Headlines are one of the most important aspects of your blog posts, since they can be the key to success or failure. With a flood of online communications to wade through each day, readers give your blog about 10 seconds of their time before deciding to read or move on. A catchy headline could be the difference between getting your post read and shared, or sudden death. On average, only 2 out of 10 people will read beyond your headline, so brushing up on your headline writing skills is critical.
Good headlines have three key elements: a goal, an audience and a platform. Your blog should (hopefully) have an intention – boost your online presence, convert customers, inform on new products. Knowing what your content is trying to achieve makes the headline creation more directed. Think about your audience – who’s going to read the blog, will it appeal to them, is it relevant to them? And lastly, the platform you intend to use – Twitter, Facebook, Google or your own website – will dictate the length of the headline.
There are several different styles of headlines you can use, which will form the tone of your headline. It could be a statement, a question, a ‘How to’, a need, an emotional line or a number, e.g.:
- Write better headlines today.
- Why are good headlines so difficult to write?
- How to create a killer headline.
- Why YOU need to be able to write great headlines.
- Headlines: The agony of coming up with the perfect line.
- Ten ways to improve your headline writing.
Single words can make a headline stand out and since headlines should be short and to the point, it’s important to choose them carefully. Interesting adjectives like incredible, essential, unmissable or ground-breaking can describe your post, while rational words like facts, tricks, approaches and principles can resonate with many readers. Trigger words like what, why or how get people reading and although not always necessary, a SEO keyword phrase can be used in a headlines as an added bonus, as long as it’s strong enough.
Sometimes, you may need to create more than one headline for your blog post, if you intend to post it on different platforms. A Tweet gives you 100 characters, Facebook 40 characters, Google 60 characters, Email 28-39 characters and a Title Tag (what appears in the Google search engine results page) 55 characters.
It’s worth spending a bit of time playing around with your headline, since the better it is, the more people are likely to read your blog. Remember, if you make a promise in your headline, ensure it delivers. Making the expectation really high in a headline and then under delivering on content is a sure-fire way to lose credibility.