How to Write a Compelling Blog Headline That Guarantees Clickthroughs
Across search engines and/or Pinterest, what is the first thing you notice about the search results? What compels you to pick a particular blog post? Is it the image and its styling? Is it the author/website’s name? Is it the headline or title?
In most cases, it has to be the headline. Here’s why:
You query the search engine for specific information. By default, the search engine result pages (SERP) display the most relevant results for your search query. That means within each page, it now comes down to the competition among all the listings. Now, you will either default to viewing the results top-down, i.e. in the order the search engine displays the results or you will pick the result that aligns closest with your requirements the most. This alignment comes from nothing but the title and the meta description.
If your title and description aren’t engaging, then the chances of anyone clicking through to your post are remote. Consequently, all the time you toiled over creating the awesome content for your blog will be a waste.
So what can you do to make your post title compelling enough to guarantee a click-through?
How to Write Compelling Blog Titles That Guarantee Clickthroughs
Let’s begin by writing regular blog post title:
How to be Productive
Now, let’s learn about the tips and apply it to the chosen headline.
Make it about the reader
If there is only one thing you can take away from this post, it’s this: everything you do, it’s for your readers. For your title to resonate with your readers, they need to see the benefit they will derive from your post. Instead of writing a headline that focuses on your achievements or failures, make it about the reader: what can they learn from your success and failures.
The ultimate goal of your blog is to provide solutions to your readers. Make those solutions the hero of your post.
Old headline: How to be Productive
New Headline: How YOU can be Productive
Use emotion-driven words
You are writing for human beings, not robots. Use this fact to your advantage. Humans love emotions and they are drawn to emotions. Whenever possible, bring in a personal element in your blog headlines. For example, instead of saying: ‘5 Ways You Can Run Your Household Productively,’ you can say, ‘5 Surefire Ways You Can Be the Productivity Queen.’
Depending on your niche and style of writing, it may not always be possible to write an emotional headline for your post. But you can surely explore the possibilities while crafting your social media (including Pinterest) graphics.
Old Headline: How YOU can be Productive
New Headline: How YOU can be a PRODUCTIVITY QUEEN
Use power words
Power words are a derivative of emotion-driven words but focus on higher emotions—both positive and negative. Examples include fear, elation, curiosity, suffering, guarantee, etc.
Old Headline: How YOU can be a PRODUCTIVITY QUEEN
New Headline: How YOU can SURELY be a PRODUCTIVITY QUEEN
Use action verb
This is a great way to introduce a sense of urgency and performance in your readers. Using action verbs encourage your readers to…take action. Ensure the verbs you include in your title are positive because your aim is to play a facilitator who will take your readers on an upward journey.
Old Headline: How YOU can be a KICKASS PRODUCTIVITY QUEEN
New Headline: How YOU can BECOME a KICKASS PRODUCTIVITY QUEEN
“How to…” articles are one of the most popular types of articles. That’s because 99% of the time, your readers search for ideas on doing something. Using numbers in your titles sets reader expectations even before they click through to your post.
Old Headline: How YOU can BECOME a KICKASS PRODUCTIVITY QUEEN
New Headline: 5 SUREFIRE WAYS YOU CAN BECOME A KICKASS PRODUCTIVITY QUEEN
Remember, the aforementioned tips are not a complete sequence. You can use these alone or in any combination, as your post and niche demand.
Sometimes, going against the grain is the best thing you can do for your blog. In a sea of positive headlines, try playing with a negative headline. For example, instead of saying “Why you should buy XYZ product,” consider saying, “Why you should NOT buy XYZ product” or “Why I Hated XYZ product.” The idea is to pique your readers’ curiosity as to why you are saying not to do something while everyone else is recommending. In your post, you could either stick with the negative review or construct the post in a way that actually praises the product. For example, “If you are happy living in a dusty home, don’t buy XYZ vacuum cleaner because it will not leave a speck of dust in your home.”
It’s a fact that out of 10 comments if 9 are positive and 1 is negative, that 1 negative comment will affect us more.
Don’t make it a habit though 🙂
Read it aloud
Most blog writing is meant to be informal and conversational. But thanks to the writing lessons we all received in school, it’s difficult to break away from that (guilty as charged!). Formal writing is devoid of emotions and therefore, goes against the aforementioned tip to include emotion-driven words.
One way you can check for formal language is by reading it aloud. If it flows well and elicits the emotions you want to associate with the headline, you are good to go. If not, rework the headline.
Use headline analyzers
Wouldn’t it be cool if you had someone review your headlines for effectiveness? Luckily, there are plenty of headline analyzer tools available in the market. These tools measure your headline against parameters we discussed earlier. Based on their calculation, these tools give an effectiveness score to your headline.
A tip I discussed in my How to Grab Your Reader’s Attention post is, to begin with several headlines (say 8-10) and shortlist them (4-5) based on the tips discussed earlier as well as the effectiveness score.
Don’t ignore the meta description
Once your headline catches your readers’ eyes, many are likely to read the description below the title. Use this area to convey the specific objective of your post. Begin with a problem statement, then tell them how your post is going to help them address that problem. This is your second but last chance to convince someone to click-through to your post.
Have you been implementing all these tips in creating your blog titles? If not, go ahead and try implementing them.
Remember you can apply these tips not only to your blog posts, but also to your emails, landing/sales pages, forms, products, and images.
Additional recommended reading
- Join the 7-Day Stick Blog Email Workout here
- How to grab your readers’ attention
- How to create memorable and effective instructional content? (Part 1 of 2)
- How to create memorable and effective instructional content? (Part 2 of 2)
- 6 Lessons From My First 6 Months of Blogging
- Catchy Headlines by Goins Writer
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