UPDATED 28th September.
As marketers, we are faced with the task of coming up with great blog post ideas for our clients on an almost daily basis. Coming up with a post idea is great, but it’s nothing without an interesting, irresistible clickable title. It’s what people read before deciding to take a look at the post. What good is writing an amazing blog post, that won’t get read or shared because of its boring title? A title is one of, if not the, most important component of a successful blog post . I believe it’s down to our remarkable titles that we have such good success rate getting guest blogs accepted!
This is a bit of a long one, so we will help you out with some jump links!
- Why Titles Matter (For Noobs)
- What Is Clickbait? (Must-Read)
- Bad vs Good Titles (Learn From These Mistakes)
- Inspiration (Free Tools & Websites)
- Post Title Cheat Sheet (Actionable Tips To Use Right Now!)
- Summary (It’s A Long Post…)
People are flooded with options every day on the internet. Whether it’s in their emails, in the SERPS, on Facebook or even on your own Blog. You’ll want to make your titles good enough for people to click, and read. Whether you are guest posting or writing blogs for your own site, this guide will come in useful. It’ll be helpful for Ad text and email subject lines too!
See the example above to see why great titles are important for SERPS. You’ll learn why the two circled results are better than the rest in just a moment…
This blog post is actually a rehash of one of our training guides for our project managers and writers. We give them this exact training so that when they create posts titles, they are 100% “Clickbait”.
Clickbait is a term to describe titles that are just so irresistible to click.
To be Clickbait they will most probably fall into one of the below categories.
- Hit a Hot Button (Money, Sex, Health, Happiness, Religion, Politics)
- Involve Celebrities or a big Brand
- Have Some Association That Sets People Apart From Others (Usually Regional, Gender, Brand Wars)
- Some Kind Of List
- Will Promise An Easy Solution
Of course some titles can be Clickbait that don’t fall into the above categories, but generally, these are the main culprits. There will be some titles that fall into one, two or even all of the above categories. Let’s explore each Clickbait category a little bit.
Peculiar/Strange/Weird blog post titles work great for that spammy click bait you see on Facebook. Maybe spammy is a little unfair, I just don’t find that the content delivers the promised goods. Peculiar/Strange/Weird titles are usually based on surprising facts about a certain topic.
Check out the weird post titles below, found on OMG facts:
There are weird similarities between Abraham Lincoln and John F. Kennedy.
or this one…
It cost 7 million dollars to build the Titanic and 200 million to make a film about it
And no, I haven’t made those titles clickable – we need to stay on topic here!
Hot Button Titles (Money/Sex/Health/Happiness & Well-Being/Religion/Politics)
Titles that hit one of our hot buttons, usually money, sex, health and happiness, will always give us an urge to click and see what all the fuss is about.
Example titles may be:
- ‘How To Make £254 A Day From Home’ – We’ve all seen this type of title on Ads and various business opportunity blogs.
- ‘Miley Cyrus Bares All At The VMA Awards’ – Celeb blogs like Perez Hilton have posts like this all the time, pushing us to click to see the raunchy pictures.
- ‘5 Supposedly Healthy Foods That Could Be Making You Sick!’ – We’re all concerned about our health, some more than others, but things like this get curiosity and fear clicks.
- ‘How To Be Happy In A Job That Sucks’ – Careers & life advice are and always will be important to us.
Titles That Involve A Celebrity Or Big Brand
Celebrities and Brands in this age of pop culture really interest us. Whether it’s the latest outfit Lady Gaga is wearing, or what Kanye West is saying on the radio, or what McDonald’s put into their chicken nuggets, we love clicking these type of titles and reading about it. Incorporating brands and celebrities in titles instantly makes them more Clickbait.
Take a look at these examples:
- Miley Cyrus Was Drunk Off Her Booty During Jingle Ball & Almost Threw Up On The Crowd! (Perez Hilton)
- What’s In Your Chicken Nugget: Ingredients Will Surprise You (Decoded Science)
- Google Knows Everything You’ve Ever Done, Ever (NY Mag)
- Celebs You Won’t Believe Are Actually Friends! (Zergnet)
Have Some Association That Sets People Apart From Others
Yeah, so, we usually click titles and ads that we think will involve us or affect us in some way… that’s obvious, but titles that really set you apart from others are even more Clickbait. It gives people a talking point and reason to share, and even better, discuss.
Like these for example:
- ‘Mac vs PC: The Final Showdown’ – Mac vs PC, iPhone vs Android, PS vs Xbox – there’s plenty of brand wards people are passionate about…
- ‘Why People In The UK Will Die Younger’ – Specific locations get a lot of attention, some more so than others
- ‘Renting vs Mortgage: Have You Made The Right Decision?’
- ‘Is The iPhone The Best Phone Ever?’
List Based Blog Posts
List based posts are great. People love lists. People love numbers. Something just clicks in reader’s heads and it makes absolute logical sense to read. Lists of places to go on holiday. Lists of apps you need if you’re a gardener. List of reasons you shouldn’t get a mortgage. Top 10 list of Netflix films. You know the score…
Here are some real-life examples:
- Six Things Not To Buy Before Christmas – This one is great, it’s timely, gives a little scarcity, and it’s a list… (LifeHacker)
- 9 Top Tech Breakthroughs of 2020 – (Mashable)
- The 9 most baffling passages in the Bible, and what they really mean (io9)
- Straightforward Answers to 37 of Life’s Most Common Problems (Chris McCombs)
Blog Posts That Promise An Easy Solution
Blog posts that answer our questions, or solve our problems are great, but their titles need to state this, or better still promise it… By stating things like ‘in 3 easy steps’ or ‘in 60 seconds’ we’re giving the potential reader a little promise (it’s not like a take-to-the-grave promise or anything… it’s just a guideline to how simple the post is making the task at hand…). They’re usually ‘how to’ tutorial style posts.
- Toad in the hole in 4 easy steps – Instead of just Toad in The Hole recipe – it promises to make it in 4 EASY steps. Great… it’s got my click! (BBC Food)
- How to Change a Tire: 14 Steps (with Pictures) – Steps again, this time promising pictures too! Ah great, that will make it easy… let’s click! (WikiHow)
- How I Clean Our House In 60 Minutes Or Less – The bit at the end really makes all the difference. Anything that saves time or money get’s clicks. (Andrea Dekker)
With these, it’s the little bit about how many steps, or how long it takes, or how much money you’ll make/save, that makes all the difference to the title. Being specific, like saying it takes 20 minutes or less, or you’ll save £26.54 a month goes a long, long way.
Now we know what kind of titles get clicks, let’s look at some bad post titles and how we can make them Clickbait!
BAD: ‘What Phone To Upgrade To In 2020?’
GOOD: ‘The Top 10 Definitive List Of Smartphones That Should Be On Your Upgrade Wishlist’
WHY: We’ve used a list (Top 10) – we’ve used a remarkable word – ‘Definitive’ – we’ve added some spice by coining the phrase ‘Upgrade Wishlist’.
BAD: How To Clean The Oven
GOOD: The 10-Step EASY Guide To Cleaning Your Oven (With Pictures)
WHY: We’ve used Steps, a remarkable word – ‘Easy’ and given it more value by calling it a guide, and letting the reader know it’s got pictures – Pictures will seal the deal.
BAD: Fashion Ideas For Summer
GOOD: The Ultimate Style Guide For Summer 2020
WHY: We’ve used a remarkable word – ‘Ultimate’, and given the post more value by calling it a ‘Style Guide’ and given it a more timely nature by including the year ‘2013’.
- The FATJOE Blog Title Generator – This is an amazing tool our dev team created in which you type in your topic and it will give you ready-made title ideas back. Let’s say we entered Guest Posting, we’ll get some amazing titles back like this:
- Apply These 10 Secret Techniques To Improve Guest Posting
- 20 Ways To Improve Guest Posting
- How To Earn $1,000,000 Using Guest Posting
- Are You Embarrassed By Your Guest Posting Skills? Here’s What To Do
- How To Pick Up Women With Guest Posting
- What The Pope Can Teach You About Guest Posting
- Albert Einstein On Guest Posting
This tool will surely get your creative juices flowing however here are some more websites to take inspiration from.
Ezine Articles – An article site, that gets absolutely hammered every day with new articles. Great news for people like us looking for interesting title ideas. Most of the people that submit to this site are marketers and are looking for clicks, so the titles are on the whole, pretty decent. Type in your sector/keyword in the search bar, and get some great ideas back.
http://www.omg-facts.com – These guys know how to get clicks…
http://www.zergnet.com – As do these.
http://www.faithit.com – And these guys.
http://www.gettyu.com/ – These guys are a pro at creating shareable titles.
http://www.reddit.com – Here you’ll find some great ideas for titles, just search for a term.
Flipboard App – We’ve spoken about Flipboard before on our Moz post. It’s a great app for finding inspiration for blog post ideas as well as titles.
- Damn Good
Numbers In Posts (like lists, prices, times)
- 6 Ways to …
- …Save £128.46 Every Month…
- …In Under 30 Minutes.
Make It Sound More Than Just Another Blog Post…
- A Guide To…
- A Tutorial To…
- The ____ Manifesto!
- The Cheat Sheet For…
- The Secrets You Don’t Know About…
- …in 2013
- …This Christmas
- …For The World Cup
- …Before You Reach 30
Once you get a general idea of what your post is going to be about, or even if you’ve written the whole thing; the next step will be to give it a good title. I truly believe this can be done quickly, in under 60 seconds. Although it is more of an art than a science – using the tips and resources we have shown you in this blog post will make it simple.
Head of Content
Become a Pro at SEO
Join 65,000 others and learn the secrets to SEO success with our weekly blog posts.