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How to write great headlines for your blog posts

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by Louise Blakely in Content Marketing
July 20, 2017 2 comments
Attention grabbing headlines

First impressions count. It’s never been truer online, as it becomes a very crowded space and people can only absorb so much information in one day.

So how are you going to fight against the clutter?

By writing great headlines, that’s how!

If your blog post is great but your headline doesn't pull readers in, most people aren't going to click on it. That means a lot of people will miss out on your great content. 

So it's really worth taking the time to write great headlines.

Devote time to crafting your headline

Often the headline can be an afterthought. You finish up that post you’ve been working on, and then just slap a heading on it before your press publish!

This is not a great idea, considering that way more people are going to see the headline than who read the post. So in all reality, shouldn’t the headline be the most important part?

Advertising master David Ogilvy once rewrote a heading for an automobile advertisement 104 times!

Copywriting masters recommend that you spend 50% of your time on an article just on the heading, according to Copyblogger. Even when you’re a pro, it takes time to craft the perfect heading.

Know the purpose of your message

The folks at Copyblogger recommend to ask yourself these three simple questions before you start writing:

  1. Who is the audience I am trying to help benefit from this content?
  2. What solutions do I offer from this content?
  3. What makes this content stand out from the crowd of information?

See if you can incorporate as aspect of each of these into your headline. If you can’t quite get there, keep tweaking. To attract the right people to click on your blog post, you need to make it clear who it’s for, and what it’s about.

Remember, people have limited time and they simply can’t read every article they want to. So what is so special about your article for them to take those five minutes, let alone share it with others. 

Don’t be too worried about title length

Short isn’t always necessary when creating headlines. But neither is long.

Ultimately it comes down to crafting the perfectly balanced title that has enough information about what the post is about. If you can do this in 4 words, brilliant! But if you can’t, don’t worry too much if it becomes two lines.

Pull on the heart-strings when creating headlines

The most interesting headlines that I have come across use personal pronouns, like you and your.

After all, we are people and personable posts are more attractive.

You could also try using negative antonyms such as “Stop…”, “No more…”. This makes us feel like we are missing out on something so we need to click on that article to find out.

People also like a bit of excitement, so try using interesting adjectives like “Proven essentials”,  “Absolute must read”, “Powerful Ways”. These adjectives give the reader a sense of urgency and FOMO.

It’s not a university thesis

Without compromising professionalism, you can definitely use short hand language in your headings. Language on the web is a lot more casual than other platforms, so leave the doctorate talk for an academic paper if you’re that way inclined.

Don’t be afraid to use “shouldn’t” instead of “should not”. Also a great tip is using numbers such as “5” instead of spelling out “five” as it’s all about efficiency. Numbers also create easy steps and indicate to the potential reader that this one is a good quick read.

Headings are without a doubt one of the hardest bits of copy you will ever write. There are some great resources below for you so you can study up further on this topic. It’s worth it – learning to write your own copy could result in a lot more customers for your business.

Suggested headline starters:

I have compiled a short list of content heading starters for you to try out:

The essential guide to…
Top 5…
Proven ways…
Absolute 5 practical principles…
How to…
Why you must…
Why you mustn’t…
Reasons you didn’t…
Most popular…
3 Creative ways…
Trends you need to know…
Hack…
Signs you might…
Mistakes and how to avoid them…
3 Challenges…

Copywriting Resources

Copyblogger
Copyhackers
Ray Edwards

Headline Tools

Here are some fun tools to help create or analyse your headings:

CoSchedule Headline Analyser
Portent’s Content Idea Generator – Title Maker

I hope you're inspired to go and write a lot of headings now. Remember, writing good headlines do take time but it's worth it. It's all part of upping your content marketing game to grow your online business.

2 Comments
  1. Laura Morley says:

    I had a lot of fun with this Louise. Thank you for the awesome content. It has really jazzed up my boring blog titles on Looloo. I had just been trying to do content rich wording with SEO but not thinking about making them sound enticing to read.

    1. Awesome! It is definitely fun coming up with cool titles, and it’s about combining keywords with compelling copy 🙂

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