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10 Title Patterns that Stand Out from the RSS Feed Crowd. Plus One…
Andreas Batsis / Sunday, February 27, 2011 / Categories: Inbound Marketing, Effectiveness

10 Title Patterns that Stand Out from the RSS Feed Crowd. Plus One…

A Brief Introduction to Titles

There is Tom, the guy who searches, and there is Jerry, the guy who likes to be chased (just like the famous mouse).

Questions to Tom

Do you enjoy TV? And I certainly don't mean the trash and reality kind of TV. Do you enjoy watching a good documentary in television, some thorough presentation about something that you always wanted to know? Something peculiar? Something funny? Do you ever pin yourself to the couch to watch the finals in your favorite sports? Most of us do! Have you ever tried to identify what's so special about this kind of TV shows? I believe that the simple yet complete answer is… I like it, I wanna be there and since I can't let me enjoy it through the window!!! This is what a good TV show is all about, a window to the interesting parts of the world.

But you know what? Our TV options are so limited compared to the web, something like droplets compared to the ocean. The web offers endless possibilities. Endless is good and endless is bad! Endless provides tones of valuable content and giga-tones of rubbish. How do you spot the good pieces from the bad? The answer is pretty simple. You start with the search, but once you find the place with the good content, you peel the place from the web search and stick it in your favorite feed. Ever wonder why everyone loves Facebook, Twitter and Blogs? It's the very handy Headlines Model that everyone appreciates and the ability for one to watch his favorite subjects from his own place at his own time.

Spare me the details! Don't make me come to your site to read your content, I am busy and I haven't got all day. Send me the headlines and when I find the one that I like, I will click it and come to your site for the rest!!!

Actions to Jerry

Step 1: Publish quality content through your blog. That's the way to the searchers' feeds!

Step 2: There are some guys out there that watch their feed for interesting content in the area of their choice and your blog happens to be on that crowded feed. How do you stand out from the crowd? You have to rely on a good title. Or let me rephrase that. You don't just need a good title, you have to present the best title! Period! It would be a good advice to spend on the title as much time as you spend on the post itself. At least till you get used to excellent headlining...

So without further ado, here are the basic elements of a good title:

  • Title is a promise! You have to promise something that defines the reader's ROI. Answer the What's in there for me in your title. Try to include one or more answers to the easy, quick, cheap, right, interesting or funny demands.
  • Don't tell the whole story! "How to travel the world on 200$" is much better than "How to travel the world on 200$ using the "change my ticket" section". Let yourself deliver your promise in your post!

10 (+1) Title Patterns

How do you implement those basic title elements? Here are 10 tested title patterns that produce results over and over (bold displays the static parts of the title, feel free to reuse):

  1. (6) new (social media sites) that you should (realy check).
    Start with a number! Numbers indicate quick and easy. Numbers define measurable ROI. Endless possibilities, remember? Endless is good but where do I start? A finite number (yet avoid a number like 248 :-P) makes sure that the reader will have a quick and easy way to achieve his goals!
  2. Get rid of (your fat belly) in (one month)!
    Numbers are quick, we already said that! When the numbers show duration, they seem even quicker. The above pattern makes the reader feel safe concerning the expected outcome. He will get rid of his problem in a given time span. ATTENTION: replace "in" with "on (a budget)" and you are promising a cheap solution.
  3. Quickest way to (grow your clients base).
    Quick again! The quickest way to achieve something definitely defines a ROI (you gain a lot of time) and usually attracts everyone, especially the multi-taskers.
  4. (Hit) your (forehand) like (Federer).
    This is very interesting and this is the right way to do it. Federer has authority and value when we speak about tennis, and the same applies to any celebrity in his specialty field. Promising the results of a well known person is the ultimate magnet for clicks.
  5. The lazy's guide to (install Jolicloud on a usb stick).
    This promises both the quick and the easy way to do something and a lot of readers seek for this kind of solutions.
  6. Have you fallen into the same (e-commerce) trap?
    This one is definitely interesting! Is there a trap? Am I the victim? I have to find out right now!!!
  7. Who else wants to (double his followers on Twitter)?
    This implies that many guys already do it, so it is right and probably easy! This title also asks a question to the reader. Questions show caring and imply ROI.
  8. (Google adwords has become very expensive)! Or not?
    Controversy!!! Controversy is interesting and maybe sometimes funny. The or not ending is intriguing and mysterious and invites us to learn more.
  9. (Instant traffic using the) (PFM pattern).
    Interesting, and maybe funny. Maybe PFM stands for "Publish for Me"! Don't care to explain. Not only it isn't important but it is critical that you leave it unanswered in your title. Let the reader click it to find out what it stands for. He will! Tim Ferriss advocates using those unknown words or expressions that result to the WTF response in his post: Blogging by Numbers: How to Create Headlines That Get Retweeted. There are some really cool notes about testing headlines in this post, that are worth checking out.
  10. The difference between (being rich and living like a rich)!
    This last one is also suggested by Tim Ferriss and stimulates curiosity. How is that possible? The hidden easiness factor guarantees the readers' attention.

Plus One

OK, you got me! There is not a plus one title pattern! But there sure is a plus one advice. The aforementioned title patterns contain a bold part and a normal one inside a parenthesis. The bold part attracts the reader. When possible, use your site – blog main keywords, the ones that you are building your site upon and try to stick them inside the parenthesis part. What you will achieve is an automated link building system.

  1. The reader is attracted and clicks your title.
  2. If your content is good, it is possible that he / she will share.
  3. Sometimes sharing results in the title being distributed as a link.
  4. And viral sharing is what produces tones of good links.

So remember, the bold part attracts the reader, while the parenthesis part attracts the search engines. Use those viral title patterns wisely and you will have huge benefits in the long run!


Timothy Ferriss' marketing model is based on top quality content. He is the best broker of information and he sells himself as a product. He supports his products a lot and those products are huge databases of quality content, constantly updating on what's new and hot. And his products carry a lot of links! When a friend of mine once asked if the 4 Hour Workweek was worth buying, I answered that the book was 100% worth buying even for the links alone. Is it possible for a product such as a blog or a book to be a great tool that covers the needs of 273,802 followers? Absolutely yes!!! A good product has no limits. Promoting yourself through a good product is based on the idea "Approach by Quality".

The Science Behind

Ideas may turn out to be good or bad! But numbers have a nasty habit of telling the truth. If you are interested in learning the science-based findings about what works and what doesn't regarding social media, I suggest that you read Zarrella's Hierarchy of Contagiousness: he Science, Design, and Engineering of Contagious Ideas. Here are two interesting charts taken from Dan Zarella's excellent book.


Engaging in the Conversation is the biggest myth on social media while Publishing Great Content is the standard value!

Dan Zarella
UPDATE June 2017
Don't miss the epic article on headlines by Buzzsumo: We Analyzed 100 Million Headlines. Here’s What We Learned (New Research)
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