With the widespread use of the internet, everybody these days seems to be blogging in one form or another. This means that everybody is a publisher and those who blog on a regular basis are actually adding “news” items for their audiences, in pretty much the same way as journalists add articles to newspapers.
We all know that it can be tough to break into the world of journalism – there’s some fairly intensive training to undergo and most journalists need to have a degree in journalism or broadcasting to be considered for a job on a newspaper. They need to learn to write in different styles, depending on the audience they’re catering for, and they need to be able to write grammatically correct content that is succinct and has a good readability factor.
Everybody’s Getting In on the Act
Bloggers, on the other hand, can just set up a blog easily with the press of a few buttons. They register with a blogging platform such as WordPress, Weebly or Tumbler, create their blog and away they go. This means that there is a lot of amateur content online and the amount is growing on a daily basis as bloggers add posts regularly. More and more companies are also starting to blog – in fact, it’s number 4 on my list of 7 Things your Business must do in 2012.
Some of the blogs are really well written – excellent and informative articles, written with panache and a pleasure to read. At the other end of the scale we find blog posts that can only be described as absolute rubbish – full of spelling and grammatical errors, difficult to read (they don’t scan properly) and seem to be the outpourings of somebody’s thoughts with no consideration for style or content. I recently wrote a blogpost with advice for bloggers called 10 Tips on How to Blog – I thought it would help readers avoid some of the most common mistakes.
The sheer number of blogs online means that you (and your business if you’re writing a company blog) need to find a way to stand out from the crowd. Providing good content that is well written and informative is just not enough nowadays – you need to give your blog some “oomph” that will make people want to read the posts you write. How do you overcome this problem?
The Secret is in Historic Headlines
All journalists and sub editors know that an article is much more likely to be read if it has an attention-grabbing title. How many times have you walked past a news stand and your eye is caught by one of the titles on a paper? Some of the titles have the power to just stop you in your tracks. Okay – you may not buy the paper – but I bet you stopped and skimmed the first paragraph to see what the article was all about.
Who can forget the Guardian headline “That’s for Lockerbie” when reporting on the killing of Colonel Gaddafi? Or the Sun’s “Gotcha” following the sinking of the General Belgrano during the Falklands conflict?
Terrific Titles to the Rescue
You need to come up with some catchy headlines or titles for your blog posts to draw in the readers and pique their interest. You need to make them want to read your article to the end. You need to tease them – make them wonder about the content enough to click on “Read More”. Here are some tips to help you write better titles for your blog posts:
- Put the most important words at the beginning – for instance if you have written a blogpost about a new recipe for lemon meringue pie, then “Lemon Meringue Pie – the Latest News” is going to work better than “Check out this Great New Recipe for Lemon Meringue Pie”. As well as letting your readers know immediately what the blogpost is about, search engine bots place more value on the words at the beginning of a phrase so this will also push your blogpost up the rankings.
- Keep it short and sweet – you don’t have to go into detail in the title, that’s what the blogpost is for. Make sure that your title is short and relevant and explain all the details in the actual blogpost. If you do feel that you want to give more information at the beginning, then start the blogpost with a subheading that gives a quick summary of what you’ll be writing about. Don’t give away too much detail here though or your readers may just read the summary and move on – the secret is to titillate their imagination in the subheading and make them want to read more.
- Invoke the power of lists – Top 10′s, 5 Most Important, 8 Awesome, etc – people like lists and are much more likely to read an article/post that has a list of things. This is probably because presenting your information in list form gives people the impression that you have kept it brief and readable – it won’t be a huge tract of text to plough through and the breakup involved in lists makes the content much easier to read on a monitor.
- Go OTT and sensationalize in the title – nothing’s more likely to catch the eye and draw in the reader than a dramatic title such as “This is Why your Website Sucks”. It’s extravagant and stimulating and is much more likely to get readers to click on it than something like “How to Improve your Website”.
- Be controversial – but make sure that your content is quite controversial as well – this is the sort of blogpost that will get people joining in the debate by commenting or writing whole blogposts as a response. If you are writing something contentious make sure that you’ve researched your subject well and that you provide links to back up your stance.
- Pose a question – by asking your readers for their opinions is a great way to draw them in. Everybody has opinions and being offered a platform to share your opinion is something that many people find irresistible.
- Make them an offer they can’t refuse – chances are that your blogpost is giving your readers information that you think will be relevant to them. Let them know this in the title – if they see that there’s a benefit for them in reading your content, they’re much more likely to click through and take a look at what you have to say.
There’s loads of great advice online on writing good headlines for your website or blog. Here are some of the ones that you might find useful:
If this post was helpful please share and let me know in the comments box below, what titles do you find work? For more indepth help feel free to contact me for a chat on 0113 320 2121.