If Content is Still King, Who is Prince Charming?

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The guys say I’m funny. I think they’re just saying that and don’t get my jokes half the time. I don’t know about you, but thanks to LOLcats, I can’t have a cheeseburger these days without looking for a cat lurking in the background. But that’s another topic for another day.

Today it’s all about titles. Others have talked about “the title” recently and its importance and even provided ideas for “can’t lose” titles, so I’ll attempt not to be repetitive. For an extensive bunch of articles and tips on headlines – what where when who and how – a good first stop is www.copyblogger.com/category/headlines/.

Content is vital – in your blog posts, your articles, your seminar presentations, your emails to colleagues, your emails to your clients, your website, your phone conversations with the plumber, your excuses to the wife, your sucking up to the boss, your calming of hurt feelings … the list is truly endless.

But even more important than the content itself is the way you begin that content. I’m not talking about the first line of your blog post, although that is incredibly important also for bringing a reader in. The most important part of your content is the title, the headline, the category, the very first words out of your mouth – in short, the frame around your content.

Consider this. How often have you decided to go ahead and purchase something just because of its name? Look at the genius behind the name “iPod”? I mean you’re buying a damn MP3 player, but you don’t say “I bought an MP3 player today” … you say, “I bought an iPod” and people think you’re cool. Or at least they used to think you’re cool. Just like content, titles can become dated, whether they are the name of a product or the title of a book.

If you pay close attention to the title of your content, you will draw in readers who otherwise might quickly decide that it’s “just another blog entry about linking” … yawn.

That’s what you’ll get with a title like “Linking and SEO.” Sure, your blog entry may be about the basics of linking in SEO. But if you have a title such as “O-SEM-a Bin Linkin Online,” you will (hopefully) not just get a laugh or two, but also have potential readers asking themselves questions. They may wonder: “is this just a funny title?” or “is this going to be about terrorism online?” or “is Osama bin Laden turning to learning SEM as a way of dealing with his loneliness?” or “OK, I get it … the blog will be about linking and SEM.” Even if the reader says, with disgust, “what a stupid title; it must have been written by a Democrat,” you have their attention a lot longer than the “Linking and SEM” title has.

Here’s an example, which is also a way I can justify including a semi-tasteless but funny video in this post. The title of the video and song that the characters are singing is “It’s Business Time.” Hardly. Take a gander at this – [youtube]http://youtube.com/watch?v=-GpTTf175aE[/youtube]

Humor (or an attempt at) is not the only way – or even the best way – to attract attention to your articles and blog posts. It’s just a way that many in the SEM business appreciate. After all, we toil in the darkness of the online world all day and need something to make us realize the whole world doesn’t revolve around the number of visitors to a website or the increase in ROI seen in our latest split test.

Humor is a good one, but it must be good humor rather than just another ice cream bar. If you are hopeless at telling a joke and no one laughs at the puns you throw or the crazy ideas you have for new cubicle toys, you may need to consider other avenues. And that’s great, because all roads lead to Rome – man, what a lame ending. I gotta work on that – the ending, that is. Sheesh.

About the Author

Frances Krug has worked in market research since graduating from UCLA with an MA and CPhil in Latin American history. As an editor and online content provider for the last 7 years, she currently is Associate Editor at iNET Interactive, where she also directs Search Marketing Standard's email marketing program.

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2 Comments

  1. Thats a excellent post Frances Krug! The titles represt the whole article and its very important to frame them correctly and its the hardest job from all. Amit

  2. ^ The titles represents