Monday, 4 June 2012

A great example of why blog post titles matter

Today my eye was caught on Twitter by a blog post entitled "6 reasons why you should quit blogging" by Daniel Tynski on the Blue Grass blog and retweeted by We Grow Media.

I'm telling you about this for two reasons - number one, the blog post title is a great example of how to get people's attention. Everyone's time and attention is limited, and on media like Twitter, when tweets pass in the blinking of an eye, your blog post title may be your one chance to be noticed. 

This isn't as easy as it sounds - you could make your title something outrageous, or that promises something that it then fails to deliver. I don't advocate that - who wants to be let down or feel they've been hoodwinked into reading an article, only to find it wasn't at all what it claimed to be about? This tactic is sometimes referred to as 'linkbait'. Not great for building your audience long term.

No, the beauty of this title was that it set out to be controversial (reasons why you should quit blogging?? Aren't we usually being told the opposite?) and thereby attracted several groups of readers - those who really are doubtful about the value of blogging and may even be looking for reassurance that they needn't do it, those who believe in blogging but seeing this title puts a little doubt in their mind which they need to address (is there some new research?), and those who feel indignant at the suggestion of blogging being a waste of time and are keen to refute the suggestion. By attracting people with diverse opinions and interests, there's a good chance the post will generate comments and maybe even discussion. Brilliant - achieve this and you're on your way to building your blog community.

The second reason I enjoyed this post is that instead of the usual 'why you should blog' arguments, we get a list of perverse reasons why you should not blog - so that of course if you 'don't want improved rankings' or if you 'want to be limited by someone else's rules', then you should certainly not blog. The post title isn't misleading, but does turn out to be ironic. The blogger makes his points very clearly, but in an original way that gets people thinking.

What do you think about 'controversial' blog post titles? Do they catch your eye? Do you know what kinds of blog post titles will work for the readers you want to attract to your blog?

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