One of the things my blogging style doesn’t allow me to do as much as I’d like is to link out to all the interesting things that pop up in my feed reader. So, since I’m feeling rather lackadaisical after the long weekend here in the States (and I have another Mavs victory to prepare for tonight), I thought I’d give these smart people the stage.
It’s hard to engage readers on a continual basis.
It’s downright impossible to even get to that stage if no one stops by in the first place.
Those of you who have read Viral Copy know that I discussed eleven strategies in four categories for gaining attention and links from other bloggers. And if you’ve been around this blog for a while you also know that I primarily use only one of the categories and two of the strategies.
The category is Resources and the two strategies are tutorials and free ebooks.
You know from the 80/20 Rule of Headlines that the best way to get your writing read is to improve your headline. It can be a bitter pill to swallow when you realize that most people, even among those who subscribe to your blog, are not reading every post, but it’s not just you — it happens to us all.
So what was it about the headline of this post that got you to read this far?
Well, it’s not only that the headline makes a promise to deliver unique and useful information to my audience of bloggers. It’s also the way that it makes that promise.
The headline is very specific.
While certainly not the only method for writing good blog post titles, just about any headline can be made better by being as specific as you possibly can. Specificity increases credibility because specific details are simply more believable than broad assertions. Plus, a specific headline conveys more valuable information to a potential reader, which acts to draw them magnetically into the content.
Here are a few examples of ultra-specific headlines:
- How I Made $19,931.42 Last Month With Google AdSense
- In This Free 10 Chapter, 123 Page Ebook You’ll Learn…
- Eleven Secret Techniques That Make Bloggers Money
- Lose 36 Pounds in Only 7 Weeks
- How to Shave 5 Strokes Off Your Golf Score in 3 Days
Of course, the single most important rule of ultra-specific headlines is that you need to be able to back up your assertions. And as I’ve done before, I break the rule in order to make the point (which is the true joy of writing a copywriting blog).
While I’m positive that being more specific in your post titles will increase the number of people who read your post, I have no earthly idea what the actual percentage will be for you. There are way too many variables involved.
So I really should have said:
How to Get More Readers for Every Blog Post Your Write
But that’s simply not as good a headline.
UPDATE: I had forgotten all about this Marketing Experiments test that showed that an optimized headline increased website conversion rates by 73%. This means that not only did overall readership of the content rise, but 73% more people took the requested action, due only to a modified headline. In the first case study, the winning headline simply used a specific dollar amount!
So 53% is likely too low just for increased readership. My apologies for underestimating.
For more on writing great headlines, check out the Magnetic Headlines series on Copyblogger.
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Imagine if ATT had decided to send all of its telephone subscribers a free CB radio back in the 1970s, just to make sure the company was at the forefront of an exciting new communications technology that was sweeping the nation. Mass adoption of trucker tech by the general population would have been a silly thing for a monopoly to gamble on, right?
Seth Godin today looks back at the CB radio craze of the 70s, and specifically how people at the time mistook a niche fascination for a larger trend. The post concludes with Seth asking whether RSS feeds are akin to a true killer-app like email, or destined to join GeoCities in the discarded technology dustbin.
I read a great story this morning.
It’s all about this guy who started blogging back in 2002 after he read an article on the subject. He spent all his free time teaching himself the ins-and-outs of blogging back at a time when all the “how to blog” resources we have today didn’t exist.
He continued to start additional blogs on different subjects, and soon discovered that he was making enough income to cut back his employment to part time so he could focus more on blogging. He decided to really give this blogging thing a go and see if he could make a living from it.
From there, he eventually did become a full time blogger, supported mostly by advertising revenue from close to 20 blogs. It seems this fellow had stumbled into a thoroughly modern new profession, and it allowed him to make much more money than he had previously.
Where did I read this story?
Do you know the quickest, simplest way to get more subscribers to your blog?
The answer is to ask them to subscribe, and make it as easy as possible.
Wow. That’s way too obvious, right?
And yet, day in and day out, I see bloggers who not only fail to ask for the subscription, they downright make it difficult to subscribe. I’ve literally had to poke around on some blogs just trying to find a way to get the content delivered.
Most people won’t do that. And I’ve ended up ditching plenty of blogs because it was too much of a hassle.
So, believe it or not, you can gain an advantage over your competition by simply making it easier to subscribe. The successful conversion of visitors to subscribers is in no small part related to simple usability and motivation adjustments.