A big part of your ongoing blogging success, whether on your own author website, or guest blogs you offer up to others, will depend on you quickly connecting with readers and enticing them to come read what you have to say. That depends on a creative and intriguing headline, both for the post itself, and to share and expand on when you “pitch” the post’s value on your various social media outlets.
Yes, pitch. If you think of your posts and getting folks to read them in the same way you might pitch a book idea to an agent or editor, or a book’s back cover blurb to entice a book buyer, the desired result is the same – grabbing the attention of your desired audience!
So, we can think of a compelling headline just as we might a log line, blurb or elevator pitch.
Translation: Your content headlines cannot be afterthoughts. They need the same care and consideration that you put into the great content you’re offering readers.
5 Easy Tips for Compelling Headline Copy
- Numbers Game: Use your digits. Plenty of marketing studies reveal that a headline that includes a number (3 tips, 12 ways, 5 steps…) capture the click-through attention of a reader. Why?
- A numbered list of tips or know-how indicates its importance.
- Definining a number of insights indicates to a reader that the information will be organized and clearly presented; you’re making an implied promise.
- As busy humans, our subconscious tells us we don’t have time to read “everything you ever wanted to know” in a blog post, but a defined number of ideas is something we can get our arms around.
- Use “how to” or “what is” in your headline. Why? Because these are typically included in search-word strings when people are looking for information. Example: How to use Microsoft Word or What is Microsoft Word will get to advice quicker than just “info about Microsoft Word.”
- Intrigue: Ask a Provocative Question. This should never be a “yes” or “no” question because a reader will answer it in their heads and move on. So rather than, “Are You Selling Books?” you might ask, “Which of These Book Selling Secrets Works for You?”
- Use your words: Action Words Provoke Action. Just as in your writing, active verbs and exciting adjectives will entice your readers to keep writing. “Create” is better than “Trying to” and “maximize” is stronger than “improve.” Likewise, “fantastic” reads stronger than “nice” and “outrageous success” is more fun than “successful.”
- Keep it Simple AND Short. Search engines such as Google will clip your headline after 70 characters. You might not mind leaving a reader hanging and depending where the cut-off is, it might even be provocative, i.e. “7 Things Everyone Should Absolutely, Positively Know About Sex Unless They’re…” But typically, it’s smarter to stay under the limit. Use a free tool such as http://www.lettercount.com/ to check your character count.
Armed and ready? Be sure to visit the resources below (Hint: We really like the 100+ templates ideas – smart list!)