By Jodie Cain Smith
Yes, I hope this blog gets sick, contagious, viral. So, when looking to contaminate the Internet with my next stroke of genius, how do I encourage infection? I can write the most riveting content ever uploaded, but if the title stinks, no one will ever read my brilliance.
My recent post to the South Carolina Workshop Website blog soared to over 2,000 views in two days. (Nowhere near viral, but it was a strong showing. The average number of views of SCWW posts is between 150 and 500 per post.) As much as I would love to believe I have a gigantic online following and that my public clamors for every word I write, this is not true. The success of my recent post lies in the title.
When competing for online readers, keep these few, simple principles in mind when creating the title for your next post.
1. Clarity is key. Tell the reader exactly what your post will address. Ambiguous titles such as “Inspiring Minds” or “Write or Wrong” may be clever, but they do not tell the reader anything about the post.
2. Be honest. No one enjoys being lied to, so make sure your title reflects the content. Recently, a friend of mine shared an article on Facebook with a salacious title. It was juicy, real juicy. I clicked. I read. I realized the title was a lie. I did not click the share button. (I also knew the content of the article was in stark contrast to my friend’s personal view on the subject. I sent her a private message alerting her to the contrast. She posted the response, “Always read everything you share!” Palm to face.)
3. Keep it short. The title “These Ten Actions Will Make You Stop Being a Drag and Become a Good Person Today” doesn’t exactly roll of the tongue and will probably fall subject to an ellipsis. Try instead, “Ten Acts to a Better You!”
4. Make it sexy. We are a scroll-and-click society. As creators, it is our job to make a reader stop scrolling and start reading. If trying to “sell” my thoughts on the craft of writing, I have to grab attention within one glance of a potential reader. Exciting, suggestive language does that. “Worst. Author Event. Ever” told my audience with an economy of words, “If you would like to read a snarky, emotional article on author book signings, click here.”
Remember, ripples come from a splash. Go forth and jump into the pool, cannonball-style!