If you want to get someone's attention you have to have a good opening line. "Hey, baby, what's your sign?" isn't going to close the deal, much less even open the door.
When writing a blog post the title of the post is your pick-up line. That's your first opportunity to make a first impression. Deliver a poorly crafted pick-up line and there is a good chance your blog post sit there alone and unread. Craft a strong pick-up line and you at least have a shot of pulling them in to see what else you got going for you.
The headlines below headlines all come from search engine marketing blogs. These headlines may not be "sexy" like what you might see fronting the gossip mags in the checkout line, but for the industry, these turned out to be some attention-getting headlines. In fact, while the headlines themselves didn't win any awards, the articles that followed certainly did.
The question becomes, would the articles have won awards if the headlines were less attractive? What if they read "Web Marketing Checklist," "12 Search Engine Marketing Strategies," "New Link Building Tactics," "Recover Your Reputation," or "Get Visitors to Convert to Leads."
None of these alternate headlines is particularly interesting, and are in no way as compelling than those actually used. The content may still be top-notch, and may still have gotten a good amount of click-thrus, but there is a far greater chance that the articles would be passed over by any reader skimming through dozens of headlines at a time.
A boring headline will tell the reader that the content is boring, even if it isn't. The headline already provided the first impression of what the reader can expect to read if they click through to the article.
To get your audience to read your content, you need a solid pick-up line that is going to compel them to want to read it. You don't have to go for sexy, but you do need headlines that give an indication for what's in store, dressed in a way that is appealing and increases desire to know more. Asking someone if they want to sit in your old car will get an entirely different response than if you ask someone if you can take them for ride in your fully restored '66 Dodge Charger.
Think of the headline as the packaging. The stuff inside the package will only be seen if the package is appealing enough to get picked up and opened. Your blog post title--your pick-up line--is about presenting your content in a way that your audience want to see what more is there.
Other posts in the "Go Blog Yourself" series
* Introduction: Writing Your Blog Post with Pen in Hand and SEO in Mind
* Step 1: Know Who's Looking
* Step 2: Know What They Want to See
* Step 3: Have a Good Pick-Up Line
* Step 4: Reveal the Goods
* Step 5: Be Easy On The Eyes
* Step 6: Keep Them Interested
* Step 7: Give Them More Than They Came For
* Step 8: Do It Right and Do It Again
Stoney deGeyter is the President of Pole Position Marketing, a leading search engine optimization and marketing firm helping businesses grow since 1998. Stoney is a frequent speaker at website marketing conferences and has published hundreds of helpful SEO, SEM and small business articles.
If you'd like Stoney deGeyter to speak at your conference, seminar, workshop or provide in-house training to your team, contact him via his site or by phone at 866-685-3374.
Stoney pioneered the concept of Destination Search Engine Marketing which is the driving philosophy of how Pole Position Marketing helps clients expand their online presence and grow their businesses. Stoney is Associate Editor at Search Engine Guide and has written several SEO and SEM e-books including E-Marketing Performance; The Best Damn Web Marketing Checklist, Period!; Keyword Research and Selection, Destination Search Engine Marketing, and more.
Stoney has five wonderful children and spends his free time reviewing restaurants and other things to do in Canton, Ohio.
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