Five times as many people read headlines as read the body copy, "Father of Advertising" David Ogilby taught. Blogger and book reviewer Brad Shaw tests headlines against three Ogilby to-do’s:
- The headline promises the reader a benefit
- The headline contains news
- The headline is conversational
Business bloggers can take all three of these tips from the Master to heart. In fact, headlines may prove even more important for blogs than for ads. Blog headlines help capture the interest not only of online searchers, but of internet "web crawlers" as well (a compelling reason to make blog headlines key-word rich).
Here are some ways I can think of for using the three Ogilby to-do’s in blog post titles:
PROMISE A BENEFIT
a) More and better – more miles per gallon, better health, more glamour, more time saved, more comfort, more money.
b) Less of something undesirable – less pain, less cost, less waste, less hassle.
a) News of a new product, an improvement on an existing one, a new way to use the product, a new strategy.
b) Recognition of your company in a trade journal or newspaper, an award or honor, a new customer testimonial.
a) Asking a question: "Do you…?" "Have you ever……?" "Where can you……?" "Why would you……?"
b) Reassurances: "It’s OK to……" "Everyone likes……….."
In talking about advertising great David Ogilby in one of my earlier Say It For You blog posts, I mentioned his five-point acid tests for ads. When it comes to blogging for business, headline acid test #4 is the one I think is paramount: Does it fit the strategy to perfection?
While of course headlines have to make searchers want to learn more of what you have to say, we business bloggers must remember: a blog is only one tactic in an overall marketing strategy, and everything about each blog post, including the headline, needs to be consistent with the "voice" you want your company to project.
Composed with that broader context in mind, that times-five effect of blog headlines will bring benefits not only to the readers, but to the business’ bottom line!