The 5-10 words in your blog headline is the most important part of your post.
Without a strong hook that instantly captures the attention of your readers, all the in-depth research in the world means nothing. If no one clicks the headline, no one reads the blog post.
Fortunately, there are several tried and true tactics you can utilize to do just that – instantly engage with your audience, show them exactly what you’re going to provide, and entice them to learn more. Let’s look at some of the most effective headline tips and tricks and how to charge up your next post.
What is the purpose of your blog post? This isn’t a summary of the contents. It’s one sentence that emphasizes why the blog exists.
This post, for example, is about how to write better headlines for blog posts, but that isn’t necessarily its purpose. The goal of this post is to help you grab more attention and engage with readers at a higher rate. That’s the purpose:
“How to write a blog post title that grabs attention”.
That alone, while a bit rough and unpolished, is a good start for your blog post headline. But there are a few more tools we can use to give it some energy.
To start, we need to make it more engaging. One or two carefully selected adjectives can make a world of difference when someone reads your headline. Too much can get wordy fast, but the right mix of words can augment your message.
Some examples include:
You’re not just offering advice. You are engaging the reader’s imagination. This could change how they write. This could vastly improve the results of their current efforts. Again, don’t overdo it – one or two carefully placed adjectives should be more than enough.
In addition to evocative adjectives, there are several other elements that are proven to work well in headlines to capture attention and encourage action. Some of the most effective include:
- Numbers – There’s a reason numbers are used so often in headlines. People respond to numbers. They are specific, concise, and easy to understand. They promise a quick, scannable article, and the potential for ideas that the reader hasn’t thought of before. If nothing else, test numbers in your headlines to see how your audience responds.
- Questions – A spicy question that throws your readers off guard can be extremely effective in capturing their attention. Challenge their preconceptions about “common knowledge” or ask them to take action at the start of an article to trigger immediate engagement.
- Short and Sweet – Keep your headlines as short as you can with it still making sense. Long, wordy headlines are ignored or intentionally avoided in an age of 1-2 second attention spans and mobile web browsing.
A good headline should engage the reader to do something, with as few barriers as possible. When you’ve written a headline, ask yourself if it accomplishes this goal. If not, try something else.
Copywriting is all about emotion – about identifying the pain point that attracted a visitor to your site in the first place. But there’s a mechanical component as well. Google ranks content based on hundreds of individual factors, both on and off of your website, but if you don’t include the search terms people are using in your headline, it’s unlikely they find your post organically.
To ensure this doesn’t happen, use Google AdWords Keyword Planner to research what people are searching for. Don’t change the other items above too much based on this data, but make sure one or more terms in your headline are getting ample search to make it an effective headline.
Don’t be afraid to test a few different options. There is science to headline writing, but it relies on experimentation. The only way to know what works is to test several options against each other. There are several paid tools that offer advanced A/B testing of several different elements on your website, but the easiest (and one of few free) options is Google Optimize. This allows you to create different experiments and embed snippets in your WordPress site to test variations.
The benefit of this is getting a better sense of what resonates with your audience and why it resonates. Test different adjectives, pain points, headline formats, and more.
A good blog post title can make a significant difference in the effectiveness of your content. Click-throughs on Google, social media and even your own site will soar if those first few words promise value-added content that directly addresses the reader’s most common pain points and complaints. If you’re looking for a way to jumpstart your blog, the lowest hanging fruit is often the headline. Invest time now and you’ll reap rewards from that content for months and years to come.
Looking for help? Try the Headline Analyzer from CoSchedule!