If you have a more or less developed blog, you must have spent a lot of time writing and publishing its content. Of course, creating engaging posts is crucial for getting the most out of your business blog, but visitors won’t bother paying attention to it unless they find the title catchy.
Blog titles are the ‘face’ of your pages and posts: this is what the readers see first and decide whether they want to proceed reading, or not. Titles are what people see when your blog posts are shared with other via social media and other platforms. Titles are the part of the blog your followers always see.
Therefore, the success of your blog posts depends on the quality of the blog titles to a great extent. Want to boost your skill of writing viral titles? We’ve come up with ten pro tips for creating great blog titles.
Don’t Ignore Keyword Research
If you’re developing a blog, most probably, you’ve done a keyword research to find out what your public is looking for, and which terms they use for doing so. Apply the keywords to present the information correctly in your blog titles.
You should speak the same language your readers do. It’s efficient both for the SEO of your blog posts (it allows readers to find you) and for making people click on the post once they see it. But be careful not to force the target keyword in the blog title, it should look organic and natural.
Mind Which Headlines You Like
Every day we see tens, or even hundreds of titles – on advertisements, newspapers, magazines, online articles, YouTube videos, emails we receive, and so on. Consciously or subconsciously, you always have some response to this articles, and the worst response is to keep on scrolling.
At the same time, you start paying more attention to the articles that catch your attention, even if you don’t realize that. You may not even think why it works. From this very moment, start reading consciously: emphasize why you like this or that title, what is so special about it. It will help you to boost the craft of headline writing.
Anytime you visit your favorite blog or flip through a magazine you like, or surf through the links posted by other people in social media, stop for a second and think over your response to any headline you see. Pay particular attention to the ones that made you click on them, which ones offended or annoyed you, and which just haven’t left any impression. If possible, write down small notes of how you responded and why. Even a few analyses will give you a better insight into what makes headlines work.
Stick to the Headline Formulas That Work
Did you know that bloggers and marketers are actually analyzing the information concerning blog writing, and years of research allowed them to figure out a few types of headlines that perform better than others? Yes, they have revealed some certain trends making people choosing titles to click on, so to say, determined the formula of success. You can reap the benefits from this knowledge and apply the formulas that have proved to work.
As a rule, the following types of headlines work greatly:
- Scarcity headline. Such headlines give readers the promise that they will have something that only a few have. Scarcity headlines start like “The secret of…” or “Little Known Ways to…” and play on the principle of exclusive, rare knowledge.
- Number headlines. Any headline starting with a number and introducing a list (for instance, “Top-10 Zoos of the World”) attracts readers’ attention. People like reading well-structured articles in the form of lists – they are easier to understand and memorize.
- Famous comparison. These headlines base on the popularity of a person, or a piece of entertainment for people to click. Depending on the famous person, or movie, or TV series you choose, you can add an element of humor and fun to your blog, e.g. “10 Life Hacks I Learned From Watching the Walking Dead TV series”.
- “How To” headlines. It’s a simple and very efficient option. If a person is trying to find how to do this or that thing, your headline will let them know you can deliver truly valuable knowledge. “How to” blog posts allow to get the most crucial points across (make sure that you fulfill the headline’s promise).
- Big promises headline. If you are sure you won’t break the promise, write large-size articles with a huge amount of useful information. Call it “The Ultimate Guide to…”, or make a very large list with a high number (for example, “50 Movies About Christmas”).
Buzzsumo has performed a great research on the words and phrases that perform best in headlines. Of course, you cannot put them in your blog titles all the time, but you should keep those in your mind and seek for the opportunities to use them efficiently – that could help you to create better titles.
The list of these phrases includes:
- this is why;
- will make you;
- can we guess;
- the reason is;
- is what happens;
- make you cry;
- give you goosebumps;
- melt your heart;
- what happened next.
That’s a nice list for starters, but, actually, you can find a lot more, if you make your own headline research and figure out your own formulas. Spare your time to reading what your competitors and well-established websites post, and you’ll learn from their experience.
Practice Creating Blog Titles
The only way to reach perfection in something is dedication and practice. The more you do something, the easier it becomes for you to do it well. Therefore, any time you write a post blog, create several titles for it. You can give yourself the assignment of writing headlines on a regular basis – it can also inspire you and provide some good blog post ideas.
Commit your time to do it at least 10 minutes a day, or 30 minutes a week, and you will already see the difference. Figure out the time you can spend for practice, and start right now.
If you have even met the term “click bait”, you know that it’s always said with a note of annoyance and disappointment. People hate clicking on a link with a big promise in the headline and nothing special behind it – it feels like being fooled. Yes, the websites with a business model making them money depending on the number of clicks do use these tactics, and it’s somewhat justified. But if you want readers to trust you, forget about this strategy.
Ensure that your title corresponds to the content inside your post. Do not say “Exclusive…that will blow your mind!” What’s mind-blowing for you can be pretty ordinary for the audience (anyway, how can one measure it?). Do not mention such phrases as “the definitive guide to…” unless you are 100% sure you’ve included all possible valuable information (which is almost impossible to do).
If you are determined to make a big sell in your headline, prepare for a heavy workload. Otherwise, find a less tantalizing headline.
Write Several Blog Titles for Every Article
As we have mentioned, practice makes perfect. All your hard work dedicated to writing a blog post will be done in vain if people don’t click to read it. A poorly organized title can spoil everything if you spend a disproportionate amount of power versus the rest of your post.
Some experts advise spending as much time on writing the blog posts as you do on the blog post itself. If you do so, you can find a significant difference in results, so it’s always worth extra time. The least you can do is to write several blog titles for every post you create (in addition to title writing practice). A good idea is to share the headlines with your colleagues or friends to get a sincere feedback. This way, you can:
- Spend less time on selecting the best blog title out of your list for every post.
- Get a better understanding of what people respond to. With valuable opinions at your disposal, you can see which titles are responded better and reach out to your audience more efficiently before pushing the “Publish” button.
Perform A/B Testing
Of course, you can do a lot of headline research to see what generally works for your niche (of course, this background knowledge is vital), but, more importantly, you should know what works well for your target audience. For this purpose, you should perform A/B testing. While each post gives you some insight into which headlines work, you can get a better understanding by comparing two headlines against each other.
Whenever your choice of titles boils down to two variants, the A/B test will show you what to choose. Think which one can be more winning for your blog, and you will get a better insight looking at the trends over time. Probably, your audience responds to headlines with negative wording better than positive, or maybe they adore “How to” headlines. The more data you obtain during your tests, the more you will know about how to get clicks on the blog you write.
Appeal to Emotions
Even if you don’t realize it yourself, researchers say that our decision to click and share blog posts is based on emotions rather than thinking. Blog titles that appeal to visitors’ emotions perform better and trigger more views and shares. According to CoSchedule’s research, the number of shares of different posts depended on the Emotional Marketing Value (EMV) Score. Posts with the higher score got more shares than articles with low scores.
If possible, use terms to provoke emotions in your readers: make them feel surprised, delighted, and so on. Think what you want your readers to feel when they click a link and describe what they can expect in this article.
Target Your Own Audience
Of course, it is difficult to please everybody in the Net, but who you really need to care are people who read your articles. General knowledge of the best content writing practices is great for having started, but the longer your blog exists, the more your strategies should be based on your own data.
You write the content for your readers, not for marketers or your boss – keep it in mind when thinking over the titles.
The title should let people know what to expect. Otherwise, they will feel tricked. You may feel like making your title a bit vague for people to get interested and find your blog post appealing. However, in most cases, it simply makes people scroll past your title without being interested. Be more concise and specific: tell which questions you are answering, and which information you provide. The readers will clearly see that this is the information they need and make an informed decision about whether they want to spend time on your blog.
This is proved by analysis performed by HubSpot: they have tested over 3 mln headlines and noticed that titles with more precise information perform 38% better than ones that don’t include it.
When you’re leading a business blog, every day can bring you pieces of knowledge that you can use to improve the results. Whether you like it or not, spending more time on blog titles is a must, if you want to make them attractive and catchy. The headline is what the overall success depends on. If you want to perform a work that pays off, dedicate your time and effort to making a truly appealing blog post title.