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Use Titles with Bling – RSS Feeds that POP

RssHere’s the next part of the How to Make Your RSS Feed POP series.

Much has been written about the importance of titles of posts in blogging (I have written about it here, here and here for example) – but in your RSS feed title’s power is most notable.

News Aggregators make the title of your posts stand out in larger (and often more colorful) fonts – this makes them the most prominent feature on the screen of those viewing news feeds – their eyes are drawn to this point above all others, but they won’t linger there long. People make a snap decision based upon these few words as to whether to read on – so you’d better make your titles count.

This becomes all the more important with those readers who choose to view their feeds by title only – for these readers titles are everything!

As a result the title becomes a pivotal point that helps readers decide whether they’ll actually read your post or not.

Titles-1

Different bloggers will take different approaches with the titles of their blog posts.

A few random ‘title techniques’ you might like to try include:

Stating the Obvious

Sometimes the most appropriate title is one that states the bleeding obvious. These titles sum up the main point of your post in a concise statement. This is the strategy that many newspapers use when reporting news. The beauty of this approach is that readers know what they are getting and if they are interested in your topic they’ll immediately know that your post is for them.

Shock and Awe

One way of standing out from the many thousands of posts written each day is to shock or surprise those scanning your feeds with a title that pushes the boundaries of what they might normally expect to see in their news aggregator. Of course there is a fine line here somewhere and it can be easy to overstep the line from ‘shocking’ readers to ‘offending’ them.

Humor

I still remember driving along a street in Adelaide a few years back and seeing a sign out the front of a pet store with it’s name – ‘Heavy Petting’. It got my attention (a little of the ‘shock’ tactic and made me giggle – to the point that despite not being in the market for a pet I parked my car and went to see what the store would be like. Humor in titles can work great – if you’re actually funny. On the other hand it could come off as a little cheesy – use with caution.

Intrigue and Tease

Some bloggers have the ability write titles that give enough information about what their post is about to get people interested, but which leave enough to the imagination to hook them into actually reading the post because they want to know how it will end.

How To

The classic ‘how to’ post is popular with many. Sometimes these post actually start with ‘how to….’ and at other times they are might be in the format of ’5 techniques for…’ or ‘A Guide to….’. These titles work because they give a reader a reason (or benefit) for reading a post.

There’s plenty more title techniques that people are using (share yours below) but the key is to experiment and see what converts well for your audience. Use a service like feedburner’s stats package and you can see what items people are clicking on to help you work out what people are responding to.

About Darren Rowse

Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.

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Comments

  1. Nice post. Could you also provide some examples of each technique that you mentioned? Thanks!

  2. Nick says:

    The title is definitely a key component for any of your posts. Keywords are king when it comes to SEO, and having these keywords in your title is a high priority. But don’t make it so that your title resembles a garage sale of keywords…

  3. Another good technique is to use the name of a product or service – often people are searching for reviews and having the brandname in the title will make it pop.

  4. Anthony C says:

    Darren, thank you so much for this series this is how my new blog has grown!

    First day: 0 Visitors (Excluding me)
    Second day: 1 Visitor
    Today: 27 Visitors!

    This is giving me hope for my blog…!

    I’m enjoying this series already!

  5. Renée says:

    pet store with it’s name – ‘Heavy Petting’

    This is so funny, I wonder how many linkback I would get with that word for my blog.

    Not too long ago, I wrote Empty Your Dog’s Anal Sacs the Natural Way and got tons of links from porno sites. Visitors who came from those links looking for answer were disappointed to say the least!

  6. Dr. Vino says:

    FYI I installed the feedburner tracking a few weeks ago and had to uninstall it after it really slowed down the loading of the main page. Too bad. (Maybe it is a Blogspot thing) I hope others have had better experiences.

  7. John Henry says:

    I’d also suggest having a series of articles, each telling a part of the story.

    One of my readers aboard a clothes-free cruise has been nice enough to send in daily reports from the cruise. This has been a great way to keep people coming back everyday.

    The downside is having to put other posts on hold so that the series can stay front and center.

  8. I use a mixture of these techniques depending on the post subject. I do actually get visitors, anywhere from 1,000 to 1,500+ a month. Daily visits range from 30 to 90+, and I have had over 50 subscribers to my feed for several days. (Granted, some of them are bots that FeedBurner is reporting as subscribers, but whatever.)

    These are good tips! I’m already all over Stumbling this post, and the others in the series.

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  2. [...] Ok – these opening lines will never get you the girl – but in the same way that great titles are vital when it comes to getting the attention of RSS feed readers – the opening lines of your blog posts DO matter – a lot! [...]