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Tuesday, December 28, 2010

What Hansel and Gretal Can Teach Us Today about Bread Crumbs, Trails and Teasers

Ever since Hansel and Gretal famously left a trail of bread crumbs in order to find their way home, people searching for a destination through woodsy terrain have laid down clues for themselves to find their way back to their points of origin.  That happens in a different way through the social media where people learning how to use the  e-power of reaching out to others for their various causes attempt to lay down bread crumbs for people who have clicked their way to a fork in the road that could lead them to a new and interesting destination, like your website.

That happens daily on Facebook and other social media forums where announcements of news are intended to draw people to a destination.

Like old fashioned flyers stuck on telephone poles and storefront  windows that said the circus is in town, the message that follows is "Come One, Come All!"

But there are hundreds of these postings on the modern equivalent of store windows and roadside poles (Facebook, etc.) and the invitation followed by any kind of message that sounds needy pushes potential guests away rather than drawing them irresistibly to the place you want to lead them with your bread crumbs.

Rejection and acceptance on the web share one commonality: they happen as an impulse in a second.  Neediness incites instant rejection.  The spirit of surprise and adventure triggers curiosity and the click that follows the link you have posted--modern-day breadcrumbs.

If you are posting your announcements hither and yon and adding anything like a statement of need, resist that impulse.  Instead, create the impulse of clicking yes, which is what you want by providing fresh and tantalizing bread crumbs that will lead them to your site.

Here are some tips to remember when creating your teasers that you want to serve as bread crumbs:

1. Don't  belabor  gratitude for the reader's interest.  Instead, add a new and quickly telegraphed tidbit of news that forecasts something to come--something with a "Oh!" factor.  (I would have said "wow factor" but that kind of power doesn't come easily, but the "Oh" factor is actually obtainable.) 

2. If  you are responding to a reader's comment, add on to the existing information  provided rather than explaining it some more.  For instance, if someone compliments a story, tell them what's coming next or a fact that you left out of the original.  Add, don't explain.

3.  Keep your message brief.  Point rather than drawing an elaborate map.To build your ability to do this, listen to news programs where teasers are regularly used to build viewership.  Sound bytes summarize quickly what's to come, and no one says, please watch us, we need viewers.  You need and want readers, but announcing that need won't elicit the response you want.  Stick to forecasting the news.

 Writing on the web feels like a foreign experience sometimes--a trip through the woods.  But you can do it if you remember that laying down a trail is the same in both environments.  You will learn from the trips you make which are the better routes to take, and when you do, you can convert your bread crumbs of knowledge into teasers for your potential readers and customers.

1 comment:

  1. The bread crumbs that are left on the internet can also turn one off when the link is clicked and the content does not deliver.