How many titles does your blog post need?
We have talked before about how important your blog post title is. In fact, spending time on your title to make it far more compelling is a step that can make such a big difference, it can actually increase traffic to your post and website by 25%!
But the thing is, your blog post actually should have multiple titles. You'll have the main title within your website of course, but if you're using social media correctly to promote your posts, you should have a second title on Google+, and a third or more titles for Twitter.
Once you've published your blog post, it's time to share it to social networks so that your fans and followers will know about it, and we've talked about the 21 things I do after each post. For me, the first share to Google+ is one of the most critical steps.
Do not simply share your post. If you hit the Google+ button on your website, or perhaps copy and paste the URL into a new status update on Google+, you might be tempted to simply go with the Title and Image (you are including images in every post, right?) that is generated as the rich snippet preview on Google+. Resist the urge! Taking the time to craft an interesting and compelling commentary or introduction to your post is critical, and it starts with a new Title.
Can you use the same title as your blog post? Sure. But sometimes I find that while my blog post may be on one topic, when I introduce it to Google+, I take a slightly different take on the topic in order to create a discussion topic. This usually means we need to use a completely different title.
For instance, earlier this month, I wrote a blog post called, "Running dry on blog post ideas? Talk to people." When I shared it to Google+, I wanted to couch the post in social media terms and stress how Google+ plays a role in this technique, so i titled my Google+ share: "Get Blog Ideas from Google+ and Hangouts."
When you create a title, use the asterisks (*) on either side of the title to make it bold. Doing so will create nice formatting for your post, as well as give you a nice reference when looking at your notifications.
Now when it comes to Twitter, since there'll be no image or description riding along, the success or failure of your tweet hangs on your ability to craft a compelling message. No pressure, huh?
Fortunately, the nature of Twitter is such that you can and should share the same link several times thoughout the day. Each time, the text of the tweet is changed to ask a different question, or present the blog post in a different way. That means you have a few chances to see what works best.
You will typically start with the title of the post. Subsequent shares may ask a question that the post answers, or perhaps use a quote from the post. Make good use of Hashtags and mentioning others in the tweet if appropriate. Remember that you're limited to 140 characters, and that needs to include your link, any hashtags you wish to include, and sometimes the request to "Please ReTweet."
So what makes for a good title? Here are some times to keep in mind:
1. Present value to the reader. Tell them how they will benefit, personally or professionally, if they read this article.
2. Ask a question, particularly if you can ask a question that the reader will relate to, like, "Have you ever..."
3. Share insider knowledge and translate it into a benefit for the reader.
And above all else, pay attention to what you're doing, note what works, and keep trying. Use your analytics to tell which tweets seem to get the most attention in the form of favorites, retweets and click-throughs, and watch for patterns in your title formations.
If you'd like more help crafting your blog posts or social media shares to help generate traffic and leads, please contact me.
Image courtesy of reinvented, Flickr.