So you have just written the best blog post ever. The content is helpful, engaging, and sure to be eagerly consumed by your intended audience.
But there is one catch. Your potential readers have to click on it first. How can you stand out above the rest in a sea of similar content? Killer titles.
Whether it is an email, social media post, blog, or another form of content, eye-catching headlines are critical to getting clicks.
Tips for Compelling Titles and Headlines
Here are some tips to help you optimize your content for readers and search engines for higher search engine rankings and better click-through rates.
1. Begin with a sample title.
Start with a "working" title as you hammer out the content. Once you have finalized your piece, go back and fine-tune the title based on the final version of content for accuracy.
2. Be specific and accurate.
Avoid broad topics like "Tips for Writing Great Blog Posts." These types of headlines are vague and could go in a number of directions. Instead, set clear expectations by getting more specific with titles like these:
"10 Tips to Optimize Blog Content for Better Visibility in Search Results"
"6 Ways to Include Effective CTAs"
"Craft Amazing Headlines for Blog Posts"
Additionally, be careful not to go over the top with your titles. For example, "5 Tips to Get 100% Click-Through Rates for Your Email Blasts" sounds intriguing, however, while people might click on it, it will backfire as you lose your trustworthiness.
Unless you have actually achieved a 100% click-through rate on an email blast. If so, we'd love to hear about it!
HubSpot recommends adding bracketed clarification like [infographic] or [new study] to your headlines as these types of headlines performed 38% better than headlines without clarification.
3. Add some pop to your title.
Don't be afraid to get creative with your headlines. Keeping your target audience in mind, craft headlines with bold statements, clever alliteration, and clear value to get attention. Here are some examples:
"Idiot-Proof Ways to..."
"A Proven Formula to..."
"9 Things People Hate About..."
"Research Shows that..."
"6 Clever Ways to..."
"Why We Love..."
4. Optimize the title to fit your goals.
The length of your title will depend on what your goals are.
According to Outbrain, a content discovery platform that analyzes data for content publishers, findings revealed that in general, titles of around eight words performed best.
If you want to rank well in search, titles should be 70 or fewer characters and should include your primary keyword/keyword phrase as close to the beginning of the title as possible.
To optimize posts for social media, Twitter headlines with around ten words (120-130 characters) and Facebook posts around twelve words got the best results.
For email marketing, test your email subject lines using your mobile device to see how they will appear to visitors checking email from their smartphones. Tweak the text to make sure your message gets across well in mobile.
Here are some examples of email campaigns I recently received. Take note of the ones that express their messages most clearly.
5. Focus on pain points & solutions in the headline.
One sure-fire way to attract visitors is to address a common problem in a title. If you can work in the solution, even better.
For example, you might be offering valuable training tips for dog owners with a focus on the keyword "obedience training."
Here is an example of a title that states the problem (unwanted behaviors) and solution (tips) while weaving in the keyword for added SEO benefit.
"New to Obedience Training? Here are 10 Tips to Stop Bad Behaviors Fast"
6. Format your headlines for best results.
In addition to revealing the most clickable word counts for various titles, Outbrain also offers the following suggestions based on research:
- Use lists in titles, using odd numbers when possible for better results (e.g. "9 Ways to Optimize Your Blog Posts for Higher Rankings")
- Include more depth by adding hyphens or colons in titles (e.g. "Grow Your Blog: New Research to Help You Double Your Traffic")
- Ask relevant questions in the headline or title (e.g. "New to Small Business Blogging? Here are Some Proven Tactics Every Business Owner Should Know")
- Use time-sensitive titles when appropriate (e.g. "Top Web Design Tips for 2018")
Once you have published your post, use the tips above to optimize it for various platforms, including Facebook, email marketing, Twitter, and others.
7. Take advantage of free title generator resources.
Need some assistance developing awesome (and amusing) titles or headlines? Here are some resources to help you.
- Portent's Content Idea Generator helps to generate clever ideas based on your subject: https://www.portent.com/tools/title-maker
- ShareThrough helps you analyze your title and provides helpful suggestions to fine-tune it: https://headlines.sharethrough.com/
- SEOPressor offers catchy titles and blog topics based on your keyword and description: https://seopressor.com/blog-title-generator/
So there you have it. Tips and resources to help you craft titles and headlines that are both search engine and human-friendly.
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