So you’ve discovered the secret to life, and like the good inbound marketer you are, you’ve written a blog post about it. (We’ve taught you well.) But before you accept your Nobel Peace Prize, does your life-changing content really count if no one clicks on your headline to read it?
While small in stature compared to the rest of your blog, a solid headline is your sharpest tool for generating readership. Your audience has no other reference to judge whether your blog post is worth their time.
That being said, let’s make it count, shall we? Here are a few tips to make your headlines stand out amongst the crowd. (I’ve even thrown in some examples from our own blog posts for good measure.)
1. Make it accurate. Above all, your headline should directly reflect your content. No matter how tempting it is to attract readers, you do not want to lure them in under false pretenses. A misleading headline will lead to distrust of your brand in the long run.
2. Display your value. Readers ultimately want to know what’s in it for them. So tell them upfront what they can learn from your blog post and why they should read on.
3. Be catchy. Get creative in your headline and show readers that you have the capability to hold their attention and make a not-so-sexy subject interesting.
4. Target your audience. What makes a millennial click on a headline and what makes a corporate CIO click on a headline are likely two very different concepts. Know who your audience is and use their language to craft your headline.
5. Leave something to the imagination. Use your headline as a teaser, leaving readers thirsty for more. Consider using an intriguing rhetorical question or a bold statement that makes people want to want the details.
6. Pull emotion. Readers respond to headlines that they identify with. If your content is applicable to play to their hearts, fears or desires—do it.
7. Keep it short. Say what you need to say and avoid being too wordy. A long headline is harder to scan and often times more convoluted. Keep it brief and easy to understand.
8. Use a keyword. As a blogger (and especially as an inbound marketer), you want Google to love you. You want Google to love you so much, it displays your blog on page one of your targeted search results. By including a keyword, you optimize your entry for search engines.
9. AVOID ALL CAPS. It’s just desperate.
(Thankfully, I have no examples.)
Remember that it can take time to craft an exceptional headline, so don’t cheat your blog by rushing through the process. Give yourself the time you need to get creative. You’ll be glad you did (and so will your readers).