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    This is the personal blog of Simon Kendrick and covers my interests in media, technology and popular culture. All opinions expressed are my own and may not be representative of past or present employers
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Extraordinary, eyecatching titles: How to make your blog stand out

My previous post, notes on Jon Steel’s book The Perfect Pitch, garnered a personal best for syndicated views. Rather than ascribe this to a sudden surge in my popularity, I believe it is due to the eye-catching title. “The Perfect Pitch: The Art of Selling Ideas & Winning New Business” is intriguing, seemingly useful and appears to successfully stand out from the surrounding noise.

This corresponds with some research that my colleagues in Programme Research recently shared with us. They commissioned some title tests on potential shows, using theory rooted in neuro-linguistic programming to inform their naming.

With 90% of the population now with multi-channel TV, more people than ever are using their Electronic Programming Guide. It is then of increasing importance than a programme is able to stand out in the schedule.

In many ways, an EPG is like an RSS reader (I know there are programme such as Netvibes and iGoogle but I don’t find them practical to track a three figure number of feeds).


Google reader

And so, many of the lessons for programme titles also apply to blog posts. These lessons include

  • Certain words are more striking than others. The more descriptive and enticing *and hyperbolic) the better. Disastrous, secret, celebrity and killer all scored well in the title tests
  • As a counterpoint to the first bullet, certain programmes (or blogs) can own certain words, and so these should be avoided. Therefore, if someone read a title with the first word Dragon, they would be more likely to think of Dragon’s Den than the Arthurian adventure you have created. So, if a dozen new programmes all began with the word “Secret”, their effectiveness would diminish
  • People read from left to right and so the first word needs to contain as much impact as possible (this is especially important if there are space restrictions and the title may be truncated)
  • Titles need to be clear – both in their flow and their description. One may think abstract or unusual titles, but if there are no clear connotations then it will wash over the prospective viewer/reader

The title is the thing that markets your creation in its most blandest form – a list of names. For maximum effectiveness, a title needs to be able to traverse from the unconscious to the conscious, where its stickiness can maintain awareness over time. TV programmes can achieve this through marketing,

But for blogs? The marketing is the product itself. Leave interesting and useful comments elsewhere, and this will hopefully drive traffic to your site. If your copy is impactful, then the positive associations can emerge.