Blog titles are the most critical aspect of your content marketing strategy. No matter how perfect your articles are, if your title doesn’t get clicks, nobody will get the chance to read those articles. In this sense, your titles are more important than your content.
Many have been following the path of optimizing titles for SEO, using carefully selected keywords and phrases as much as possible. Focusing on SEO first forces you to write titles around your keywords, which often produces bland titles.
Unless you’re a well-known name in your industry, bland titles will bury you in the search engines even when you’re on the first page. You’ll be invisible because visitors won’t click.
On the opposite spectrum are fun and interesting titles, but they need to be used with caution. It’s easy to get carried away and accidentally create clickbait.
Know the difference between catchy and clickbait
Clickbait titles capture attention, but not for long. They’re titles that make people click on an impulse, but there’s no content to sustain the interest.
It’s not the content of your title that makes it clickbait, though. A title is considered clickbait when it doesn’t match the article. Generally, clickbait titles use sensationalism to get clicks, but if that sensationalism is true, it’s not clickbait.
For example, I Wrestled A Bear To The Ground One-Handed Using This Cool Trick. Such a title sounds outrageous in most cases, but if your article makes good on the promise, then it’s a legitimately catchy title.
Catchy titles make people pause for a moment because something catches their attention. For instance, the title Are Tiny Homes The Next Big Thing In Rentals? is catchy because it uses a juxtaposition of tiny and big. It’s simple, and that’s the point. The content delivers on the promise.
Write similar articles with varying titles
While you don’t want to write two articles exactly alike, it helps to write several articles on the same subject with different types of titles. That way, you’ll capture the attention of a variety of users. For example, Tips For Writing Effective Blog Titles will get clicks from bloggers who want to read a few tips. A title like, How To Write Titles That Suck People Into Your Sales Funnel would appeal more to entrepreneurs who write sales letters and use email marketing campaigns.
A better example is A-List copywriter John Carlton’s article titled When Getting Your Teeth Kicked In Is A Good Thing. He’s not talking about physically getting kicked in the mouth. Carlton’s talking about being crushed daily by his mentors, Jay Abraham and Gary Halbert, until he learned his craft (copywriting). His title is captivating, and because he’s speaking metaphorically, it works.
Pay attention to what you click on
What captures your attention while you browse the internet? Go through your internet history and look at the titles of blogs you’ve read in the last month. See if you can remember reading them. Is there a connection between the blogs you remember reading, and their titles? The memorable blogs might have better titles.
Learn from your own browsing and clicking behavior. You may not be your brand’s target market, but you can learn much from your own human behavior.
Learn from the pros
Once you learn to write titles from the pros, you’ll understand why some people spend countless weekends attending writers workshops, seminars, and clinics. Don’t settle for learning from their students if you can help it. Go straight to the top copywriters in your industry and find out how to work with them. Or, check out the online writer’s workshop by Hay House, taught by Reid Tracy.
Dig through as many swipe files as you can find. Swiped.co has an abundance of ads from well-known copywriters around the world. If you can’t learn directly from the pros, reading their old ads will give you some ideas to start with.
Don’t try too hard
Above all, don’t try too hard. In theory, you could rework a title for years before it’s perfect. Be willing to publish imperfection. If your original title flops, you can always change it later.