How To Get Found in the Social Media Madness

blog post titles

Social media is crazy right now.  There is simply so much content out on the Internet.

Articles, tweets, updates, posts, Diggs, Pins, pictures, Stumbles, videos, slideshows, etc…

We are creating absurd amounts of content.

It’s madness the rate at which we’re creating content.  We all want to have the article that “Goes Viral” and attracts thousands of page views in a day, making our blog instantly famous and our business a over-night success.

blog post titlesBut how does our little article get found through all the clutter?

When Google produces it’s list of results, how do we get that web-searcher to click our article and not the article above or below ours?

Well it’s actually pretty simple… Your title has to Kick-Ass!

Your post title needs to be enticing… It needs to be sexy… It needs to be engaging… Your post title needs to promise a valuable solution to the question asked.

Many social Gurus or Rockstars call this “Clickable” (Damn I hate social media buzz terms).

What they mean is the title of your blog post has to irresistible to click.

Because the title is what draws people to blog.

Think about it.  The majority of search results and social sharing is done in the format of Title – Link.  The title of your post is the only piece of information a potential reader has to determine whether they should follow that link or not.

People will ignore boring and/or general post titles for as long as they can.  They will try every interesting or focused post title first.

I’m definitely beating up this topic a bit now but I want you get this thought process clear in your head:

If you can’t come up with a post title that gets me excited to read your content, then why wouldn’t I assume your blog post is anything other than boring crap?

Huge generalization… I know.  But it’s true and this is why:

Noise

There is so much crappy content out on the Inter-Web.  There is so much content in general but a lot of that content just flat out sucks.

To get found you have make your Awesome content stand out from the crappy tired content.

The Internet is about solutions, no doubt, but not just any solutions.  The Internet is about focused, interesting, funny, personal, educational, sexy solutions…

I’m not going to go through the common “Here is how you write a Title” list.  That has been done a thousand times by bloggers better than myself.

If you’re looking to for that check out this: 9 Proven Headline Formulas by Copyblogger.  This is the best resource I know of and one I continue to go back to just to refresh the post title writing portion of my brain.

“Ryan, this post isn’t really a How-To?”

Yes, it is.  It’s a Wake-Your-Ass-Up-and-Realize-Post-Titles-are-Important How-To!

Without going into the technical aspects of SEO, you get found on the Internet by being Interesting and Adding Value.

It’s that simple.

I mean, c’mon now… I hope you’re starting to realize there isn’t a magic silver Internet bullet that makes your blog a success.

Getting found Online takes Consistency and Patience. It takes focus and dedication.  It takes determination and personality.

It’s not easy.

I don’t have the magic silver get-found bullet for social media success and if I did do you think I’d give it away for free?

(I guess I basically do since The Social Tools Book is only $7.99)

However, if there was a magic silver get-found bullet for social media success a very important part would writing an excellent post title.

The Rub

So how do you get found in the social media madness?

Understand that simply producing content is not good enough.  Your post title has to be interesting, it has to be valuable and it has to be… uggggg… Clickable.

From now on do this little exercise before you hit the Publish button on a new post:

  • Hit Save Draft
  • Close the Word Document or Webpage
  • Go get a glass of water or cup of coffee or whatever
  • Come back and re-open the document
  • Look at your Title only

Would you click that title?

If the title of your article came up in a Google search would it catch your eye?

Yes… Hit Publish.

No… Don’t Hit Publish and get more creative.

Good luck!

I am Ryan Hanley and this is Content Warfare.

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  • http://www.techcrates.com Salman

    Truly said Ryan … A title must be kick-ass and eye catching ! A doubt arises to me – If a title is creatively created then it might lack keywords and if keywords are added, the title becomes the same dumb-ass one ….. Could you please put some light on it ?

    • http://www.ryanhanley.com Ryan Hanley

      Salman,

      I think it depends on where your traffic is coming from and the type of traffic you are looking for. If you web traffic is mostly from Social Media or Forums or from a Newsletter or Guest Post… Something like that… Then you really need a solid Title that is going to Force people to click.

      If you are looking for Search Engine traffic than you want your title to be good but it’s also going to HAVE to have keywords in it.

      So determining where traffic is going to come from for that particular post is crucial.

      Make sense?

      • http://www.techcrates.com Salman

        Oh I see …

        Thanks for the quick reply, got my doubt cleared ! As majority of my traffic is from SE’s so I need to focus on the latter one more …

  • http://www.waltermartinsales.com Walter Martin

    Social media madness! Now I must agree that is exactly what it is. There is so much fluff out there and sometimes it is hard to break through. Thank you for the great article. I am still trying to get my feel for social media but eventually I will dive head first into the pool. I am just getting my toes wet now!

    • http://www.ryanhanley.com Ryan Hanley

      Walter,

      This is going to sound very Cliche but if you find your original voice… Whatever it is that makes you… YOU! Eventually you’ll build an audience of people that want to hear what you have to say.

      Best of luck buddy!

      Ryan H.

  • http://ethicallaunch.com Stacy

    I agree that getting found online takes consistency and patience. Approximately 85% of people that blog for their business end up stopping for some reason or another. If you can just hang on a little longer, and keep showing up, your likelihood of success goes way up!
    I always tell my clients that consistency is the first rule of launching. :)

    As far as titles go, keeping a swipe file can be a fantastic way to get better at writing headlines. I use Evernote, plus for really good ones I use index cards and keep them in a box on my desk. That way when I need some inspiration, I just go through the cards in the box. :)

    • http://www.ryanhanley.com Ryan Hanley

      Stacy,

      Keeping an index of titles is a great way to inspire great content. Writing the title down when it comes to you and then coming back to it gives you a fresh set of eyes on the phrasing.

      Giving your content a 2nd look helps to make sure it’s going to do what you want it to do!

      Thanks!!

  • http://motivatedmastery.com Paul Jun

    As more and more business and crafts move to the online world, there really is a a lot crap out there.

    It’s not even about outstanding content anymore, but tinkering the small things like headlines, call to actions, clear subheads, are all part of crafting a valuable, timeless post.

    I agree with your take on this, completely.

    • http://www.ryanhanley.com Ryan Hanley

      Thanks Paul…

      I agree, as crazy as it sounds the Online business world is maturing and the finer points are becoming more important!

  • http://www.blognetworking101.com Jeevanjacobjohn

    You are right. The key to going “viral” in social media is having a great headline. My headlines are mostly start with “Do you” or “How to”. Do you think that’s a good trend (I mostly share my own blogging experience with my readers).

    Anyways, awesome article,

    Jeevan Jacob John

    Note: And Ryan, I really love how you write your headlines (Noise, Rub etc) and your whole writing style. Hope to read more of your awesome posts.

    • http://www.ryanhanley.com Ryan Hanley

      Jeevan,

      Thank you so much. I’m very happy that we’ve connected. Have a great Buddy!!

      Ryan H.

  • http://easyretweet.com Enstine Muki

    The madness is really getting mad, Ryan

    I must say here that the article title is like the ‘door’. A catchy and very attractive title is like the ‘opened door’ while a clumsy, unthoughtful and poorly curled title is just the ‘closed door’ and as you know, no one goes in when the door is closed.

    • http://www.ryanhanley.com Ryan Hanley

      Nobody goes in when the door is closed. Great analogy!

      Thanks Enstine!

  • http://brentmkelly.com Brent Kelly

    Its amazing how often I have just throw a boring title on a post. It makes no sense and often it is because I am in such a hurry. Thanks for sharing.

    • http://www.ryanhanley.com Ryan Hanley

      Yeah dude take an extra minute or two to ensure you have a great title… I promise you’ll see your traffic increase.

  • http://www.productivesuperdad.com/ Timo Kiander

    Awesome Ryan!

    Advice taken … I need to focus on my titles bit better :) In fact, it seems that writing great titles is also a great way to drive traffic to your site.

    Anyway … which one comes first: keywords in your title or just a title which grabs user’s attention? Or should I just ditch the SEO part entirely?

    Cheers,
    Timo

    • http://www.ryanhanley.com Ryan Hanley

      Timo,

      I think you would like to have your keywords and make title Pop.

      Basically, you want to make sure that people know what their going to read, Keywords, and give them a reason to click, Enticing Title.

      Definitely not always easy to do. I would tend toward Clickable v Keywords if you had to have one versus the other because your going to get SEO from your post content as well.

      Thanks!

  • http://www.annikamartins.com Annika

    I love love love that you advocated getting up from the computer, getting a glass of water (walking the dog, in my case) and then reassessing. Creating that distance, clearing it completely from my mind and then coming back always gives me a fresh perspective. Great tip, Ryan!

    • http://www.ryanhanley.com Ryan Hanley

      Annika… It’s almost like you’re looking at the material again for the first time.

      Thanks for stopping by!

  • http://ryzeonline.com Jason Fonceca

    Yep, can’t argue with it, this is solid stuff, Ryan.

    To expand:

    “Getting found Online takes Consistency and Patience. It takes focus and dedication. It takes determination and personality.”

    Replace ‘found online with’

    ‘found in the rap game’
    ‘found in the art world’
    ‘found by an attractive mate’
    ‘found in the literary world’
    ‘found in the film world’

    ad nauseum :)

    Life is based heavily on attention, across the board, period.

    • http://www.ryanhanley.com Ryan Hanley

      No doubt dude… Whatever it is that you want has to be your focus to make happen!

      Thanks man always enjoy your comments… so much value.

      • http://ryzeonline.com Jason Fonceca

        Haha, and I be enjoying your posts. I generally see it as a team effort — someone’s gotta inspire the best out of me right? You provide a safe environment where I can speak my mind, even if I disagree.

        It’s funny, my friend Arthur called me something like that too. An MVC, lol — “Most valuable commenter” :)

        • http://www.ryanhanley.com Ryan Hanley

          dude… You are definitely a MVC!

          Love that moniker.

  • http://mightywisemedia.com Eric T. Wagner

    Good stuff Ryan. And yes, this is pounded into the head of people. But why do we keep seeing ridiculously boring titles and headlines out there? Not sure.

    One thing though: Need a service that will a/b split test headline ideas. Goodness, after you’ve spent 3 hours working over your headline/title, and think it’s good to go, you hit “publish”. Ah, but it didn’t resonate as well as you thought. Oh, too bad. Maybe next time. Ugh, just killed my 10 hour article…

    Is there a web based service of some kind out there that allows you to do some a/b split testing of headlines BEFORE you publish? Cosmo mag does this for their own headlines through a survey on their home page.

    If you find a service doing this, I’m all in… Thanks Ryan… :-)

    • http://www.ryanhanley.com Ryan Hanley

      Wow… what a great idea… I have definitely worked my butt off on a great article only to give a so-so title and watch all that great content get wasted.

      I’ll keep my eyes out for a service and if you hear of one let me!

      Thanks!

    • http://www.appsblogger.com/newsjacking/ Jeanne Pi

      Eric, you should definitely check out http://whichtestwon.com/. They do their own A/B testing on things like headlines, copy, color and what words to use on buttons … then publish the results on their website. I’ve been following them for a while and they’ve got some very interesting results. Check out their past case studies full of insights.

      My own little secret formula for coming up with “clickable” headlines? I’d hired a freelancer a while ago to put together some spreadsheets on some of the most popular blogs out there. For each blog, I’d get their archive of blog posts for the past 1-2 years, including headline, comment counts, and tweet counts.

      I usually outline my posts first, then come up with a title. I’d open up my Excel, go to one of these spreadsheets and sort the articles by the most comment/tweet counts. The highest comment/tweet counts tells me the most popular posts for the last 1-2 years . . . and I began to see a trend on the type of posts that gets the most comments and tweets. Which in turn tells me what kind of headlines attracts clicks. Invariably one of these extremely popular posts will inspire me to write a more “clickable” title, not to mention what it does for my content. The cat’s out of the bag now . . . 😉

      • http://www.ryanhanley.com Ryan Hanley

        Jeanne,

        I love the way you go about this stuff… Amazing insight. Thank you!!

  • http://www.ranashahbaz.com Rana Shahbaz

    There is no doubt that social media space has been over saturated and it is not easy to get your content noticed.

    You simply can’t rely just on your content only, successes depends on :

    1. How you are selecting and using your keywords
    2. How helpful your content is
    3. Good titles are really important.

    Basically you got to do lot of things just producing content to get noticed.

    • http://www.ryanhanley.com Ryan Hanley

      Rana,

      If only great content was enough, right?

      Then you have all this additional stuff to ensure that anyone reads it…

      Thanks!