Using puns in construction news headlines is a throwback to traditional media and marketing where a snappy, attention-grabbing was a key requirement. Sub-editors would spend 3 or 4 times as long crafting a headline as the journalists would have spent writing the piece itself.
Print magazines, journals and exhibition guides are still part of the marketing mix, but unless you are writing project news or case studies for the popular press, puns in the headlines are not doing you any favours.
At The Content Marketing Academy conference 2016, Kate McQuillan, of Pet Sitters Ireland gave a presentation on how she grew her small company to a national leader, mainly through blogging. Avoiding ‘catchy’ page titles in her blogs, and focusing on search, was one of her tips. Although she grew her consumer business to a national chain, I feel this tip is directly applicable to construction news.
Her next tip for page titles was to think about what people type into search engines.
Let’s think about fundamentals for a moment:
- Most content is digital these days
- Most people do research online these days
- Many people type direct questions into search engines
Search engines don’t have a sense of humour, they care about what your content is about, and how likely it is to solve the searcher’s problem. Your title is the most important element of your page in terms of telling the search engines what it is about – using a play on words here is wasting your valuable space.
In construction, I find a lot of manufacturers simply use the name of the location or building. If you are a main contractor or a key participant in the project team, this is relevant, as your potential clients may be searching for specific buildings or projects. They may be interested in who delivered the build and how it was achieved.
If you are a product manufacturer, aiming for this search traffic isn’t going to help you. You’ll pick up people searching for the information about the building itself.
My recommendation is that headlines should be optimised more for search – but do you know what your audience are searching for?
To address this, we need to work back. Do you know what their needs are? Do you know what their pain points are – what causes ? If you aren’t sure, it’s time to go back to basics and put yourself in your ideal buyers/specifiers’ shoes. What questions are they asking at the point when they are considering your product for a design? It’s easier to know what questions they are asking – these will be the sorts of questions they ask you about your products, when they call, email or speak to you in person.
If you don’t have time to do keyword research, make your news and case study titles a little more generic, and tailored towards people searching for a requirement where they haven’t already selected your company or product.
What problem did the client or designer have – space restrictions, a need for high-end aesthetics, sensitivity at a historic site? What problem did the product solve? A design, installation or maintenance issue?
>Don’t include the project location, as discussed above (at least not in all your project news titles).
Don’t include your company name – if they are searching for this, they’ll find your home page.
Don’t include your product name, – if they are searching for this, they’ll find your product page.
Use puns, e.g
- Product X scores full marks at Y school
- Product Y makes a splash at Z swimming pool
Use a general, plain english description of the problem your product solves, e.g:
- Reinforced rootzone improves grass pitch durability
- Anti slip tiles reduce risks at swimming pool
One last tip:
Don’t go OTT on your marketing claims and benefit statements. Can you picture an architect typing ‘state-of-the-art‘ or ‘stunning’ as part of their Google search? I’ve written about the importance of an objective style of writing in construction marketing before.