So maybe that particular headline isn’t the very best example, but it got you here, didn’t it?
Let’s face it: it’s a fast-paced world. People on Twitter, LinkedIn or Facebook skim (at best), and call it reading. Readers jump here, there, click and are away. The what’s-in-it-for-me mentality dominates when readers begin to filter all the messages they’re bombarded with. If your headline doesn’t shock, provoke, compel, or somehow resonate, it’ll be skipped right over.
So how do you stand out? How do you get readers to read your blog?
- Timing. Pick the right time to share your content. Most people aren’t entrenched in Twitter at midnight, even if you are. Post during active hours to receive the highest readership.
- Be in front of an interested audience. If the right people are not seeing your message, then you’re not in the right place. Figure it out.
- Being a blogger of influence. This comes with time, stockpiling of content, link building and more. In other words, keep writing even when you don’t want to, and keep your eyes open for opportunities to foster virtual relationships and create viral content.
- Luck. Believe it or not, this plays a big role. You can’t control it, but crossing your fingers and avoiding black cats never hurt.
- Write great headlines. Then follow up with massively awesome content. Make me a promise that what I’m about to read matters, then deliver.
Your headline is the hook that draws your readers in. When was the last time you spent even 20 seconds voluntarily reading boring content following a boring headline? Right. You didn’t. Write headlines that will compel your readers to take a specific action—the first of which is to click through to continue reading.
Your headline also sets up the idea of what your post is about. It qualifies your blog and frames the content. Consider it your chance to make a first impression. It’s also ensures that you’re driving the right kind of readership to your blog.
So how do you write the perfect blog headline?
- Cleverness is good. Cute, not so much. Time is money, so don’t waste my time trying to make me figure out what you mean. Plus, most of us just have really short attention spans anyway. Think goldfish.
- Match the content to the headline and stick to it. Simple idea, but some writers tend to…wander…
- Keep it short. Diarrhea of the mouth won’t work for headlines. 5 to 9 words, tops. See the first point here if you’ve forgotten already.
Here are some specific tips:
- Use how to’s: How to raise your Klout Score, How to Optimize Your Twitter Profile.
- Be exclamatory: Must Read! Exclusive! Secret Tips! Brilliant!
- Ask a question: Interested In Raising Your Click-Thru Rates 44%? Want To Eliminate Emoticons?
- Use hip language or people: 8 Ways To Pimp Your Blog Post, How To Kardashian Your Gowalla Account
- Know your trends: 4 IPad Uses For Your Landscaping Business, Will Gas Prices Affect Your Next Raise?
- Use made up words (President Bush’s ‘Strategery’) or twists of phrases like ‘How to Write the Near Perfect Headline’
- Play off someone famous (and dead): How Would Michael Jackson Market Your Pants, 6 Things George Washington Would Tweet To Martha. This could be really funny, actually.
Think like a direct marketing copywriter.
- Use FREE and GUARANTEED: Perhaps trite, perhaps overused, but these are go-to words that make headlines sing. The Walmart crowd really loves ’em. Heck, so do we.
- Use numbers and make lists: 5 Reasons Why IPhones Rock, 37 Tips For The Lazy Blogger. Psychologically, odd numbers work best 3-5-7-9-11. If you play lotto using that logic, let us know how it works out for you.
- Be James Bond, go with intrigue: Learn Bruce Clay’s Secret SEO Tips, or Link Build Like A Chinese Spy
- Use thought rendering words: ‘almost-great’, ‘slightly-better’
- Pick up a Cosmopolitan, for the articles of course. Whoa! Those guys know how to write short, snappy must-read headlines! 4 Things Your Lover Won’t Tell You About Your Rump—it’s long, but what aren’t you telling me? I must know, NOW!
- Go with the gutter approach: Are Meta Tags Sexy? Page Rank of 8 Or Date A Porn Star?
Want to see some actual headlines? Follow these great links. Don’t say we never gave you nothing.
- 3 Big Reasons Why Social Media Marketing Is Essential For Your Business by Jeff Bullas
- Free Haircuts To Zombies Visiting Charleston by Lava Salon Blog of Charleston, S.C.
- Google Releases Best SEO Tips Ever by iBlogZone.com
- 100 Trade Show Lead Generation Ideas by SkylineTradeShowTips.com
Remember that getting readers to your blog is only the first step.
You also want them to:
- Continue reading. And like it. You did the heavy lifting by getting them to click through to your content. Now you have to (gulp!) be interesting. Don’t worry, you can do it. Despite what your ex always said.
- Interact, interact, interact! Here’s your chance to be ‘social’ without ever uttering a word or shaking a hand. You don’t even have to struggle with the names-to-faces issue (goldfish memory, you). Share your blog with others. Leave comments on the blogs you read. Sign up for RSS feeds. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you, and before you know it you’ll have everyone linking to you on Facebook, Twitter, and beyond.
- Return. The goal is to build a following of readers, to share your content and interact with your content.
There are countless ways to generate eye-catching, head-turning, click-inducing headlines. These are just a few. Send us some of your best and we’ll post the beauties! Til then, xo.