Apparently, 80% of people who come across your post will read the full headline, but only 20% will go on to read the article.
There is doubt around where that stat comes from, but either way, we all get that headlines are important, right?
Just in case, I’ll cover it for you real quick:
In terms of social, the more powerful your headlines are, the more shareable and clickable they’ll be.
And when it comes to SEO, how you construct your headline can actually make a difference to where your page ranks in search results.
So that’s the why. Let’s move on to the how.
How to write a powerful headline
1. Don’t make it too long
Let me be clear: I’m not here to obsess over the amount of characters Google currently favours in a title.
My heart lies with people-focused content, and that means crafting headlines that are designed for humans, not bots.
But, because I’m thorough and a stickler for structure, I tend to aim for between 55 – 70 characters.
I find that’s a nice, easy length for the eye to take in, and Yoast seems to like it, too.
The other benefit to a short-ish title is that it makes it easier and quicker to add additional comments when you’re sharing on Twitter. That’s great for promotion and for generating further discussion on the topic.
Also, when it comes to structure, putting your keyword at the beginning of your headline is thought to help search rankings.
(A simple enough tip to try and follow, but again, let’s not worry too much about what the algorithms demand. Let real people be your focus).
2. Go for different headline styles
There’s no one rule fits all and what works for you might not work for someone else. As with everything in marketing, it’s a case of trial and error.
Try out some different headline styles and see what works best. What’s getting the most clicks and shares?
Don’t let the metrics guide you too far away from doing what feels right for you, though. Clickbait might have its place, but is it really going to win you a loyal following of potential clients for your freelance business?
Me thinks not.
Here are some styles you could try out:
Use the content’s USP
What’s special about the way this piece of content can help your audience? For example, is it:
- The ultimate guide…
- The simplest guide…
- The quickest guide…
The personal angle
Use your own personal experiences (or something you’ve learned from someone else). We all like to see the human behind the brand, don’t we?
- How I learned to…
- What [x person] can teach us about…
- Why we don’t do…
I love a good list, don’t you? And there are so many angles you can tackle this one from. Here are just a few examples:
- 5 ways to…
- 10 things you need to…
- 7 awesome examples of…
- 4 times…
- 12 quotes that…
I won’t go overboard with examples because (I hope) the few I’ve included above have already given you enough food for thought. There are plenty of other styles you could choose from, though.
Keep your eyes open for inspiration and, like I said earlier, don’t be afraid to mix it up and see what works.
3. Look for unique, bold and emotive words
It’s not just about how you structure your headline, but about the type of words you’re using, too.
Think about how you can add extra oomph with adjectives like:
To trigger an emotional reaction that encourages the user to click and read, think about using words like these:
Being bold can help, but again, remember that everything you post online will dictate how your audience sees you.
I, for example, would never write a headline for this blog that included words like ‘badass’, ‘mumpreneur’ or ‘blessed’. They’re just not my style.
You might find it helps to create your own list of powerful and emotive words that fall in line with your brand and are ideal for headlines. That way, when it comes to writing your headline, you’ve got a pre-made word bank to draw from.
4. Use a headline analysis tool
I love CoSchedule’s Headline Analyzer and I use it regularly myself.
Even if you’ve got your headline writing technique down, it’s always good to get a second opinion.
Simply enter your headline into the tool and wait for the results. You’ll get a score within seconds and suggestions on how to make your headline better.
It’s free to use, but you’ll probably have to give them your details at some point. (It’s worth that though, in my opinion. If you’re trying to cut down on emails, just unsubscribe as soon as you get the first one).
Read more from CoSchedule on how to write a powerful headline.
Blog post headlines are important because:
- A powerful headline can help you rank better on Google
- It will also make your content more appealing – meaning more views and shares
How to write a powerful headline:
- Include your keyword in the first half of the headline
- Stick to between 55 and 70 characters
- Mix it up with different styles and track what works
- Add powerful and emotive words
- Make the most of a free tool, like CoSchedule’s Headline Analyzer
Writing eye-catching headlines isn’t easy; it’s a craft that takes time and effort to learn.
I hope these tips are enough to help you get started. With practice, I’m sure you’ll have your technique nailed in no time! 🙂
If you’ve got questions or need help: