I'm subscribed to a bunch of WordPress and marketing related newsletters. I also receive about one hundred emails over the course of the day. That means I prioritize what I read and when I read it. The email's Subject: field, article titles and headlines within are a big part of that.
Your readers are doing the same thing…
What makes you click through?
When you open your inbox, you see all the email there hoping for your attention. If you are like most folks, you look at who the emails are from to see which to read first. Next comes the Subject field, which is basically the headline for what is within the email.
For newsletters that contain post notices, summaries or many posts or articles, I'll open the email and scan. It's those headline titles that will determine if I click through. Or delete the email because nothing is of interest to me.
I always wait for a few mailings to see if the variety of the content offering is for me. It could be that issue or article's focus is not for me, but the next is spot on.
If I find I get a newsletter that, after a handful of times I have yet to click through, I unsubscribe. However, there are those emails that are just plain shallow, not offering anything new or unique, or of real value. Those lose me right away.
Remember, when I said you can't be everything to everyone? That's why you need to know who you do want to be everything to.
Great Article Titles ≠ Clickbait
The term clickbait refers to titles and headlines that garner attention, but do not deliver on the promise.
Clickbait, a form of false advertisement, uses hyperlink text or a thumbnail link that is designed to attract attention and to entice users to follow that link and read, view, or listen to the linked piece of online content, with a defining characteristic of being deceptive, typically sensationalized or misleading.Wikipedia
You've probably experienced clickbait. You click on a headline because it seems interesting and when you land on the site, there's very little content and a ton of ads. Or the content is so generic or stuffed with keyphrases that it's nonsensical and not worth your time. You feel like you've been had.
Clickbait. You jump for the back button.
Once you experience clickbait you tend to not fall for it again — at least from that source. So that's why, when you use sensational headlines, you have to make sure that your article over-delivers on expectations.
Titles are Your #1 Attention-getter
Creating the right titles for your articles contributes to you getting the attention of the right folks. This is where doing your due diligence — first — helps you to create the title that speaks to your target market.
What do those seeking what you have to offer struggle with, need help with or could use some direction on? Titles should speak to that. Knowing the terminology visitors or customers use to search for what you have to offer is critical.
Then providing detailed guidance, information or how-tos seals the deal. Information that the reader can actually use builds your credibility.
You then are trusted and viewed as an authority on the subject at hand. The fact is that visitors are more likely to subscribe, buy from or contact those sites that offer that level of value and trust.
Consider Intent When Creating Post Titles
Part of crafting great titles is considering the intent of the person who would want to click on that headline. What is it they are seeking? What do they need to know? Offer that in spades.
And not from a sales-pitchy over commercial approach. You want to speak to what they are looking for and need. That grabs their attention then combined with the properly placed call to action and they click-thru. Or subscribe to your newsletter. Or buy what you have to offer.
To accomplish that your content has to over-deliver on your titles. Not just meet expectations. Without this approach you are no different than all the content farm generic articles on the same subject.
You don't want to be bunched in with that group.
Effective Title Considerations
- Know who you are targeting and integrate terms they use and recognize.
- Solve a problem. “How to …”
- Ask a question. “Did you know you can …?”
- Provide instructions. “15 Steps to…”
- Offer a benefit. “Save (time, money, stress) by….”
- Keep your titles succinct — 8-12 words.
- For SEO incorporate your primary keyphrase at the beginning of your title.
Think about the titles that get your attention. Then, use those examples for your content. Even if you were disappointed by the content after clicking-thru. As a result, you now know why that article did not backup the headline and what you need to do to not have a disappointed site visitor.
Subheadings are Just as Important
We all do it. We go to a web page and quickly scan that page before determining if we are actually going to take the time to read every word. This is where subheadings come into play.
They lead your visitors along, keeping them interested and engaged. Use subheadlines to walk the visitor through your content from start to finish displaying the value and info contained with.
From an SEO perspective, subheadlines are a perfect way to integrate your primary keyphrase variations too. As long as it reads logically and smoothly. In other words, don't keyword stuff your content.
Test and Tune Your Post Titles
As you know, with WordPress nothing is set in stone. You can easily login and change your title to be more focused or effective.
As you play with your titles, you'll discover topics and titles that garner more traffic. Then, use the formulas that work on your future posts.
If you focus on your customers intent, what they want to know and how you can help, your headlines will pretty much write themselves.
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