Email subject lines and blog article titles: The primary difference

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As I was sitting down to write today’s article on the best way to ensure retention and playing with “the title”, it hit me that an email subject line and the actual title for the article are two very different things.

The email subject line has one job: Get you to open the email.

It’s typically from curiosity, a wondering of what the subject line means and you want to know more or a goodie/gift promised and, again, you want to know more.

I received an email the other day with the subject line “this is going viral…” from Digital Marketer. While it may have inspired curiosity for others and gotten the open, it didn’t for me.

If a friend or colleague had written the same subject line, I would have opened it immediately. In this case who it’s from (a company) makes it less appealing when compared to the other 25 emails waiting to be opened.

The best email subject lines also tend to be nine words or less so you can read the full subject line on your screen.

Note there’s no “one size fits all” here given the wide variety of computer, monitor and mobile screens these days.

A blog post/article title on the other hand has different jobs:

— Shares what the article is about in order to get the click when shared on social media (sort of like getting the open and is often accompanied by a picture) or on your blog listing page,

— let the SEO robots know what the article is about so it comes up (or not) in searches. The best length for blog post titles, from a search engine perspective is 70 characters, from a social media perspective, HubSpot reports it’s 12-14 words for Facebook and 8-12 words for Twitter in order to get the most shares.

While curiosity is important in email subject lines, clarity is critical in blog post titles. That said, you know your audience best — test and tweak until you discover what works best.

And in one of those curious twists, today’s blog post article title also serves well as an email subject line — despite being 10 words — as a result of “the primary difference”. 😉