It's a noisy world out there. How do we get people to read our awesome blog posts? Post titles are the gatekeepers. They have the ability to draw people in or push them away. We want people to read our valuable information and hopefully convert them into a business lead in the end. None of that can happen if the title performs like a limp noodle and doesn't do its job.
The single most important part of any blog post is the title.
A powerful title is not designed to sell, its purpose is to instantly grab someone's attention and pull them in like a moth to a bug zapper.
Advertising legend David Ogilvy said, "On average, five times as many people read the titles as read the body copy." That means a lot people don't make it past the gatekeeper. Let's do better.
Captivating blog titles are the ones that stand apart from the rest. Great titles aren't afraid to be a little weird. While it's difficult to achieve, the best titles straddle the line between clarity and uniqueness.
Some blogger and writers will deliberate over titles for 30–60 minutes before settling on one that works. And even then they will often go back and change those. This is what it takes to write a good headline.
Here are 11 strategies for attention-grabbing blog titles that are proven to work. Taken from David Ogilvy himself.
- Use A Number. Go to the grocery store, and scan the magazines in the checkout lane. Look at the cover headlines, many of them will be using numbers to draw people in for a quick purchase. 7 Cooking tips for this, 5 Mind Blowing ways to do that.
- Never be negative. It might backfire into making people think you are saying what you aren't. Avoid words like Aren't, No, Not, Never, Nobody, Don't, Can't, and Won't. They give off a negative vibe; readers may misread and put that negativity on your brand.
- Appeal to the reader's self-interest, always promise benefits and convey value. Start with words like Who, What, Where, When, Why, and How to offer a solution to a problem. Then deliver it.
- Use action phrases and hyperbole "Bing" words to capture attention. Don't be afraid to embellish or exaggerate. The best blog post titles aren't afraid to sell themselves. We like to call these "BING" words. Words like Amazing, Awesome, Easy, Quick, Revolutionary, Magical, Magnetic, Truth About, and so many others. Also, emotional words like Love, Friends, Family are always winners.
- Use the title to capture relevant readers to your business. Include nouns that name the buyers of what you sell, be it "teenagers", "attorneys", "house moms," etc.
- Avoid blind titles that don't relate to the content of the blog post. Readers that read on will feel disappointed or even cheated for being mistakingly lured into reading a story that's irrelevant to the title.
- Appeal to people's cynical side. We humans can be a cynical bunch, and we'll often jump at the chance to read about how we are being manipulated, deceived, or given the runaround. Examples are: 6 Lies Your Car Dealer Will Try to Tell You, and Is Your Doctor Telling the Truth About.
- People will read your story if you arouse their curiosity, so lure them in. Make readers click on your post just to find out what happened. In a book or movie, give people a cliff hanger headline and they click to find out what happens next.
- Avoid tricky titles that use puns, literary allusions, and other obscurities. If a title is too complicated to understand, readers can't be bothered to figure it out. Use plain language and be clever, but don't be too clever or readers will bounce away while shaking their heads.
- Keep your title current by adding the New, the Latest, the Trending. New trends and products are always happening, anything New will always grab attention.
- Create a sense of urgency. Humans don't like to be left out or left behind. Create a sense of urgency or shortage in your title. Examples are; Don't Miss Out On This Limited Time eBook or Don't Buy a Home Until You Ask A Real-Estate Agent These 8 Questions.
Becoming an expert blog title writer doesn't happen overnight. Entire college courses are taught just on this one skill. Like anything else, practice makes all the difference. Write at least ten titles for each blog post, test titles using different strategies from the list above and see which styles audiences respond to the best. Master this skill and watch click through rates soar.