While the quality of the content and writing itself is essential in the creation of a great blog, your efforts may go unnoticed if it lacks an effective title.
Because the internet is wrought with the noise of so many other articles and posts vying for attention, readers have been taught to filter through search results and ignore those that simply fade into the background because they fail to catch their eye. Unfortunately, those users will likely ignore the poorly titled articles that are actually chock-full of the answers they seek.
You only have a split second of a potential client’s attention. So how can you ensure that your blog gets its due attention from readers? Here are some ideas for creating titles that not only stand out, but also communicate a message and lure in readers.
1. Use numbered lists
Readers are seeking simple and direct answers, especially in legal matters. Lists organize complex concepts, synthesizing them into quick and easily digestible bits of information. Our brains are wired to feel reassured by lists, as they imply order, simplicity, and perhaps above all else, a definitive ending point. People may feel more comfortable reading a list about a complex legal matter, whereas they may feel overwhelmed or intimidated by a massive block of text. A title such as “5 Things to Do Before Seeking a Divorce” gives readers the confidence that there are concrete tasks during their complex legal journey that they can cross off one at a time.
If you have already written your blog in a more traditional format, consider whether the content can be organized into subsections based on topic. If you can organize those topics into a numbered list, then you have yourself a “listicle.” If you can’t, then please don’t force it. But as a general rule of thumb, blogs and articles that have sub-headlines for each main topic are more reader-friendly than those that don’t have them.
Your title can be a straightforward description of what the list is about. Try writing out at least five different versions of your title until you find the one that is most catchy and best describes what readers can gain from reading the content of your list.
2. Ask a question
We know that people seeking legal advice use search engines to look up helpful information regarding their unique question or issue, but how they phrase their searches might surprise you. Although it may seem reasonable to believe that using a broad question in your title will appeal to the most people and help your blog land higher on search engine results pages (SERPs), this strategy is less effective than when the title is specific — very specific.
Most searches on Google — about 70 percent — are long-tail searches. In other words, people are asking long, complex and obscure questions on Google. Blogs with titles like “What Should I Do if I’ve Been Charged With a DUI in California?” or “How Will an Arrest or Conviction Affect my Job in Texas?” or “What Should I Do Before I Get a Divorce in New York?” will draw a lot of traffic. By asking out-of-the-box questions in your title, your blogs are likely to reach a larger audience, as you are more likely to land higher up on SERPs. More people are asking those exact questions than you might think.
3. Remember the four U’s
These terms should also be applied when you write the content of your blogs. Posts that incorporate all four of these concepts are successful in attracting readers and keeping them engaged because they offer something new amongst the noise of generic posts, encourage action, address specific needs, and can be tools for those who are looking to take the next steps in navigating their legal questions. When you incorporate these four elements into both your title and copy, you will demonstrate to readers that you are considerate of their needs, and they will see you as an authority in your field. You will show readers that they truly have something to gain from taking the time to read your post.
While it may seem challenging to include all four of these concepts into the creation of your blog’s title, focusing on them will help you come up with not only creative titles but also future blog topics that will make you a more popular, successful blogger.
4. Solve a problem or explain how to do something
“How to” and “Why” titles attract readers because they sound like gateways to answers and solutions to questions or problems they hope to solve. Since you are a legal expert, and you are offering help in form of an engaging, informative blog post, they may be more likely to reach out to you.
Divorce attorneys may use a title such as “How Courts Decide Who Gets Custody Over a Child.” Rather than a boring title like “How to Find a Lawyer,” name it something like “How to Avoid a Lawyer That Will Land You in Jail.” Before writing your next blog, come up with a list of How-tos that you believe your clients could find useful. Demonstrate potential clients that your services are valuable to them.
5. Ask yourself these questions:
- Does your title offer the reader a sense of reward for reading your blog?
- Are there any more specific details that you could add to your title to make it more intriguing and believable?
- Does the title trigger a strong emotion that the reader already has in relation to the subject of the blog?
- Do you believe the title presents a proposition that will make a reader nod his or her head in agreement?
- Can you add an element of intrigue that will get your reader to begin reading the opening of your copy?
- Does the title offer a truthful impression of what you are offering in your blog’s content?
By using these questions as well as the four U’s listed above as a framework for your blog’s titles, you are more likely to write exceptional titles that will catch readers’ attention and keep them on your site. The titles of your blogs may provide potential clients with their first impression of your firm, so make sure that they leave a strong, impactful one. It is essential to gaining new clients and growing your practice.
Cristina Fríes is a MA in English/Creative Writing from UC Davis (2019), and is a legal marketing strategist and content developer for CLM. Her interests include creating compelling marketing content, writing books, and traveling the world.