“Extra! Extra! Read all about it!”
In the golden age of print journalism, newspaper street vendors would shout this phrase and an accompanying headline to all passersby, seeking to sell extra editions.
Nowadays as you prepare to publish your business blog posts, you don’t have the luxury of being able to send a child outside to oversee a digital newsstand and vocally market your content to prospective readers. Instead, what you have is the modern equivalent to newspaper street vendors – the ability to construct powerful, click-worthy blog headlines.
Not everything has changed since the days of the newsboy. When crafted effectively, blog headlines still proclaim, “Read all about it!” on behalf of the posts they represent. Your blog headline serves as an ambassador to your overall content piece. Like curb appeal to a home seller, it’s what gets customers through the door.
All too often, bloggers devote ample time to writing a post, yet treat the blog headline like an afterthought that gets plugged in at the end of the content creation process. Don’t fall victim to underestimating a blog headline’s worth – it’s often viewed by at least five times as many readers as actually consume your entire post. As “Father of Advertising” David Ogilvy once stated, “When you have written your headline, you have spent eighty cents out of your dollar.”
Clearly, we need to spend our headline-writing budget wisely. Here are seven tips for crafting must-click blog headlines:
1. Keep Blog Headlines Short and Sweet
Even in today’s infinite digital universe, punchy, concise blog headlines work best, attracting more attention while proving more Tweetable and SEO-friendly. Get to the point quickly or your readership won’t wait around to learn your (probably insightful) point. A good rule-of-thumb is to keep your headline 10 words or less.
2. Be Numeric with Your Blog Headlines
Successful headline writing often comes down to a numbers game. “Listicles” (articles presented as numbered lists) represent a battle-tested technique for garnering the attention of your audience, as readers are drawn to the predictability and clear expectations associated with number-driven blog posts. It’s no wonder so many effective headlines start out “5 reasons to…” or “7 tips for…”
3. Optimize Your Blog Headlines for SEO
Google and other search engines reward content that’s relevant and useful for a particular audience. Longtail keywords are specific phrases that tell search engines what your content is all about. When you’re able to incorporate your longtail keyword into your headline, you improve your blog post’s prospects for showing up in organic search results.
4. Aim to Intrigue With Your Blog Headlines
Your blog headlines must pique your readers’ interest. Make actionable statements, be unique and sound authoritative. Headlines in the form of questions also succeed with stimulating thought among your desired audience. Generally, curiosity is maximized when the reader has some knowledge of the topic, as opposed to no knowledge at all, so keep that in mind when framing your headlines.
5. Utilize “How To” Blog Headlines
Ultimately, your blog post must prove helpful to your audience, answering a question or solving a problem. What better way to entice readership than with a headline that exudes helpfulness? “How to” headlines convince your audience you have knowledge to impart (your blog post, of course, must actually deliver on this promise).
6. Create Blog Headlines that Surprise Your Audience
There’s a lot of digital noise out there nowadays, with millions of pieces of content shared online daily. Although you don’t want to be overly “clickbait-y,” you can cut through the clutter and capture your audience’s attention by writing blog headlines that incite mild astonishment. Strong adjectives like “fascinating” and “astounding” can support your element of surprise.
7. Devise a Blog Headline Formula That Works for You
When it comes to perfecting your headline-writing capabilities, a trial-and-error approach is often warranted. Conduct A/B headline testing to determine what works best for reaching your audience effectively. Perhaps you’ll be able to pinpoint that “Number + Actionable Statement + Target Keyword” represents your ideal headline formula, boosting your readership the way newspaper street vendors did so long ago.