First impressions matter—and blogs are no exception to that rule. The headline is the first impression most readers will have of any blog post you publish, and in many cases, it’s also the only thing they read. In all likelihood, you’ll only have a second or two to sufficiently interest your reader and inspire a click on your post. That means that it’s absolutely essential that you learn the art of writing sharp, memorable, and intriguing headlines.
What Makes a Good Headline?
Writing headlines might seem like a simple task. After all, the majority of headlines are short, and even the longest and most complex ones scarcely take any time at all to read. But appearances can be deceiving. The best headlines are almost compact miniature essays. Writing a strong headline means learning how to distill the essence of an article into something short, accurate, and interesting. It means learning to spot and omit any words that aren’t essential. Finally, it means putting yourselves in the reader’s position and asking what type of headline would be most likely to draw you into reading a blog post. The ultimate test of any headline, of course, is whether it prods the reader into clicking and reading. If your blogs aren’t getting traffic, it’s time to take a close look at the headlines you’re using.
Tips for Crafting Excellent Headlines
1. Reach for the action verbs. Using action verbs in your headlines charges them with energy and even suspense. Plan, rate, merge, build, think, defend, foster, instill—the list could go on indefinitely. If you find yourself writing headlines that feel limp and unexciting, try coming up with the verb first and building the headline around it.
2. Make your reader curious. There are two primary ways to write a headline. Some headlines are straightforward and no-nonsense, like “Canada Bans Ice Cream.” Other headlines try to arouse a reader’s curiosity by withholding information, like “Faced with Epidemic of Ice Cream Headaches, Canada Takes Surprising Step.” While it’s important not to overdo this tactic, headlines that depend on the curiosity of the reader can be undeniably effective.
3. Promise the reader something useful. Think of all the times you’ve gone to Google to find the answer to some simple question you have—how to change a car battery, how to find the best laundry detergent for your clothes, how to tell if your dog isn’t feeling well. “How to” headlines are simple but effective, and readers are drawn to them the way iron is drawn to a magnet.
4. Study your favorite blogs for examples. Think of some of the blogs that you find yourself going back to on a regular basis. Take a look at their most popular posts and look at the types of headlines they usually run. Compare the differing approaches that different blogs take. Doing a little research may help you generate some ideas for putting headlines on your own work.
5. Look at your past results. One of the best ways to determine which content methods are working and which are not is to look at which of your posts are getting the most traffic. Chances are, those posts have some of the strongest and most attention-grabbing headlines on your blog. If you want to stay on the right track, be sure to emulate your own past actions when you’ve made the right decisions for your content.
6. Use numbers whenever you can. Readers love numbers. The more specific you can be when writing a headline, the more authoritative it will sound—and the more likely a potential reader will be to click on it. Instead of titling a post “Common Toothbrushing Mistakes,” for example, you might title it “5 Mistakes You Might Be Making When You’re Brushing Your Teeth.”
7. Learn to appreciate brevity. Not all headlines need to be long and complex. In many cases, a short headline may be more likely to grab readers’ eyes as they skim through your blog. Not only are short headlines easier to scan quickly and understand, but they also stand out on the page and draw attention to themselves. Keeping blog titles short will also help to ensure that they don’t get cut off when the post shows up in search engine results.
8. Make sure the headline is accurate. Many readers won’t read any further than your headline—which means that your headline needs to be as factual as anything in the body of the post itself. When you’re editing a post for publication, it’s critical to check the headline. If something in the headline sounds off, take the time to double-check it.
Having a sharp and high-quality blog on your website can help you draw more traffic and get more people interested in your business. Pennington Creative can provide you with the exceptional blog posts you need to build a loyal audience and keep it. Our skilled content specialists can write on practically any subject in a professional and authoritative way. To discover our Tucson digital marketing services for yourself, feel free to contact us today through our website.