4 Quick Steps to Make Your Blog Titles More Powerful
Did you know businesses comprise around 8% of the total number of blogs worldwide. And some have really bad titles. They talk about products and services like it’s a sales pitch. Others are boring and non-descript. Your blog titles need to be powerful, bold and eye-catching. Otherwise, no one will pay attention and no one will certainly think to click and read the article itself.
This post is going to help you to create better and more powerful blog titles. Titles that will attract people to your articles. Four smart, easy takeaways that are simple to do and can yield results. So, where do we start?
Start at the top
Quick question. What is the first thing you notice about a blog post?
Sadly not Kurt Russell. Although he should be right up there.
As you may have guessed, it’s the headline.
A company blog post has three purposes:
- Sharing expertise
- Gaining professional recognition
- Attracting new clients
You are sharing your knowledge about a particular subject with the rest of the world. The world is a pretty big place with a lot of people (last count 7.2 billion and climbing…). But that headline needs to be the hook, the line and the sinker.
The title is one of the most important aspects of any piece of content. Renowned (M)ad-man David Ogilvy once said:
“On average, five times as many people read the headline as read the body copy. When you have written your headline, you have spent eighty cents out of your dollar.”
Out of ten people, around eight will read your title. However, only two will want to read the post in its entirety. If you want to increase this number, then a gripping title will be your end game here. So what can you do to make your blog titles more compelling?
1. Know all the things
You can throw up the best title in the world, but if the rest isn’t up to par, then you’ve lost readers. Having a clear cut through line of exactly what you are writing about and who you are writing for is paramount for making your title just as sharp and focused.
Knowing this will allow you to write as an authoritative source on the subject matter. If your content can provide a real use and speaks to your target market, then the headline should be the right trigger to make them act (or in this case, read) this content. The title should summarise everything that goes on below it. It should make you want to read the next sentence.
Knowing your subject will inform your headline more effectively. And remember, it’s always good sense from a marketing perspective to…
2. Be specific
No one likes vagueness. It’s annoying. Your title should tell the audience exactly what the post is about. This means they can trust your content. They know what you’re talking about because you know what you’re talking about. Your headline should, in essence, be a summary of the content that is going to follow.
There’s no sense in creating a title that doesn’t deliver further down. Make sure it’s accurate and does what it says on the tin.
“Things Which May Improve Your Business’ Social Presence.”
Vague. Not promoting its own amazingness. Not as effective perhaps as:
“7 Smart Ways to Get Your Business Booming on Social”
Be dynamic and specific. If you’re a little unsure if your title is going to work, you can also test it before you put it out there. Sites like fivesecondtest.com will let you test example titles with other marketers. This can provide valuable insight into what might work for you. Which leads nicely onto…
3. Using the right words
It’s time to be bold. This means taking an active stance with your title. ‘Be’ is a great word here. Using the right combination of words in the right order is important. David Ogilvy produced a list of influential words. Some you’ve probably used before. Others you might want to try out:
Once you’ve got your words, you need to…
4. Decide what your title is going to be.
What benefit is your title going to provide to readers. There are several ways to go about this. Lots of approaches that you might want to take. There’s several things it’s going to be, which may include one or more of the following:
Getting your readers interested by creating a sensational title that generates interest and curiosity can definitely work wonders. Triggering an emotional response can be a very powerful tool. Rock the boat. Make waves.
Eg. “Five Times Being Gay Affected My Career Prospects”
Your article title should answer a question. A question someone is asking on Google. Don’t be passive. Get out there and tell people that your article is the one that can help them. That it is the piece of content they should be reading right now. That is solves their problem.
E.g “How to Set Up a Facebook Business Page in Only 3 Simple Steps”
Provide a unique title that has something to teach. Be that an idea, a lesson or a principle. Make it different. Make it about you and your experiences. Experiences you want to share with the world because they are just too damn interesting to keep to yourself.
Eg. “The Horrific Lesson I Learned From Working in Public Relations.”
Everyone has their own methods for crafting article titles. I asked a few people for their suggestions. Wil Reynolds got back to me with the process he goes through to craft a compelling blog post title:
@TheBozDog I wrote out the whole headline really long to get everything I want out first. Then I trim to make it a headline vs a paragraph
— Wil Reynolds (@wilreynolds) July 10, 2014
Other creatives, such as Phil Tragen, were also happy to comment on their methods:
— Phil Tragen (@PhilTragenPhoto) July 8, 2014
If you are still a little stuck for inspiration, you can always cheat. Well, not cheat. Cheating is bad in any situation. However, you can find an excellent resource, care of Jon Morrow, who has produced Headline Hacks. Available on his website, Hacks provides over 50 suggestions for good quality blog post titles. It’s also free, which is quite handy. Alternatively, to get you started, here’s a great list of compelling headlines which might suit your needs.
I’ll end on a quote from Joe Pulizzi, of the Content Marketing Institute, who succinctly sums it up as such:
“A blog post title is like the cover of a magazine. It has one purpose…to be opened.”
What are your tips for making a bad title good? Or a good title great? We’d love to hear from you in the comments below.
Image via Cineculture/Free To Use