Regardless of the end goal of a content marketing strategy, marketers need to perfect the skill of writing headlines that get clicked. An easy solution would be to write a click bait blog title. These titles, for example; ‘The hottest new marketing trend everybody is talking about’, or ‘You’re not going to believe what happened next’, or maybe even; ‘Read this article to discover the true meaning of life’, might indeed deliver clicks, but they often leave the reader disappointed because their expectations aren’t met when reading the article.
According to a Facebook poll, when asked what type of content they preferred to see in their feeds, 80% of the time people preferred headlines that helped them decide if they wanted to read the full article before they had to click through.
This article will outline 4 simple steps marketers should take when writing engaging blog titles that will deliver when paired with compelling content:
- How to start with a working title
- How to ensure accuracy
- How to increase appeal with language and alliteration
- How to make the most out of high value keywords
Start with a working title
The process of deciding upon a working title helps marketers to stay on topic and on track. While tweaks might be made to the final title before publishing because of information unearthed through thorough research, a working title will help to guide your blog post and ensure that it doesn’t fall victim to scope creep.
Of course a working title can and should be revisited as the post develops, perhaps by incorporating a ‘sexy statistic’ or powerful fact, but it will stop a writer from going entirely off-piste.
Let’s say, for example, you have been set with the task of writing a blog about ‘The importance of promoting fitness in the workspace’, without a working title the writer could take varying paths, meaning that the finished product reads rushed, overcrowded or worse still, boring, as it tries to cover too much in one place.
It may seem tempting to write quite a vague title, to try and draw in a large audience, but it is more effective to create a working title, which ‘is very specific and guides the creation of a single blog post’, which will ensure that the content included in your blog post is interesting and specific enough to be worth reading for your audience.
As touched upon above, marketers need to write titles that help to maintain the integrity of their blog in order to build a longstanding readership. However, the balance between accuracy and appeal can be difficult to strike.
Accuracy builds trust with readers, and marketers should tell their audience exactly what they can expect when they click a headline link via social media, an email newsletter or on your website. The goal of your title may be to attract an audience, however, it becomes redundant if you lose peoples’ trust due to false advertisement and not delivering on your promises.
Many companies use click bait to attract readers to their blogs, and while this might work in terms of shares or actual clicks on a page, most who visit these spend fewer than 15 seconds on a page.
A Hubspot study drew a sample of more than 3.3 million paid link headlines from the pool of English Language paid links that ran across Outbrain’s network of 100,000+ publishers. They found that headlines that included clarifications, particularly bracketed clarifications, whereby the type of content in the post was represented by the headline, for example [Interview], [podcast], [Infographic], etc. increased click through rates by as much as 38%.
In a world so saturated with empty click bait blog posts, people want titles that can be specific, and blog posts that deliver what is promised.
Increase appeal with language and alliteration
Language and alliteration can help to increase the appeal of a blog post and ensure that it stands out in a crowd, but the trick is to create intrigue and excitement whilst still sounding informative and not, to put it bluntly, ridiculous.
When it comes to blog titles, as the old saying goes, less is often more. As Copyblogger note, 8 out of 10 people will read your headline, but only 2 out of 10 will continue reading the actual post.
Superlatives like ‘cheapest’, ‘hottest’, and ‘greatest’ can be effective, but findings from a conductor study show that 51% of respondents prefer posts with 1 superlative. Interestingly though, in a study of 65,000 titles, Outbrain compared the success of positive superlatives against the use of negative superlatives. The research found that headlines with positive superlatives performed 29% worse than those with negative superlatives, which performed 30% higher and had a higher click rate on average of 63%.
High value keywords
Keyword selection will also play a key factor when you are deciding on the title of your blog. Obviously, you need to create an engaging title in order to get people to read your post, however optimizing keywords within the title will ensure that it gets in front of them in the first place.
When you know how to speak the language of your audience through the effective use of keywords, you will attract more readers, more links, more retweets, and ultimately more relevant search traffic.
A word of advice though – don’t engage in keyword stuffing. Cramming your title full of keywords will not only irritate your potential readers, but it will also get you penalized by Google. A single, strategically placed keyword will usually do the trick.
Throughout the process of coming up with blog post names, it is important you respect your readers and understand that the pursuit of clicks onto your post is not worth losing their trust. Make the blog titles exciting yet factual whilst ensuring that the content of the blog complies with the titles, and with what your audience wants, and you should be on your way to building a loyal readership.