“We really need to stop messing them up,” warns Ginny Soskey of HubSpot, referring to blog post headlines, because those headlines are “so crucial to our content’s success.”
Always on the prowl for OPW (Other People’s Wisdom) that can help the business blog content writers I train do a better job for themselves and their clients, I found quite a number of posts on the topic of blog post headline Do’s and Don’ts. As a result, I’m devoting this week’s Say It For You posts to curating and commenting on those poor-headline prevention tips.
Among the most egregious blog header errors, Soskey names Bait-and-Switch and Over-Promise-and-Under-Deliver, two variations on a failure to accurately describe the kind of content readers can expect to find in the piece.
One popular misconception that I think leads to this kind of misdirection in headlines is that blog titles need to, above all, be “cutesy”. Cute is good, engaging readers’ curiosity even better. Yet, above all, when readers click, they need to end up “where it says on the ticket”. In other words, when readers click on the link on the results page, they need to find material that is congruent with what the title promised would be there!
In fact, as I often stress in corporate blogging training sessions, when it comes to blog marketing, there’s more than good writing practice at stake; there is real danger for business owners and professional practitioners in using misleading blog titles. After all, it would hardly be a good idea for readers to perceive that this company or practitioner is not likely to keep its promises and deliver promised results.
But when it comes to titles, “honest” doesn’t equate to “boring”. You’re shooting for accurate, SEO-friendly, AND enticing, concludes Soskey. If you find your headline is kind of “meh”, she advises, keep on pushing until it’s something you’d go out of your own way to read!