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Has the art of creating unique titles been lost?

December 18th, 2013 by

online copywriters“What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet” (Romeo and Juliet, Act II, Scene II).

In content blogs names matter. While the content of two different blog posts may be of the same quality, the post with the more creative title gains far more readership. A particular blog my be the authority in its industry, but without creative, interest-peaking titles the blog will not be popular.

There are some key statistics that all online copywriters should be aware of:

  • 8 out of 10 people read a title in its entirety
  • 3 of the above 8 people will click to read the article
  • In .3 seconds these 3 people will decide if they want to actually read the article or simply scan and move on

Whether of not someone reads a particular blog post rides solely on the title and first paragraph. These frustrating statistics have lead to 5 “click-worthy” rules all titles should abide to:

  • Keep it under 120 characters.
  • Ask a question (ironically I have succumbed to this very tip in this current post).
  • When in doubt use: how, why, who, what, where, when.
  • Make it engaging; start a dialogue with the reader.
  • Include a keyword or keyphrase.

There are 2 million blog posts created every day. In order to get your blog posts noticed and read you have to master SEO keywords, entice readers to look at your blog, use social media to advertise your blog, and present content worth reading. But before you will get anyone to look at your content they will read your title and decide if they even want to click on your post, let alone read it.

In a world where SEO is the over-bearing warlord of all Internet content I am left wondering if the days of creating unique titles are gone? Surely we can do better than the previously mentioned top five tips to writing great titles. What happened to the good old days of using great puns (see the Sun’s 2005 award-winning headline “Elton takes David up the aisle”). If there is any hope that great titles will soon be on the rebound, then it lies with the latest Google algorithm aka Hummingbird.

Hummingbird is set to redefine SEO standards and put a greater focus on content. For online copywriters this means that it will soon be time to go back to the basics. The more people read and enjoy a blog post the more likely it is to be passed on. The most successful blogs are passed on from friend to friend or relative to relative. The title draws your first readers in, the content keeps your blog alive.

There are a few important key notes to keep in mind while writing content:

  • No matter the topic, benefits matter. If someone reads your article, blog post, website content, etc. they should in some way benefit from the time spent reading.
  • Online content is read at an average of an 8th – 9th grade reading level.
  • Take out the dreaded red pen. Online copywriters should read and re-read their work. Typically 30% of content can be deleted.

Use titles to get readers; use content to keep readers.

A rose by any other name will smell as sweet, but it would change its popularity.

Laura P is a freelance writer available on WriterAccess, a marketplace where clients and expert writers connect for assignments.

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One Response to “Has the art of creating unique titles been lost?”

  1. Monica womble says:

    I think the art of great titles is not lost. Personally, the title of an article is the first thing that determines whether or not I will read an article. The next most important thing for me is the layout of the blog post or blog itself.

    Creative and pun-filled titles appeal to me the most. I strive my best to write great titles. Thanks for the great post!

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