When you’re writing a killer blog post, it’s easy to make the headline an afterthought. After all, the most important part is the post itself, isn’t it?
The fact is that 80% of people never make it past the headline. There would simply be no point in writing a time-consuming article if no one reads it. The solution? Learn to write bolder, sexier headlines that hook readers from the start.
But with 2 million blog posts being published every day, there is obviously a lot of competition. How can you rise above the noise and really resonate with your readers? Here are my top 10 tips to write headlines that are the best of both worlds: authentic and SEO-friendly, with a lot of allure and click-appeal.
1. Understand Headline Preferences
If you’re familiar with sites like buzzfeed.com or cracked.com, then I’m sure you’ve noticed they have certain trends in their headlines – and with good reason. Sites like these understand that some of the most clickable headlines are those with numbers and lists. Whether it’s the 30 best places to get married, 15 best-paying jobs, or 9 best ways to promote your blog post, people are universally more likely to click on blog posts including numbered lists than any other post type. Here are some other top-performing title templates:
- Reader-addressing (“Why You Need to Promote Your Blog Posts”)
- How-to (“How to Promote Your Blog Posts”)
- Normal (“Ways to Promote Your Blog Posts”)
- Question (“What Are Some of the Best Ways to Promote Your Blog Post?”)
2. Utilize Trigger Words
Sometimes one word is all it takes. By using powerful, emotionally engaging words, we can instantly make our blog titles more alluring to potential readers. Here are some of the most enticing words or phrases that you can include in your blog post title.
- At last
- The Truth About
3. Be Extremely Clear
It goes without saying that the average reader these days just doesn’t have time for games. With that said, it’s important that your headline is clear about what it offers to your readers. Does it solve a problem they have? If so, what problem and how? Will it make a problem go away or satisfy a desire? You don’t have to completely spill the beans before they even read your article, but the value of your article should be obvious and glaring just from reading the headline. And don’t be afraid to embellish with some power words!
When it comes down to it, your readers are on your site for one of two reasons: to learn something or to be entertained. If you’re trying to educate your audience on a particular topic, you (and your readers!) will no doubt tire of the boring “How to” title before long. Luckily, you can doll those headlines up with just a little bit of creativity.
- The Ultimate Guide to Creating the Perfect Infographic
- The Top 10 Strategies to Perfecting Your Instagram Photos
- 7 Little Known Ways a Vision Board Can Change Your Life
5. Understand Your Reader’s Fears, Frustrations, and Desires
Ultimately, you’re writing for living, breathing humans and all the SEO research in the world will get you nowhere if you don’t understand where they’re coming from. People are on the internet to learn to ease their burdens and lighten their hearts. Learn more about what your readers fear, hate, love, or are confused by, and craft your blog posts and titles around that. Move them away from a pain or towards a desire (or both, if you can). Here are some examples:
- How to Lose 20lbs Without Giving Up Cheeseburgers
- The Ultimate Guide to Moving with Less than $1000
- How to Clean Your Home Without Losing Your Mind
6. Make it Easier or Make it Quicker
In the previous point, I mentioned that people are drawn to posts that clearly satisfy a desire or solve a problem. What’s better than those? Posts that make either task easier or quicker. Like it or not, we all want our instant gratification and will probably gravitate towards solutions that promise the best stuff with the least amount of time or work invested. Let’s see how we can spice up the post titles from point #7.
- How to Lose 20lbs in 4 Weeks Without Giving Up Cheeseburgers
- The Step-by-Step Guide to Moving with Less than $1000
- How to Clean Your Home Without Losing Your Mind in Just 15 Minutes a Day.
See how the bolded phrases make the headlines just a little bit juicier?
7. Throw in a Little Controversy
One of the best ways to move readers to action is to be just a little bold. Whether they agree with your stance or not, a polarizing headline will draw curious (or outraged!) readers in to see what it’s all about.
I was personally drawn in this way not too long ago when legendary business guru Ramit Sethi sent an email to his newsletter with the title “Why I don’t meditate”. Especially in the business and productivity world, a meditation habit is almost a given. Everybody’s doing it and talking about how it changed their world, myself included. Why was this guy openly dissing on such a popular and healthy habit?! Although I had hundred of other emails to chug through, I had to find out what it was all about.
So what could you write about to make readers do a double-take? Try an unpopular opinion or a polarized stance, or maybe try defying a common belief, practice, habit, or tool.
8. Use Sentence Case
Over 60% of readers prefer blog post titles formatted in sentence case over any other formatting, and only 7% of readers prefer lowercase blog titles. So try to format your blog post titles like this:
- How to Lose 20lbs in 4 Weeks Without Giving Up Cheeseburgers
Rather than this:
- how to lose 20lbs in 4 weeks without giving up cheeseburgers
9. Include a Relevant Picture
A picture is worth a thousand words! Try to find unique pictures to pair with your blog posts, especially when you’re sharing on social media. Taking your own photos is a huge boost to your posts and maintains brand identity, but you can also create your own graphics and jazz up stock photos with programs such as Canva.com.
10. Brainstorm Several Potential Headlines
Let’s face it: the first title idea you have probably won’t be your best. While some experts claim you should spend 80% of your time on the headline alone and others claim you should brainstorm 25 potential headlines, I’d say you’ll be on the right track by idea #5.
As you can see, headlines really do pack more of a punch than your average blogger thinks. Don’t forget to dedicate time to crafting the best headline possible – after all, your post deserves some recognition!
Still having a hard time coming up with some killer headlines? Join the email list to receive my completely FREE set of blog post title templates that will keep your blog full of content for an ENTIRE YEAR!