Qlik vs. Tableau: Why you must write unique headlines

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Tuesday teardown – In summary:

  • The more unique and specific a headline is, the better it will perform (holding everything else constant)
  • You should always aim to write headlines that could never have been written by one of your competitors, or someone in a different industry
  • The easy way to check the uniqueness of a headline is to type the headline in to Google with quote marks around it and see how many search results are returned
  • Being more specific will drive better search performance and click through rates, because browsers know exactly what they’re going to get (before clicking through)

Transcript of this teardown:

Hi I’m Steve Pell from TLP. I’m here to do another one of our TLP Tuesday Teardowns, where we use some well-known examples to give you some practical tips to improve how you market and sell online.

Today I’m comparing Qlik and Tableau – both big software vendors. They both sell business intelligence software, but the takeaways today don’t really have anything to do with business intelligence. The takeaways are about how to improve your headlines. This is a topic we’ve touched on recently. Today we’re going to add something to what we talked about last time, which was focused on writing headlines that are emotional and practical.

What we’re going to talk about today is writing headlines that are specific and unique. Holding everything else constant, the more unique a headline is, the better that headline will perform. You’re aiming to write headlines that could never have been written by one of your competitors or someone in a completely different industry.

The easy way to check uniqueness is to just type the headline in to Google with quote marks around it. You can tell if it’s been used before by how many search results come up.

Now to illustrate this, I’m going to compare the Qlik blog to Tableau’s blog.  Both of these blogs are generally quite good: they’re well-developed, they’re very well updated, they’ve got a broad range of topics, so we are comparing like-for-like.

Let’s look at Qlik to start with. I’m going to use a couple of posts from down the bottom here, so, “Distilling your data“, and “Stepping into the impossible.” Now, you can see where I’m going here that neither of these posts have names that are unique to business intelligence, unique to Qlik; there is nothing specific about this that couldn’t have been written on any one of a million other websites or a million other companies across the web. That is not generally a good thing.

I’ll show you what I mean here, in terms of uniqueness. When we search for “Distilling your data“, those exact words have been written about in 100 other search results. It comes up in a number of books. So we can quickly see that this headline is not specific or unique. It doesn’t give me a preview of what I’m going to get when I click through to read the article. An article with the title “Distilling your data” could be about any one of a thousand topics.

Stepping into the impossible” is even worse with 35,000  results. You can see here that it has been a title of a book with the subtitle “a story of healing on the streets“.  This is a good practical takeaway, if your blog post can be used in a completely different industry or for a spiritual healing book it’s not the right title for what you’re writing about in your space.

Let’s jump across to Tableau and there are some better examples here. I’m going to just look at these two: “Tableau Online Tips: A Security Checklist for Publishing Data to the Cloud,” and then “Thanks to Your Feedback, Tableau Shines on User-Review Sites.”

So, when we search for “Thanks to Your Feedback, Tableau Shines on User-Review Sites“, we see just nine search results. All of these are results Tableau sharing their content on social. So there has never been article that has been written with this headline before. This is exactly what you’re looking for if you’ve written a very specific and unique headline that can only be written by your company.

The other article here gives similar results. So when I search for “Tableau Online Tips: A Security Checklist for Publishing Data to the Cloud.”, Google is showing me only four results – all of which are Tableau sharing this specific article on social.

The takeaway for today is you should always be aiming to write unique specific headlines that have never been written before.

You need to be this specific to get busy readers to take the time out of their day to engage with your content. That level of specificity will also help with click through rates, because browsers know exactly what they’re going to get. Specificity stands out in general search results.

That’s all for me today. I’m Steve Pell, and that has been another one of our TLP Tuesday Teardowns. If you got value here, we’d love you to share or comment below. Thank you so much.

Kogan vs. ANZ vs. Qantas: Headlines, head-to-head

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Tuesday teardown – In summary:

  • Headlines matter. If you’re not achieving the results you should be from your content – the first place to look is at your headlines.
  • Great headlines are personal. Make your headline personal for the reader (and avoid describing your content in the abstract).
  • Add more ’emotional’ words to your headlines. Headlines that trigger an emotional response typically perform strongly.

Websites referenced in this teardown:

Transcript of this teardown:

Hi. I’m Steve Pell from TLP. I’m here to do another one of our Tuesday Teardowns, where we look at some well-known websites and well-known CEO blogs for practical takeaways about how you can improve your marketing online.

Now, today we’re going to talk about headlines on blog articles, or for any type of content for that matter. We’re using three very well-known Australian CEOs: Ruslan Kogan (of Kogan Electronics), Alan Joyce (QANTAS) and Mike Smith (the recently departed CEO of ANZ).

There’s three takeaways today:

The first is that headlines really matter. If you’re not achieving the results that you think you should be from your content then I’d really encourage you to get stuck in and have a look deeply at the headlines, see how well they are performing, use some of the tools that we’re going to talk about today and see if you can improve, not the content, but the headline and the way that you’re describing that article out to the world.

The second takeaway, is that you should write personal headlines. Write headlines that are made personal for the readers; for the people who are engaging with your articles. If you do that instead of describing the content in abstract terms, if you make it personal/ individual, you’ll almost always see better results.

The third takeaway is if you can give your headlines have a degree of emotion, and add more emotional content, you’ll also see much better results.

Let’s jump in to the three articles. I’m going to show you some practical tool as well that you can use to pull apart your headlines and see how well they are performing. The first article we’re going to look at here is from Ruslan Kogan. It’s called “Best advice: If your ideas get rejected, you’re on the right track.” This article has achieved 14,000 views, 1,000 likes, 153 comments – so, a pretty well performing article all things considered.

Kogan

Ruslan Kogan’s article – Best advice: If your ideas get rejected, you’re on the right track

We’re going to look at this CoSchedule headline scoring tool that allows you to input any headline, and it will give you a headline quality score. It will run you through a whole bunch of things about how the headline is going to perform on different mediums, the key words etc. Now, this isn’t always going to be accurate to the nth degree, but it’s a good indication if you’ve got a really low score or a really high score; that an article might not do as well as you’d hope or might do better than you’d expected.

Coschedule

The CoSchedule headline analyser

The other tool I’m showing here is this emotional value score from the Advanced Marketing Institute. This will give you a score based on the emotional content of words in the headline.

AMI emotional value

The Emotional Marketing Value Headline Analyzer

In this case, 25% of the words from Kogan’s headline have an emotional content; the higher this score is, the better that headline will typically do, and I’ll put some links down below to some research showing that great headlines typically sitting a 30% to 40% emotional range will drive much better performance. So this is a reasonably good example from Ruslan Kogan. You saw we had a CoSchedule score of 75, and then an emotional content score of 25% here.

Let’s jump on to Mike Smith who’s talking about “Saying goodbye to a stronger, better ANZ“. This article has achieved 6,000 views, 1,000 likes, 64 comments, so a bit lower in terms of performance than the Ruslan Kogan article.

Mike smith

Mike Smith’s article – Saying goodbye to a stronger, better ANZ

Again, this is a personal topic from Mike Smith. So, it should be something that we can write an emotional, personal headline for. Let’s jump in, and you can see here a 65 headline score from CoSchedule; and in terms of emotional content it’s standing at 16%. Again, this correlates with what we’re talking about in terms of the performance of the article. Again, this comes back to more emotional, more personal headline equal better performance.

Let’s talk now about Alan Joyce: “Making the Business Case for LGBT Inclusion.” Again, this is a topic that Alan Joyce should be able to write a very personal headline for. You can see it’s achieved 850 views, 315 likes, 11 comments. This is really underperforming. Again, I’ve talked about some of Alan Joyce’s content on LinkedIn before, and it does tend to be a little bit more boring than it should be.

Joyce

Alan Joyce’s article – Making the business case for LGBT inclusion

Perhaps this is below what you would expect for a CEO of an ASX 100 company. You question if this is worth his time. Let’s have a look at the headlines here in terms of scores, and you can see here a 59 headline score. It’s, again, lower. It’s a little bit boring, I would say, and the emotional content, it’s, again, down lower, with a score of 14%.

In conclusion

So, some really practical takeaways there for you today as we ran through three Australian CEOs and their blog headlines.

The more emotional your headline, typically, the better that’s going to perform. The more personal the headline, typically, the better that’s going to perform. Headlines, they really do matter. They are an area that has a huge impact on the performance of your content, so please, jump into the resources below, tweak your headlines, see if you can achieve some better performance. And please start using some of these tools that really help you to start understanding how your headlines are going to perform.

Thanks a lot. I’m Steve Pell. That’s been another one of our Tuesday Teardowns.

The marketing arms race (for board directors)

By | Content marketing, Marketing strategy, Thought leadership, Uncategorized | No Comments

There’s a bunch of analogies between non-executive directors and venture capital firms. But the most important one is for a long time they’ve both succeeded on a “rich get richer” model.

The ‘rich’ get ‘richer’ in both venture capital and board directorships

Ben Horowitz is a founder of Andreessen Horowitz (US venture capital firm). He’s also broadly recognised as one of the most influential people in technology right now.

In 2015 Horowitz gave an influential lecture at the Stanford Technology Ventures Program. In the lecture Horowitz talks about this idea that for a very long time in venture capital there were five leading firms. And those five firms got richer and richer by the year. Because the more deals they were involved in, the more deals came to them.

Like venture capital, the way you get elected to a board hasn't changed for a long time. A rich get richer effect means the more prestigious boards you currently sit on, the more attractive you are as a candidate

Like venture capital, the way you get elected to a board hasn’t changed for a long time. A rich get richer effect means the more prestigious boards you currently sit on, the more attractive you are as a candidate

The analogy to non-executive directors is pretty clear. For a director, the more prestigious boards you sit on, the more attractive you are as a board member. So the ‘rich’ get richer and secure the most exclusive non-executive director jobs.

That’s all very interesting, not entirely unexpected and completely unhelpful. What is very interesting and helpful is how Andreessen Horowitz broke this model and built the most influential venture firm in less than 5 years.

Andreessen Horowitz broke the rich-get-richer model in venture capital with a marketing ‘arms race’

As a venture firm, Andreessen Horowitz did something that no-one else had ever done in venture capital. They started marketing. And in a market where nobody has ever done marketing, that gets amazing cut through.

This strategy wouldn’t work today, because it’s now the default that every venture capital firm markets as aggressively as Andreessen Horowitz. So the strategy took them to the top of the market, and then closed up behind them.

It was basically the great marketing arms race in venture capital. Hear Ben Horowitz describe what happened at 33:15 of this lecture. 

My analogy to non-executive directors is pretty clear. If you want to get on boards, there’s a real opportunity to get cut through by marketing your opinions, your skills, your thought leadership. Almost nobody is doing this today. This will be hugely effective whilst there’s hardly anyone doing it, moderately effective when a few people start doing it actively, and then will be required ‘price of entry’.

As a non-executive director, you can either choose to lead or follow into the marketing ‘arms race’

As a potential non-executive director, you get to choose if you lead or follow into the marketing arms race. If you lead, you will get disproportionate rewards – in a similar way to Andreessen Horowitz in venture capital.

There is real first mover advantage in play with non-executive director marketing. As more and more NEDs start copying, the likelihood of your opinions standing out decreases. It’s your choice when to start – but have no doubt that In 5 years time all NEDs will be actively marketing what makes them different, unique and expert.