An amazing blog post title is essential if you want your post to be read and shared.
On average, 8 out of 10 readers will read a blog post title, while less than 3 out of the same 10 readers will click through and read the rest of your article.
Your headline will determine the number of people that click through to read the post and the number of people that share the post, many without reading it.
Your post title should be so enticing that readers can’t resist clicking on it to read the rest of your post.
A well-crafted title can also greatly enhance the chances of your post being shared and even going viral.
Nobody wants to share a post with a post with a title like Interesting Tort Cases Archives. No matter what this title claims, I don’t believe for a minute that anyone other than lawyers who deal in tort law will find this article interesting. And even then, they’re unlikely to actually share this article except with a few colleagues. Hardly the recipe for a viral post.
For a blog post title to be truly amazing it should be both clickable and sharable. You want readers to not only click on the post headline and read the post but also share it with their friends.
So, What Makes a Post Title Amazing?
There are 5 factors common to the titles of posts that get read and shared more. A headline may not have all 5 of these factors, but if it does, it is much more likely to be clicked and shared over and over again.
RELATED POST: 6 Reasons Why Blog Posts Go Viral
These 5 factors are:
How does it make your readers feel?
High emotional value, especially positive emotions, directly relates to how often a post is shared. Titles with words like amazing, inspiring, surprising and shocking get shared more often.
Imagine this: you’ve got a movie date with your honey and you’re both in the mood to crash on the couch and watch a great love story. You’re Googling for movie inspiration.
Consider these 2 headlines:
- 25 Romance Movies
- The 25 Most Romantic Movies of All-Time
Now, which post headline are you going to click on and read?
This is the power of using emotion-driven words in your post headlines.
2. Practical Value
Is your advice useful right now?
Like within the next 10 minutes. The faster a reader can receive value from your content, the more likely that content is to be shared.
Your title should convey the value proposition of your content with your reader. This is the promise of what they’re going to get if they read your post.
10 Delicious Recipes for Whipping Up a Quick and Nutritious Breakfast
5 Tiny Productivity Hacks That Will Change Your Life
The Only Makeup Tip You’ll Ever Need for Perfect Skin
All these post titles reveal the practical value your reader will receive from reading the post before they even read the first line.
Readers today are busy, busy, busy. DON’T try and tease them with cleverly vague post titles. Your headline should blatantly reveal the topic of your post PLUS the value the post can provide.
3. New or Newsworthy
Is the topic new enough to be interesting? Is it newsworthy?
If your content doesn’t at least appear to be new, it will be considered old news and filtered out.
A great example of this is a post that hit my Facebook feed the other day: Mysterious 15 Foot Sea Creature Washes Up on the Beach.
A pretty intriguing title with a pretty gross picture to accompany it. Problem was, another post addressing this enigma hit Facebook a week before. And went semi-viral. So, readers of the new article were quick to slam the writer of this newest version for being a day late and a dollar short.
Some topics, on the other hand, are timeless. But if your approach is the same old, same old that everyone’s been reading about already, your post won’t go anywhere. Even if your topic has been done many times before, look for a new angle or approach to make it fresh and new.
Does your content include skillfully told stories?
Stories and examples are a great way to bring depth and life to your blog posts. I love a great example.
Well-written posts that tell a great story can be absolute gold. So, if you’re post is built upon a great story, make sure your headline lives up to it.
From Geek to Freak: How I Gained 34 Lbs. Of Muscle in 4 Weeks
On Mothers Dying, and Fighting for Your Ideas
What Owning a Guitar Shop Taught Me About Business Storytelling
All of these titles promise an interesting story.
How would sharing your content make readers feel?
And how would sharing your content make a reader look in the eyes of their friends?
Let’s be honest. Nobody wants to share content that makes them look bad in the eyes of their friends and members of their social circle.
Sharing interesting and remarkable content can make the sharer seem smarter and more interesting, a phenomenon sometimes referred to as social currency.
In fact, research has shown that people actually receive pleasure from sharing things that can give them positive social currency.
On the other hand, sharing content that could make the sharer look dumb or out of touch can produce negative social currency. So, it’s important to consider sharability when choosing your post topic and when crafting your post title.
Some topics are naturally remarkable or sharable. Cute kittens and grumpy cats come to mind.
Other topics may actually lead to negative social currency for the sharer. This means these posts will be less likely to be shared. Topics like body weight, failure, mental health, and some health conditions, if handled poorly in a headline, could actually create negative social currency for the sharer.
Examples (what not to do):
Why You’re Fat. Here’s a Hint, Get Off the Couch, Lazy Bones
How to Move Past Failure
The first title is just blatantly offensive. The second may be a really helpful article but when shared, it may say to the sharer’s circle, “I think you’re a failure”. Negative social currency.
So, when crafting a title, think about how sharing that post will make you readers look.
The Formula For a Perfect Post Headline
Let’s be honest (again). There really is no such thing as a formula for a perfect post headline. But internet marketing researchers have found that a certain post title format tends to get shared more often.
The formula consists of 5 elements that echo some of the 5 factors above:
1. Emotional Element
The emotional element is an adjective that evokes emotion in the reader.
Common examples include: amazing, brilliant, beautiful, shocking, heart warming, horrifying, etc.
2. Content Element
This element hints at whether the post is comprised of pictures, quotes, a story, facts, charts, video.
Some sites will add this format in brackets after the post title. Example: How to Create the Perfect Blog Logo [Video]
3. Topic Element
This, quite obviously, is the topic of your post.
5 Ways to Organize Your Refrigerator
101 Ways to Increase Employee Satisfaction
Organize your refrigerator and increase employee satisfaction are the clearly labeled topics of these 2 posts. Readers will know exactly what they’re going to be reading about before they even click on the post title.
4. Format Element
The format element quickly informs the reader what post format to expect.
Examples include: list posts, quote posts, how to posts, why posts, story posts, etc.
45 Perfect Gifts to Get Your Mother for Christmas This Year
99 Inspirational Quotes to Brighten Your Morning
How to Bake the Perfect Red Velvet Cake
The first post is an example of the very popular list posts. The second is a quotes post, yet another popular post type. And How tos are similarly popular.
5. Promise Element
The promise element lays out your value proposition for your reader.
From the examples above, you promise your reader they’ll be able to bake the best red velvet cake after following your recipe. Or that the quotes you’ve shared will cheer them up on a dreary Monday morning.
When blended together, these 5 elements can create post headlines that are both clickable and sharable.
So, let’s break this formula down.
27 Amazing Charts That Will Turn You Into a Baking Whiz
*This is a real post that got over 650K shares and 2.6 million views.
27 – Format Element indicating a list post
Amazing – Emotional Element
Charts – Content Element
Baking – Topic Element
Turn You Into a Baking Whiz – Promise Element
This title contains all 5 elements plus 4 of our 5 factors above as well.
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Sum It Up
Most bloggers treat their post titles as more of an afterthought. But successful blogs like SocialMediaExaminer.com require their writers to propose 25 post titles for each post prior to publication.
Crafting post headlines that are both clickable and sharable are key to creating posts with the potential to go viral. And who doesn’t want their posts to go viral?