10 Things You Need to Know About Writing Awesome Blog Titles

  • The takeaway:  It takes a lot of effort to create compelling blog content for your brand. To make sure those efforts don’t go to waste, your blog titles need to be as compelling as the content itself. This post provides 10 tips for creating awesome blog titles that people will actually read.

For brands, blogging can be one of the most effective ways to communicate with target audiences. Recently, we provided a few tips to help you identify blog topics audiences will actually want to read. But even posts with the most engaging topics can go unread if you don’t inspire audiences to read them. Whether they’re scrolling through social media or conducting related searches, people are far more likely to click on blog posts with compelling, attention-grabbing titles.

Related – [Video]: Why Your Brand Needs a Blog

10 tips for writing compelling blog titles

No. 1: Start with a working title

Before you write each blog post, create a working title that describes the topic you’re writing about. Your working title is just a starting point but you should pick something that could work as a final version in a pinch.

For example, here’s the working title for this post: “How to Write Catchy Blog Titles That People Want to Read.” It’s not the worst title in the world, but there’s a lot of room for improvement. After I finished writing the post, I used the tips below to refine my working title into a more optimized and polished final version.

No. 2: Write several titles for each post

Whatever you may think of the quality of Upworthy’s content, it’s extremely effective at driving traffic from – and engagement on – social media. Upworthy is famous (infamous?) for its attention-grabbing headlines that pique readers’ curiosity and capture their attention.

Upworthy’s headlines help drive nearly 3 million unique visitors per month to their site, and their writers spend a lot of time coming up with titles. The site’s editors explained how they come up with their popular headlines in an atrociously-designed presentation that looks like someone threw a bunch of outdated memes on an equally outdated PowerPoint template. (Here’s the entire deck if you want to flip through and feel better about the last presentation you created.)

Write out plenty of options while creating catchy blog titleThe main takeaway for writing headlines is repetition is key. Upworthy’s writers create 25 title options for each blog. That’s probably more options than you’ll need, but coming up with several options for each post is definitely a worthwhile exercise.

No. 3: Optimize blog titles for search engines

As you build out your list of title options, you’ll want to include the specific words and phrases your audiences are searching for related to the topic. Incorporating the specific words and phrases (i.e., keywords) people use to find content about your topic allows you to optimize your title for search engine results.

To find keywords for your title, head to Google’s Keyword Planner (or a similar tool) and enter phrases related to your topic. The Keyword Planner will then provide the average monthly search volume for each phrase, along with a list of keyword ideas for you to choose from.

Conducting keyword research to optimize your blog titles

Choose a keyword that has decent monthly search volume and can be naturally woven into your title. For maximum SEO value, try to place your focus keyword toward the front of the title and incorporate it throughout your post.

No. 4: Include words that capture readers’ attention

As you refine your blog title, incorporate words that stand out in search results and social media feeds, pique readers’ interest and inspire them to click through to your post.

How to use punctuation to write better blog titles


No. 5: Write for your target audience

The types of words in the last tip are all meant to generate a response from your audience. To make sure your blog titles inspire the right response from the right people, imagine you’re talking directly to a member of your audience as you write out your list of options.

  • Focus on their interests, needs and wants
  • Encourage them to take specific actions to address their needs and wants
  • Explain why reading your blog post would be valuable to them

No. 6: Include punctuation

Adding punctuation to your blog titles can be an effective way to grab readers’ attention while providing additional detail on the topic. Not every blog title warrants punctuation, but here are a few effective ways to incorporate marks into your headlines:


No. 7: Add numbers

Structuring your blog post as a list will not only make it easy to write a solid title, this format is also ideal for how online readers typically consume online content. Readers can easily jump into a list, scan the piece for any points that seem appealing or relevant to them and move on.

Average social shares by content type

Average shares by content type

No. 8: Test going negative

While I don’t recommend doing this all the time, using negative headlines can be an effective way to capture readers’ attention. When done correctly, negative headlines should evoke a little consternation from your audience that they might be doing something wrong. Don’t go too overboard though or you’ll fall into the trap mentioned in our next tip.

Examples of negative blog titles


No. 9: Avoid click-bait headlines

“A consumer is not a moron. She’s your wife. Don’t insult her intelligence, and don’t shock her.”

David Ogilvy

This quote from copywriting legend David Ogilvy may be more than half a century old and the terminology a bit archaic but the lesson behind it is still valuable: don’t try to mislead or trick your audiences. At best, deceptive blog titles (i.e., click-bait headlines) oversimplify and overpromise; at worst, they insult readers’ intelligence.

Unfortunately, click-bait headlines are effective at driving traffic so many publishers use them regularly. While this tactic might work for publishers who are just trying to drive as much traffic as possible to boost ad revenue, it’s less effective for brands. As a brand marketer, your goal should be to write blog titles that attract quality visitors who find your content helpful, engage with your brand and convert into customers.

No. 10: Use tools to perfect your blog title

Once you have a list of title options, there are tools you can use to further optimize the title. For example, CoSchedule’s headline analyzer tool will score your title based on its overall structure, grammar and readability. The tool will also help you identify ways to improve the title like adding more uncommon, emotional or power words.

Using online tools to optimize your blog titles-v2

Related – 10 of the Best Free Tools to Help You Produce Killer Online Content

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Top 5 takeaways from Moz’s 2018 Local Search Ranking Factors

Moz recently released its annual Local Search Ranking Factors survey covering a broad range of topics including Google My Business signals, local reviews, links, citations and much more. To develop the results, Moz surveyed top local SEO practitioners. The respondents offered their thoughts on what they considered to be the most influential factors determining Google’s local map pack and local organic results.

The Moz survey has long acted as a barometer for the future of local search and how changes to the Google My Business (GMB) platform affect brands’ local presence. The survey also acts as a helpful to-do list for local businesses and SEO practitioners. To help you understand what it takes to optimize your brand’s presence for local search results, we’ve gathered a collection of our top takeaways from the survey.

Before diving into the most important learnings from the survey, let’s look at the top local search ranking factors for Google’s local pack and organic results.

Top 5 Local Search Ranking Factors - Local Map Pack and Organic Results

Top 5 takeaways from Moz’s 2018 Local Search Ranking Factors

No. 1: Links still weigh heavily in rankings

Link signals (inbound anchor text, linking domain authority/quantity, etc.) have long played a significant role in local search rankings. Google looks at incoming links as votes of confidence that your website has trustworthy, relevant and high-quality content. To help your brand dominate local search results, make sure your webpages have plenty of incoming links from other relevant, authoritative sites.

No. 2: The importance of online reviews continues to grow

In the past year, the local search industry has seen the importance and influence of reviews grow dramatically. And, this trend has played out in Moz’s survey for several years in a row. According to responses from the survey, the importance of review signals has increased more than 40 percent since 2015 and more than 17 percent over the last year.

Local Search Ranking Factors - The Importance of Online Reviews“In the search results I look at regularly, I continue to see reviews playing a larger and larger role. Much as citations became table stakes over the last couple of years, reviews now appear to be on their way to becoming table stakes as well,” said survey respondent David Mihm.

“In mid-to-large metro areas, even industries where ranking in the (local pack) used to be possible with a handful of reviews or no reviews, now feature businesses with dozens of reviews at a minimum — and many within the last few months, which speaks to the importance of a steady stream of feedback.”

See also: How Customer Ratings Impact Search Rankings

No. 3: Google My Business is growing

Google has been looking to quickly develop and generate revenue from local search, especially since it separated GMB from Google+. The new GMB developments can be seen in the features that have been added to the platform in the past year or so including Google Q&A, Services, Messaging, Google Posts and more.

To give you an idea of the up-and-coming features your brand should focus on, here are the top 5 factors the experts focused more on in the past year:

Top local search ranking factors the experts are focused on more in 2018

Related: The Latest Updates to Google My Business and Maps

No. 4: The importance of citations is on the decline (or so it would appear)

According to the survey’s year-over-year comparisons, citations – any online mention of your business’ name, address and phone number – have lost some value in the past year. We doubt, however, that this means local SEO practitioners think citations are becoming less important. Instead, it’s more likely that citations have become such a fundamental component of local search that SEO experts look at them as a given rather than as an area of focus. On top of that, there are more factors being tossed into the local search algorithm every year which naturally dilutes the pool.

No. 5: Local SEO is a holistic strategy

Each year, Moz’s survey reinforces a fundamental tenet of SEO that we here at Mindstream Media Group fully subscribe to which is that businesses need to leverage a holistic and consistent strategy across their online assets to succeed in local search. To support this conclusion, look no further than these top-ranking factors:

On-page signals (No. 4 for local pack rankings/No. 2 for organic rankings)

For your local business to succeed in local search, you must go beyond optimizing your GMB profile and focus on improving on-site signals like including NAP information on local pages, using local keywords in title tags and improving your overall domain authority. It’s also important that your on-page optimization strategy aligns with your local profile efforts and that all NAP information is an exact match across assets.

Related: How to Dominate Local SEO by Optimizing Your Location Pages

Citation signals (No. 5 for local pack rankings and organic rankings)

To that last point, consistency is crucial in local search. Google wants to make sure it’s returning the most accurate and up-to-date information to searchers. If Google finds conflicting information on your business’ profiles on other sites, it will see that as a major red flag. Google may take that inconsistency as a sign that it doesn’t have the best data for your location, and your rankings could take a hit as a result.

Looking forward in local search

Google has lots of plans in store for its local search results and the world of local SEO is constantly evolving. We’ll continue to monitor these updates and provide you with recommendations on how to improve your local search presence based on the latest industry best practices.

Subscribe to our blog to get the latest local search news delivered straight to your inbox.

Top Ways to Win at Holiday Email Marketing

The holidays are here! If you’re an email marketer, that means it’s time to make sure you’ve optimized your strategy. The competition is working hard to get the attention of your customers, so you’ll need to take key steps to stand out this holiday season.

Luckily, by working smarter instead of harder, that’s an achievable goal. As always, it’s important to follow best practices, like segmenting lists and using an email verification tool to make sure emails land in inboxes. Keep the following tips in mind and your holiday email campaign just may crush it this season.

Explain the benefits you offer

Throughout the year, you might think it’s unnecessary to continue reminding your followers about why your products or services are worth their money. You probably already offered that information when they first subscribed to your email list, but perhaps they need a reminder or extra push to take action.

During the holidays, there’s a good chance you’ll attract a lot of new followers who may consider making a purchase. It’s a great time of year to highlight what makes your business unique and why consumers should care.

Study past strategies

Most holiday email campaigns involve promoting special offers or discounts. To decide which promotional strategy is best for your goals, study past campaign performance to see which delivered the greatest overall return on investment. You want to know what you’re promoting before designing email content around it.

Keep mobile users in mind

Statistics indicate that most people check their inboxes via mobile devices. Make sure your email content is organized accordingly. Avoid large chunks of text, use headers and bullets to make your content scannable and include images to break up sections of text.

Offer Personalized Recommendations

Approximately 22 percent of American shoppers say they also buy gifts for themselves during the holiday season. Remember, your followers may not be exclusively looking to purchase items for someone else. Boost your sales by offering personalized product recommendations they may be interested in.

Guard against cart abandonment

Cart abandonment is to be expected during any time of year. Online shoppers can be easily distracted. However, this issue is of particular concern during the holidays, with shoppers often using carts as wish-lists they end up forgetting about.

Maximize your sales by automating a reminder email that arrives in a customer’s inbox an hour after they abandon their cart. A simple reminder may be just what they need to complete the purchase.

Promote other services and features

The holiday season gives you an opportunity to reach a large audience with your emails. Thus, while you should focus on promoting your holiday deals, you should also remember to promote other features and services, such as your sister brands, social media channels, rewards programs and the like. Leverage your large audience during the holidays to boost brand awareness.

Offer exclusive deals

Your holiday email campaign can demonstrate the value of subscribing to your list in general. For instance, by offering your followers access to exclusive deals or products, you can make them feel like valued customers and remind them how they benefit from following you.

The holidays don’t need to stress you out. It’s true that email marketing can be competitive this time of year, but if you apply the points listed here, you’ll design a successful campaign that boosts sales and brand loyalty.

See related article: Marketing the (Shorter) 2019 Holiday Shopping Season