How to Write Effective Blog Post Titles
If you’ve been tasked with marketing a B2B company, you’ve probably heard countless times that blogging is one of the best ways to attract new clients. A well-written blog can generate site traffic, educate potential customers, and help you position your business as an industry resource.
Sounds great, right? But if you’ve recently attempted to start a blog, you know that it isn’t as easy as you may have thought. It can be difficult to find time to write, and even more difficult to find topics to write about. And if you aren’t seeing any results, it can feel like all of that effort is for nothing.
So how can you start improving the effectiveness of your blog? Assuming that you’re producing quality content, it may be time to rethink the way you title your posts. If you spend hours writing interesting, informative content, only to give it the first title you come up with, you could be damaging the chances that anyone will ever read it.
Know your audience
For starters, you need to have a solid grasp on who, exactly, your readers are. Ideally, your target audience should be the same as your business’ target demographic. After all, one of the primary reasons for starting a blog is attracting new clients.
So what do they care about? What do they want to know? These questions will play a role in the topics you choose to begin with, but should also be a factor in the title you choose.
Put yourself in the mind of your customers
Once you’ve identified your audience, it’s time to put yourself in their shoes. When you scroll through news feeds on social networks like Facebook or Twitter, it sometimes feels like every other post is a link to a blog post or article. You don’t have the time to click on every single one, so how do you pick and choose what to read?
After writing your posts, come up with at least 20 different possible titles. Then, imagine that you’re seeing them in one of your social feeds. Which ones would you click on, without knowing anything else about the post? If the answer is “none of them,” go back to the drawing board and brainstorm more possible titles.
Present the value of your post in the title
One of the most effective techniques for titling blog posts is presenting the value of the post right in the title. What information do you provide in it? What will readers gain?
If readers know up front what they can learn by reading your post, they’ll be much more likely to read it. This is why you see so many articles with titles that begin with “how to…” and “X things you should know about…” No one wants to waste their time reading an article that won’t benefit them in any way, and this kind of title lets them know that yours has clear value.
The Internet sometimes feels like a constant battle for attention, so it’s easy to see why some writers use titles like, “What we found was shocking!” or “What happens next will surprise you!” Titles that attract readers’ eyes and make them curious can sometimes be effective in generating traffic – but resist the temptation to use them.
The obvious reason to not use clickbait titles is that more often than not, they are misleading. Unless you actually have a shocking or surprising piece of information to share, readers will be let down and when your post isn’t anything out of the ordinary.
Not only does this annoy your audience, but if they immediately leave your site once they realize it, your blog’s bounce rate will skyrocket. A high bounce rate is a negative ranking factor for search engines, meaning that the more readers leave your blog, the less chance you have of attracting new visitors.
Also, think about the purpose of your blog. Even if you can trick large amounts of people into visiting your site with misleading headlines, what is the value? Site traffic doesn’t necessarily translate into revenue, especially if it’s from people who are only there to find out “What you’ll never believe about x!”
Ultimately, the key to writing effective titles is to structure them in a way that interests your target audience and clearly presents the value of reading your post. If you can’t come up with a way to do that for your next post (and are thinking of resorting to clickbait), it might be time to re-think your topics altogether.