Say what? Blog post titles with teeth?
You want titles that bite. That leave an impression. Get under people’s skin.
Blog post titles that have teeth leave bite marks and hang onto your memory.
Imagine an unsuspecting social media butterfly, innocently scanning her Twitter timeline…
BAM! Your title bit her.
You know what they say, “Grandma, what big teeth you have…”
Hmm… Bad analogy.
Let me re-phrase: love at first bite.
What gives a title teeth?
Great Blog Post Titles Tantalize, Command Respect, Get Traffic
How do you make sure you don’t write titles made of protoplasm?
Be creative, be yourself, and be interesting.
What if you don’t know how to be creative? Or interesting? Or still waiting to see who you want to be when you grow up?
Here are a few pointers for your quest to craft great blog post titles that bite.
Know who you’re talking to
Know. Thy. Audience.
You’re not talking to an algorithm, but the people in your market. If you don’t know them, you can’t write to them – it all begins there.
Here is a simple equation to remember when writing killer post titles:
Demand = Needs = Great Titles
Let’s back that up a bit and give this conversation a backdrop.
In the context of internet marketing, “demand” should make you think of “keywords“.
Yes, keywords (quit rolling your eyes! I saw that…)
You may have a general idea of the “needs” your market has, but the way people connect with your content which addresses their needs (hint, hint!) would be by searching.
They search using keywords.
Keywords = Demand and Demand = Needs
Say your target market is entrepreneurial mothers. You might think about their need to balance work and family life and how to organize their time well.
A title might be something like, “How to Balance Kids and Clients Without Losing Either” – it strikes the heart of the mother who owns a business and feels overwhelmed with responsibility. It also hints at a hopeful solution.
Whoops! You notice that “How To Balance Kids” is a horrible choice because the traffic estimates stink.
You’ll get better traffic with “How To Balance Work and Family” and change the title to “How To Balance Work And Family For Today’s Supermom“.
Knowing what your market searches for means you know their demands. Knowing their demands tells you what their needs are. You then provide for those needs with your content – starting with your blog post title.
A quick keyword research goes a long way.
A blog post title is a book cover
What is a book judged by? Of course… its cover – for better or worse.
A blog post title is like a book cover – if it moves the readers to click through to read more, they just turned the page.
Go back to the blog post title example above, “How to Balance Work And Family For Today’s Supermom”
Already I know my audience (characters, if you will). I know one of their needs (to succeed in business and family roles). The page-turner element would be, “So, how DO you balance family and business?”
Blog post titles are about THEM, not YOU…
Yes, it’s YOUR site. YOUR newsletter. YOUR content.
But here’s a thought to satisfy a narcissist in all of us: YOU benefit MORE if you think about your VISITORS FIRST.
Write blog post titles where your readers take center stage.
Think of the benefit(s) your potential reader will get from reading your post. Bingo.
Benefits make great blog post titles.
Your audience is a hungry dinner guest.
You invite them to the meal (your content) and your title is the invite. Are you serving what they want to eat?
Titles should tell your potential traffic what is in it for them. Write for them as center stage.
Blog post titles are like closing a sale
There are plenty of books and blog posts written on sales tactics and writing great copy – especially books on closing a sale.
What do they have to do with writing blog post titles with teeth?
Titles are like closing a sale.
The more you know about closing a sale and getting someone to take action, the more you will actually appreciate the fine art of a moving, pirhanna-like, toothy title.
Closing a sale is not pushing on someone something they don’t need. It’s getting your prospect to take action they want to take.
Sometimes they don’t realize they want to take the action, so you build up suspense, appeal on emotional and intellectual levels – it’s all the fine art of knowing your audience.
Titles are meant to get a click-through as the “sale.”
Be the Press
Report and weigh in on something that’s hot and happening. How do you find that?
Mind Google’s Insights for search and Trends, as well as Twitter searches (http://search.twitter.com) to find what’s hot off the presses.
Subscribe to important news aggregators or blogs in your niche. Grab their RSS feeds and check headlines.
Use “Google News” in the sidebar in Google searches (or Bing or Yahoo!) and find out recent discussions. What are people talking about in your keywords? What forums or groups can you find in the sidebar of Google, etc. – that can provide you with a current conversation?
What does that have to do with writing better headlines?
Simple: find some juicy tidbit of news, develop an educated opinion (should be easy if you know your market) and then share your opinion and/or solution to the problem with a post or article.
Write your opinion (or hint at it) in your title. “Google Plagiarizing Product Reviews – Why I’m Sick of Internet Marketing” is one example.
Blog With Vertebrae
Put your SPINE in “OPINION.” (It looks like this: O-S-P-I-N-E-I-O-N) Another way to say it is to not shy away from controversy – look it in the eye and spit.
You can’t please everybody – don’t be afraid to pick sides and apologize later if need be (or not). Titles around election time are classic examples – and they get scores of traffic and inspire fierce, traffic-sucking debates. 🙂
Let your readers know you’re no jellyfish – you’re armed with a spine and you’re not afraid to use it.
There’s a reason people love numbered lists. (Don’t ask me for the reason, I just know they do!)
“3 Easy Ways to Lose Belly Fat Eating Pizza” or “Top 10 Locations For A Frugal Family To Live” – they promise bite-sized tidbits of an issue you might want to chew on.
“How I Made $1,113.87 Per Hour With One Website”
I’ll tell you about that some other time, but a basic rule of numbers is that they tend to be trusted implicitly.
Whenever talking statistics or dollar amounts – they tend to be catchy and taken as proof in themselves (I don’t recommend lying about your numbers unless we’re talking waist size, in which case I’m a 24.
One of the best (if not single-handedly THE best) motivating factors in marketing is the fear of loss – people don’t want to lose something, miss an opportunity, or otherwise be out of the loop.
Unless of course you’re weird.
Assuming your audience isn’t weird, find out what your market is afraid of. In internet marketing, an audience I’m a part of: there is a constant fear of SEO losing it’s effectiveness.
Is Google going to slap your sites? When something like that happens in my “empire” of sites, I report it and try to figure what went wrong.
Recently I wrote, “Welcome To The Google Mosh Pit.”
My readers know what that means – and I’m sure they read the title with a bit of, “Oh, no – what now?” I didn’t game the fear, it’s really there behind curtain number 2 – I just tapped into it.
Do yourself a favor, save the boring stuff for cereal box nutrition labels – on your blog or newsletter, unless you’re pitching mattresses – you do NOT want to put your market to sleep.
I wrote, “Welcome To The Google Mosh Pit” because it’s more interesting to me than, “Losing My Ranking And Why” although both would have seen traffic (because both address the fear of loss in my market).
You tell me – when you see a post that sounds boring to tears and another that sounds enticing…which do you visit?
The ONE Rule of Writing Headlines
Stand and Deliver!
I don’t care if the Mayan calendar was right and 2012 is the year the world ends – listen up:
Titles Promise, Content Delivers
End of story.
You write a title that hooks everyone and drags in server-crashing traffic – but you fall flat on your biscuits when it came time to deliver. What happens next?
Your visitors leave your site without signing up to your newsletter and lie down for a nap because you bored them to death. Maybe you weren’t boring – but your title was a “10” and your content was a “2.”
Another way to mess this up (besides being boring) is to over-promise and under-deliver.
If your title promises “7 Ways To 6-Pack Abs” but your content doesn’t deliver, you do need to move to Neverland and live with Peter Pan and the Lost Boys forever. You just committed bloggercide.
You killed your blog and may have associated your content with bile. Both leave a foul aftertaste.
Can you imagine watching George Bailey in “It’s a Wonderful Life” only without the “Wonderful” part? Clarence doesn’t get his wings…say it ain’t so!
Don’t do it, unless you intend to punish your traffic and destroy the fabric of space-time itself. (Guess who’s watched entirely too much Star Trek?)
The technical name for this is “sucking eggs,” or so my dad would say.
Between you and me, if Ana hadn’t followed up her title with promise-fulfilling content that satisfied the curiosity she engendered – I would have had no choice but to hold a life-long grudge and spam the web with rumors that she is, in fact, spiking her Sunday Vodka with coffee…
(But we’re good, Ana.)
Ignore this to your peril: match a great title with content that delivers, or hire, you know…someone. Who writes good. 😀
This is marketing.
Titles with teeth generate traffic. Lame titles add 27 pounds of belly fat, make your hairline recede and give you incredibly bad breath.