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Customer Experience and Design

5 Quick Ways to Write Better Blog Headlines

Blogs can be a powerful part of your content strategy. That is, if people actually read them. So how do you capture your readers’ attention in the first place?

Spend More Time on Your Headlines

On average, 80% of readers won’t make it past the headline. If you’re going to spend a couple hours creating a blog, take a few extra minutes to carefully craft a strong headline that will really resonate with your readers.

What tips and tricks work the best?

1. Numbered Lists

Love it or hate it, BuzzFeed has it down to an art. From “25 Ways to Make Fried Chicken” to “37 Best Holiday Gifts for Star Wars Fans,” blog titles with numerals are preferred and shared most by readers. In fact, it’s not even a close competition.

Why? There are a few theories out there, but above all, lists tend to spark curiosity and set clear expectations. In addition, they imply “bite-sized” content, which appeals to most readers on the web.

Bonus tip: Numerals consistently outperform spelled-out numbers. (For example, try “9” instead of “nine.”) Plus, digits require fewer characters for sharing blogs via your social media channels, too.

2. Specific Keywords

Stop and ask yourself: what keywords are my readers most likely to search for?

Choosing the right keywords can have a big impact on your SEO. But nobody likes a robot. Resist the urge to stuff your title with a bunch of keywords. Just pick one or two that matter most – the more specific, the better.

3. Tips, Hints & Hacks

Be helpful. Answer a question. Offer a solution. People always like to learn something new, especially tips and timesavers. Try a “How to …” format, such as “How to Quickly Improve Your Local SEO.” Or use headlines that highlight what some people call the do-it-yourself approach, like “Sitecore 101: What You Really Need to Know.” In other words, offer insights and tools that will help your
readers walk away a little wiser.

4. Frontload & Finish Strong

Be sure to frontload your headlines, putting the most important words first. Interestingly, when skimming content, most readers tend to read the first – and last – three words of a headline (KISSmetrics). So don’t forget that your readers have short attention spans. (And if they are using mobile, they have small screens, too.)

5. Action & Emotion

Words have power, so choose yours carefully. Use more action verbs and fewer nouns. Be creative, crisp and clear to evoke interest and create a connection with your audience.

Now Try & Test It Out

When you’re ready to put these quick tips into practice, try creating a list of 10 or more different headline options for your latest blog. Test a couple of your favorites as tweets, and see which version yields a higher click-through rate.

Who knows? By taking just a little extra time, you may find a new angle that surprises you – and your readers, too.

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Jen Thompson

Jen has 15-plus years of experience with copywriting, brand, corporate communications, digital and print media. To Jen, there is a science to smart writing and content strategy. She uses words to connect, inspire, comfort and illuminate.

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