You may work on a piece of content for hours, rearranging words, or re-shooting and editing video to get things perfect. In the end, whether your content gets that all important click often comes down to a split-second decision in the heads of your audience, and is usually based on just one thing:
In a time of shrivelling attention spans, your headlines have to break through the information overload of Twitter feeds and Facebook timelines, and jolt your readers out of their slumbers.
Your headline has to stand out, and trigger curiosity – otherwise, your finely tuned content will be lost in the smog.
Fortunately, writing snappy, attention-grabbing headlines, is relatively straight-forward – and even fun – once you know a few tips and tricks.
1. Make a promise and deliver
Make sure your title is addressing one very specific problem, which your audience is likely to want an answer to.
You don’t want to disappoint the people who take the time out of their lives to click on your post – so once you’ve figured out a problem, you then need to ensure that your piece lives up to the promise – solve the problem.
Solving a single important problem will keep your piece focussed and concise. You’ll also be avoiding the mistake many writers and bloggers make, in that you won’t be over-promising with your title. Convincing someone to visit your blog with an outlandish title, only for them to leave disappointed when you fail to deliver, is worse than failing to grab their attention at all.
2. Keep it short
People don’t have time to read a whole unwieldy sentence! The best blog titles tend to be between 6-8 words – short, snappy and attention-grabbing.
3. Use lists
Many bloggers hate lists, but the truth is, they’re pretty much unavoidable these days – simply because they work. Whether you like it or not, most people aren’t going to read every word of your finely tuned prose.
Instead, they want to be able to scan your content for value, as quickly as possible. Using lists allows your readers to quickly find the information they want, without feeling like they’ve wasted any time.
4. Think about your customers personas
To write really great headlines, you need to understand your own audience, and know exactly what makes them tick.
If you already have travel personas, you’ll probably already know how you can appeal to them. If you don’t, this post will help you to create some.
- What do they fear?
- What interests them?
- What excites them?
Try and write headlines that appeal to at least one of these emotional points, and preferably two. Regardless of how professional people claim to be, at the end of the day, we’re all emotional beings – and hitting these points is one of the best ways to capture the interest and attention of anyone.
4. Try BuzzSumo
You should already know what kind of language your audience responds to, but if you’re needing a little inspiration, visit the site BuzzSumo.
Type in your blog topic, and see what other results come up. You’ll be able to see how successful other titles for similar topics have been, and get an idea for what works and what doesn’t.
Of course, it goes without saying that you shouldn’t copy any of the other titles you see on there.
5. Analyse your headline
Once you’ve finished writing the post, do a quick check to make sure your working title is still relevant.
You can then use this tool to grade how effective your headline is.
Obviously, as with any automated tool, take the results with a grain of salt. It will give you a good idea of whether you’re on the right track or not, however.
Let’s be honest, for your blog posts to be popular and sharable, you need to embrace the world of clickbait. So try it for yourself – hang your hook, and dive on in…
Share some of your own favourite blog titles and headline writing tips below!