For content marketers, a blog headline is just as important as an email subject line. Mediocre subject lines or headlines will get ignored, but amazing subject lines or headlines will increase clicks, traffic, and engagement.
Email marketers are constantly testing subject lines to increase open rates, clicks, and conversions. Content creators should be experimenting in the same way with their blog headlines. Below are three tips for taking your blog headlines from “meh” to “amazing!” Apply these guidelines in your upcoming blog posts to realize even greater results from your content marketing.
When scanning online content or search results, readers want to know, “What’s in it for me?” The blog headline should effectively answer this question with specific language that communicates clear benefits and information that a reader will gain from the blog post. Also remember to include viable keywords in the headline. This will make your post more visible in search results.
Example: A blog post about tips for achieving savings on holiday tech and home electronic gifts on a retailer’s blog.
Before: “10 Ways to Save This Holiday Season”
This headline tells readers they will save, but not by how much. The headline does not include keywords or mention that the gifts fall into tech and home electronics category.
After: “10 Ways to Save 25% On Holiday Gadgets”
This is a much more compelling lead in to the blog. Now the headline intrigues readers with an actual savings amount and a mentions the long tail keyword of “Holiday Gadgets.”
2. Reference the Reader
Who is your blog’s main reader or audience? Are you writing for human resources professionals, small business owners, executives, tech enthusiasts, parents, or music lovers? To attract your target audience, reference the reader’s title or role within the blog headline. If you have more than one type of reader or visitor, then consider the blog topic and determine and target the readers who would find the content most relevant. When you cannot fit the person’s title into the headline, then consider adding a key industry term. For example, if you are writing about at home holiday craft ideas for an audience of parents, put the words “kids” or “children” in the headline to their attention.
Example: A post sharing tips for small businesses to save time and increase productivity at the office.
Before: “6 Office Productivity Tips”
This headline is good. It communicates the basic gist of the article and says what the reader will takeaway from reading this post.
After: “6 Tips for Small Business Owners to Increase Productivity”
If you are looking to attract small business owners to your blog, however, this headline is much more effective. It calls out the small business owner by name and immediately lets them know this is relevant to them.
3. Trigger an Emotion
Triggering emotional responses is a classic copywriting technique used in direct marketing for decades. If your headline can generate an emotional response such as curiosity, urgency, or doubt, then you greatly increase the chances of a reader clicking through to read on. Try asking a question to create a sense of mystery. For example, “What’s the Secret to Social Media ROI?” Use trigger words like “secret,” “killer,” or “weird.” A recent Hubspot blog post about creating exceptional blog headlines, suggests (and I agree) that the word “confessions” is a great trigger to get readers engaged with content. For example, “Confessions of A Short Sale Specialist.” Below is another example for triggering emotions with blog headlines:
Example: A post instructing retailers on how they can use Pinterest to increase sales.
Before: “How to Increase Sales with Pinterest”
This is a succinct and clear headline, but it could be more specific, call out the reader, and create a little bit more excitement.
After: “Have You Unlocked Pinterest’s Retail Potential?”
Now the post is calling out retailers and asking them an important question. The word unlock suggests there is hidden treasure that retailers will learn how to unearth with this blog post.
What are some of your favorite tips and tricks for improving blog headlines? Please share your copywriting techniques in the comments below.