Many content marketers seem to miss out on a key aspect of success – the title of your white paper, eBook, guide, webinar, etc. Creating great content and not spending time coming up with a title that will convert to clicks and leads is all too common.
At Aggregage, we see lots of content marketing pieces across a wide variety of industries. We will continue to do analysis on what titles get our readers to click and take action, but we’ve captured are some preliminary findings.
In this post, I’m pointing real-life examples of content marketing pieces. Apologies upfront if I call out your particular title in the category of “could be improved.”
#1 Be Accurate but Sexy
Before I get any farther, let me be clear that I’m going to talk about coming up with sexier sounding titles. However, I’m a techie (Ph.D. in Computer Science) and definitely the kind of techie that can’t bring myself to put out marketing materials that do not represent reality. I firmly believe that you should not overpromise and under deliver on your content. Your title needs to set clear expectations for the reader.
That said, there’s no reason that B2B lead generation materials can’t push the title so that readers are intrigued and want to click.
#2 Power Words
The folks at BuzzFeed have somewhat made a living doing this well. They can take the exact same item and add a spin to the title to come up with something that will get clicks. If you look closely, they are really good at adding “Power Words.” These words fall into a few buckets:
- Love – Hate
- Brilliant / Stunning / Wow / Ultimate – Silly / Stupid
- Get / Change / Learn
- Easy / Free / Simple
- Discover / Unexpected / Secret
There are many more examples of these kinds of power words. And you can find many examples of B2B lead generation pieces that take advantage of them:
Get 5 Strategies to Simplify Your HR and Benefits Administration—and Love Your Work Again!
Vision Benefits: Changing from ‘Why’ to ‘Wow’"
7 Critical Hiring Questions Every Interviewer Should Ask
Each of the above have put in power words that really help with benefits and inspiration. The following example uses a power word:
The Ultimate Guide to Health Care Reform
Part of this technique is also keeping in mind the audience and what the actual benefit is to them. What are they going to learn? How is this going to help them? Take a position and think clearly about the audience and talk to them about why they should read it. The above example doesn’t really do a good job of helping me understand who the intended reader is or what benefit it is to me.
#3 Title Does Not Need to be All Inclusive
We see a lot of titles that cover generally interesting ground such as:
Recruiting Strategy Tips for 2015
Obviously, this title lacks power words. But it also lacks specific topic areas or intrigue that would get me to drill down. For example:
The Wow Candidate Experience and 4 Other Can’t Miss Recruiting Techniques for 2015
What’s the “Wow Candidate Experience?” I’d better download the white paper to find out. I also want to know what the other four techniques are – maybe I’ve not heard of them either.
We repeatedly see that titles with more a more specific, intriguing focus convert better.
#4 Do Not Mention Your Company or Product
We find that a mention of your company or product in a title spells much lower conversion rate. Example:
Adobe Document Cloud for HR Efficiency
Only prospects who are far along in the buying cycle will be interested in your product marketing materials. Earlier in the cycle, they want content that encompasses multiple solutions. Yes, you are going to tell readers about your solution – everyone knows the game. But they don’t want to think you are starting with your product in mind.
#5 Use Numerals
There are many examples of lead generation pieces with numbers in them. So not sure that using a number qualifies as a “secret.” We see that readers tend to convert when a title implies there are several items of value. However, there is a small secret here –
Automate Time and Attendance: Seven Reasons it Makes Good Sense
We suggest modifying to:
Automate Time and Attendance: 7 Reasons it Makes Good Sense
The numeral will convert slightly better. And both the number and the numeral convert better than a similar title without it.
Actually, there’s a few things that could be changed here other than just the numeral. Can we turn “Makes Good Sense” into something more powerful and beneficial?
Discover 7 Unexpected Benefits of Time and Attendance Automation and Wow Your Boss
My guess is this over promises for this particular piece, but I would certainly look to make this sound more compelling.
#6 Link Title to Something Recognizable
We don’t have enough examples of this to have data to back this up, but we’ve seen a few examples of lead generation pieces that have done really well by tying into recognizable, current topics. A couple examples:
Second Screen Engagement: What Corporate Trainers Can Learn from "The Walking Dead"
Founder of Khan Academy, Sal Khan, Gives Take on Video in the Workplace
Of course, this requires that the content matches to come degree. It can be hard to retrofit content to match, so normally this needs to be figured out ahead of writing the content.
I specifically choose the title of this post to include
7 Simple Secrets
Convert Like Crazy
this is a foolproof formula. Sorry – couldn’t resist. Again we lack sufficient data to know how much of an effect there is from alliteration, but we’ve seen anecdotal evidence that it catches the eye and gets the click.
We definitely recommend spending time before you write your piece brainstorming a list of possible headlines. Obviously, if you are going to tie it to something topical, you need the content to reflect that.
If you need a bit of additional inspiration, you might look at blog title generators like http://seopressor.com/blog-title-generator. You can insert a term like “B2B Lead Generation” and it inserts it into templates to create:
- What Will B2B Lead Generation Be Like In The Next 50 Years?
- Understand B2B Lead Generation Before You Regret
- 5 Important Life Lessons B2B Lead Generation Taught Us.
- Skills That You Can Learn From B2B Lead Generation.
- 5 Innovative Approaches To Improve Your B2B Lead Generation.
- The Shocking Revelation of B2B Lead Generation.
- 10 Awesome Thing You Can Learn From Studying B2B Lead Generation.
- Ten Unexpected Ways B2B Lead Generation Can Make Your Life Better
Look at all those power words and benefits.