In the busy age of TLDR (Too Long, Didn’t Read), your blog posts face a tsunami of competition for the attention of your target readers. From dawn to dusk, hundreds of Tweets, posts, emails, and videos vie for their attention. So how can you stand out?
In large part, people choose what to read based on the titles they glance at. Compelling titles stand a chance. All the rest disappear into the ether, ignored and forgotten forever.
Fortunately, it doesn’t take much to create an effective blog post title. You don’t need to be a master marketer or an experienced writer. All you need is a few handy, time-tested techniques. The following five methods will ensure that your posts are the ones that get clicked, read, and shared.
1. Use Impactful, Seductive Words
There are certainly powerful, emotive words that naturally draw our attention. In your titles, try to use words such as free, surprising, amazing, latest, memorable, awesome, killer, mind-blowing,’ and so on. For example:
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With the hectic pace of our modern lives, we’re all a little time-starved, so it pays to offer speed and simplification. You can do this with words such as easy, steps, step-by-step, ways, practical, kickstart, immediate, faster, cheat-sheet, shortcut, guide, ultimate guide, and so on. For example:
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A Simple Step-By-Step Guide to Decluttering
We’re also drawn to any hint of rare and lesser-known knowledge. You can offer this with words and phrases such as secret, little-known, …that no one will tell you, …used by industry leaders. For example:
Did You Know This Little-Known Secret to Curing Vitiligo?
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Don’t Forget the Most Powerful Word of All
Whenever you can, use the most seductive word in the English language. Can you guess what it is? That word is “you,” followed closely by “your.”
In the split second, it takes us to glance at a title, if our eye catches the word “you,” then something in our brain lights up. This is especially true if the topic also relates to a genuine problem we have or something we strongly desire at that moment. The combination of a highly targeted topic and the magic word “you” is simply irresistible.
To illustrate, compare the following two titles and decide for yourself which one sounds more intriguing:
How to Double the Success of a Blog in 60 Days
How to Double the Success of Your Blog in 60 Days
Is B2B different?
Of course, the kind of wording you use depends upon your market. Business to business (B2B) blogging naturally tends to be more formal in tone than business to consumer (B2C).
Even with B2B, however, remember that you’re writing to an individual with emotions and personal problems, not merely a faceless business entity (more on this in tip 4 below). You can still use emotive words and language to intrigue them.
2. Arouse Curiosity with Numbers
When used in a title, numbers promise brevity, something that is easy to scan and consume. Numbers suggest a well-thought-out and organized piece, and rightly so. Here are some examples:
6 Little-Known Secrets to Softer, Smoother Skin
The 13 Best Tools for Finding Underserved Affiliate Niches
5 Effective Ways to Fall Asleep Faster
As soon as we see the number in a title, we think there must be some value therein. If there’s a list of 10 solutions, even if we know most of them already, we think surely there must be one or two new ideas. It must be worth a glance. Our aroused curiosity compels us to click.
3. Ask an Intriguing Question
Our minds are question-answering machines. Whenever we hear or read a question, neurons fire off, grasping at answers.
If the question is provocative and something the reader is often asking themselves, it’s very hard to turn away from that promised answer, just a short click away.
You might make the entire title a question, such as:
Why Is Your Bathroom Mold Not Going Away?
How Do Pilots Deal with Jetlag?
When Should You Sell Your Niche Site?
You can also start the title with a question, then promise an enticing answer after it:
Bored With Your Job? These 15 Apps Are All You Need to Find a Better One
Overly Complex CRM Process Losing You Money? Here Are 5 Ways to Streamline Your System
You can even double up, asking two questions in a single title:
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4. Promise a Clear Benefit
The very best titles speak to the deeper need behind the topic. If you can, try to explain how the content will truly benefit the reader’s life, and how it will contribute toward their broader goals.
If your audience wishes to slim down, for example, it might be to look great in a swimsuit this summer. Or it might simply be to feel more confident. So, in your title, don’t only promise to get them into shape, also mention the larger, exciting end-goal, and you’ll have them hooked. For example:
3 Simple Steps to Look Amazing in Your Swimsuit This Summer
10 Ways to Slim Down Fast and Feel Truly Confident in Yourself
What Keeps Them Up at Night?
The key to knowing which benefit to mention is to know your reader really, really well. Pay close attention to their wants and wishes. Understand what problems keep them awake at night. Know the exact words they use to describe those problems.
You gain this insight by staying in close communication with your customers and audience, by always reading comments and reviews, and also by spending time in forums and social media groups.
This method applies to B2B blogging as well. Your reader, no matter their position and job title, is an individual with problems and worries related to their job. Find out who your ideal reader is within your target company and speak to that exact individual. Offer to help them with their personal struggles and goals, stated loud and clear in your titles.
5. Help Them Avoid Pain
So far, we’ve spoken of offering promises and benefits. But people also want to avoid errors, embarrassment, wastage, and pain. In fact, sometimes this need for avoidance is an even stronger driver for action.
You can simply use the word “mistakes” in your title, and you’re bound to get clicks. In a similar vein, you can use the terms stop doing…, stop ruining…, stop being…, or stop believing these myths.
You might also warn of a problem people are experiencing, and the awful potential results of that problem. Here are a few examples:
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Stop Killing Your Tomato Plants with This Common Watering Problem
10 Myths Every Yoga Instructor Should Stop Teaching NOW
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It doesn’t take advanced writing skills to make your blog post titles more enticing. Anyone can do it. Implement a few of these five simple title techniques, and you’ll soon have readers clicking, reading, and eager for more.