The Art of Title: Write Better Blog Titles and Boost Traffic

I can’t wait to read, “Financial Technology Trends For The Next 10 Years of Commercial Real Estate,” said no one, ever. Besides the fact that report doesn't exist (we think), the title itself has all the personality of a collegiate professor two semesters away from retirement.

Great titles drive clicks. It's that simple. Unless the image accompanying a post is incredibly compelling or has a cat, the title solicits the open. That begs the question, “What makes a title good?” Writing catchy titles is an art form. Writers often struggle over crafting the right title that sells the article, reflects the content, and represents the brand. Luckily content marketing research has proven certain title formats generate more open than others.  

     1. The List

Let's start with the easy peasy. Sometimes your title needs to say what it is: a list of tips, strategies, and advice. Listing titles include a number and the list theme. Exact number doesn’t matter; content can be top tens, the best five, et al. List posts tend to perform well, and research suggests odd numbers generate higher clickthroughs than even numbers.

     2. The How-To

In a world where content should solve your reader’s problems, we have the “how-to” and the step-by-step title. It's no surprise these kinds of titles perform well. When people search the internet for something they need to learn “how to” do, they're most likely to type “how to (do something)” in the search engine.

     3. The Punny

Titles with the chuckle encourage click-throughs. Playing with words, common expressions, and catchy song titles hints at personality. Don’t let your reader down with a dry read. Deliver with an active voice in the content.

     4. Twist That Cliché

A good man is hard to find? No! A good title is hard to find, but one way to a reader’s open box is a clever title. Play a little corny and warp a popular cliché . Just be careful that the twisted cliché isn’t overdone with the topic. Sometimes great content writers think too much alike.

     5. Get Factual

People love numbers. Titles that use numbers and facts receive significantly more traffic to their posts than others that don't. That's because it suggests a well-researched article that's backed by success and experience. Informal research from different sources provides different results in the click-through rates. For instance, Conductor found headlines with numbers generate 36% more clicks than those without.

     6. Tell a Story

Anecdotal content tends to win big with readers. Look at today’s top influencers. Their personal stories resonate with their followers. Incorporate your experiences into the blog post, and wrap it into the title.

     7. Emotion

Appeal to your reader’s emotions, but in a good way. Use powerful words that convey the resonance of the content.

     8. Power Phrases

Do your readers need something? Turn to a power phrase, like “need to know” or “you can improve!” After all, who doesn’t want to improve their professional practices?

     9. Pose a Question

Start with a question, and then use the blog to answer that question. By asking questions, readers automatically start to respond, even if subconsciously. They click through to compare their answer to yours. Combine the questions technique with other strategies that appeal to their emotions or suggest authority.

Remember, good blog titles are only as good as the content that backs it up. If you promise ten tips, deliver ten actionable tips. Play around with different titles to find the ones that perform best with your readers and content.