I love food and enjoy watching Bobby Flay and some of his TV shows. One thing is for sure is that he likes a little heat. I imagine many of his dishes are filled robust and even spicy. With a little flair and creativity, you can spice up your titles. The reason to pay attention to your titles in blogs, landing pages and emails is that your audience is looking for content that adds value such as entertainment, solves a problem, or informs. Without a title that captures the attention of readers, your content may be passed by, deleted as spam (email), and forgotten altogether. Here are five ingredients to spice up your titles and capture the attention of your readers.
Title Ingredient #1: A Working Title
A descriptive title is exactly as it sounds. I would prefer to call this salty titles because salt adds flavor food. You’ve likely been to a restaurant where the dish was lacking in flavor. A little salt would have gone a long way to improving your meal. A descriptive title is like salt to the title. It helps with creating a baseline for great content and it informs what the content is about to your readers. For example, I started this blog with a title “The Importance of Strong Landing Page Titles.” *Yawn* Maybe a little boring but I used this as a starting point for my article. The original title got the ideas flowing and the content written. Once I formulated my article I was able to go back and write a better title.
The Ingredient #2: Colorful Language
Using colorful language captures the imagination of your audience. No, I don’t mean you have to curse but use adjectives. If I could relate this to a spice I would say we’re using jalapenos. Jalapenos add great flavor when used rightly but misuse it and it quickly becomes unenjoyable and outright inedible. Descriptive words can be your friend in hooking an audience. Written well may even create a desire for more. Anything from humor, exciting, dramatic, and thought-provoking adjectives spice up a rather mundane title to a more interesting one. In most resume writing adjectives are an important piece to making it sound interesting and lively. Use this as a way to bring life to your titles.
Title Ingredient #3: Titles With Benefits
Providing a Title With Benefits (TWB) gives your audience a reason to read. Costco uses a taste philosophy to entice their customers to buy in bulk with a sample. In most cases, you and I don’t want to commit to buying in such large quantities unless we know it’s good. People can feel this way with reading content. A good or even great title can be like the sample that moves readers to pay with time and attention as they read your post. A statistic from Convince and Convert regarding emails showed that 69% of email recipients report email as SPAM based solely on the subject line. Wait, what?!!! Yeah, a good subject line is worth the effort to keeping your audience from deleting your emails. Another statistic produced by Quick Sprout regarding blog titles stated that 8 out of 10 people will read a title for a blog while only 2 out 10 will read the post. If you can increase readership by using good titles can make your content more shareable and consumable. An interesting title can make your audience coming back for more.
Note: Be sure you can deliver on the content that you promised in your title or you suck. Perhaps that’s harsh but that might be what your audience thinks.
Title Ingredient 4#: Condensed
Short titles help convey to readers what content they are about to consume. You know how Mexican restaurants will often bring out some chips and salsa before you’ve even ordered. They know you are hungry so they entice you to stay with a little bit of food. Your titles need to be like the appetizer to stay your reader’s appetite for more.
According to a study by Microsoft, humans have an attention span of 8 seconds1. That attention span is shorter than a GOLDFISH! How are you hooking your readers? In SEO we are often concerned about page load and designers with aesthetics to keep consumers onsite and not hitting the back button. Page titles need to be strong to satisfy the need of your audience’s quest for information. By hooking them with a short title they will understand that they have reached what they are looking for. If you’re serious about getting this right you can do a usability test with your titles using UsabilityHub.com. The site allows you to do a 5-second test to ensure they are understanding the information they are seeing. If your users don’t understand your content after a 5-second test then you’re screwed. One of the main reasons people hit the back button after reaching a website is because they didn’t find what they were looking for.
Title Ingredient #5: Facts, Figures, and Fiction
Facts, figures, and fiction help capture the attention of people. We like nutritional information and ingredients lists. Ingredients in a dish allow us to imagine the flavors we are going to enjoy before we start eating. Titles can work the same way as it delivers the general makeup of the content that is about to be digested. Newspapers use facts as means to get people to read. Books will us figures to entice like the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, 21 Immutable Laws of Marketing or the Definitive Guide to Marketing. These titles use figures to convey a message. You get the idea that 7 habits might make us more effective. Therefore you just might purchase the book.
Fiction also plays a role in good titles because innately we are taught to listen when we hear a story. Take for example when someone says Once Upon a Time or it was a dark and stormy night. We like stories and using these cues can help you deliver a title that helps capture the imagination of readers. Children books often deliver fiction in the title like the famous story, Where the Wild Things Are. As an example, even this blog post uses a little fiction to help deliver interest to read more. Not likely Bobby Flay is using my ingredients to blog but this uses a point of interest and pairs nicely with the food metaphors I am using.
A spicy title has the power to move viewer into readers. It can convey an idea that is palatable for your audience and captures their attention. By writing with a goal in mind and delivering on a promise you can get your readers to digest your content. Using these ingredients to write short, benefit laden, adjective-rich titles is sure to make your next title a success. What do you use to help spice up your titles and make people want more of your content?