Surfing the web for just the right content is a lot like a round of speed dating. Think of a search engine inquiry as a room full of hopeful suitors. Everyone has a shot; however, connections must be earned. Each dater – read: your content – has just a few moments to spark some interest. If the headline is intriguing enough, you’ll get a click.
While a headline might not be the most important content in your post, it’s the gatekeeper. If it’s not focused and compelling, no one will find your content.
Headlines aren’t easy to write, but they matter. It takes time – sometimes quite a bit of time – to craft an interesting and engaging blog post title. Take the time to do it properly. You’ve only got one shot to get your click.
Here are seven speed dating strategies that can help you craft better blog headlines.
Sensationalized headlines that overpromise and underdeliver won’t earn the trust your content deserves. Just as in dating relationships, honesty is the best policy. Your headline should explain your content without a cringe-inducing exaggeration like “What Happens Next Will Blow. Your. Mind.”
When you have just a few moments to get a click, choose words carefully. Headlines should be laser-focused. According to HubSpot, find “the single, most important point [you want your] readers to take away from this article.” Design your headline around that concept.
In speed dating, brevity is key. The same is true in headline writing. Social marketing expert Jeff Bullas notes that efficiency is more technical than psychological: “Try keeping your blog post titles fewer than 55 characters because Google invariably cuts out titles not under 55 characters.”
Savvy headline writers use tactics that create an immediate connection:
Great headlines reflect what your audience would ask if you were face to face. Forbes Communication Council suggests that you pay attention to what causes you to choose a headline. Did you click because:
A great headline promises to help. For example, a blog post title that offers Four Ways You’re Apologizing Wrong is probably quite useful.
Intriguing titles generate immediate interest. Examples I love include an orientation video called How NOT to Succeed at College. The content covered all the activities, processes and procedures that made campus life amazing, yet presented each point with wry sarcasm: “Even though you can load funds onto Campus Cards, just carry cash. Lots of it. Especially downtown. At night…”
A more straightforward title like Campus Activities and Procedures would have told me what I needed to know. However, the negative twist on the title provided the wink and flirt that got my attention.
Are you ready to make a connection? Write several versions of your headline, then test against our speed dating rules. Is your blog title interesting, honest, efficient and mysterious? If not, keep writing. The effort is well worth the reward.
And get plenty of additional free content marketing guidance and tips on our CrucialContent blog.