You want more people to read your blog posts – and that means creating catchy, successful headlines that get people to choose your blog post.
I confess I’m a sucker for click-bait headlines.
I mean, who can resist “How to make $10,000 a month blogging,” or “What these 80s celebrities look like now!” I’m sorry I’m shallow.
I look up a lot of information and answers online. I quickly scan headlines, looking for those keywords that are going to make me click.
In this post, I’ll talk about how you can write incredible headlines – without being click-baity – but that still make people stop and stare and CLICK!!!!
In this post I’m going to cover:
- Why you need strong headlines for your blog posts
- What elements make up a catchy headline
- What formulas you can use to create your own phenomenal headlines
- How to check your competitors
Why you need catchy blog headlines
You need your potential customer to click on that headline.
But, only 20% of viewers of your headline will ever read your content. That’s why you need to give a bit of love and attention to making it as mesmerizing as possible.
Like the lead paragraph in a news story or thesis in an essay, your headline is your one true sentence: the single most important asset for capturing attention in the feedShareThrough
What’s a great blog post headline example?
“78 Marketing Tasks You Should Outsource Immediately”
That blog post was shared 956 times on Facebook, so it definitely packed a punch.
Well, it’s got all the elements of a powerful headline.
Let’s have a look at what those are.
It’s got a number. Tick. We all love action points. It also shows that the blog post contains a LOT of quantitative information.
It’s got a trigger word – a word that triggers us to do something.
It has an urgent trigger word – immediately.
And it’s personalized to YOU!
Let’s look at all these elements in detail:
Numbers promise the ready that they will get a quantity of information. The higher the number, the more quality you may get. Not always though.
A low number may also let your reader know that you are concise and get to the point.
According to Social Media Examiner, odd numbers and the number 7 are great for headlines.
People love numbered lists or Listicles. They are easy to scan and easy to follow.
Numbers are also easier to read than words.
Adding in a YOU or YOUR Business can make all the difference in a headline.
Check out the results when I do a search for Virtual Assistants.
What initially stood out for you?
For me, it was the words “Help Me,” “Help You”, “Tasks You Can Outsource.”
That personalization could convince your reader to select your blog post over another.
Jeff Bullas has a list of 79 power words that tap into our subconscious and can have a transformative effect.
Obviously citing quantities of money in a title also helps too.
Or you could go for trigger words that spark engagement and are full of emotion like
- Stop…and Start
Then there are urgent time imperative trigger words
What about frustrated trigger words
- Tired of
- Had enough of
- Sick of
- Ever feel that…
Or try some mysterious words like
- The Truth Behind
- The Real
But if crafting the idea headline still seems beyond your reach, then why not try one of these headline formulas?
Blog post title formulas
How to + Action + Keyword + Promise
It’s definitely a winning formula and it’s simple.
Neil Patel uses a similar structure in his blog posts.
In my blog posts, my underlying reason for writing is that I want to empower and equip small businesses with tips to either launch or grow with content marketing.
Every post headline provides a promise that you will learn something by the end of it.
The Ninja headline formula
The Exposure Ninja team has some useful formulas too.
Offer + Time + Without Potential Objection
Transform your 9-5 in 10 days without spending money.
Radically transform your business in 5 days without burning out
Trigger word + Adjective + Keyword + Promise
How You Can Become a Super Shepreneur and Archive a Work-Life Balance
Why Hiring an Amazing Virtual Assistant Will Help You Make a Fortune
Why Doing This 1 Crazy Thing Could Make You Rich
Number + Adjective + Keyword
10 Incredible Ways a VA Could Change Your Business
20 Ways Your Life Will Be Transformed by a Virtual Assistant
5 Ways To Radically Change Your Profitability with a Virtual Assistant
Melanie Duncan’s 4U formula
You could also try Melanie Duncan’s 4U formula where you make your words useful, urgent, unique, and ultra-specific.
Let’s give it a go.
Increase your Productivity and Boost your Profits immediately when you hire a 411 Virtual Assistants
Improve Your Productivity Within the Week with Limited Access to the Exclusive 411 Virtual Assistant Service
Both titles have got a lot of FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) in there, along with the implied urgency. I’ve also added my fake VA brand name to make it specific to me.
Here are some other headline starter titles you could use that are ‘useful.’
Useful “How” headlines
- How to
- How you can
- How to achieve
- How to master
- How-to guide
Useful “The” headlines
- The Ultimate guide
- The Small Business Guide to
- The crafters guide to
- The Best
Useful “List” headlines
- Top 10
- 24 Ways
- 64 Ways
- 100 Ways
- A million ways…too far 🙂
Check that your headline matches your customer persona’s needs
No matter what combination of power or trigger words you include, it is also important to make sure your chosen combination of words will speak to your customer.
Use your customer persona template to find out what frustrates and delights your customers. These pain points and goals should determine what headline is most likely to appeal to them.
Does your company aim to solve a frustration? If so use that in your headline.
Struggling to Do Your Business Taxes?
How to Make Your Corporate Event Amazing?
Aim to educate, inform or entertain in your headlines. You want to show your customer that you provide value and are trustworthy.
Check what the competitors are posting
Are there popular posts that you could write better, or have a different take on? Could you use a shocking negative headline, but then counter it in your post?
Pinterest is a great place to get ideas.
Let’s use the example of a Virtual Assistant business. I’ve typed in “save time admin” as my keywords into Pinterest, and here are some Pin headlines I’ve returned.
Why I automate the Eff out of my Business (And You Should Too)
20 Productivity Hacks to Supercharge Your Workflow
84 Time-Saving Tasks a Virtual Assistant Can Do For You
Get 800 Instagram Story Templates Done for You
Why You Should Hire a Virtual Assistant
How to Make $10,000 a month as a Virtual Assistant
How to Make $4,700/mo as a Virtual Assistant
11 Secrets All Female Billionaires All Have In Common
They each use either power words, figures, and trigger words like how, why and secret.
Let’s check YouTube next.
4 Reasons Why You NEED to Hire a Virtual Assistant in The Phillippines
9 Reasons to Hire a Virtual Assistant From the Phillippines
25 Tasks You Can Outsource to A Virtual Assistant
Best Tasks to Outsource to a Virtual Assistant
How to Hire and Manage Virtual Assistants to Explode Your Business
How to Grow Your Business by Outsourcing & Hiring Virtual Assistants
How to Hire a Virtual Assistant (SCALE YOUR BUSINESS IN 2020!)
I mean there’s a lot going on for Filipino VAs on YouTube. Not great for my business, but even more reason to nail this headline.
Again, numbers are important in these headlines. As are the words “reasons,” “how to” and “why.”
Test the strength of your headline
Try using Coschedule’s Headline Analyzer tool which gives you a score to tell you how compelling your headline is.
67 is alright. Look what happens when I change it and add some time imperatives and power words.
How to transform your productivity overnight for free
Headline Analyzer also scores me on Headline Type. The ‘How To’ is a good headline that promises something to my reader.
It also states that I’ve got 8 words which is ok, but 6 is better!!
Let’s try Sharethrough – another headline analyzer. They use linguistic neuroscience to score your headline.
Sharethrough is giving me a worse score than CoSchedule’s Headline Analyzer, but it’s giving me some even better suggestions here.
Sharethrough’s suggestions are to increase the headline length, try using a celebrity or some context words. Let’s try…
How to Transform Your Productivity Overnight for Free, with the 411 Virtual Assistant Service.
I’ve also added in a fake brand name too.
Let’s try adding a celebrity name now.
How to Beyonce-Up Your Productivity for Free with the Virtual Assistant Service
Wow – my prose is on point – apparently.
There’s nothing passive or shy and retiring about this headline.
I don’t know if “Beyonce-Up” is a phrase, but I’m implying you can be as productive and as successful as Beyonce.
It’s still suggesting I add in more context words, but after 10 minutes of fiddling, I can’t make the dial go above a 90.
I’ve got a mega engagement score because I used simple words and celebrity names. I also included my fake brand name.
If I plug this headline back into CoSchedule, however, I get a low-ish score of 66!!!
If I take out “Beyonce” my score actually goes up to 71!!
Headline Analyzer is looking at completely different markers to Sharethrough.
Headline Analyzer is scoring on factors like the word balance between common and uncommon words. It’s also looking at emotional words and power words. It also believes that a small word count is better – and I’m inclined to agree!
Sharethrough is prioritizing attention-grabbing words.
Both have merits. My advice is to use these tools with a pinch of salt.
Some copywriters write tricky headlines – double meanings, puns and other obscurities. This is counter-productive.
In the average newspaper, your headline has to compete with 350 others.
Readers travel fast through this jungle. Your headline should telegraph what you want to sayDavid Ogilvy, Ogilvy on Advertising
Whichever formula you use or tool to optimize your header, always go back to your customer persona.
What will move them? What will excite them? What really gets to the heart of their problem and shouts in the headline – OVER HERE – I HAVE THE ANSWER!!!!
Unsure which word to capitalize in your headline? Use the Headline Capitalization: Title Case Tool.
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