The following is a guest post from Emma Dawson. Emma is originally a food blogger who has recently made the leap into blog coaching and development. Her website, Food Blogging Collective, focuses on providing simple, actionable advice for food bloggers to start, nurture and grow their own businesses – although much of it is good sense in any field! Having trained as an academic, Emma now loves teaching bloggers and helping them create content that really converts. Find her over at https://foodblogging.info and spending way too much time on pinterest.com/foodbloggingcollective!
When you clicked on this article, you didn’t know what you were getting. You’ve never heard of me and you’re not sure whether I’ll be very interesting, but something about the title of this piece made you choose to click and read it. It was probably the “guaranteed to convert” bit. Maybe you’re a blogger and you’re struggling to get readers to your site?
Or was it the slick alliteration of “powerful post” that was, in itself, a powerful message to your writing brain? Or maybe the fact that the title promises a list of 9 things – and 9 is not too long a list for you to take time out of your busy day to read?
To be honest, it doesn’t matter; what’s important is that it got you here. And now I can share with you those sneaky tricks that we bloggers employ to get readers to click on our stuff – even when they’re not sure where it will lead. If you’re struggling for traffic or just want to exercise your loquacious ligaments (that’s “talking muscles”, to you and me), then read on for my rundown of 9 Powerful Post Titles that are Guaranteed to Convert.
Now, before we start going into the nitty-gritty of the titles themselves, you have to decide what the aim of the game is. Are you trying to get new readers? Subscribers? Who are you talking to – young, cool 20-somethings? Other bloggers? Beginners? Retirees? Your priest?
Everyone knows that language is an extremely effective tool when used properly, so you have to make sure that you are using the correct language for your target audience. I’m originally an academic and so I am used to researching, writing and rewriting (and rewriting some more!) – depending on my subject matter and audience. You wouldn’t talk to your children in the same way that you talk to your friends, or your colleagues the same way you talk to your mother, so don’t.
I like to keep my posts chatty, like this, and talk to my audience as if we know each other a little (ok, we’re not best friends…). The point is that I’m in the same boat as you and I’ve got a bit of information that I think can help you, and so I want to share it in a friendly, approachable way.
What about you? What are you giving to/taking away from your interactions? How can you phrase a paragraph or choose a tagline that will draw in the right sort of people to further your aim?
9 Powerful Post Titles
So now that you’ve established your target readers, you can take a look at the list of 9 titles below and choose the one(s) that best serves your need. In truth, it’s more than just individual titles; it’s a whole host of different title styles that you can adapt yourself as you need. So no excuses for writers’ block any more.
1) Awesome adjectives
In my mind, this style of writing is very five years ago. I would suggest that using positive or superlative adjectives is the kind of language that is still frowned upon by your grandmother for being too casual, and discarded by millennials for not being cool enough. Nevertheless, you see it all the time on blog posts (just check out Pinterest to see what I mean):
- Brilliant hacks for…
- Clever ways to…
- Amazing ideas…
- Smart tips…
- Sure-fire tactics for…
- Most effective…
- Best approach to…
Blogging lingo has, however, moved on in leaps and bounds. There is a whole new language that has been developed by those in the know, language that has had to explore the enormity of a career where you really can make 6 figures a year sitting on your sofa in your yoga pants. Crazy, right? Therefore, if you want to reach out to like-minded bloggers who are moving with the times, you might like to turn up the heat on your adjectives (and similes) and try titles such as:
- 5 kickass strategies to try
- New ways to skyrocket your business
- Genius hacks for…
- Navigate Pinterest like a ninja
- Run your Facebook like a boss
- Titles that convert like crazy
- Supercharge your conversions
- Explode your blogosphere
- 20+ actionable tips
- How to own it in business.
Lists sell: FACT. As I said in the introduction, people see a list as a short event and not really much bother to their day (even, ironically, if it’s a long list). By breaking down a big chunk of prose into a list with lots of short paragraphs and bullet points, you make the information much more digestible. So it stays with your readers better, too.
Typical examples include:
- 10 ways to…
- The top 5…
- 50+ strategies for…
- 100 different paths to…
3) Insult your audience
I’m seeing this more and more on Pinterest– the post title that insults its reader. There’s an inherent challenge in this kind of title, something that makes you say “no I’m not” or “you’re wrong – that’s not me” and it makes the reader click on it just to prove something to themselves. It’s a very effective method and I’ve used it successfully myself, quite a few times:
- Why you’re not getting any traffic
- What the big bloggers know that you don’t
- Why you can’t get subscribers to stick around
- Why you’re losing business to your competitors
- The biggest mistake you’re making with…
4) Keep it simple, stupid
Ever use the KISS principle in school (Keep It Simple, Stupid)? The idea is that simple projects, done well, do much better than complicated projects, done badly. Seems obvious, doesn’t it? If you want to get new readers or draw visitors into the start of a sequence, then your title should reflect just that: a simple post or guide to help you along your way:
- How to…
- A step-by-step guide to…
- Easy ways to…
- A beginner’s guide to…
5) Be naughty
I love this method to get attention, although I’ve never used it myself as I don’t believe it suits my writing or serves my purpose. Anyway, naughty post titles are the kind of controversial ones that get clicks because people are intrigued and/or outraged. Say something contentious and you’ll definitely get traffic; as they say, there’s no such thing as bad publicity!
Some ideas include:
- Don’t read this blog post!
- How to steal someone else’s audience
- 10 blogging secrets
- How to cheat your way to a social-media following
- How to really get s**t done
- The marketing tricks that the big guns don’t want you to know.
6) The only one you’ll ever need
If you can create a resource that is a one-stop shop for a subject then you effectively stop your readers having to look elsewhere for information. Of course, the resource itself has to be great! But, if you know it can really make a difference, then you could try:
- The ultimate…
- The complete…
- Everything you ever needed to know about X (and much more)
- The essential guide to…
- The X manual.
7) Share a secret
People love it when they think they’re privy to specialist information or somehow part of an elite group. You can play on that by offering them advice that’s for their eyes and ears only:
- Insider tricks for…
- Experts reveal the one thing they wish they’d know when starting out
- Strategic ways to…as told by the pros
- The truth no one’s telling you about…
8) Capitalize on their curiosity
Another very potent marketing method and, again, one I like to employ myself. People are naturally curious and will try to keep up with the latest information or fads in any field. FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) is the name given to this phenomenon and it is largely fuelled by social media and the Internet – which makes it perfect for you to exploit.
- Can you afford not to try this trick?
- How I gained 500 subscribers in a week…and you can too!
- Are you making these 3 newbie mistakes?
- Are you wasting money on…?
- Do you really know how to…?
- Think you know X? This quiz will tell you for sure!
Or be totally ambiguous and dare your audience:
- Are you ready for this life-changing step in your business?!
9) Promise something BIG
Ultimately, people read blog posts because they have a problem to solve and want results – like, yesterday! If you can write a post title that promises those results and then some, you are well on your way to click-bait heaven:
- Maximise your visibility!
- Triple your traffic!
- Never worry about X again!
And my personal favorite:
- 9 Powerful Post Titles that are Guaranteed to Convert!
Well, it got your attention, didn’t it?! 😉