One of the most important parts of your blog post is your title. If you don’t grab your reader’s attention with the title and get them to actually read the post, nothing you put inside the post matters. It doesn’t matter how great and helpful your content is. It doesn’t matter what offers or affiliate links you have in your post. If you can’t get them to read it, the blog post doesn’t do you much good.
And when it comes to getting free search engine traffic, your title is important as well. It is one of the most important factors when it comes to getting your content to rank. Yes, there are plenty of other factors, but a good title with the right keywords in it will do more good than anything else you do. How do you write a good, attention grabbing blog post title? I suggest you start with a working title for your post and craft your content. Then come back and work on the finalized headline, implementing the tips below.
You want to write an attention grabbing headline. And you may be tempted to hype it up and stretch the truth just a little bit. After all, we’ve all seen those over-the-top headlines:
Photographer releases pictures of Kate Hudson nude!
Earn $1000 a night while sleep!
Lose 50 pounds this month! No Dieting! No Exercise!
While this type of headline may get you some extra clicks, there’s a trade-off. You’ll lose credibility if you’re exaggerating or telling little (or big) white lies. You see a lot of those headlines on social media. You click through and end up disappointed because the post doesn’t fulfill what the title promised.
So, what is the alternative? Make it interesting without all the hype and stick to the truth. Any content you create should first and foremost consider the needs of your readers. Ask yourself what would solve their needs.
Shorter titles tend to do better both with click-throughs on your blog and social media. Keep it short and to the point. Encourage your readers to engage immediately from the title of your post. Ask your readers a question. Make a statement that makes them think. Put numbers in your titles to get them thinking about what’s in the content (i.e. My 5 Best Tips To …).
Keep an eye out for titles that catch your attention. Copy and paste them into a swipe file and see how you can tweak them for your own needs and market. (A swipe file is simply a document where you put content such as headlines, quotes etc. that you want to use at a future time. It can be a Word document, Excel or any other format you choose.)
A tool that I use frequently when creating blog post titles is the Emotional Marketing Value Headline Analyzer. This tool rates the emotional marketing value of your headline. In today’s marketing emotions sell and you should consider this when creating your headlines. Most professional copywriters’ headlines will have 30%-40% EMV Words in their headlines, while the most gifted copywriters will have 50%-75% EMV words in headlines.
Last but not least, don’t forget to work your keywords into the title. I tend to do this last. Always write for your readers first and then work on what you need to do to make sure the search engines recognize what your content is about.
Not sure what keywords you should use? One of the most commonly used ways to discover your keywords is through the use of online tools. These tools, which are free to use, allow you to plug in words that you believe are important to your website and the tool then tells you what related terms fit.
One keyword research tool that is well made and reliable is Wordtracker. The goal is to provide you with information about which keywords you should use on your website and in blog post titles. It is important to note that this site cannot guarantee that the information they provide to you will increase your ranking in the search engines, but if used properly, this tool will work and help you obtain your goals. (Read More about Keywords here.)
Don’t forget that ranking well for something your readers don’t want to read or click on doesn’t do you much good. Focus on your audience and then optimize for search engines as an afterthought and you’ll do well.
Pauline Cabrera (@Twelveskip) has created an excellent infographic of Clever Blog Post Titles that Work. Take a look at it here.
Implement these tips and get a few blog posts out there. Pay attention to what’s working and what isn’t. Each market, each blog, and each readership is different. Use these tips as guidelines to help you find your own style that resonates well with your audience and gets you the results you want.