Sometimes all you have is a title. In a blog directory, an RSS feed aggregator or a community blogging project such as the one I’m writing this post for. If you want to be able to lock on to your readers and use your Jedi mind powers to force them to click your blog post then read on. These are just five techniques that I’ve both seen and used to make those blog titles really pop out at readers. Let me just go ahead and answer this up front… no, all CAPS does not count and is not on this list.
1. Money $$$, Greenbacks, Cold Hard Cash
Millions of people flock onto the internet every day to get a piece of the American… (well that’s a bit close-minded isn’t it?) no make that the global dream. The dream is to live well and that dream takes money. What better place to make money than on the internet? Where else can a guy (or gal) in his basement with a computer forge a business with little to no startup costs and build an empire to rule both the world and his destiny. Ok, yes I’m being a bit melodramatic.
So how many of you read the Blogger Earnings – How Much Money Can Bloggers Earn? article on proBlogger.net? I know I did. Why? Simple… because I wanted to know how much money I could make as a blogger. Here is another example from Andrew Johnson’s Web Publishing Blog. The article is titled Million Dollar Tip of the Day. Would you like a tip that could make you a million dollars? Sure you would. The real question is who wouldn’t?
2. S-E-X That’s right folks, I said it. Sex.
You know it. I know it. Everyone knows it. Sex sells… like hotcakes. Now I know what you’re thinking, “Jonathan! This is NOT an adult site.” I didn’t say you had to outright advertise it. You can use innuendo and subtle nuance very effectively and most readers will get it. Thus they will be intrigued enough to click it which is the goal in the first place.
Did you notice the title to this blog post? If you answered no… then there is something wrong with the universe. Of course you did! Otherwise you wouldn’t be reading the post.
having or exhibiting something that provokes or arouses expectation, interest, or desire, esp. that which remains unobtainable or beyond one’s reach
3. Celebrity Names
What is our fascination with celebrities? Is it that they have so much money? That they live such extravagant lives? That they’re so beautiful? That they have such nice cars? Or they have such a nice grill (that’s teeth bling… not the cooking device)? I don’t know. What I do know is that we as a society wanna be all up in their grill… umm sorry… I mean we really want to know what is going on in the lives of celebrities.
Now I do not condone just throwing popular names into your title if it has no bearing. For instance if a reader clicks on a title of “Paris Hilton Pics In Australia” and finds themselves reading an article about raising llamas in the Andes mountains they might be a bit annoyed. Perhaps they’ll be the lighthearted type and chuckle it off as a, “You got me!,” but they certainly won’t be return readers.
If your article doesn’t have anything to do directly with celebrities you may still be able to use this tactic. How you ask? Quote them. Accurately of course; don’t make stuff up. Many celebrities say many things most of which is highly publicized. Celebrities give endorsements all the time for breakfast cereal and running shoes. You can snag one of their quotes off of the internet (from a reputable source that you reference in the article) and have them give your blog a free endorsement… kind of.
4. Song Lyrics
Music is something near and dear to my heart. Partly because I’m a musician. Also because I’m human. I believe that music touches people on a level that we do not really understand. Have you ever seen a toddler start bouncing up and down when music is playing? I have; my daughter is turning one year old this month (proud daddy). Why do they do this when we haven’t taught them to dance? People were born to boogie! Of course readers cannot hear your title… or can they? If they recognize the lyrics they just might.
Here are a couple examples of my own: 1) Whatâ€™s New Pussycat? 2) You Need Coolinâ€™, Baby, Iâ€™m Not Foolinâ€™. The first example comes from the popular song by Tom Jones. It’s an oldie song but has been used in numerous television commercials, sitcoms and movies so most people should be familiar with it. The second example is extracted out of the middle of the song. Need a hint? It’s from the song Whole Lotta Love by Led Zeppelin. Of course I wanted this title to be a bit more obscure because the article is about looking up song lyrics.
Another added bonus of this technique… I don’t know if you noticed it or not. You automatically get a little of technique #2 with this one. 😉
5. Engage Your Readers. Ask Questions.
We’ve all seen the stereotypical scene of a person bearing his soul to a psychiatrist in a stark office. The psychiatrist takes off her glasses and lays them on the legal pad she’s been taking notes on and calmly replies, “And how does this make you feel?” The point is ask questions. Engage your readers. Make them feel like they are involved in your world. Which article would you rather read?
Oh, I made use of technique #3 too… hope you don’t mind. If I read a title and it is a statement of fact or an answer to a question then I’m less likely to click through and read the entire article. If the title asks a question and I want to know the answer then I will be far more likely to be enticed onto the site.
They can also be personal questions such as, “Do You Suffer From Erectile Dysfunction?” Of course that’s a highly specialized topic, but you get the point. You could also combine it with technique #1 like this, “Would You Like To Increase Your AdSense Profits In 10 Days?”
I hope you were able to glean something from these top five techniques. Finally I’ll pass along a Bonus technique which I alluded to several times previously. That is to combine your techniques. Be creative! The sky is the limit and all that hubub.
What’s that? You want one more example? Oh alright. How’s this, “Justin Timberlake in Shrek 3 : Is He Bringing SexyBack or GreenBack?” You’ve got your celebrity reference with some pop culture added in for good measure (movie ref). There’s the song reference of SexyBack. Then GreenBack is another term (in the U.S. at least) for money which is a play on words because Shrek is green. Let us not forget that it’s asking a question. Eh?