Great, engaging content is the secret to an outstanding marketing campaign, but what is often overlooked is this fact: content begins with the title. At its most basic level, the title indicates what will be contained in the body of the content. These words, though few, are invaluable to the success of a post. The success is measurable by three main areas: how much the content is shared, clicked through, and linked to. This isnt just a lesson in good writing, its a lesson in creating profitable and productive content that will first benefit readers.
Some may ask, “Why does content fail if it does not first benefit readers?” Even if content were to receive number one position in the SERPs, (Search Engine Results Page) the target market will simply bounce off as soon as they realize they are reading a “worthless pile of poo.”
There are certain characteristics a title must exhibit to actually benefit an internet marketing campaign. An experienced writer can often do this without putting quite so much thought into it by following some basic principles about title development.
5 Easy Title Tenants to Follow:
1) Clear But Interesting
Clarity is extremely important. A confusing title will dissuade readers from clicking to view the SEO content. Clarity is intimately connected with interest because one is often sacrificed for the other. Absolute clarity can be uninteresting, while enticing interest through any means can be unclear. The goal is to make it nearly impossible for readers NOT to click while communicating what is planed to discuss. Examples of how this can be done are by presenting a thought or question, juxtaposing two ideas that dont seem connected but are, and provoking the reader by pointing out a conflict.
The title must be interpreted as beneficial to the reader. Isnt that why they are here in the first place? They are in search of content that will help or benefit them in some way whether it is the need for instruction or the desire to share information that makes them look good via social media. A few ways to prompt the desire for benefit is to include phrases in your title such as “Find out how,” “5 ways to,” and “How to.”
Eliciting excitement is always important. This emotional tie will hook a reader faster than one can imagine, and this is done with fair ease. The use of exciting but appropriate words within SEO content is all one needs to use. Words such as “mind-blowing,” “awesome,” and “epic” are just a few examples.
One of the greatest theorists of written discourse in the 1800s once said, “A loose and verbose manner never fails to create disgust; and, on most occasions, it is better to run the risk of saying too little than too much.” Here, here! Truer words on the subject have never been spoken, and they are even more applicable today in the age of Tweets, flash fiction, and instant messaging. If a title is too long, it immediately loses potential readers. Good rule of thumb: if someone needs to read it twice for understanding, its probably either too long or too ugly. Make a few changes and try again.
If someone says it will happen in the title, then it must happen in the content. A conflict between title and content can mean negative feedback or downvotes for the post. Expectations dont just mean subject matter either. Content type and length must also be recognized. For instance, if the plan is to present “7 Easy Steps to inbound marketing by 30%,” then your article should contain 7 steps and be fairly quick to read as indicated by the word “easy”.
Unlock Social Media Responses
These points should also be practiced in regards to social media. Think about how the titles will appear using Twitter, Facebook, or Google+. This is one of the main ways one will be proactively sharing content, so this aspect must be considered.
Practice Makes Perfect
The best possible way to prepare for writing awesome titles is to practice. Make it a challenge regularly to create a list of 10 or so articles within a specific amount of time. It will create preparation for future articles and may even lead to inspiration to write some new content for future internet marketing campaigns.
Keith Eneix is the founder and CEO at fannit.com, a Seattle based SEO company. He manages all things SEO related for over 30 businesses in the Pacific Northwest.