Content marketing: Telling Meaningful Stories

Technology should really resolve the content creation problem of lengthy headlines 


You might care about this article if you are:

  • A content marketer
  • A digital marketing leader
  • A marketing technologist
  • A content  creator
  • A writer
  • A social media marketer

I wonder if this headline is too long for some channels. LOL. But really, headlines that can’t be read on the channel where they are consumed are such a pain. Here are some examples:

Facebook ⬇️⬇️⬇️

YouTube ⬇️⬇️⬇️


Websites ⬇️⬇️⬇️

YouTube calls to action ⬇️⬇️⬇️ (Pretty sure this was readable just fine on desktop where I created it. Ha. Excuses ‼️)


Now, of course there are also plenty of examples where headlines are actually readable on the various channels. Here’s one:

But why is this period period period thing happening so commonly and why aren’t enough people caring to fix it? I can’t imagine that posts with cut off headlines perform better than posts that clearly and fully communicate what is in the article and why people should click. Three periods in a cut off headline are hardly ever a teaser – really!

Of course there are also always new channels and devices that we probably didn’t think about when we first created content creation processes.

For example, when I uploaded that 2014 keynote video with the lengthy call to action I didn’t even realize that three years later I would be watching YouTube constantly on my mobile device.

And it’s really a conundrum for content creators. Many of them are still writing their content in systems other than the publishing system, like a Word document. Let’s just be honest here that creating content in a Word document versus the actual content management system is probably not the most efficient way in 2017.

But of course that also makes it harder for content creators to actually hit those numbers, even when they know how long something should be. Because you have to count. And while that sounds like a small task it’s yet another task that takes away from the actual creation of unique stories that people actually want to read.

People only have so much brain power to go around. And the more is spend on other tasks, the less is spend on rocking the content creation.

Of course, creating content directly in the content management system could in theory alleviate these problems. In theory because I create most of my content directly in the content management system and it still doesn’t work perfectly.

Some of my content does not perfectly push to other networks. Of course, part of the problem is that some of the distribution is automated. And that’s also not a new problem. I remember almost 10 years ago when we used RSS feeds to push new articles to social media and they would just grab them and cut them off in the middle of the sentence. That wasn’t  very user-friendly either and is  similar.

So what’s the actual solution? Is it a people-based solution or technology-based solution?

By people-based I mean that people will just manually take care of the problem. So this would be your content creators writing in a Word document and then they would count out how many characters they have used and how many they can actually use.

I mean seriously, people, what a waste of time, but sometimes it is the only solution. Unfortunately.

By technology-based I mean that the technology takes care of the problem for us. That could be as simple as Twitter does it.

When you write a tweet directly on Twitter it counts down the characters left for you. And when you’re above 140 characters you literally cannot send the tweet:

That makes it so much easier for me – the content creator. As you can see I still have to make the content fit but I don’t have to spend any amount of brain power on whether or not it actually fits. I just have to think about how to make it fit.

Putting that another way: I spend my brainpower on making the story even more concise and maybe even better.

So here’s to that technology solutions in content creation systems will continue to evolve and make this so user unfriendly way to share headlines go away. Thank you in advance from the content creators and the audience members.

What’s your favorite content creation system? Drop me a note here.


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Christoph

Christoph blogs on The Authentic Storytelling Project and is a globally recognized content marketing expert. The IMA named him Internet Marketer of the Year in 2015. He works with healthcare organizations and other brands around the globe.

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