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Tips for Writing Compelling Blog Titles

DATE PUBLISHED: May 16, 2016
Category: Blogging

Let's say you had a flower shop on a busy street and 8 out of 10 pedestrians stopped to check out your store's hours posted on the front door.  However, only 2 out of 10 pedestrians actually came inside.  That's depressing, right?  Well the same compelling math applies to your blog titles.  According to Copyblogger's "80/20 Rules of Headlines," 80% of viewers read a blog title, but only 20% read the actual article.  Ouch. 

blog titles

We all know blog titles and headlines are important; the challenge is how to write good blog post titles consistently and efficiently.  To do so, we must first acknowledge that not allcontent is the same.  Different blog posts serve different purposes.  Some posts will be mostly sales-focused.  Other content is purely informational. Others have no agenda whatsoeverbeyond entertaining the reader.  The trick is understanding what you'd like your post to accomplish and then to craft a title accordingly.  What is the objective of the post?  Educate?  Make a sale?  Drive conversation and engagement?  Generate leads?

Using this logic as a springboard, we would like to present three different types of contentalong with tips on how you should approach the task of titling them. 

1.  Blatantly Commercial (And Proud of It)

If your blog post is clearly trying to sell something, precision is key.  What is your desired goal - to get a reader to click on a link and purchase a product?  Why should the reader be interested; is the product new, on sale, or just plain amazing?  Be descriptive and keyword-friendly (always).  Make sure that the product and service you are selling is included in the title.  ("Solar Energy Can Cut Heating Bills by 20% - Here's How")  Be as crisp and succinct as possible (rule of thumb is 10 words max.)  Target your title towards your intended audience.  Be enthusiastic.  These types of titles should generally come easily as long as you stick to the facts.

2.  Informational Angle

Let's say you're a car dealer.  It's safe to say your blogging and social media "tone" won't be entirely irreverent and goofy; after all, you need to convey a sense of professionalism and expertise to potential customers.  So you'll find yourself frequently posting informational blogs, which is good news, because there's no shortage of material from which to draw from.  Take a blog about "things to ask your car dealer before signing on the dotted line."  Coming up with the content itself for a post like this isn't hard; knowing how to write a good blog post title can be.  Fortunately, there are multiple ways you can organize the content which, in turn, influence the title.  These approaches include:

  • The checklist

  • The numbered list

  • The bullet-point list

  • Text-only

Let's select the numbered list as a way to structure the content in our example.  And now we have our title: "11 Must Ask Questions for Your Car Dealer."

Sidebar: Three Effective Blog-Titling Tricks

  • One, it's fun — and common — to come up with abnormal numbers in the blog titles.  So instead of "10 Things...," we selected "11 Things."  A minor change, but it helps.  In fact, this approach is a guiding principle behind the regrettable-titled and ubiquitous "Listicles" that consume sites like Buzzfeed (e.g. "37 Pictures That Will Restore Your Faith in Pit Bulls.”)

  • Secondly, notice the difference between "things to ask your car dealer" versus "things you must ask your car dealer."  The word "must" adds a bit of urgency while not coming across as crass and desperate (e.g. "11 Things You Seriously, Really, Really, Really Need to Ask Your Dealer.")

  • Lastly, the "teaser-question" (our phrase, recently coined) blog title also works well with this type of content.  In this case you simple reconfigure the list approach: “What are the 11 Must Ask Questions for Your Car Dealer?" or "What's the Most Important Thing to Ask Your Car Dealer?"

3. No Commercial Ulterior Motive

We characterized the aforementioned examples as "education" in nature, but in reality, that's not entirelytrue (psycho analysts call it "enlightened self-interest.") 

In many cases, the purpose  of publishing an informational blog is to show readers that your business is professional and trustworthy.  The only time this logic wouldn't apply is if you posted something completely irrelevant to your business.  Think of a car dealer posting their thoughts about their fantasy football team.  That would be weird. 

Looking for more tips to create more compelling content?  We can help with that! Click the link below for the latest social media marketing tips and techniques.