Writing great blog headlines can be difficult, which is why many bloggers simply don’t bother to do it. However, if you’re willing to learn how to get better at it, you’ll be surprised by how much a good headline can improve your results.
So what’s the secret to writing good headlines? It’s a combination of things.
But most importantly, it involves thinking like a copywriter. This means that you must understand your audience, think like them, and then make a conscious effort to persuade them using every strategy available to copywriters.
Below, you’ll learn 7 ways you can use to write great blog headlines:
1. Make a Big Promise
Your blog post may provide very large benefits to your readers.
Example: It might tell them how to use a new Internet marketing technique that is not explained well elsewhere.
However, if you do not communicate this information to your viewers, then they won’t see the benefit and won’t bother to read your entry.
Example: As an example, consider using a headline like: “Do ____ 3 Times Faster.”
For all readers, this is a simple and tangible benefit and if this is something they want, then there’s a good chance they’ll read the entry.
2. Arouse Curiosity
Another strategy you can use to improve your headlines is to arouse curiosity. By doing so, you will make it difficult for the reader to leave without having first satisfied that curiosity by at least skimming your entry.
Again, using our Internet marketing example, you might say something like this:
Example: “Find Out How The World’s Strangest Marketing”
3. Use Trigger Words
If you’ve ever read a guide on copywriting, you’ve probably noticed that the term “trigger word” is thrown around quite frequently.
If you’re not familiar with the term, it refers to any word or phrase that triggers a psychological response on the reader’s part.
These are very useful, as they can compel people to take action and make decisions when an alternate choice of words would not.
The following is a short list of some “trigger words” that you may want to use in your blog headlines:
4. Get Specific
Blog readers need a story that they can visualize if you want them to be compelled. If visitors cannot visualize the story that your headline suggests, then they won’t bother to reader further.
One way in which you can make it easier for them to visualize your story is to be more specific. As an example, compare the following two claims:
“Make as much as $200 with this strategy in your first week”
“Make as much as $197.83 with this strategy in your first week.”
“Lose 20 pounds in one month”
“Lose as much as 19 pounds in one month.”
In each case, the second option provides a higher degree of detail than first and signals to the reader that the blogger is communicating the exact story, rather than embellishing or being vague.
5. Speak Directly to Your Target Market
While it’s true that the people you target have other interests, it’s NOT true that you know what they are. All you know about the people who visit your blog is that they have an interest in your niche.
This is precisely why it is vital to target these interests specifically, rather than a person with generic interests. This is something you should keep in mind when writing headlines.
Example: If you have a weight loss blog, then your headline should not work equally as well on a gardening blog.
That is, it should not appeal to general human interests, but instead, the interests of those who want to lose weight.
6. Draw Inspiration from Successful Bloggers and Tweeters
One of the best ways to learn how to write better headlines is to copy the style and approach of those who are successful at it.
One way in which you can do this is to watch the Digg.com front page each day. If a headline makes it there, then it has received hundreds or thousands of votes, indicating that the technique was successful.
Another place you can draw inspiration from is Twitter.com. Since tweets are limited to 140 characters, you can think of them as you would an unusually long blog headline. As you did with Digg, look for frequent re-tweets and analyze what it is that makes them unusually salient.
7. Test, Track… Test, Track!
In addition to employing good headline strategies, you must also test them. Otherwise, you will have no means of determining whether a strategy was successful or not. The best way to do this is to monitor your traffic statistics to see whether a certain headline technique increased the clicks to the post and amount of time the average visitor spent on your blog post.
Note: You see, it is NOT enough just to test and track your click rates. It is relatively easy to deceive your visitors and make them click to a specific blog post; but what matters is how relevant is the headline to the content of the post. So, as much as you keep track of your “most popular posts” also be sure to track the readership level of these popular blog posts.
Of course, for SEO (Search Engine Optimization) purposes, you will NOT want to alter the headlines of blog entries after you have already posted them. Instead, you will want to look at the results for many different headlines and blog posts and then see if you can determine which techniques are consistently yielding better results.
Writing good blog headlines is an essential part of retaining blog visitors and encouraging them to read more. There are many ways in which you can do this, but I have listed some of the best strategies above. In addition to writing good headlines, it is also important that you test your results and make modifications accordingly.