Readers have short attention spans — particularly online. If your company has a blog, your articles need to hit your target audience up front with an effective title (or headline, for press releases and news features). For SEO purposes, you’ll need some keywords in there. But even more to the point, you need a blog post title that explains succinctly what they’re going to be reading about.
If you can make the title into a double-entendre or just a neat play on words, that’s great — but double-meanings are not a crutch. There’s the whipped cream on your hot chocolate — really nice to have, but in a pinch, you can live without it.
It’s not a difficult concept: give your reader a heads-up with the title — but so many companies that have blogs get this basic part wrong.
I blame movies and advertising. Film titles and episode titles are meant to be short to fit on a poster while giving plenty of room for the lead actor to show off their stuff. Advertising also lives on short, snappy catch-phrases and slogans that are easy to remember.
Some marketing types who haven’t been trained think that blog post and press release titles should be more like film titles or ad slogans. They try to be clever. They try to be cute. In the end, they just end up mystifying their target audience — who may only be reading the titles anyway in an RSS reader — and their reader goes elsewhere.
Companies don’t have blogs to be cute. They have them to boost their SEO, draw in their audience and explain why they’re awesome — so that customers will give them attention.
So don’t worry so much about cute. Focus on making your company’s blog post titles effective, for SEO and for the actual reader. Get the title right — then you can move on to the rest of the piece.
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