The 10 Best Secrets to Blog Post Titles that Attract Readers and Get Noticed

With so many blogs existing in the world, you have a very short amount of time to catch the attention of your valued readers. Your title is what most readers will see first – in an RSS feed, in Google or Bing or embedded in an email. If your title is clunky, too long or plain lackluster, your blog post will likely be lost, forgotten and just plain not seen. With so much pressure to perform, you may find your title writing skills flagging when it matters most. If your goal is to create blog post titles that attract readers, whip their heads your way, and click on your latest blog posts with fervor, here are the ten most well-kept secrets for optimizing your blog titles that every blogger should know.

Enticing Blog Subject Matter

If you are stuck on what to write about, these three title categories are sure to lure new readers to your blog in droves.

  1. Provide a Benefit: Titles that get clicked on the most promise a clear benefit to the reader. They solve a pressing problem, they offer advice from luminaries in the field and they generally seek to improve readers in one way or another.

Whether readers are trying to improve conversions, lose weight or train their dogs to sit and play fetch, get to the heart of their passions, desires, apprehensions and fears and craft blog titles that speak to your readers and promise results; and make those results fast if possible. A good example of this is the blog title How to Eradicate a Zit in a Single Evening.

This will require extensive research in order to accurately analyze the psyches of your reader base, but today’s social networks and popular forums make that research easier than ever before.

  1. Spread the News: Some of the most popular blog titles are those that strive to keep your audience informed of updates and happenings as they relate to your niche. Scour the news, read the latest press-releases in your industry and write blog titles that keep your readers on the up-and-up. A good example of a title for an IT blog might be Ten Industry Updates All IT Professionals Should Know. 
  1. Pique the Curiosity: Attempt to write blog titles that are different than everyone else’s and that resonate with your audience. Use odd but relevant word choices, personal experiences, funny anecdotes and quirky subjects that no one else is using. Your readers won’t be able to help themselves but click and read. An example of a title for a construction blog might be Hammers and Hamburgers: A Day in the Life of a Construction Worker.

Proper Title Construction

Use the following tips to develop titles that drive traffic and attract comments.

  1. Set Expectations and Tease: Your blog title should let readers know exactly what they will get out of reading your blog in its entirety. For best results, tickle your readers with a hint of what’s to come and force them to commit to experience the true payoff.

Consider this title for a weight loss blog: See What Happens when Weight Loss Happens Too Quickly. Notice how the title doesn’t say what happens, it just urges readers to continue reading and pay attention.

  1. Concise is Nice: The shorter your title happens to be, the better. Remember, you only have a very short window to reach your audience. Not only that, but your readers will typically have very short attention spans. Long, drawn out titles get ignored more often than shorter ones. A short and sweet title for a gardening blog might read 7 Plant Watering Secrets.
  1. Optimize for Search: Use your primary keyword very early on if you want to beat out competitors that are optimizing for that same term. For example, if you are writing for a cosmetics blog and your keyword is ‘eye shadow’, your title might read Eye Shadow Tips from the World’s Top Makeup Experts. While not a sure way of improving rankings, there is always the chance that this technique will give you an edge against other bloggers that are using the same term keyword term a little later on in their titles; so this tip is always worth considering. 
  1. Beat Competitors: Once you get a good idea of the title you would like to create, get online and start searching for others who are writing about the same subject. Take their titles in, process them and then use what’s available to make yours even better. 
  1. Use Active Language: Stay away from passive verbs and instead use plenty of action words to get your readers’ hearts racing. Instead of the title How the Best Athletes are Running and Jumping Today, it would be better to use the title Run Faster and Jump Higher Just Like Today’s Best Athletes. 
  1. Lists Bring the Clicks: Blogs that contain numbered or bulleted lists tend to always perform well. Readers prefer blogs that contain easily digestible content, and lists provide exactly that. For instance, 10 Mistakes All New Police Recruits Should Avoid. 
  1. A Strong Title Never Lies: Your titles should always come through on the promises you make. In other words, if your blog title promises to help readers Change a Car Tire Quickly, Even in the Rain, make sure you provide exactly that advice. If your readers are ever made to feel misled, you may lose those readers forever.

Test Your Titles for Better Results

The above advice should help you develop titles that get results, but don’t stop there. Keep testing your titles, feeling your audience out and start looking for patterns of most-read blog posts by studying your analytics data. If you notice that some titles get more clicks than others, replicate your results for even more blog conversions.

They say that your choice of title can make or break every blog post you write. With these ten tips, your posts are sure to strike a nerve with every reader you target.

How To Use Google Hangouts On Air To Promote Your Brand

With the steady and significant uptick in algorithm updates since 2004, Google has notified the internet of the importance of quality. The king of search has always set the standard when it comes to search engine etiquette, and its search facility still serves as a major gateway for website traffic. Although the avenues available for large-scale traffic have widened to accept social media authority and activity, gaining traction with as many mass market distribution vehicles as possible is paramount to creating a well-known digital blueprint.

Many of the methods for online customer acquisition have changed, but there are still some free workflows that deliver as much value as many of the best paid solutions. The common ingredients to making them work are a little knowledge, and a bit of elbow grease. Once you get over the shallow learning curve, rinsing and repeating becomes routine.

Google Hangouts has proven to be a disruptor to the online web conferencing scene, in that it provides a free solution with many of the same features that were previously only available for a steep monthly price. While there are many advanced ways to integrate this technology, including utilizing flash media servers, Amazon EC2 hosting, and multiple premium WordPress plugins to take advantage of the technology, we will show you how to get up and running with the essentials.

A setup of this nature is not only feature-rich and cost-effective, but very powerful when it comes to organically attracting, engaging, and converting new visitors into clients, customers, fans, and sales.

Upsides and Downsides of Google Hangouts on Air (GHO)

Pros:

  • Free to use
  • Streams live on your Google+ Profile and your Youtube channel (with most accounts)
  • Recorded content shows up prominently in search results (at the moment)
  • Highly engaging, trusted format that builds credibility, and allows for “selling without selling”

Cons:

  • Video resolution is not always the best
  • Need to be creative to promote your event beforehand (no pre-event permanent URL)
  • Takes a few dress rehearsals to understand the workflow
  • While viewing is unlimited, only 10 live producers can present the event at the same time

Basic Layout

On the left side of your main GHO dashboard, you’ll see a few icons that you will use to make the user experience ripe with collaboration and interactivity. Keep in mind that only users who access the Hangout through your Google+ profile will be able to take advantage of all of the features.

The top icon is for inviting friends to your Hangout. If you are inviting people who are already in your Google Circles, then it’s easy to copy the URL at the top of your Hangout window, and paste it in an email, or wherever. If invitees are not already in your circle, then there may be issues with signup, reminders, and the like.

The next icon down is used to popup a chat window, in the event that you need to have a moderated conversation with an attendee or attendees while the event is going on. Here, you can paste relevant links and resources that you deem useful for your audience in real-time. Another icon allows you to share your screen.

Near the bottom of the menu is a Google Drive icon that allows you to share documents during the live session. Attendees can collaborate on active documents without writing over the work of other attendees. The sky is the limit when the live video aspect is combined with the collaborative documents feature.

GHOA-basic-layout-1

Google Hangouts on Air Pre-Event Flight Check

Just as an airplane goes through a flight check, you’ll want to follow a routine with your GHO workflow for maximum efficiency. While snags are a part of technology, each delay dilutes the effectiveness of your live and post-event efforts. Keep in mind that as the number of presenters grows, so do the logistics, including different time zones, microphone setups, and internet speeds, to name a few.

The first step in synchronizing producers is making sure that each presenter has a Google+ account from Gmail. It’s a good idea to email presenters a screenshot of the Gmail dashboard, and direct them to the Google+ signup link that appears in the top right or left corner:

GHOA-pre-signup

If they haven’t already, it is a good idea to make sure presenters have filled out their name and avatar profile information. Other essentials include a photo, a tidbit on their personal background in the description area, and their display name.

HOA Presenter Setup

Whether you opt to do a dress rehearsal or send setup instructions to your group of presenters, the professionalism of your GHO presentation is directly related to your preparation. Coming off as unpolished does lend itself to authenticity to an extent, however, large gaffes will decrease the trust and credibility that comes with this presentation medium.

Here are a few general tips to remember when aiming for nice-looking presentations:

  • Maintain ample lighting (computer cameras have a habit of producing dark video)
  • Mute your microphone (unless you are speaking)
  • Choose a quiet area (even computer “humming” can be loud on camera)
  • If possible, angle your camera down on your face, and position yourself so that you are visible from the shoulders up

Combining Google+ Events With GHO

Creating a GHO event is a great way to leverage the search engine power of Hangouts, and increase awareness of your product or service long after your event has passed. Take these steps to integrate Google Events, and Hangouts:

  1. Create a Google+ Community
  2. Share your event from the share box
    GHOA-event
  3. Clicking on the “Text” icon will create your event
    • Name and write a description for your event (as mentioned earlier, no pre-event Hangout URL is available)
  4. Under your event advanced settings, click the “On Air” button (this alerts event attendees that your event is a virtual one rather than a physical one)
    GHOA-event2-1
  5. Just prior to starting your event, navigate to the Hangouts menu, and click the “Start a Hangout on Air” button
  6. Get the Youtube URL from the embed link located at the top right of the Hangout dashboard, navigate to the Google Community you just created, and click on the Video icon
    GHOA-video-button

    • Share your Youtube URL in the share box (now it is automatically shared in your Google Community and Google+ pages)
      GHOA-YT-URL
  7. Press “Start” to begin recording the broadcast, and “End” to finish

Your Google Community followers can now see which events are being live-broadcast, and view them even after the event. If you wish to delete the recording, you can do so from your Youtube Video Manager associated with its respective Google Plus account.

This should give you the tools you need to start running successful Google Hangouts on Air. Regularly doing so will give you consistent access to a pipeline of new potential customers and fans of your products and services. Combined with their increased shelf-life due to organic search, GHO can be a vital part of a comprehensive new media outreach campaign.

4 Reasons Your Small Business Needs a Blog

Unless your new business venture involves a branch campus of the Illuminati, you probably want your small business to get noticed. So what do you do? Set up your business in a high-traffic area? Great. Get a big sign? Fantastic.  Set up your website and social media sites? Even better.

While many small businesses consider this a great place to stop, they don’t realize that they are actually missing a very crucial element.

According to a recent study done by GE Capital Retail Bank, 81% of consumers will engage in online research before making a major purchase, a number that is up by 20% from 2012.

This means two things for you, the small business owner. First, you need people to find your company amidst their research. Second, they need to like what they see. But how do you do that? How do you differentiate yourself from other companies that are in a similar field and make your business more visible?

Thankfully, the answer is not as elusive as it may feel, and doesn’t involve spending copious amounts of marketing cash or hiring a pothead teenager to spin your sign on a street corner. Simply put, start a blog.

Not the answer you were expecting (or wanting)? Before you begin throwing rotten cabbage at me, please consider a few things. As much as we enjoy Mad Men, marketing has taken a dramatic shift in the 21st Century. Our means of connection and interaction have moved to the digital universe, and thus, we need to meet our customers there.

If you are aspiring to grow your small business and beat out the competition, blogging is a non-negotiable. Below are 4 reasons your small business needs a blog… right away.

1. Search Engines Will Love You

Teenage romance movies seem to be all the rage these days. If you have seen any of these movies, you notice a trend. Though the themes may change (vampires, sports, inner-city life), the plot basically stays the same:

  • We are introduced to a socially-outcast girl at a local high school
  • We also meet a handsome boy (often a jock) at the same high school
  • Socially-outcast girl makes a reference to an upcoming prom and how she plans on not attending
  • Due to some unforeseen incident, the boy and girl have to partner together in a class
  • Both hate each other and frown upon the others social identity
  •  Through shared experiences and time together, they soften toward one another
  • At the night of the big dance, socially-outcast girl shows up without glasses and in a beautiful dress
  • Boy realizes that he loves her, renounces his prom king award, cheerleader girlfriend and Princeton scholarship (that dad forced on him) and confesses his affections to her

If Google is the handsome jock, then your small business needs to be the prettiest girl at the dance, and blogging will help get it there!

Search engines love fresh content. As you add new and regular content to your website, search engines will begin to move you higher on their results page. Is your website regularly getting new content or is it stale? If you want to be seen you need new (and regular) content!

Your blog is the easiest and most effective way to regularly add content to your website. This isn’t a ‘one and done’ exercise. You need to be consistent with your posting. It may feel daunting, but your business will thank you for it.

Don’t make your clients wade through 12 pages of ‘search results’ to find you!

2. Potential Customers Have More Opportunity to Find You

When your company begins to embraces blogging, not only will customers be able to find you more easily, they will also be able to find you more often. The reason is simple: diversification.

When you regularly post to your company’s blog, you are creating another opportunity for potential customers to come across your website. The reason is twofold:

  • More Posts = More Search Engine Results

Let’s say that you run an independent insurance company and recently set up a website. At that point, your only hope of being found online is if a customer Google’s “insurance company [your city]”.

However, if your company is also embraces blogging, you make yourself more available. A certain customer may have never  heard of your insurance company, but when they Google “Should I use an independent insurance agent” they will likely find an article about that subject… written on your website. Why? Because you are blogging about your business and industry. In an instant, you went from an unknown company to an entity that is educating someone as to why they should use your services.

  • More Posts = More Social Media Exposure

On top of search engine results, regular blogging will also give you a stage on various social media sites.

How?

One of the keys of good marketing is networking. If you want to see more success in your business, you need to connect with other people that will help your company grow. Since the rise of social media, this has never been easier.

As your company begins to take advantage of blogging, it would benefit your company to show its blog posts on your social media sites.

Not only does your network of peers get to see your work, but they may also share your post with others who may be interested as well. Going back to the 81% of people who do online research before purchases, testimonials and personal endorsements via “sharing” a post goes a long way.

Additionally, your blog can even begin to collect a following of readers and subscribers. This will drive regular traffic to your website via dedicated followers.

3. You Establish Expertise

Here’s some truth: In order to be trusted by the public, your business needs to prove itself. And that’s fair. You may know that you are one of the best in your field, but that doesn’t mean much to the consumer. If you want the public to give you their business, you need to show them why.

Can you guess what the remedy might be? Yep, blogging!

Blogging is one of the best platforms you have as you seek to display your expertise. Write about your industry, whether it is current events, ‘how-to’s’, tutorials, helpful advice or things of the like. And do it often. Show your customers that you are well versed in your field.

But be careful. If you’re attempting to build your credibility and expertise (which you should), make sure that you are giving correct information. Your credibility can take a huge hit if you are known to supply shoddy work. Remember, trust is hard to gain and easy to lose.

4. A Blog Gives Your Business a “Personality”

Not only will a blog help get your company noticed, it can also help put your customers at ease. For many people who fear the unknown, even walking into an unfamiliar business can be anxiety-provoking. What can you do to help?

Keeping a regularly updated blog can help to set a tone for your business that will benefit customers. As you blog about current events happening in your store and in your industry, as well as ‘how-to’s’ and other relevant topics, do not be afraid to infuse some personality. Not only does this make good writing, it also helps your customers feel comfortable with you and your company.

Moving Forward

The idea of starting a company blog can feel daunting; that is understandable. Amidst all of the other work you have to put into your business, writing a blog can feel like a hassle. But the truth is, you can’t afford not to blog. If you are seeking to be found and noticed on the internet, a blog is necessary.

If you really feel like you do not have time to blog, hope is not lost! There are still avenues you can take to have a thriving blog:

  • Delegate writing responsibilities to a trusted employee
  • If your budget allows, hire a freelance writer(s)
  • Consider posting on a regular, but less frequent, basis (2-4 times a month)

So if you’re ready, take the plunge today and start your business blog! We want to hear your feedback. How has your small business benefited from blogging? Please leave a comment and share your experience with us!