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by James Perrin on 31st May 2013
An effective content marketing title can make all the difference to your campaigns. Whether it’s the number of social shares, Click through Rate, traffic or conversions, a well-researched and strategically planned title can massively help your efforts. Check out these top tips to see how.
A lot can be said for a good headline. You only have to look at the tabloids to know that an attention grabbing headline sells newspapers. “How Do You Solve a Problem Like Korea?” or “Super Caley Go Ballistic Celtic Are Atrocious” are just some of the more famous ones that spring to mind. Whilst your Content Marketing titles don’t all have to be award winning headlines, crammed with clever puns, they do need to stand-out, drive traffic, and engage your audience. So how is this possible?
Whether it’s blog posts, guest posts, infographics, press releases, whitepapers, user guides, social media updates, you name it, all of your efforts will be in vain if no one actually clicks on the link. Gone are the days of creating content for content’s sake – it needs to be working for you and your campaigns; the Return on Investment is the bottom line, so if your titles are lacking a bit of lustre and need to make more of an impact, you need to make sure they are:
First things first, make sure your titles actually fulfil a need or purpose. If you spend hours, if not days creating a single piece of content, make sure you know there’s an audience for it. This does not necessarily mean targeting individual people, although we will look at that in more detail further on, but at this stage you want to get an idea of the things to write about based on your audience’s needs.
1. Use analytics to get an idea of the best and worst performing pages on your site; popular pages indicate a high interest in a particular product and service, so it might be worth creating something around that
2. Use analytics to look at searched for queries, this will give you an idea of the types of content to create, about a particular product or service in far greater detail
3. Look at blog comments from customers and site visitors – are they suggesting or asking after anything in particular?
4. Check any feedback emails or frequently asked questions from site visitors
5. Use social media tools like FollowerWonk, Social Bro and Google Ripples to see the types of content and titles around your niche that people are interacting with and sharing
Keywords are a fundamental part of SEO and Content Marketing, so you need to make sure your titles are well-optimised with targeted keywords, or themes. This often gets overlooked during the planning phase, but it’s essential to write about something with a search demand, otherwise there’s little point in creating the content in the first place.
6. Use any of the following keyword tools: Google AdWords Tool, Keyword Eye, WordStream
7. Enter root keywords to get an idea of search volume
8. Enter best performing keywords into Google with quotation marks to get an idea of competition
9. Filter highly competitive keywords from less competitive with a high search volume
10. Tailor your titles around root keywords, using qualifiers (e.g. an adjective added to your root keyword), modifiers (e.g. similar keywords that are slightly modified) and synonyms as well as singulars and plurals
Content Marketing and Social Media share a symbiotic relationship, effectively meaning they’re dependent on each other. Moreover, it’s now imperative that your content not only does well within search engines, but that it’s making an impact on social media too. Social exposure will introduce your content to new people, and any interaction or signals are good indicators to search engines, and are believed to help with rankings. Therefore, you need to ensure the titles are user friendly, and so captivating that people will want to share them.
11. Find who has shared similar content, using tools like FollowerWonk, Social Bro and Google Ripples
12. Look at the titles of the most shared content
13. When promoting your content, target these influential people
14. Make sure your titles are small enough and engaging enough for people to share easily
Granted, there’s a lot of duplication going on within the online world, but in fairness, Panda has worked well in weeding out thin and highly-spun content, created just for the sake of it. For your content to stand the best chance of being shared and viewed, you need to make sure your title is completely unique.
15. Put your title in quotation marks and perform a search – if there are no results, it’s completely unique
On the subject of making your titles stand out, you need to think beyond the search engines – it’s time to consider how the user responds to specific titles. Using this information, as well as injecting your own creativity will help you to create truly effective titles.
16. Take a look at your data from FollwerWonk, Social Bro and Google Ripples; are there specific titles that worked better than others?
17. In any way you can, look to be different and offer your audience something they have never seen before, but stick to a formula that works
18. Some good examples of effective titles revolve around: ‘Tip tips, lists, secrets, how to’s, interviews, opinion pieces’
Speaking of creative titles, it’s also worth considering how engaged your audience will be when they read your content. What’s your goal here? Is it just to increase social shares, or do you want to start to build and engage with your audience? If so, then think about the following:
19. Gather industry opinions
20. Where possible, leave open ended questions
21. Entice others to share their opinions or experiences
22. Potentially create something controversial to create a reaction (a word of caution not to do anything damaging to your brand though)
Even the most highly targeted and relevant titles often can’t compete against a title that is very fresh and current. This won’t always get you long-term traffic, but it will certainly help gain additional traffic through very minimal effort.
23. To help, consider the following tools: Google Trends, Google Suggest, UbberSuggest, Content Idea Generator
24. Look for subjects and topics that are peaking and rising in search demand
25. Establish a list of forthcoming events to piggyback off – check the search demand against these
26. Work with a specialist in that area to get an idea of future topics and trends
On the flipside of short-term gains, are the titles that will continue to drive traffic after fads have passed. Evergreen content is that which continues to deliver traffic, because your titles are still useful and relevant to the reader. Think about the following:
27. Use analytics to discover content that has delivered consistent traffic over-time
28. Look to create titles around guides and instructions
29. Write in-depth research pieces
30. Give solutions to common problems
If there’s anything you agree or disagree with, or you have any tips you’d like to share, then please get in touch by leaving a comment below.
Success Target from BigStock
SEO Keywords from BigStock
Go Viral Key from BigStock
Creative Lamp from BigStock
Social Media Communication from BigStock
Crowd from BigStock
Green Arrow from BigStock
Newspaper headline from BigStock