In my youth I was lucky enough to go up to Scotland once a year to go fly fishing. It was in equal part awful and fantastic – awful because standing up to your thighs in a river while the Scottish weather throws everything it has at you is not nice – and fantastic for those occasional long hot days of idyllic sunshine, those days when you don’t mind if the fish aren’t biting because just being there is enough.

For the first few years I would thrash about, choosing a fly that looked vaguely promising and trying to coax a reluctant Salmon to take an interest – I’d spend hours watching disinterested fish studiously ignoring my fly and rarely caught a thing. Then one day, I was lucky enough to have the services of a Ghillie for the day – a grizzled Scotsman with a twinkle in his eye, an almost unintelligible accent and an encyclopedic knowledge of the river and the fish that lived in it. He told me my casting was OK but in reference to my choice of lure, that (and I quote) “You’re a f*cking idiot if you think you’ll catch anything with that sh*te” and of course he was right!

For me there are obvious parallels with the world of social media and content – especially if you are just starting out on your content marketing journey. As time goes by the search engines will start to work their magic and your new audience members will find you and your content – but in the beginning you are going to need to use the right bait on your social channels to lure them back to your website.

A few ideas for making sure your lure will do the trick:

Have a great headline – goes without saying, on twitter, the headline is all that people will see and if it’s rubbish, no one will bother clicking.

Make the link obvious – If you want people to click, include your link early on and make it obvious that it’s a link!

Give them a reason to click – if you have no call to action, no sense of interest or intrigue there is no reason to click!

Add value – look at the title, link and snippet you are sharing and ask yourself whether it looks like clicking on it will be of value to the reader.

Include images – This one’s been done to death, but if you don’t have an image, your content is significantly less engaging

Use hashtags – People search for hashtags! Use them! But use them sparingly

Don’t show your whole hand – if you are posting on social, it’s probably because you want people to click through to your site, if you give them the whole post, they have no reason to click to your site – try posting an intriguing snippet with a link to “read more”

Post at the right time – use your data to work out when the best time to share or post is, there are numerous ways to schedule your posts – so use them

Demonstrate Authority – it might take a bit of time to get to this stage, but there are people in every sector who have built a reputation as experts – these are the people whose tweets and updates are very likely to get clicked every time. This is tough and takes a long time, but consistency will breed results

Finally – make sure it’s worth their while when they get there, if it isn’t you are just boosting your bounce rate and they probably won’t come back…. There is a lot of content out there, so very few people are going to give you a second chance…

In the making of this post some fish were bashed on the head and eaten – and they were delicious – the rest were put back.