Blog content creation is an essential part of any SEO strategy. Not only will blog posts allow you to optimize for keywords you want to target, but they also provide a golden opportunity to share important insights and position your brand as an industry leader.
But while you might pride yourself on writing informative content that could provide a lot of value to a reader, that doesn’t always mean your post will be seen by anyone. If the title or headline you’ve chosen is a snooze, it’s not very likely to be clicked and read.
Optimizing your blog posts correctly can allow them to show up in relevant search engine results. But even if you manage to do that, a boring title can kill your post’s momentum.
That’s why you can’t afford to think of your headline as an afterthought. Crafting a great title will take a bit of time and effort -- but it’ll be a lot easier if you keep these tips in mind.
Include a Number
Psychologically speaking, using a number in your title is usually a good move. Our brains are highly receptive to numbers, as they allow us to organize information in a logical way. Including a number in a title can allow us to instantly weigh whether or not a post is worth investing our time. Of course, using a numbered list in a post can make it more scannable and easier to digest overall.
Keep in mind that not every number is an optimal number for a blog post headline. Smaller numbers tend to be better than large ones (i.e., 5 is preferable to 29) and odd numbers will win out over even ones. Although we tend to like symmetry in more visual displays, our brains view odd numbers as being more authentic than even numbers. You should also use numerals (“7” instead of “seven,” for example), as these are more eye-catching.
Although using a number isn’t a guarantee that your post will be a hit, it can make your piece far more clickable. Data from the Content Marketing Institute revealed that when headlines were adjusted to include an odd number, their click-through rates increased by 20%.
Make it Urgent
Another good way to ensure your headlines are clickable is to facilitate a sense of urgency. You need to give internet users a reason to immediately click on your post. If you don’t convey how a post will improve their lives at that very moment, they’ll probably put off reading it (perhaps indefinitely).
We see how urgency and scarcity are used to great effect on e-commerce websites all the time. You might see a temporary price drop or a low-stock alert used on a product listing -- both of which can convince you to head to the virtual check-out right away.
You can use similar principles when creating your headlines. Sharing a secret, highlighting a fear, or showing a way that readers gain see results in a short amount of time all play on a sense of urgency. A headline that references “the one thing that’s holding back your marketing” or “how to sell your home in one weekend” will convince readers that this post will provide them with a lot of value with minimal time investment. That’s exactly what you want.
This isn’t to say you should resort to “click-bait” type titles. You should never purposely try to be inflammatory or misleading in your headlines. But if you can express emotion in a way that provides something essential to the reader, they’ll be willing to click because your post could seemingly solve all of their problems at that moment.
Use a Generator
Even using these two aforementioned tips, you might not be satisfied with your headline. Furthermore, you need to keep things fresh; if you use an odd number for every single blog title, that formula is going to become tiresome very quickly.
There’s nothing wrong with using other resources and available tools for inspiration. While you shouldn’t copy a title or concept from another website, you can definitely use these sources as a jumping-off point for your own pieces. You can put a unique twist on other resources you find or tweak a concept to be more aligned with your business.
Even better, you can use a headline generator to come up with ideas. These tools can automatically dispense a number of ideas for a compelling title -- all you need to do is supply the keyword you want to include. Although headline tools aren’t always foolproof and may need a little bit of tweaking to ensure it makes sense for your topic, they can provide you with some unique options that you might otherwise have missed out on. If you’re really stuck on coming up with a title or you’re looking to plan out an editorial calendar for months in advance, this tool can help during the content creation process.
Ultimately, no matter what methods you prefer to use, creating a captivating headline is essential for every blog post. This is the first impression you’ll make on readers and potential customers -- so you need to give web users a reason to click. By increasing your focus on blog post headlines, you might be amazed at the difference in web traffic (and even conversions) you’ll see.