So you’ve begun to dip your toe into content marketing by creating a firm-branded blog. Maybe you’ve even ventured into the deep end of the legal content marketing pool by pairing your blog with several social media accounts and an e-newsletter. But still, every time you look at your analytics, you’re sorely disappointed in the lack of traffic.

Perhaps it’s time to rethink your post title strategy.

Post titles, also known as headers, are one of the first things website visitors look at when making a decision about what to click through to and what to scroll past. Just look at this eye-tracking study (side note: I am a huge fan of eye-tracking studies) from the Nielsen Group, which shows that people tend to scan through e-newsletters very quickly, focusing primarily on initial copy and headlines.

When it comes to blogs, reader behavior mirrors this pattern of focusing on titles over other content (visuals are strong draws for attention as well), so investing time in understanding your audience’s behaviors and developing post titles that resonate with them are essential to attracting new and repeat visitors.

While there is no magic formula for writing an attractive blog post title, the following are some tips that have shown to sway readers (and search engines).   

  • Use keyphrases: While this isn’t so much for your human readers, it is of the utmost importance to increase your blog posts’ rankings on search engine results pages. The key here is to toe the line between pleasing the robots (e.g., the Google algorithm) and attracting your audience with some snazzy copy. Besides, the higher your posts rank, the more likely readers will find your content. 
  • Listicles: A “listicle” is when you write an article in a list format. (For example, this post is basically a listicle.) The key to leveraging a listicle is to include a number in the blog post title, which has shown to act as a reader magnet – for instance: 5 tips for attracting readers to your blog. (Oddly enough, odd numbers are even more compelling than even ones.) Buzzfeed has made an entire business out of the listicle format.
  • Urgency: Nothing gets people to act faster than creating a sense of urgency. Titles like “Content marketing tips every legal marketer should know” and “9 legal blogs you can’t live without” tend to attract readers because of their implied importance.
  • Serviceability: A blog post that educates is a blog post that is more likely to get read. Incorporate serviceable-style copy into your title to get people to click-through to your articles. Phrases like “how to,” and the inverted “how not to,” can be big draws.
  • Humor: Law might have a reputation for being a dry industry, but that’s all the more reason to inject a little life into your title copy. Being a little cheeky or weaving in a pop culture reference can make your posts stand out.

This is by no means an exhaustive list of legal blog title best practices. If you have found something that works for you and care to share, leave a comment below. To learn more about law firm content marketing, contact Terry M. Isner at tisner@jaffepr.com