voice and credence to your documents. By personal, I don't mean relating your weekend plans or your breakfast choices. I do mean using contractions, simple phrases, and personal touches to enliven your documents.


Lastly, here are a few rules of thumb for business writing:

  • Spell check programs cannot catch everything. It offers suggestions, not hard and fast instructions, so proceed with caution.
  • Search online for the correct spelling of proper nouns, especially newfangled brand names which love to mash together two words with random capitalization to make it jazzy.
  • Avoid the Random Capitalization syndrome, or capitalizing words to make them appear important. It's distracting and annoying.
  • Use a consistent style for writing out numbers and dates. It often doesn't matter which style you use, as long as you keep it consistent. I prefer to spell out numbers zero through nine, and then write numerals beyond 10, but that's a personal preference. AP Style and Chicago Manual of Style are two commonly used style guides that can help you through the nitty-gritty of stylistic choices.


If you'd prefer to hire a professional writer, editor, and word wrangler, let's talk. Until then, may these tips act like vitamins to boost your weak muscles into strong, bone-crunching prose.




(C) 2018 by Jeanne Grunert, The Marketing Writer | Seven Oaks Consulting. I offer writing, editing, and marketing consulting services.





This Shocking Discovery Will Amaze You! Clickbait Headlines


Fell for it, didn't you? If you clicked on the link because of the article's headline, you fell for something called clickbait.


Clickbait is a pejorative term used to describe misleading headlines. It's used throughout the internet, so you've probably seen it before. You see a headline about a favorite celebrity, or television show, or even an issue you care deeply about. The headline promises something emotional - something that makes you curious, intrigued, upset, angry. You can't help but click on the link. Once you get to the article, however, the content doesn't pay off the headline. That "shocking" information is nothing more than the usual drivel spit up and served on a silver platter. The "surprising" fact is nothing more than the facts about the issue. And so on....

Why Clickbait Headlines Work

It's a truisim in journalism and marketing writing that the headline is the most important aspect of any article, blog post or document. Most writing teachers and marketing writers will tell you to spend the majority of your time working on your headlines because that is what gets people to respond, click, and then read the content. In other words, if your headline doesn't work well, no one will read the terrific content you've created.

Clickbait headlines work on the psychological principle of dissonance. Our minds cannot stand to be uncomfortable, and the curiosity inspired by the headline creates a gap between what we know and what we desire. This gap makes us feel uncomfortable. We are compelled to click the link to read the text even when we 'know' in our logical minds that the information is just the usual drivel, or that we're on deadline for a project and shouldn't be spending time reading Yahoo! News (King of the Clickbait headlines) (and yes, I fall prey to them all the time) (and no, I won't be late with your project. I promise!)

[Tweet "This shocking discovery will AMAZE you! Why clickbait headlines work. #marketingwriting #writing"]

These headlines are actually crafty little critters. They're used because they work. John Caples, one of the most famous advertising writers of the 20th century, offered 35 headline formulas that are still used today by marketing writers and other copywriters to create the best headlines they can for blog posts, articles, website copy and marketing documents. Clickbait stands in its own category, but it's worth looking at Caples' headline writing formulas and comparing them to common clickbait techniques. There's some overlap, although Caples is probably spinning in his grave at the comparison.

What Marketers Can Learn from Clickbait Headlines

There are several lessons we can learn from the purveyors of clickbait headlines. First, we know that they work. They do draw in the clicks. They don't provide lasting values, and they don't engender loyalty, two important qualities that any serious business should consider as part of their overall content marketing strategy. But they do follow the AIDA formula - attention, interest, desire, action.

And that's what we as marketers and marketing writers must remember at all times: AIDA. Without getting attention and generating interest, no one's going to click on your article. Inspiring desire and motivating customers to take action with an engaging headline complete the split-second decision that occurs in readers' brains as they scan their newsfeeds. Clickbait headlines get the job done in seconds.


Will I use clickbait headlines? Aside from this blog post, where the headline was actually part of the story, the answer is no. I hate feeling cheated when I click on one of those zippy headlines and they promise me "shocking" photos or news and all I get is an article. Sure, I clicked, and sure, you got the page view. But in the end, you didn't get ME - you didn't earn my loyalty. I won't bookmark your site, and I won't follow it on social media. Perhaps more importantly, I won't go there again, because now that you've played a trick on me, I'm wise to your trick.

And I hate tricks.

If you want to gain clicks in an ethical way, the secret remains in writing great headlines. That takes enormous skill and practice, something which a good marketing writer has. I've been a marketing writer for 20+ years. That's the kind of writer you need working on your projects, not someone who can catch a reader-fish on the end of a headline-hook.

To write terrific headlines:

  • Make it factual and true
  • Go for emotion - pique curiosity
  • Ask a question
  • Make a crazy promise (that you can actually keep)
  • Includes facts like numbers, names, specifics
  • Keep it not too short, not too long
  • Infuse it with keywords too!


It takes time and practice to actually write such headlines. If you'd like help with your marketing writing work, please contact me.

In the meantime...I hope this blog post shocked, inspired, surprised, amazed, and absolutely delighted you.

Jeanne for websiteMarketing writer Jeanne Grunert knows a thing or two about headline writing, marketing copy, and freelance writing. She's been a full time freelance writer since 2007 when she quit her position as a marketing director for a big global company to return to her roots as a freelance writer. With a background in both marketing and writing, Jeanne brings a unique perspective to all of her writing projects. For more information, please visit her company website, Seven Oaks Consulting | Marketing Writer Jeanne Grunert.