Jean Durand, managing partner in technology and co-founder at R+S Agency, once said that “You can have a great offer with a bad title and no one will download it. But if you have a fantastic title, suddenly everyone wants it.”
This simple statement outlines the importance of having a title that not just catches the eye of your target audience but also makes them curious enough to open it. If your offer is a piece of content, such as a whitepaper, ebook, or presentation, put effort into creating a fantastic title, and you’ll see your CTRs and downloads thrive.
Blog posts also require catchy headlines and titles to ensure that people get to read your amazing content. But you also have to remember the requirements for social sharing and optimization while you create titles for your offers and blog posts to make them effective.
So, here’s how you should go about writing headlines and titles that will get people clicking:
Start with the basics
What are the basics? Well, having a working title is the best place to begin. While you are bound to have a topic that you want to talk about – these tend to be a bit too broad and so it’s important to whittle it down to a basic title. A working title is very specific and will guide you into writing your content.
Once you have written the content, you can then go back and rework the title. Your incredible content will have an effect on the title, and therefore you should only start attempting to make it clickable and optimized later on.
Accuracy is key
The most important thing in any marketing strategy is to respect your clients – and this even transfers down to things as small as titles and headlines. Your titles should in no way be misleading, and you should always deliver on your promises. Never over promise in your titles, as this will come back to bite you – and you are bound to lose loyal customers as a result.
That’s why it is important that your titles are incredibly accurate, and we understand this could be difficult if what you need to get across is a bit long. However, there is a great solution for this problem: bracketing. For example, instead of writing “This podcast will cover the ten companies killing it with their marketing strategies” you could write “10 companies killing it with their marketing strategies [podcast]”. In fact, Hubspot did a study which found that headlines with bracketing – [Interview], [Podcast], [Infographic], etc. outperformed headlines without clarification by 38%.
Speak to the persona
Even though you have to stay accurate, this in no way means that you have to be boring. A catchy title is almost as important as an accurate one, and you should try have a little fun with the title. This obviously depends on the language that you know is going to appeal to the persona that you are targeting, and perhaps they would be happier with a cut and dried title, but on the whole people will enjoy something that’s a little more intriguing.
Try and play with the words in your title. Something like alliteration is a great tool to use to make your title sound catchy. Look at the difference between these two titles “Intriguing Instagram tools changing the way we take photos” and “The Instagram tools you should be using”. The first one is undoubtedly better to read and is a whole lot more clickable. Other things to consider in your title to deliver a punch is using strong words like “brilliant” and focusing on who (person or company) rather than why (object).
Short is sweet
While there is no resolute answer for how long or short your title should be, the consensus is that short and sweet is the way to go. You need to try and test your titles with your audience and see which length performs better. It is also important to keep in mind that many people download emails, read blogs and do most things on their smartphones these days, which has a significant impact on the length of your title. Any title over 50 characters is bound to get cut off, and may then be rendered useless (thus the importance of having essential information at the beginning of your title).
Length will also depend on where you think your title or headline is going to be shared.According to this studydone by HubSpot, Twitter shares were most for titles that were between 8-12 words long, and Facebooks posts with titles from 12 - 14 words got the most likes.
Here’s an example of how to shorten your title:
Original: “Think that Instagram is only for hipsters? Here are 15 stats that prove that it isn't.”
Shortened: “15 stats that show Instagram isn’t just for hipsters.”
When writing a title or headline for a blog post, offering or social posts – you should always try to optimize it to be as search-friendly and socially shareable as possible. Notice how we put try in there. You need to remember that the most important thing is to optimize your title for your reader’s experience, BUT if you can also do it for social and search engines – then that’s a double win.
Firstly, you need to concentrate on keywords that your audience is already searching for, then use the keyword at the beginning of the sentence, to catch the attention of the reader. You also need to make sure it’s short enough for when your readers (hopefully) retweet it – 120 to 130 characters allow your readers to add some of their words when they retweet. This has proven to be the most successful.
A good example of an original title that has then been well optimized but doesn’t compromise on clarity is:
Original: “15 ways to make sure that your company is producing Facebook posts that go viral.”
Keyword: “Viral Facebook posts.”
Optimized: “Viral Facebook Posts: 15 kickass ways to make your posts go viral.”
Coming up with titles and headlines that ensure better performance for your offers, blog articles and social posts will take a little bit of time and finesse. But once you have perfectly crafted headlines, and you are killing the click through rates – we promise you’ll understand why it’s worth it.
At Rise + Shine, we develop and implement lead generation strategies with a variety of companies which ensure that they are getting the most out of their inbound marketing strategies. If you would like to know more about lead nurturing and ways to get a better lead conversion rate for your company, download our new and exciting ebook 30 Greatest Lead Generation Tips Tricks and Ideas.