THIS IS YOUR ULTIMATE GUIDE TO WRITING AMAZING HEADLINES
This is a blog post that you have been asking me to create for so LONG. And today, that post is finally here.
I’m not going to waste too much time on why it’s important to write great headlines. But just so you get the picture:
Your headline determines whether or not someone will read the rest of your content.
A great headline can get you more traffic.
That traffic can then turn into social shares and more.
And as a blogger, you want that traffic to convert into loyal readers, right?
In order to get your content shared, be discovered on search engines and grow your traffic, writing great headlines is key. So in this post, we’re going to go over exactly what makes up an amazing headline.
#1 | INCLUDE KEYWORDS IN YOUR HEADLINE
It’s not rocket science. If you want content that’s going to be found by your audience, you need to include the keywords that they’re going to search for. A big part of this is making sure your content is valuable enough that your audience will actively seek it out.
Just like each of your blog posts focuses on a particular topic, each of your headlines should focus on a keyword.
Take one of my latest headlines “11 Ideas For Instagram Stories Content When You Have No Inspiration.” The long tail keyword for that is “ideas for Instagram Stories”.
You need to be sure that you’re really focusing on the keywords of your blog post topic in your headline.
Then, you can use that keyword in various places, including:
Images and graphics
If you use the same keyword that’s in your headline throughout your piece of content, you’re going to be saying to search engines, “hey, this post is ALL about that topic!”
#2 | PICK THE RIGHT HEADLINE TYPE
There’s no shortage of ideas when it comes to headline types. But there are some that perform a lot better, especially when it comes to traffic, engagement and shares.
List posts are the most popular type of article out there on the internet. Don’t believe me? 9 out of 10 of my most popular posts this year are lists.
They work really well, because they don’t give everything away about the article, but they make your audience really interested.
In need of some inspiration? Head to Buzzfeed. The king of list posts.
Think about when you read a list post - you can skim all the different subheadings first before you decide if you want to read the full article.
“How To” headlines are up there with list posts when it comes to their effectiveness. They work really well.
Why do you search for information? It’s usually because you want to get better at something or learn how to do something new. That’s where the “how to” comes in.
Your content can act as the answer to your reader’s problem. You can give them the helpful, relevant and useful content that they’re looking for.
Question headlines are also great, because they’re basically saying that if a reader clicks this headline, they’ll get the answer they need. They focus exactly on what a reader needs.
They work well, because when people want an answer to something, naturally, they ask a question. There’s nothing more helpful than that.
That’s why search engines like Google and YouTube are so popular. People are asking questions on those platforms. So if you can use the keywords in your headline that someone is asking a question about, you’ll see your traffic increase.
If your headline isn’t a list, “how to” or question, then it might be a sign that you can improve.
Some generic headlines can work well, but try to change it to one of the more popular headline types to increase your chance of getting better results.
#3 | USE A MIXTURE OF WORDS IN YOUR HEADLINE
When you think of the words in your headline, they fall under two categories: common words and emotional words.
You want to include basic words in there to make up the foundation of your headline. But you always want to include some emotional and power words to really speak to your audience. It’s like saying instead of “how to write headlines”, you change it to “how to write amazing headlines to double your traffic.” Get it?
Here’s a bit more information:
Half of the words in your headline should be common/uncommon words. These are either words you use every day (about, this, how) OR words that grab your reader’s attention (actually, here, more).
The other half should be a mixture of emotional and power words. These are either words that connect with your audience and make them want to read your post (absolutely, wonderful, valuable) OR words to entice action (make you, you see, what this).
#4 | MAKE SURE YOUR HEADLINE IS THE RIGHT LENGTH
This is knowledge that dates back to my time in my Journalism course at university.
The best number of characters to go for in your headline is 55. This is what’s going to give you the biggest chance of getting the most click-throughs. This also relates to how your headline will look in a Google search.
For your email subject headline, you’ve got to think a bit differently. You only get 20 characters before your subject line is cut off. So those 20 characters are crucial. Use your keywords in that first section so readers know exactly what the email is all about.
Actually, try and get your keyword in the first 20 characters for every headline you write.
In terms of word length, you’re aiming for around 6-7, and no more than 10.
#5 | MAKE SURE YOUR HEADLINE IS POSITIVE
There’s power in positivity. Your headlines are likely to get more click-throughs and shares if they evoke a positive emotion rather than a negative one. Emotional language is very powerful.
If your headline doesn’t evoke emotion at all, it’s likely it won’t perform as well.
You can go negative if you want, but it is very difficult to do. Try and stick to a positive sentiment if you can.
Better headlines = better results
This is a stat I share with my coaching clients:
80% of your audience will only see your headlines and nothing else. Only 20% will read your article.
Your headline is the one thing that persuades readers to commit to reading your article.
And as more people read your content and find value in it, then they’ll start sharing it on their social media platforms. That’s when your traffic will grow.
Who knew a few words could be so powerful?
The key takeaway here is if you spend a great deal of time writing a super valuable blog post, you want to make sure your headline is even better.
P.S. Don’t miss out on your free blog post checklist to create an amazing piece of content every single time.
Do you put a big focus on writing your headlines? Will you be taking these tips on board?