How to Write Compelling Titles for Blogs & Content

10 Title Tips Guaranteed To Attract Attention

In On Advertising, David Ogilvy stated, “On average, five times as many people read the headlines as read the body copy.” This means for every reader, five other people viewed the headline and skipped on to something else. Therefore, you must craft killer headlines.

For bloggers and content creators, this means that only a small proportion of readers will actually click through and read the content you’ve spent most of your time creating if your titles aren’t strong enough to make them take action!

While it may seem like a waste of time, you must craft the best title you can to ensure the maximum number of people read and/or share your content.

Here are ten tips guaranteed to help you attract more readers and to get them to click-through on your content and blog posts.

1. Track which titles resonate best with your audience. Once you’ve a back catalog of blog posts or articles, assess which posts and titles perform best in terms of pageview, time on site and bounce rate. Consider what is driving this success. Is it the topic, day of the week, keywords or title?

2. Monitor competitors’ titles. Track what works for other content creators focused on your target audience. While you can’t see their metrics, use their social sharing buttons to give you a ballpark idea of their effectiveness. Are there areas or titles that  work for your competitors that you’re not using or aren’t performing for you? If so, examine these posts to see what the issues are. Maintain a list of these titles and adapt them for your blog or content. (Don’t copy them verbatim!)

3. Capture title ideas for later use. Don’t write your blog and content marketing titles on the fly. Keep a file of ideas in a swipe file so you can modify them to meet your content needs. Don’t use someone else’s exact title.

4. Write for three distinct audiences. Whether crafting articles for your blog and/or content marketing, you have three different audiences and they’re not all human.

  • Readers. These people see your title and click-through to see what your content is about.
  • Social media shares. These participants may not read your content but are on the prowl for interesting information to curate for their social media followers. Their followers may read and/or share your content.
  • Search engines. Their robots rank the importance of your content to respond to specific search requests.

5. Use keyword phrases in your titles. To support your search optimization efforts, incorporate an appropriate keyword phrase upon which the column is focused.

  • Order your words. Place the most important words at the beginning of your title without loosing the meaning of the title. This is especially critical for the keyword phrase. One way to solve this challenge is to put the keyword(s) first and use a colon. Here’s are two examples from this blog: Twitter Etiquette: 24 Guidelines to Tweet By and Social Media’s Future: 5 Important Trends [Research & Charts]
  • Don’t change permalinks once they’re published. Also be careful with symbols that hinder permalinks. For example, the permalink to Social Media’s Future: 5 Important Trends [Research & Charts] is http://heidicohen.com/social-media-future-5-important-trends/ Note: There’s no apostrophe in the permalink.

6. Make titles clear and easy-to-understand. Skip the fancy words and get to the point. Don’t use big words your audience doesn’t know or they’re more likely to skip reading your content than to look up the word. Remember the title’s job is to attract attention for your content. You want to drive more people in to read your information.

7. Craft titles relevant to your content. Don’t just use a title because it will attract lots of readers. You must deliver content related to the title or you’ll loose readers and hurt your content’s believability.

8. Edit your titles to minimize the number of words in your title. Remember less is more so get rid of the flab and the fluff.

  • Use a maximum of 70 characters as a rule of thumb. Reduce the number of characters in your titles so that search engines don’t truncate your title because it’s too long.
  • Cut anything extra. Eliminate small words where possible
  • Use the most powerful words you can. Commands do better than a more passive voice.

9. Let readers know you’ve included special content. This means including the relevant term in your title such as [Infographic]. I let readers know when I’m using research and/or charts. Depending on what’s being offered, calling it out to readers can increase your readership. For example, Pinterest Drives Sales [Research].

10. Test titles to maximize their effectiveness to achieve your goals. Don’t just go on gut feel when it comes to titles. Check your analytics to see what’s doing the best in terms of content on your blog. Is this aligned with your gut feel and social sharing? If not, what changes do you need to modify or test out.

Writing strong titles that yield measurable results takes work and practice. Even the most seasoned blogger can write a weak headline occasionally. That said the more you practice, the more readers you’ll attract with your titles.

What other title writing tips would you add to this list and why?

Happy Marketing,
Heidi Cohen


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Photo Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/jpcorreacarvalho/3512872261/

 

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  • http://geniusgeneration.us/ Dwayne Golden Jr

    Good stuff, haven’t thought about making my titles appealing for social media sharers but that makes great sense.

  • Dureshahwar Memon

    I agree, titles play an important role in the deciding the blogs success, Thank you for interesting information :)

  • http://twitter.com/GriseldaReales Griselda Reales

    As a blogger for BostonTweetUp, I find blog titles are always difficult to come up with. But these tips are very helpful!!!

  • http://twitter.com/MattLBrennan Copywriter Matt

    Good suggestions. Headlines, titles, posts and tweets are usually the first interaction that a reader may have with your blog. They have the impact on whether a reader stays or goes.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=725397325 Natasha Vincent

    Keep a “swipe file” of headlines that caught your eye offline…you know, in real life. You never know when they’ll come in handy for online content marketing purposes.

  • Glenn

    Nice post Heidi.

    I especially loved the image! Nice attention grabber :)

    Point #3 really rocks. Jotting ideas down in a notepad works for me.

    Btw I found your blog from a post that was featured in LinkedIn.”50 Traffic Tips for Content Marketers”. This of course had a nice and catchy title too!

    Thanks for sharing,
    Glenn

  • unitedvirtual office

    Can you advice me on how to write titles especially what to write small and what in capital?

    for example: “7 Blogging Tactics to Take Your Game To The Next Level”

    in this title “your” should be written small”your” or big”Your”?

  • CURVESandCHAOS

    Great tips! Thank you!!!

  • Jay

    I was lead here from one of your newer posts and this is exactly what I was looking for. Thanks!

  • Friendly Feedback

    Great tips. A follow-up article idea: 10 Examples of Great Titles and Why They Work.

  • http://www.actingunplugged.com/ Anthony P.

    I am a believer in putting out really exciting material in a format that people are really interested in. I think that you are right about the title, but also that most people are only going to give you a second or two so you need to pack that one second or two with as much punch as possible. That’s why I love Video!

  • http://marketingwitfred.com/ FREDDIE ROSS

    Hey Heidi Cohen, I agree that crafting your titles are more challenging when creating content but it can greatly help your blog post gain visibility.