Not to belabor the obvious, but the first thing online readers will see on your blog post is its title; largely based on that title, those readers are going to make the decision to read further – or hightail it away. For that reason among many, what words to use in each blog post title is a decision that could prove far more important than you might think.
Titles need to do at least three key “jobs”:
- Engage and entice readers
- Offer an overview of the topic of the post
- Incorporate keyword phrases to help search engines index your blog
In their new book, Corporate Blogging For Dummies, Doug Karr and Chantelle Flannery suggest using titles for case studies that are results-driven. “Using numerical results adds that extra punch,” they explain. The book also emphasizes the importance of using keyword phrases at or close to the beginning of each blog post title.
In the course of the constant skimming, scanning, and reading I do to keep the content fresh in these Say It For You blogs, I came upon a really interesting piece about actress Elizabeth Banks. Born Elizabeth Maresal Mitchell, the actress decided to change her name to "something short and sweet and a little WASP-y, because I wanted to advertise exactly what I was."
In fact, Banks has hit on an important point business bloggers need to remember: It’s all well and good to use keyword phrases in blog titles, but the post needs to deliver on that implied promise. In other words, advertise exactly what you are. In an old routine that struck me as particularly funny, Jerry Seinfeld said that, as an airline passenger, he didn’t need to hear introductions or announcements from the pilot. "Just end up where it says on the ticket is all I ask," he quipped.
It may be the title that draws the attention of online readers (quite possibly preceded by that of the search engine mechanism), but you need to make sure your readers arrive where it says on the "ticket" which is your title. Nobody likes a bait-and-switch!