People are drawn to articles with negative titles, points out friend and fellow blogger Lorraine Ball. Why? Because, Lorraine answers, they are afraid of doing something wrong. All too often, she observes, writers take the safe, boring route, choosing a headline that sounds like every other headline. Instead, she advises trying to be bold, which might mean being negative.
Singer Johnny Mercer (no business blog content writer he!), would have begged to differ. Remember Mercer’s lyrics? According to him, we’ve got to accentuate the positive, eliminate the negative, latch on to the affirmative, and avoid messing with Mister In-Between.
Corey Eridon of Hubspot suggests a compromise position: “There’s an undeniable correlation between page views and negativity,” he points out. “We all know the news has gone the negative route for years, and they do it because it works,” he says. But, he then cautions, “If you’re going to get negative with your titles, you have to back it up with some solid content, perhaps using a shared negative experience to create a bond with your readers.
In many marketing blogs, in fact, the content writers focus on appealing to consumers’ fear. Fear is one of seven emotions that marketing writer Courtney Mills calls “key drivers” for successful ad copy writing. (Others include greed, guilt, anger, salvation, and flattery.)
Having spent nine years and much effort on blog content writing, one of the questions I continue to ask myself is whether “scare tactic”, or at least negative, marketing is ever appropriate for use in business blog writing.
On the one hand, there’s no arguing with the fact, which Lorraine points out in “Why Your Blog Titles Suck”, that you have mere seconds to capture the attention of a potential reader and get them to decide to spend time reading what you’ve written.
On the other side of things, since the blog represents just one aspect of any company’s (or any professional practitioner’s) overall marketing strategy, the tone of the blog needs to be consistent with the client’s overall brand. It’s important to appeal to a better kind of customer (you know, the ones who buy for the right reasons and then remain loyal, not those who are “scared” into action.)
Thank you, Lorraine, for forcing me (and my readers) to think about this. As for me, when it comes to positive versus negative content, I believe I’m going to take a chance on Mister In-Between!