What if I told you that your headline can make or break your blog post? It’s true; if the first thing your audience sees does not pique their interest or generate excitement, they’ll move on to bigger and better things. In fact, 80% of your readers never make it past the headline.
We live in an era of instant gratification. In fact, our attention span when consuming content online is now at 8 seconds, shorter than that of a goldfish. If you can’t get your audience’s attention immediately, you may never get it.
Fortunately, you can influence whether your readers actually want to read your content. Using the below 5 tips, you can write headlines that successfully entice your audience to pay attention to what you have to say and improve your business blogging as a result.
1) Cut the Slack
It’s easy to get wordy. You want your headline to say as much as possible, informing your readers about exactly what they can expect when they keep going. But in reality, the only goal your headline should accomplish is to pique sustainable interest.
Don’t get me wrong: you have to stay honest. Don’t make bold promises in your headline that your content cannot fulfill. At the same time, don’t fall into the trap of explanatory headlines that, in reality, don’t actually read as interesting statements.
To help you accomplish that fact, find quick shortcuts to writing blog headlines. Lists tend to work, as do action-oriented verbs and questions. Remove any unnecessary words to tighten up your writing and risk boring your audience.
2) Build Your SEO
Search engine optimizations, as we’ve detailed previously in this space, goes far beyond the headline. Still, it matters in making sure that your post shows up high in search results on Google, Bing, and other search engines. For maximum results, make sure that the keyword for which you’re trying to rank appears within the first 65 characters of your title.
In addition, your headline is likely your page title. That, in turn, will be the headline shown to any user coming across your page on a search engine results page. The more attractive you can make your title, and the more obviously you can tease an answer your audience’s questions or problems with that headline, the more likely you will be to generate clicks.
In SEO, measurability is key. Ideally, your blogging platform should allow you to measure exactly how well your website and blog is optimized for the keywords in question. SalesFusion‘s SEO Audit, for example, can become a crucial tool in your search engine optimization efforts.
3) Follow Best Practices
Over the course of the last few years, digital marketing experts have compiled a number of best practices that apply to blog headlines. They’re too numerous to mention here, but that doesn’t make them any less valuable and important to optimize your business blog.
An analysis of millions of blog posts, for example, found that keeping your headline between 8 and 12 words will result in the most number of social media shares. Another study noted that using lists, as suggested above, can significantly increase page views and shares.
This infographic contains a relatively comprehensive step-by-step guide to creating a blog headline that follows generally accepted, scientifically proven best practices. If it’s proven to work for others, it will probably help your blog improve its readership as well. And if you are hesitant to try writing a headline yourself, consider engaging your independent workforce through a platform like Work Market.
4) Write for Integration
Your blog post will not just live on your website. If you have built business blogging into your overall marketing strategy, you will share it on social media, and so will your audience. Blogs can turn into email campaigns, or be linked on various other digital marketing channels. Is your headline prepared for that exposure?
It should be. When you or a member of your audience shares the post on social media, its headline becomes the clickable link for any followers that come across it. That means it needs to be short, succinct, and attention-generating. Stop short of clickbait, but write a post that is sure to engage your audience.
Of course, that only matters if you are actually planning to integrate your blogging efforts with social media. Through platforms like NUVI, you can more easily share your posts and maximize the exposure of your blog content.
5) Analyze and Improve
No one is born an expert. Even following all of these tips, you might still fall short of creating perfect headlines that draw in your readers and attract attention to your brand without any hiccups. That’s what makes a consistent effort to analyze your efforts and make strategic improvements so important.
Features like this free Headline Analyzer tool can be invaluable in that endeavor. Simply plug in a headline you think will work well, and wait for the system to give you both a grade and actionable improvement suggestions. The result, over time, is a better understanding for what makes better headlines, and a more successful business blog in the process.
Evidence of this strategy is clear in the blogs from companies like Lightcrest. You can see that they analyze their customer audience, identify what they resonate with, then craft meticulous headlines in order to achieve the best bang for their buck.
Another opportunity to analyze your blog consists of A/B testing. If your blogging platform allows it, consider publishing the same post with varying headlines to equal portions of your audience. If one outperforms the other, you know your headline on that variation is good to use going forward.
Business blogging takes time and effort, so it’s easy to forget or de-prioritize the headline as a result. But in reality, the title of your blog might just be your most crucial consideration. By following the above 5 tips, you can build better headlines that ultimately help your brand increase awareness and credibility within your target audience.