It’s always interesting how tabloid publications get such a bad rap, but yet week after week we stand in the checkout line and try our very best not to pick one up. What is it that captures our attention time after time?
While the stories in the tabloids are — at best far-fetched — it’s the riveting headlines that get us. I don’t know about you but I kinda want to know if Elvis is living out his days on a deserted island somewhere off the coast of Tahiti.
So hats off to the headline writers of tabloid publications. You are a master at your craft and you’ve piqued our interest. I would even venture to say that tabloids continue to survive from the strength of their headlines alone. It’s clear those publications understand the recipe for sales and they continue to nail it every time.
Great blog post titles = clicks to your website + traffic
Often in the throes of completing their content marketing tasks, business owners spend copious amounts of time on the body or contents of an article but pay little mind to the blog post title itself. In the days that follow, they are left scratching their heads, wondering why they aren’t getting any traffic to their websites.
More often than not, it’s the blog post titles that are the problem.
The title or headline of your piece is the most important part of your content because this is where you will generate clicks and traffic to your website. In fact, research has shown that “80% of readers never make it past the headline”.
Think about skimming through news websites or social media, how often do you click on an article solely based on its headline? If the headline piques your curiosity enough you may even click on it even if you don’t really care about the subject matter.
Overall, your blog post titles should be:
- Elicit a response
- AND, match the content. Click-bait and fake-solicitous headlines will get you banned on Facebook and demoted on Google
Your blog post titles should be interesting enough that the reader stops scrolling, reads the words, clicks on your link, or mutters something about you under their breath (because your title invoked a feeling they could not help but momentarily respond to). Even if they don’t love your headline. a negative response is still a response and it could still garner a click if that response is strong enough.
A good example of this would be reality TV stars. Love them or hate them, when you see their name in a headline, you may find yourself clicking on an article. If the headline is compelling enough you just might find yourself clicking on it.
So What Makes A Good Blog Post Title?
Let’s take a look at several factors you ought to keep in mind when creating your own headlines.
Consider your audience and provide value directly to them
One of the traps that most folks tend to fall into is trying to appeal to everyone. A hard and fast rule of content marketing is that you must have your target market clearly identified. Knowing who you are talking to is a key factor that drives your message in every aspect of your business. This is especially important in your content marketing.
A clear understanding of your target market allows you to discern what your audience is asking and it allows you to create content that answers those questions. Staying focused on your audience and their needs are the best ways to drive good headlines that are clicked time and again.
Keyword research is crucial to nailing good blog post titles. Ideally, you want to use the same language your audience is using. Over time the effective use of keywords can land your website on the first page of the SERP and drive organic traffic to your website. Not only do you want to use appropriate keywords in your content but pinpointing the right language in your blog post titles can be a boon as well.
Take for example a recent post we published on YourTango: The Marketing Ingredients Required To Attract High-End Clients To Grow A Successful Coaching Business
Prior to writing this post, we conducted some keyword research to determine the keyword phrases as coaching business and high-end clients. Fast forward 2 months and we have found this article is on the first page of the SERP for the search term “finding high-end clients for coaching business”.
That’s a win, folks, anyone looking for information on attracting high-end clients to their coaching business now has our article added to their list of resources.
Research has shown that effective headlines are specific. One sure-fire way to ensure specificity and capture the readers’ attention is to use numbers in your blog post titles. A market research study by Conductor shows that readers actually preferred headlines with numbers in them.
Take a look at the following blog post titles:
- Top 5 Reasons Why The Lord of the Rings Is the Best Fantasy Series
- Best Fantasy Movies
Which one would you click?
Specificity is important is because it gives the reader a concrete takeaway. When a reader clicks on the first title they know there will be 5 actual points in that post – if the writer delivers in the headline, which brings us to our next point.
Promise and deliver
Another pitfall that should be avoided when creating headlines is sensationalizing them for the sake of clicks and subsequently not delivering. The industry term for this is clickbait and trust us when we say this is something you do not want to be a party to. The reason behind all of your content marketing efforts is to establish your credibility and build your business, creating clickbait contributes nothing to that end.
It should be a no-brainer to you as the writer that when someone clicks on your blog post title they expect to find the information that was promised in the title.
For example, if the blog post title is: 9 Tips For Immediate Anxiety Relief, there should be 9 actionable tips in the post.
It’s not that hard, just don’t overpromise and underdeliver.
Keep your titles brief. Ideally, you don’t want your titles to exceed 10 words. Readers tend to jump to conclusions when they see verbose headlines. The assumption is: if the title is laborious to read then the post must be too. The internet is a never-ending stream of information and the competition for readers’ attention is fierce, long-winded titles won’t help you here.
Tweak the language
Choosing the right buzzwords for your headlines can make all the difference when it comes to grabbing the attention of potential readers. The best headlines use a right blend of emotional, power and trigger words.
Remember that you can take a relatively innocuous title and basically build a better headline from there.
For example, a blog post about stress can start with a working title such as “Exercises to Fight Stress.”
From there you can add specifics such as a number “7 Exercises to Fight Stress.”
Finally, tweak the language to add in a few powerful words, “7 Feel-Good Exercises to Combat Stress and Improve Your Day.”
This title is specific, it’s positive and offers the reader a concrete takeaway.
Finally, put yourself in the shoes of your reader by actually READING your blog post before it publishes
When you do this, you want your “keen” editor’s eye in play so you can ask yourself one question: does the blog post title match the contents in the body of the article? All too often, writers begin with an article in mind and simply download or write that article. They pay little attention to the tangents their mind wanders into as they write, it simply becomes a part of their writing flow. And we all want writer’s flow… but if you’re not also a sharp editor of your work, those tangents often take readers in a different direction than the title, causing confusion.
One of the final editorial checks to your article should be “does the title still work for the article?” It is entirely possible that as you start to write, your mind moves in a different direction than the working title you started with, that’s ok. After reading the article for its final edits, ask yourself “what is the core essence of this piece?” That should be the title. The title should be comprehensive, clear, short, and direct.
And, most importantly, match the content presented so the reader experience the value of your post as they read it through to the end.
Writing great blog posts titles is an art, not a science. At YourTango and with our Experts we often rework titles many times to get “just the right one”. If you find yourself lost with writing strong headlines, do a little exercise with your article. After completing the piece, write 10 different headlines that exemplify different angles of the article. Keep the best practices mentioned here in mind, and then ask yourself which one is best. You can’t go wrong when you’re clear that what you have written matches the needs of your readers and includes the true essence of your piece.
If you’re still not sure how to nail great blog post titles or you need help with your content marketing plan, we can help. Request a free consultation from our team today.