Any search engine optimization or online marketing activity will very often represent a significant financial investment, not to mention an input of man hours that few businesses can freely afford. However the SEM campaign is structured, some areas will undoubtedly demand more of the budget and more hours invested than others – a PPC campaign may require a large amount of time at set-up for example, but this could potentially be scaled back when the project gets off the ground in the medium-to-long term. Likewise with web design – changing a site to make it more search engine friendly at a technical level will undoubtedly be expensive initially but this investment in code and CMS will free up cash flow later as updates are more easily done in-house. Good content, however, will always be costly, both in terms of hiring skilled copywriters or outsourcing to a capable creative agency, and in terms of the man hours needed to read, change, edit, approve, and upload the final copy.
With so many of online marketing eggs in the content basket, it must do more than just sit on site ready to be crawled by the search engine spiders. Used properly, good content should also increase conversions to directly increase sales, work as link bait, and help to establish author authority on a particular topic, sector, or industry. To achieve all of this, it’s imperative that each piece of content has a great title. Good content without a great title risks never being seen, read, or passed on simply because there was no initial hook for the first reader to click through. Any SEO, PPC, or email marketing experience will already have underlined the importance of a strong title, but how do you make a good title a tempting title that will sell the site and the product?
1. Titles That Can Go Viral
A title that goes viral is link-bait heaven – this is a title that will pique a reader’s interest and encourage them to pass the link on. This kind of title must be followed up with extremely strong content for the best results, so don’t spend hours working on a witty opener if the main body of text is average at best.
To create a title that goes viral, it’s important to identify the intended audience and dissemination method. If you’re aiming to create a splash in social media circles, there will be quirks and trends to be found on the sites in question. Take time to study the most popular posts and identify the types of titles that are doing well. Are they factual? Funny? Topical? Recognizing these trends will allow you to develop a list of ‘ingredients’ needed for the perfect title.
If the audience is one you know well or have researched, it’s worth branching out from social media sites such as bookmarking and article marketing to look at individual blogs from respected voices in that sector. Successful bloggers are great title writers – it’s this skill that helped to spread the word about their work in the first place. After blogs, look also at relevant magazines for article titles and forums to get an idea of headlines that work. Are they questions? Statements?
2. Statistics Sell
If your copy is crafted not to generate inbound links but to sway the reader into making a purchase or subscribing to a service, the title must be financially alluring rather than witty in a wordsmith kind of way. Statistics are powerful incentivizers for online shoppers, as they are hard fact rather than the fluffy ‘we’re the best’ pronouncement common to a lot of online content.
Titles to sell a product or service are often the easiest ones to get right as a very clear formula can be followed. If you’re offering a price reduction or saving, include it. If your product has been voted number one by 8 out of 10 / 3 out of 4, etc., consumers, include it. Numbers are all-powerful and a great incentive when used in titles for copy that needs to convert browser to buyer.
3. Promises Prosper
If you can make a promise to your potential customer, the title is the best place for that promise to be positioned. The more prominent your offer, the more likely you are to see spikes in clickthrough rates and the more likely it is that your content will be read and passed on. Promises such as a certain percentage off the regular price, or buy-one-get-one-free offers work very well in titles. Be aware that promises made in titles may be legally binding, so if it isn’t realistic to offer price matches or freebies, don’t put them in a title in the hope of generating business anyway.
Try these tips with the next new content you put on your website and see if they help boost your visibility and effectiveness!