“Good writing will bring you to places you don’t even expect sometimes”
Let’s admit it, writing great content is easier said than done. It takes time, effort and an interesting mix of analytic skills and great instincts. Where analytic skills help you predict which topics will be most attention-grabbing and great instincts guide your decision on how to tackle those good topics. That’s why, when you sit down and start writing a blogpost – whatever the subject, whatever the industry – what you secretly hope to be the outcome of such hard work is outstanding engagement from your readers.But how can you successfully pursue such an ambitious goal in the age of increasing competition? How can your piece of writing stand out from the diversified crowd of content now available online?
Titles, that’s where it all starts. If you can’t grab people’s attention from the get-go, all the effort you put into writing the body of the article is going to be for nothing.
Over the last few months, we’ve found ourselves trying different approaches. Some of them didn’t work out the way we wanted to, but they helped us learn these 4 great lessons:
1. Don’t be afraid of emotional words
Whether it is used in the title or the body of your post, emotive language can be captivating to the skim-reader. Humans, by nature, have an innate tendency to pursue happiness (1), so whenever you use emotive language such as ‘love, best, fabulous, exciting’, the text will be filled with positive connotations relating to happiness and is more likely to sustain the attention of the reader.
2. We’re all kind of curious, aren’t we?
Your employees, your greatly underused marketing asset vs The best marketing asset you’ve never thought of!
Here we have a classic example of 2 apparently similar titles that performed in completely different ways when thrown into the ocean of online content.
The fundamental assumption we all make is that every piece of writing will bring a benefit to us after reading it. Let’s be honest, most times no one is reading just because they are feeling bored, there are plenty other actives up on the Internet. That’s why implying that readers will find a solution to their challenge – without giving it away just yet in the title – could really determine whether they keep reading the blogpost or not. Mixing genuinely useful information with curiosity-grabbing expressions will develop this interest further and keep them reading on.
3. Gotta love lists
Most people prefer to know how much is expected from them before committing to anything. From telephone contracts to social engagement, we like to know exactly what we’re in for. Also, it is much easier to process the information when it is formatted in a simple list.
Since, as an author, writing the proverbial “listicles” can be incredibly fun and quick, it only makes sense to try this format. The quick readers can skim through the key headings and efficiently absorb the information that you are trying to communicate.
4. NOW or NEVER! A sense of urgency won’t hurt
Procrastination, one of the great evils of modern living. How many times do we put links in our to-read list and then completely forget about them? To help you avoid such a dreadful destiny, consider instilling a sense of pure urgency in your titles.
Imagine a blogpost called ‘The marketing tools you should start using RIGHT NOW’ vs one titled “Really useful tools for your marketing campaigns”. People tend to act quickly when you present them with a pressing issue. Using words like “now”, “hurry”, “instant” and “immediately” reinforces this sense of urgency.
Styles of writing vary in value depending on the function and the specific audience. But, whatever the context, it’s always worth spending some extra time on titles. That can really determine whether your piece of content gets the attention it actually deserves or not. Good luck!