Most magazines and newspapers have realised by now that the web is the future. Almost every magazine thus has a web page and of course also the attached social media channels. However this new form of distribution also asks for new ways of income. The print magazines and newspapers just need a high number of editions, whereas the web versions require clicks in order to pay off. While this is totally legit, it has unfortunately lead to a mass of teasers and titles that are sensationalist and make me wanna roll my eyes nonstop while checking my Facebook feed. I seriously tried to follow some fashion magazines on social media but just had to stop because their posts became so annoying.Just imagine a title like "This trick helps you to burn calories while walking" with a teaser like "Burning calories was never ever this easy". Or imagine the title "5 astonishing things that affect your fertility" along with the teaser "These things could play a huge part in you becoming pregnant or not". What makes these teasers and titles so ridiculous is not even the fact that you know exactly that the articles behind them will be nonsense, but rather the fact that they were just written to make you click on that damn link anyway.
If we relate this to blogging and social media, then the examples above can actually teach us two things. The first one is that your teaser has to make your post as appealing as possible, so people click on your link and bring you the much needed traffic. However the second thing I learnt from those fashion magazine teasers, is that the line between appealing and repelling is really fine.
1. Get your followers interested in your post.
Just posting a link on Facebook is easy, but adding an interesting teaser that will make people click on the link is the true art. Tell them why this post will be interesting for them or give them a reason to identify with your content. Ideally people will learn something from your post or get inspired by it, so tell them right away what benefits they will have from reading it.
2. Don't simply summarise your article.
If you tell your followers the outcome of your post, then there's no need for them to read the whole text, right? Rather than telling them the results of your thoughts, you could explain your starting point or tell people what made you write this post.
3. Keep it short.
I am definitely guilty of writing too long teasers myself, but our goal should be to say it in one interesting sentence. When people scroll through their social media feeds there will be hundreds of links waiting for them so you need to convince them as quickly as possible. This is also important as people don't like to have to make too much effort to get to your blog. If your text is so long that people have to click on "see more" before they get to the link, they might rather pass on to the next post. If you find it hard to stick to a short teaser length, try to write your teasers on Twitter first, where you'll be limited to 140 signs.
4. Add a matching picture.
As there are so many other links that want to be clicked on, you should use visual material whenever possible. However don't use a cute cat picture when talking about fashion week, just because people like cute cat photos. Rather use a picture that describes your post just as well as the teaser does. I would furthermore suggest to only use your own pictures which you've also used in your post. I see many magazines using pictures from known bloggers as their teaser pictures and then in their article they only use pictures they are actually aloud to use. They probably think it's a legal grey area and that they don't need to credit pictures they use on Facebook (and NO, Pinterest is not a legit source!) but I find this procedure pretty dubious.
5. Don't repeat the title.
If the title of your post is displayed on social media, then there is no need to repeat it. Get creative and try to use different words. For example if my title contains "social media" and "teasers" then on Facebook I could advertise this post with the words "Facebook" and "click on your posts".
6. Get people involved with a question.
Social media is not only an advertising tool, but should also be the place where bloggers hang out with their community. Therefor encouraging discussions over there as well is just as important as getting comments on your blog posts. If you ask a question in your teaser, some people will feel the urge to answer you right there, and those are often readers that wouldn't necessarily comment on your blog. A popular method is to ask people what they think about point xy of your post (when you write list posts like this one.)
7. Don't take your reader for a fool.
When someone manages to make you click on their links all of the time, but the articles are never what you expected/were promised, then you will probably feel pranked pretty quickly. There is nothing bad in making your post sound slightly more sensational than it is from time to time, but 90% of your teasers should exactly show your readers what they can expect from your post. And if that doesn't make them click on your link, then maybe you need better texts, not better teasers.
I know that many bloggers have a hard time with writing good teasers and I get often asked how I can come up with a descriptive sentence so quickly. In fact I think it's just a matter of practise.
If your posts are not so much about words but more about pictures, your teaser can also be about the visual aspect of your post, about how the pictures make you feel, or even a short anecdote if it's appropriate. When all else fails a question that shows real interest in your readers' opinion about your post will always be a good solution.
What do you think makes a good teaser? Do you find it easy or rather difficult to advertise for your latest blog post or article?