Although we love to use the cliché phrase “Don’t judge a book by its cover,” it unfortunately doesn’t apply to the internet-age of headline surfers. As a content producer, you only have a small window to gain the attention of your audience. Whether it’s on the organic search results pages or social media, if your prospect finds the title to be lackluster, boring, or irrelevant, they will more than likely skip the click and move on to something else.
Obviously, what lies beyond the title plays a huge factor in the success of a content piece too, but without the initial click, the content — no matter how amazing it is — can be lost in cyberspace. You must make the title SEO friendly and provide an answer to a frequently asked question your audience is asking to see the best results.
Being informed on where your titles will appear, how to formulate and optimize them, and knowing tips on how to do large quantities of ideation can set you apart from your competition.
Your Title Appears Everywhere
Choosing your title wisely is very important because it will be visible in a number of different places. Ensuring that you have the most well-researched, search engine optimized, and user-friendly title should be a top priority before you even start to create a piece of content. This is especially true if you have automated systems of any sort for your social media posts, RSS feeds, or email subscriptions. Take a look at the example below showing how a recent article of ours shows up across the web:
As you can see, our title, meta description, and featured image shows up uniformly even though the format and layout may change from platform to platform. Ensure that your content will look its best by implementing behind the scenes fixes to any web content you produce on your site. Here are a few tools we recommend looking into:
- All-in-One SEO Pack, Social Meta Add-On for Worpdress
- Rich Social Media Snippets
How to Create Good Blog Titles
If you are producing content regularly, you most likely have a blog on your site and you know that creating a good blog title is an acquired skill. Just like it takes practice to become a great writer, it will take time and practice to excel at researching and creating headlines for your content. Great titles doesn’t just happen in a flash. You need to take your time to research content titles and really understand what your customers are asking before you can figure out ways to answer those questions in the title. Here are 6 strategies that will ease your content topic brainstorming process:
1. Brainstorm in a Group
One of the more efficient ways to begin your ideation process for your blog is to gather a handful of team members to create a mind map and list off any and all ideas remotely related to your business. No idea is a bad idea. What may seem like a dead end to you could be a launching off point for another set of eyes. Once you’ve gathered all the information you and your team will take those basic ideas and start to develop titles.
2. Optimize Content Titles for Search Intent
Put yourself in the mindset of a potential customer and follow this process for content ideation:
- List all the questions your customers/clients ask you all the time
- Type those questions into Google to see if they have been answered
- If there is a content gap where an answer to their question could be, take that question and use it as a title.
As simple as that sounds, Google will reward you for providing answers to questions that are being searched, so your goal should be to have titles that match what the customer is searching. For example, if you’re searching for “what is the formula for content marketing success?” these are the results you end up with:
As you can see, our own blog post, which is less than a month old, just leap frogged an article from Search Engine Watch, a website with an extremely high DA and their blog post that is a year and a half old. To be ranked #1 in this short amount of time is a great accomplishment for any piece.
If you are unaware of what exactly your target demographic is searching, you can always let Google do the work for you and provide suggestions. As you probably seen in your everyday searches, Google will auto-finish your search inquires with suggestions:
The importance of these bizarre (yet true) results is that Google Suggest offers up searches that have actually happened. You can use those results to create your titles and you know they are ones people are actively searching for.
3. Use Tools to Generate Content and Title Ideas for Your Blog
When it comes to your specific blog, using the tools below can help you dive deeper into your ideation process:
These tools, although all very different, can help you create powerful, original, optimized titles that will allow you to discover content topic opportunities, gauge which longtail searches you have the ability to rank high for, and ultimately gain more traffic and leads.
4. Answer Questions!
Make sure your titles are answering questions that your audience is asking. Be the expert in your field. As long as you are providing answers to potential customers about anything related to your field, you will be their go-to authority, which in turn can produce a business relationship.
If your site has a search bar and it’s linked up to your analytics (see image below), find out what people are searching on your site. Use that information as it can be a very valuable tool for getting questions straight from the source. Also, you may understand what in your site design is easy to find or hard to find so you can adjust your content structure accordingly.
The other method for getting these questions for titles is to find out what the customers are asking themselves. Send out email blasts asking them to provide you with questions about your field or ask your sales team what questions they are frequently asked and build titles around them.
5. Be the Authority and Show Your Passion
In addition to being the expert in your field and answering any lingering questions, you must remain the authority. Writing generic articles to go along with your finely crafted titles will ultimately defeat the purpose and leave you no better off than you were to begin with. Provide the audience with insider knowledge only someone in the field would know. Make sure it’s worth their while to read what you have to say. The passion you have for your business needs to shine through for the reader to really trust what you have to say.
6. Find Variety within your Content Types
Finally, make sure you create a variety of content options for your blog. That means creating more than just blog posts. Although that might be the easiest way to convey what your business can offer, diversifying your content allows you to broaden your reach.
Make sure you are using content options such as:
- Free guides
- Content Visualization Pages
Using multiple forms of content to keep your blog diverse and appealing to all different types of viewers, as well as Google’s search engine.
Content Marketing Best Practices Checklist
- Make sure your title isn’t too long for the Google Search results. Test it before your create it!
- Research title ideas by using Google Suggest and other free keyword tools.
- Answer questions people are asking to optimize your content for search intent!
- Utilize the longtail keywords that have higher search volume, but lower competition.
- Set up OpenGraph and Twitter Cards to ensure the best appearance on promotional channels.
- Use visual differentiators in your post like section titles, bullets, and font formatting.
- Make sure you have you meta description, meta title and H1’s filled out before you publish.
- Have all external links open in a new window so you don’t lead readers away from your site.
- Include at least one internal link in your blog to aid navigation on your own site.
- Ensure that your images are optimized using ALT text and proper filenames.
- Broaden your reach with a variety of content types.
- Plan out a 30-, 60-, or 90-day content calendar to help keep organized and prepared.