Professionalism in blog posting is tantamount to blog credibility. When people initially peruse a company’s blog, whichever random post they choose first will lay the groundwork for their permanent perception of that company’s image.
Because of the long term impact any one article could have on the entire blog or company it’s of vital importance that companies constantly produce quality posts. Irregular posting, shoddy titles, bad prose, and low-quality images are a few tell-tale signs readers investigate before becoming part of the company’s steady readership. This post will demonstrate how to create professional post titles, and which title formulas must be avoided.
Stick to the Brand Voice
Before choosing a sleek, impressive title for any post, make sure to read the company’s brand guidelines. Derivation from the over-arching style of a blog will create reader mistrust, and could make the best post seem out-of-place.
Also keep in mind that if the intent of the company is to change the standing voice of the blog, that this should be done gradually if there is a strong readership, because the sudden change could drive long time readers away. Where there is no readership, changing the voice and style overnight is less important, and could revitalize a dying blog.
Compare to Competitors
Check out competitors’ blogs and carefully observe whether or not there is a standing industry standard. For example, social media agencies and companies tend to be more quirky and dynamic, whereas financial firms are almost exclusively understated and simple.
While it is possible to stand apart from the conventions of a subculture, it’s only recommended where it is intentional and strategic: being unique can be a pro or a con.
Do you find that ‘top ten’ articles get higher click-through rates, more likes and shares, and better feedback than any other style? Does your readership respond positively to process-style ‘how to’ articles? Watch the numbers and respond accordingly. No matter how bulletproof a strategy reads on paper, it could be a dud with real audience members. Give them what they want.
Formulas to Avoid
In general, any formula that feels old is less professional than something original and earnest. A formula tells the reader that the article will be expected, and could be a re-spun version of something Google would list on 18 different blogs.
When it’s time to title a professional post for its specific readership, be mindful of their interactions with popular title formulas. Here are a few examples:
- How to X, Y, Z – Readers will expect this piece to explain the process and nothing more. If it’s not a process they care about, they won’t click it. Using a freeform title could draw in more readers.
- Top Ten X’s That Y! – Everyone has encountered this title so many times that we expect it to list X items that are humorous or interesting. This is great for fun pieces that aren’t deep, but it doesn’t read as professionally as X’s That Y: What Does It Mean to You or something else less formulaic.
Follow Your Gut
In spite of a solid strategy, the industry’s overriding tone, your company’s voice, and the analytics reports, sometimes it pays to follow your intuition. Intuition is said to be a brain’s response to a lifetime of causality, which means that your intuition is really just a subconscious read of millions of signs and outcomes. It’s often a good idea to rest your faith in yourself.
Titling a professional post for its niche is about being a part of that group. Understand their mentality, interests, problems and achievements and you will naturally gravitate towards titles that work for the niche.
Next week we’ll take an in-depth look at how to carefully craft titles for reader-types in Targeting Audiences With Titles: Who Clicks What? Whether your company wants the attention of soccer moms or college hipsters, next week’s article will certainly help.