You’ve worked and re-worked your blog post until it shines like a diamond! Then… you slap on any old headline because you figure it’s the content that counts, right? Oh, my blogging friend, not so much. I know “content is king” but the headline needs to be “queen.”
As a journalist, I learned you need to craft a “killer” hook; that first sentence that draws the reader in and keep him interested enough to read through to the end. Headlines were key to the story getting read, but in a newspaper the headline is sometimes stunted because of the space available. Online journalists aka bloggers do have limits on the number of characters Google likes to see in a headline, but the headline has to be as compelling as the content itself — perhaps even more so.
Consider this: You’re searching for content. You go to Google, type in a word or phrase and up pops hundreds, thousands or more pieces of content based on the phrase you’ve typed in. What do you, as a blogger, want when someone is searching? You want your content to rank in the top searches. That’s why you need to create compelling click-worthy headlines. You’re competeing with millions of blogs and billions of pieces of content begging to be read; make sure yours rises to the top of the search.
Note: I crafted this headline to promise ideas and advice for creating headlines. I also used alliteration as a tool. I could have written “Create Compelling Click-Worthy Content” to go all in for alliteration, but this post is about headlines, not content.
Here’s how to create compelling click-worthy headlines:
- Choose your words carefully. “How to,” “Secrets,” “Top 10” titles are magnets to readers. Use these words in your headline and see if it garners you clicks. Consider this: “Tips for writing a blog post” versus “How To Write A Killer Blog Post” or “Secrets To Killer Blog Posts” or “Top 5 Ways To Write A Blog That Gets Clicks.” If you can narrow the focus, do so. For example: “How Dog Groomers Can Write Killer Blog Posts.” Don’t be vague, “Write A Blog Post” doesn’t tell the reader very much.
- What’s in it for me? Readers want to know what they will get out of your post; let them know in the headline then deliver on the promise in the content.
- Be emotional. Some readers are compelled to click on negative titles, and it’s up to you whether to try the “negative” or go for a “positive” spin. For example: “# Reasons Doctors Don’t Deserve Dogs” versus “Why Doctors Need To Be Pet Parents.” Sure, the “# Reasons Doctors Don’t Deserve Dogs” could garner clicks, the reaction you want to elicit will drive the title. A few years ago I penned a post about “why you shouldn’t get a dog” and whooo boy did it get raise hackles. It didn’t honestly write it to be divisive, but it certainly angered a lot of readers.
- Don’t mislead the reader with your headline. “I Made Millions By Doing This One Thing On My Blog.” Hmmmmm, really? Can I see the paycheck? How about, “How To Drive Hundreds Of Readers To Your Pet Blog”–it doesn’t sound like click bait and “hundreds” is a headline I’d be more likely to believe as compared to “making millions.” If you’re offering a title like this, show proof of your “hundreds of readers” as it will build your authority and authenticity.
- Keywords count. I’m known for Devon Rex, Diva Poodle and Time Management and Productivity. Because of that, I try to work those terms into my headlines. Those words are my site keywords. Know your keywords and work them into headlines when possible, making certain the headline is readable, not just keyword stuffed. For example: “Devon Rex Time Management and Productivity Tips For Readers.” What?! Keyword stuffing leads to nonsensical headlines.
Compelling Click-Worthy Headline Samples To Try
- # Of Surprising Ways To __
- How To Create X
- A Quick Guide To __
- # Of Things You Need To Know About X
- Get Smarter By Using __
- # Essentials For X
- The Ultimate Guide To X
- # Secrets Of
- Top Ten (or the number of your choosing)
- # Ways To Achieve X
- # Of Harsh Realities Of (I found this on a headline generator site)
I sometimes use Tweak Your Biz Title to gauge my headline, but there are many others if you do a search for “headline generator tools.”
Action item: Think about which headline types you can use for any blog posts you may write from BlogPaws 2017 Conference sessions.
Robbi Hess, award-winning author, full-time writer, newspaper columnist, writing coach and time-management guru works with petpreneurs and solopreneurs and blogs at All Words Matter. She is speaking at BlogPaws 2017 as part of the Cat Writers’ Association. My topic is: “Overworked & Overwhelmed? The Four-Step Process for Reinventing Your Writing.” There will be giveaways, handouts and time for questions! Hope to see you there!