Issue #96


In online business, everything is a test. And to that end, I’m going to give something a “go” here on The Daily…

I’m going to try simplifying the subject lines. We’ll just use sequential numbering and no headline. And I’ll sit back and watch those open rates and see what the heck happens. 🙂

Here’s why…

  1. Each issue becomes a little mystery. What’s in it? What’s Dave talkin’ about today? You gotta open up to see. (insert sly giggle here) 😉
  2. Creating the content in the Daily – every day – is a lot of work. And, honestly, I don’t want people sitting on the outside looking in and making that decision solely based on my subject line.
  3. It is extra WORK to come up with a subject line that entices the opens. So, part of this is just about making my life easier.

I’ve written many times about the importance of blog headlines. I’ve even talked about split-testing headlines, and/or writing up to 20 potential headlines in order to come up with the best one. I talk all deep about it in this guide on headlines.

But, I don’t have time for it here with The Daily. At least not good ones.

So, we’ll see what happens. You never know. I could reverse myself. I’ve been known to do that. 🙂

As you may have seen, I don’t blog like most people blog.

I blog right here to The Daily. But, my actual “blog” (the Blog Marketing Academy) is more about full-length evergreen posts which are written to stand the test of time. I call this The Redwood Strategy.

Now, when you’re writing big redwood posts, it is typically going to be longer-form content. It should have multiple sections (meaning multiple sub-headlines). And you want to tweak that bad boy for SEO purposes.

One of the core ranking factors for SEO is scroll depth. Meaning… we want people to arrive on our post and scroll down.

Secondly, we also know that we need to HOOK people into our content when they arrive. You have just a few seconds to do that. A lot of newbie bloggers think people come and actually read our posts. But, don’t be so self centered! 🙂 In reality, most of your blog visitors couldn’t give two craps about you. They’re there for themselves – and you’ve gotta have the goods to get them to stick around for more than a few seconds.

So, we hook people in with:

  • the headline
  • The feature image
  • The opening hook
  • Sub-headlines

But, on a long-form post, a solid way to hook people in (and make it easier to navigate) is with a table of contents.

Think about it…

If you go through books in a bookstore to evaluate buying it, what do you look at? The title – yep. The way the cover looks (like the feature image on a blog post). The sub-title, the summary, etc. But, many times, you’ll also scan through the table of contents (if it is a non-fiction book). And it gives a killer idea of what’s in that book, right?

Why does a big blog post have to be any different?

I mean, I sometimes write articles which are 3000-5000 words in length. Can I honestly expect people to read every word? Hell no!

So, one little tactic I often do is insert a table of contents into my big long-form redwood posts. It sits there toward the top of the article and gives people clickable links to jump on down the post.

Recently, I installed and began using the Table of Contents Plus plug-in. It’s a free plug-in. This plug-in generates a TOC based on the sub-headlines you put in your post and then you insert that TOC using a shortcode. It has some other fancy features, but I keep it pretty simple.

As you write your post, you make use of sub-headlines. And, just like you should be doing with any headline, you make those sub-headlines interesting and attention-grabbing. The point of each sub-headline should be to make people WANT to read what comes after it! Entice them! Don’t just tell them what it’s about.

We’re not writing boring-as-snot college term papers here. We’re writing blog posts. It’s different. 🙂

So, write awesome sub-headlines.

Then, those subs end up in your table of contents.

They appear at the top – and clickable.

And, when a new visitor arrives, they do what we all do…. scan the thing over and see if we give a crap.

They see those table of contents items. Think “Damn, this looks interesting.”. They click.

They skip on down and read some.

Time on site goes up. Scroll depth goes up.

Congratulations, you awesome blogger you!

If you want to see this plug-in in action, check out my big ultimate guide on SEO. That post is a real doosie, in terms of length. A TOC was pretty much a requirement.

– David

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