Write a Title that’s Finger-Licking Good

Writing tasty titles that attract people to your blog posts and make your emails irresistible to click on is a tricky skill to master, but luckily we’ve outlined a few tips that have helped us and can hopefully do the same for you.

1. Capitalize the First Letter of Each Word

This is the style we use when writing our blog post and email titles. By capitalizing the first letter of each word that is not a connecting word and words that are over 5 characters, readers can easily recognize the topic of the post. We avoid using all capital letters in our titles because the boxy look of the letters can make the title difficult to read at a glance. Since the title is typically the first impression readers receive of your content, if it’s difficult to read, they’ll likely scroll past it.

2. Keep it Short and Sweet

Writing short and sweet titles helps to ensure that the title won’t be cut off when displayed in email inboxes and search engine results. We aim for 50 characters or less; we’re not always spot on, but we try to keep it close.

If you have a longer title that you just can’t throw away, consider breaking off part of it into a subtitle that will display at the very top of the blog post.

3. Pack a Punch

Blog post and email titles need to hook viewers quickly before they pass up your content. Often times, the title is the first thing viewers see (and possibly the only thing they read), so keeping the title intriguing can increase the likelihood of viewers clicking. By packing a punch and keeping your titles interesting, viewers may be more attracted to your post.

Examples:

4. Create Urgency

Creating urgency in your titles is about implementing that must-read feeling into your viewers upon reading the title. What qualifies as urgent largely depends on your target audience, or buyer persona. Knowing what’s important to your buyer persona and understanding the challenges they face can influence your title word choice. Cleverly crafting your titles with a sense of urgency relevant to the needs of your customers can guide them towards finding solutions to their problems in your content.

Examples:

5. Stay Timely and Relevant

MailChimp Subject Line Data

Results from Subject Line Study by MailChimp.

Even though part of the blog post writing process involves planning out your posts in advance, once in a while you’ll want to steer away from the plan to make room for time sensitive topics. Finding creative ways to relate your blog post topic to timely events that are relevant to your readers and then writing the titles to reflect those events is one way to attract people to your post. Take the super bowl for example. Instead of sharing a blog post at that time titled “Common Marketing Failures”, we shared a post titled What the Bronco’s Superbowl Fail Teaches Us About Marketing.

6. Things to Avoid

MailChimp Subject Line Study

A subject line study by MailChimp revealed that in some industries, using the word “free” in subject lines negatively impacts open rates.

When writing titles for blog posts or marketing emails, we suggest avoiding the following words and punctuation styles:

  • Percent Off
  • Reminder or Last Chance
  • Special
  • ALL CAPS: THEY MAKE THINGS DIFFICULT TO READ
  • Free
  • !!!!
  • Help
MailChimp Subject Line Study

The results of the MailChimp Subject Line study suggest that companies avoid using words like “help” and “donate” in their email subject lines and titles

Instead of attracting people to your content, using these things in your titles and subject lines actually tends to push people away. A study by MailChimp revealed that using the phrase “last chance” in subject lines negatively affected open rates in a statistically significant way. The MailChimp study also revealed that in some industries, using the word “free” in subject lines negatively impacts open rates.

7. Step into Your Audience’s Shoes

Keep in mind that what constitutes an attractive, click-worthy title can be subjective. Depending on the preferences of your audience members, a straight-forward title may be more likely to be clicked on than a creative, flashy title that took 20 minutes to write. In this instance, getting to know your readers can help you determine how much pizazz you need to place in your titles.

The next time you try to tackle a title for your content, remember that blog post and email titles are the hooks that reel viewers in to the rest of your content. If your hook isn’t strong, readers will be swept away into the current created by all the other online content available.

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