As a blogger, you want your writing to attract readers, but not everyone will read your actual content. It was found that 8 out of 10 people will view headlines, but only 2 out of 10 people were found to actually continue on from the headline to the content. When it comes to headlines, your writing and content could be out of this world, but if you can’t get eyes on it it doesn’t matter how good it is. This is why crafting a decent headline is so important.
You’ll want to add headline optimization to your content marketing strategy. Continue reading to learn about some tips and techniques you can use to improve your headlines.
Use a keyword for your topic in your headline, but only one. Your topic keyword should be pretty clear based on what your blog is about. Keywords will help your post rank higher in Google, and they will tell your reader what to expect your article to be about. I caution against using more than one keyword because your blog post should normally only have one topic to correspond to a keyword. If you use two keywords you run the risk of no one ever searching for those two keywords together, and thus losing eyes on your content.
Emotions may sound like a funny word when talking about optimization, but they can play a big part in whether someone clicks on your headline or scroll past it. There’s actual websites out there that estimate how your headlines score on emotional marketing value. Headlines that have higher scores on emotional marketing value were found to be shared more, and more people clicked from the headline to the actual content if the headline used language that appeals to emotion. A good tip for appealing to emotion with your headlines is to use the second perspective quite a bit. Content with titles that had the word “you” in them tend to appeal to readers emotions more than titles that just describe the content. You want to put the reader in relation to your content, which will make them want to read on.
Nobody likes being misled, even in the digital world it feels like you’ve been lied to, and made a fool. For this reason, you want to make sure you never get in the habit of writing clickbait headlines. Even Facebook, where clickbait articles seemingly were born, has begun to crack down on the practice. Facebook defines clickbait as, “headlines that intentionally leave out crucial information, or mislead people, forcing people to click to find out the answer.” These headlines often sound like “Man puts baby in carseat, you’ll be shocked with what happened next!” or “Which celebrities are next on the divorce chopping block?” To avoid falling into the clickbait trap, craft headlines that clearly state what your content will be about.
Here’s where perspective taking comes into play; you should create headlines that answer questions your target audience realistically asks. To do so, you need to first define your audience. What do they have, and what do they need (your blog content/service)? What frustrates your audience, what pains do they have? Once you answer these questions you can make content that answers these questions, using keywords that your audience will search out to ask those questions. Knowing your audience takes time, but it’s usually time well spent as it helps direct more interested eyes onto your content.
How many times have you seen “11 new styles for the holidays,” or “6 ways to earn 1000 a month,” pop in your newsfeed? Probably quite a bit. There’s a reason these types of headlines are so ubiquitous, they work! Lists are often more compelling to readers because they communicate a measurable value for what the content will be about, and how much it will benefit you. Lists show there is a tangible reward for reading this article. The reader will learn x number of things about y. Lists also can tell prospective readers how long of a blog post to expect. Speaking of length…
It’s no surprise that too long of a headline means you lose readers. If a headline is too long, it’s harder to display, and long headlines have trouble ranking high on Google searches, so too long of a headline can really hurt your blog’s visibility. Aside from the technical side, long headlines are gaudy and can be intimidating to the reader. As a general rule, you want to keep your title or headline around 8 words or fewer, with fewer being preferable.
Of course there are more techniques and more technical ways to think about crafting headlines, this list is in no way definitive, but I hope it gives you a better idea of how important your headlines are and a few ways you can improve your headlines now, and for the long haul. If you have any other headline tips, please comment them below!