Mastering the Art of the Blog Post Title

You’ve finished writing your blog post and the hard part is over... or so you thought! Time to put the metaphorical icing on the cake of your post with a title that will titillate your audience.

Coming up with a blog post title can be both infuriating and fun. How do you write the perfect one that reflects your personality but also reflects your audience?

First off, take a look at your finished post. Answer these two questions:

  1. What are you trying to say? What is the core message of your piece? Try describing it in one sentence that really sums up what you're writing about. Share it with a friend and see if they get it right away, without having to read the rest.
  2. To whom are you saying it? Emojis might appeal to a certain audience of a certain age that's probably reading your blog on their phone, while those reading your blog from their offices might appreciate a more business-like tone. If you know your audience, you'll know which way to go.

Now, write that core message as a working title. Don’t worry about picking the best words here; you just need to have a starting point. For example, if we were brainstorming about this very post, we might start with "Tips for Better Blog Post Titles." Nothing fancy; just straightforward!

Next, get ready to brainstorm. It's way more fun to do this with a group, but even if it's just you, your laptop, and some room-temperature coffee leftover from breakfast, bust out a notebook or a whiteboard.

Start with short and punchy. A good rule of thumb is to keep your title less than 70 characters for maximum social sharing and so it doesn't get cut off in search results. Try coming up with a title that captures your message accurately, but in just a few words. For example:

  • "Tips for Better Blog Titles"
  • "Help With Your Headlines"
  • "Craft Catchy Blog Post Titles"

Keep in mind, as Buffer tells us, that the first three and last three words are the most important.

Be more specific. Your reader wants to recognize herself in the title, so that she knows right away if this post will be relevant to her interests or not. The title, in turn, should accurately reflect your content so no one feels duped. Try to make your title descriptive enough so your readers know what to expect. For example, we like the "Craft Catchy Titles" option above, and many of our readers are busy business owners. So we might try: 

  • "Use These Quick Tips to Craft Catchy Blog Post Titles"
  • "Craft a Blog Post Title That Catches Your Customer's Attention"
  • "These 5 Tips Will Help You Craft Catchier Blog Post Titles"

Note that we're writing with an active voice here; you want to inspire action, as in clicks.

Be keyword-friendly. Focus on keywords you know your audience is searching for, and try to include at least one in the title. While titles that are just puns are super fun to write (we should know), keywords increase the likelihood your blog will be found. If including one in the title doesn’t work, try to have one as close to the beginning of your post as possible. 

You can figure out what people are searching for by typing sample phrases into Google and seeing what auto-completes. (It's not the most accurate way, but it's an easy starting point!) We see folks searching for "blogging tips for beginners," "how to write a good blog post title," and "how to write a blog post that drives traffic." As much as we dig the word "catchy," it's not really showing up. So: 

  • "Use These 5 Quick Tips to Write Better Blog Post Titles"
  • "How to Write Blog Post Titles that Drive Traffic and Attention"
  • "5 Tips for Blogging Beginners: Write Better Blog Post Titles"

Intrigue us. Now it's time to get creative! How can you stand out from the crowd? Try to inspire curiosity, add some personality or quirkiness, or use stronger language that packs a wallop. Think about your target audience again and what kind of content they're likely to read. In our case, our small business owners are probably inundated with "quick tips," but they do want to become better at content marketing, so we'll try: 

  • "Writing a Kick-Ass Blog Post? Make It #NextLevel with a Better Title"
  • "Master the Art of Writing Attention-Grabbing Blog Post Titles"
  • "5 Must-Follow Tips for Writing Blog Post Titles like a Boss"

Don't be too bombastic. Sure, you're an authority about whatever it is you're writing, but are you THE BEST IN THE WORLD?! Too much of that will turn people off, because we've all been inundated with click-bait that promises everything and delivers... ads. Pick language that demonstrates your expertise, and deliver on what you promise in your copy. And do read that Buffer post for more tips (backed with research!).

Still not sure where to start? Check out this headline template (towards the end of the article) to get those wheels spinning. Remember, doing this right takes testing and learning what works. Try some different titles when you share your post via social to see what your readers respond to; if one outperforms the rest, you'll know what to do next time!