They say you can’t judge a book by its cover, but you certainly can decide whether or not to read a piece of content by the way its title is written – often in a second or two.
Fuzzy Bunny joins me today to go over 12 professional-grade tips for writing better titles quickly. From the top, we discuss…
1. Use numbered lists.
Numbered blog post titles (like the one we used for this page) work extraordinarily well because they create a sense of expectation. Simply put, readers love to see what’s on your list, and how you order or prioritize different items.
2. Ask a question.
By asking a question (for example: “Are You Happy With Your Fresh Produce Vendor?”) you give the reader something that they unconsciously want to answer, not to mention a great summary of what the blog post is actually about.
3. Answer a question.
This works the same way and can be expressed as a “how-to” if you have a common issue that keeps coming up again and again for your customers and readers. A good example of this type of title might be “How To Create Search Engine Friendly Titles For Your Blog Posts.”
4. Take advantage of a hot news topic or trend.
We can’t quite fathom what all the cats-doing-goofy-thing stuff is about, but sometimes, “evergreen” topics can be combined with current news or pop culture events to put a new spin on the whole idea. For example, “How Spinning Content Would Make You a Target at The Hunger Games.”
5. Put math on your side.
People love statistics, ratios, and other numbers. Use them in your titles when you have a study to reference, or an interesting fact you want to highlight.
6. Create a visual metaphor.
“Most Website Designs Put the Cart Before the Horse”, or “How Fresh Does Your Website Smell to Google?” Take what you see in your mind and adapt it to fit your topic or industry.
7. Use the “takeaway close.”
This is an old sales trick, but it works extraordinarily well for blog titles, too. Instead of giving the subject away right off the bat, hint at it with something like: “Five Things You Didn’t Know About Google’s Next Algorithm Change.”
8. Share a secret.
The word “secret” has become devalued a little bit recently, but people still love being in on something they weren’t supposed to know. So, topics like “Best Kept Secrets of Growing Juicy Orange Carrots” still get results.
9. Offer insider tips.
In the same way, readers love getting a behind-the-scenes look at just about anything. Offering “Insider Tips For Business Web Design,” for example, is a great way to grab attention.
10. Make it a personal message.
This can work well if you have an established name or company name that people recognize. So, “A Personal Message From Fuzzy Bunny,” or “A Remarkable Interview with Kayak’s Founder,” can both hint at a change of pace from normal marketing copy.
11. Mention the time or season.
People like reading news and ideas that are fresh. That means “7 Important Marketing Tips for 2014,” or “How to Supercharge Your Marketing Offers This Holiday Season” carry a little extra pull.
12. Promise to be brief.
Everybody loves getting the information they need, quickly. If you can title your blog post something like “The 5-Minute Guide To Online Findability,” and mean it, you probably have a winner.
Writing great titles for your blog articles is important, but it doesn’t have to be difficult. Follow the tips Fuzzy and I have set out, and you’ll be well on the way to creating more compelling content that your prospects can’t help but read.
If you’ve got tips to add, please feel free to pop ’em in the Disqus chat below.
And if you’d like to learn even more, why not zip over to get a copy of Findability – my book on Amazon – it is loaded with more great tips.