Call us 7am - Midnight 0207 855 2055My.Tsohostshopping_basket0 Item(s): £0.00
menuMenu

keyboard_backspaceBack to the Blog

9 tips for writing better blog headlines

9 tips for writing better blog headlines

Posted 21st February, 2019 by Janah

Picture the scene. You’ve spent an entire day researching and writing your blog post. You’re read reports, you’ve digested statistics, you’ve compared opinions, you’ve looked into the SEO side of things and then you’ve spent hours choosing exactly the right words to use to make the piece pop.

1,000-plus words later, you’ve had enough. You just want to get the piece online and sit down to a well-deserved tea break. So, you load it, push it live, and go and put the kettle on.

It’s the process that thousands of blog writers go through every day.

But here’s the thing:

The process is missing one vital step – the headline check.

Headlines can make or break a blog. Econsultancy suggests that a good headline is the most important element in content marketing. The digital research company suggests that it’s more important than the content, images and other jiggery-pokery combined.

“On average, five times as many people read the headline as read the body copy,” James Carson from Econsultancy explains. “When you have written your headline, you have spent eighty cents out of your dollar.”

So how do you write a headline that hooks?

We look at the top tricks for writing a headline that delivers below.

Play around

SEO expert Neil Patel found that by simply playing around with the words in a headline, he was able to increase the conversion rate by 40 per cent.

Experts advise writing at least five different versions of every headline you write. It can also be useful to get feedback from colleagues on the ones they like best.

Throw in numbers and stats

A study by SEO platform Conductor discovered that 36 per cent of readers prefer a headline with a number or a statistic in. These sorts of headline were shown to be 19 per cent more popular than how-to headlines and 25 per cent more popular than headlines with a question in.

Give punctuation a thought

The Content Marketing Institute carried out a research project that found that including a hyphen or a colon in a headline had the power to increase the click-through rate by nine per cent.

So ‘Well Heeled: 10 of the World’s Finest Pairs of Shoes’ should work better than simply ‘10 of the World’s Finest Pairs of Shoes’.

Clarify

A study carried out by marketing experts HubSpot found that adding a bracket that clarified the exact nature of the content of a blog post to a headline made it perform 38 per cent better. Examples of brackets include [New Report], [Interview], [Podcast], [Infographic] and so on.

They explained that this effect was probably due to the fact that the brackets helped to manage reader expectations.

Avoid clichés

The word ‘best’ is arguably the most over-used in the world in headlines. In fact, research by Outbrain suggests that headlines with this cliché in perform 29 per cent worse than headlines without the word.

Outbrain’s explanation?

In addition to the word ‘best’ having become a cliché, they believe that readers have become suspicious of the word ‘best’, as many headline writers have used it wrongly, as mere clickbait, in the past.

Include calls to action

According to HubSpot, adding a call to action to headlines is part of headline writing best practice. It offers a round-up of some of the most powerful call to action words around. They include:

  • Ask
  • Beautify
  • Build
  • Create
  • Discover
  • Decide
  • Gain
  • Learn
  • Master
  • Spice up

Use power words

Research suggests that there are a few magic words when it comes to headlines. A study by Outbrain discovered that negative words like ‘never’ or ‘stop’ performed 30 per cent better than headlines without these words.

HubSpot also suggests that the word ‘who’ is a power word. In its research, the company found that headlines that included the word ‘who’ generated a 22 per cent higher click-through rate than headlines without it.

The Advanced Marketing Institute also advises that emotional words should be used as part of headline writing best practice. It suggests as many as 30 to 40 per cent of the words in a headline should be emotive.

Create a curiosity gap

A curiosity gap is defined as ‘a space between what the reader knows and what they want to know’. Essentially, when it comes to using this technique in headline writing, you simply need to create a headline that peaks people’s interest and that leaves them wanting to find out more.

In 2014, CopyHackers found that adding a curiosity gap to a headline increased click-throughs to a pricing page by 927 per cent.

Four years later, some industry experts are suggesting that the curiosity gap technique has lost a bit of its appeal, as readers get jaded by it.

However, it’s not worth discounting the technique altogether.

Watch your word count

It’s believed that when headlines exceed 62 characters, search engines tend to ignore the end of them. Studies also suggest that headlines with between eight and 12 words perform better when shared on social media sites such as Twitter.

Outbrain reaffirmed this finding in its own research when it discovered that headlines with eight words had a 21 per cent higher click-through rate than other titles.

Headline improving tools

If you haven’t got the time to sit and analyse your headlines for hours, then there are a few tools that can help you.

Share Through is a tool that helps you analyse the quality of headlines. You simply type your headline into the website and it will critic it for you. You’ll end up with a mark out of 100 for the quality and tips on how to improve it.

CoSchedule is a similar tool. However, it requires you to enter some personal details such as your email address and company size before it will give you your results. Its analysis will look at elements like your use of common and uncommon words and the emotional value of the headline.

On the subject of emotional headlines, the Advanced Marketing Institute’s Emotional Marketing Value Headline Analyser can be used to review the emotional value of your headlines.

Categories: Tips, Blogging, Marketing

You may also like:

Taking social media lessons from America’s fastest growing companies
How to write better calls to action – latest research
Halloween marketing for small businesses
7 of the kookiest free WordPress plug-ins ever made
How to think like a yogi for better business
How to get a plugin into the WordPress Directory