There’s a reason the cover of Consumer Reports has a picture of a cow on the cover of this month’s issue, along with this very compelling question: “What’s Really In Your Meat?” Titles catch the eye (that one certainly did mine) and set up readers’ expectations for what kind of content they’ll find if they open the magazine and read the article. As a blog content writer, I’m interested in titles. What elements in the titles listed on a magazine cover, for example, are most likely to induce a browser to buy that issue? Then, which titles tempt the magazine reader to read those articles first?
I categorize this particular title, “What’s Really in Your Meat?”, as a “truth-about”. This type of header is meant to instill fear, one of the two dominant buying motives (desire for gain and fear of loss). In fact, people are drawn to articles with negative titles, my friend and fellow blogger Lorraine Ball pointed out a year ago.
A few other salient titles in the October Consumer Reports issue fall into the “How-To” category:
- “Beating Back Surprise Bills”
- “Keeping Your Data Private”
- “Simple Ways to Add Convenience and Security”
- “Good Riddance, Robocalls!”
Less disturbing (some might argue less compelling) than “truth-abouts”, in blogs, “How-To” titles perform the very important function of confirming to searchers that they’ve arrived at the right place to find precisely the kinds of information they need.
Using a consumer question in a title, then answering that question in the article or blog post is yet another approach. Three such pieces in Consumer Reports were:
- “My car is starting to smell musty, and an air freshener isn’t cutting it. What else can I do?”
- “Can I catch food poisoning from another person?”
- “How can I keep my leftover paint fresh enough to reuse?”
Truth-abouts, how-tos, and question titles, I teach at Say It For You, can all be effective blog titling techniques, with the purpose being to tell readers why they should bother to read what you’ve written in the blog post.
Most important, when choosing a title, design it so that it conveys not only the nature of the content, but the value readers can expect to receive from that content! Ask yourself this question:
For my readers, what’s really in my blogging for business?