Most people immediately think of blogs when you mention ‘content marketing to them. If you read blog posts or articles frequently, then you most definitely skipped some content you thought wasn’t worth your time. Chances are that was because of the title. Coming up with a good title can make all the difference. And reading or not reading your blog post means the difference between scoring a lead or not, or acquiring a customer. Reducing the number of words to 8 can boost your CTR by 21% (source: CMI). Blog titles between 8 and 12 words got the most Twitter shares (source: Hubspot). Here are 11 tips for you to create that perfect title.
One of the most common mistakes is too write for yourself instead of your target audience. That is true not only for the title but also for the rest of your article. As fun as writing may be, you don’t write for yourself, but for the buyer persona’s you hopefully defined. They are looking for information about services or products you offer, so you should align your entire blog post to their search intent, not just the title. But what do you think about your target audience?
A word about those buyer persona’s: these are a description of your ideal customer. Next to demographical information, the industry they are in and their role, you also map out what they are looking for online. By doing this exercise, you will be one step closer to a title that speaks to your target audience.
People surfing online have no patience. Zero. Your website needs to load fast, otherwise people quit. On average people spend about 80 seconds on your entire website if you’re in B2B , as per this recent study by Contentsquare.com. So they will spend even less time on your blogpost. People want to see at a glance if your piece of content is relevant and worth their time. If you have so little time to attract attention, your title has to be spot on. So be clear in your title: tell them immediately what it’s about so your visitors can immediately see if it is something for them or not.
Using powerful words can make a huge difference. They have the power of grabbing your reader’s attention. Words like that can convince, shock, intrigue or trigger an action. But be cautious. Don’t use too many powerful words: there’s no point in stuffing your title with them just for the sake of it. Choose one or two that are relevant and trigger the right action.
Some examples of power words:
You can find many more online. Whichever one you choose, just make sure it’s relevant and avoid overdoing it.
The reason why you write content is to generate traffic to your website. So you want to attract the right people: your buyer persona’s. You’ll need to do some keyword research in order to know which keywords to use in your titles.
Once you’ve found the right keywords, you can start building your content around them. I already mentioned that people want to know very quickly what your blog post is about. Keywords play a crucial role in this. If your title contains a keyword that is relevant to them, they will read on. Without that, your ideal audience won’t care to read on, and that’s a shame of all the time and energy you spent on your content.
People do NOT do business with websites or companies. They do business with other people. No matter how much your potential customers claim otherwise, they decide based on emotion, not on ratio. To convince them to continue reading, you need to play on their emotions. You can do that by using emotional words or by responding to an emotion your target audience might have about a certain topic. How can you know that? Buyer personas, remember? I can’t tell you enough: do your research!
Writing a blog post can take some time. For most people, most of that goes into writing. And then they have only 5 minutes left to come up with a good title. Deadlines like that make your title less less likely to stand out. You will end up with a title that makes no sense, that is not convincing or that simply does not fit your content.
So spend some extra time creating a catchy title. The extra amount of time you invest in this pays off quickly and frequently once your content is live and people start visiting your page. It may sound a bit counter intuitive that you need to put more time in the shortest part of your content. However, being short, concise and fascinating takes more time than being long-winded and boring.
If you have posted content before, you have data about the traffic to your content. Use these data to check what titles work or not. If people were only on your page for a few seconds, chances are that your title couldn’t convince them to continue reading. Check which data you have and where you see patterns for your current content. You’d be surprised how much data you actually have that is very useful in relation to your blog titles. Use elements from titles that worked well before. If you are only just getting started and have no data, you can start by publishing more content and trying to optimize as you go along. After a while, you’ll have enough data to create better titles.
Addressing your target audience directly is a powerful means of convincing them. By asking a question in your title, you immediately give your readers the feeling that you are addressing them. Pay attention to how you ask the question though. Keep it positive. Ask open questions. With ‘How’, What’ or ‘Why’ in the title, there’s a good chance people will continue reading.
In those few seconds that someone reads your title, you have to grab the attention. Being average doesn’t cut it. Dare to take a risk. With a daring statement or powerful words, you draw attention more easily. People appreciate someone with a strong opinion. They will likely see your content as qualitative and important. But be aware of the risks. If you take it too far, it will hurt your content in a big way.
Often there are several options for the title of an article or blog post. You don’t always know up front which one will work better. In that case you can test different versions. Run tests on a small part of your target audience. Based on the data you will get, you can decide which title works best.
Your buyer persona’s are looking for specific information. Never give them the feeling that they are wasting their time with your content. Always try giving them what they are looking for. The best way to do that is to make it clear from the title they will get something out of your blog post. If you manage to meet their expectations, they may return for your next post, or subscribe to your newsletters. Otherwise you risk losing a potential lead.
So there you have it: 11 tips to create that perfect title. Keep in mind that Rome wasn’t built in one day. The important thing is to keep on making progress in your content efforts. In the process to create a good title, you will see that not all these tips will be relevant to you. Play around, run tests, try new things and, above all, keep track of what works well and what doesn’t. You will see results soon.
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