Drafting Irresistible Blog Titles

blog titlesThe latest data is in, and it turns out your titles matter more than you might think. In fact, they might matter more than your content body. HubSpot’s social media scientist Dan Zarrella analyzed over 2.7 million blog titles recently and found there’s no correlation between clicks and retweets. In fact, over 16% of the links he examined had more retweets than clicks!

It’s clear that people don’t always read what they tweet, which means that your title has real influence on your SEO from social shares. Now ask yourself, would you retweet something titled “Why You Should Do Inbound Marketing.” I didn’t think so. It’s just not specific, actionable or emphatic enough. We’ve outlined 7 tips to take your blog titles from okay to fantastic:

1. Action-Packed

The best blog titles are never passive. Your readers and prospects want to learn answers to their questions. With the exception of tasteful newsjacking, your title shouldn’t just follow the journalistic format of “who, what, when, where, why and how.” It’s important to summarize your content honestly, but it’s equally important to emphasize the actionable aspect. Which of the following titles would you likely click-through to read?

  1. “The Best Blog Titles”
  2. “How to Write the Best Blog Titles”

Chances are, you’ll probably pick the option that promises actionable information!

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2. Brief

Your blog titles need to be comprehensive, but they shouldn’t be exhaustive.  According to HubSpot, the title presented on search engine results is usually cut off at 70 characters. Get to the point, and stop to avoid sounding overly complex or losing people’s attention before they have even started reading.

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3. Clear

There’s just no point in writing deceptive or confusing blog titles. Readers who fell mislead will quickly leave your website and may never return. Avoid language that’s vague. When it doubt, have a team member read over the work to ensure they’re able to tell what the article is about without reading it.

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5. Emphatic

While you don’t need to use dramatic language, it’s important to show readers you’re an authority before they’ve even clicked. Use strong words that communicate a message. If you don’t advertise your work as being awesome, will anyone bother to read or share it on social media?

IMA Example: Are You Newsjacking or Just Being a Jerk?

6. Intriguing

Readers should be impressed with your work just by looking at your blog title. You need to come across as authoritative, fascinating and a complete stand-out in a world where over 2 million pieces of blog content are written and published each day. It’s hard to write well about stale topics.

Will publishing a piece of content about the Summer 2012 Olympics generate a lot of social media shares at this point? Probably not, because the topic ceased to be relevant several months ago. Ensure your context is right, you’ve performed keyword research to determine the topics that are actually driving traffic to your website, and you’re not covering something that’s so last week.

IMA Example: I’m So Sick of Hearing Blog, Blog, Blog

7. Keyword-Oriented

If you’re using WordPress or HubSpot for content management, your blog content tile will also be included in the web page’s title. There’s no need to set anything up for this extra SEO boost, it comes standard with both. One of the basic SEO tactics you can employ without losing your reader’s interest is including a long tail key search term in your title. We’re not saying you need to try and incorporate really awkward language. Find long tail key terms that are driving search, giving your website organic traffic and use these terms to inspire topics for your content calendar.