David Ogilvy in ‘Confessions of an Advertising Man’ in 1963, states:
‘On the average, five times as many people read the headline as read the body copy. When you have written your headline, you have spent eighty cents out of your dollar.’
What this means is that roughly 80% of the people won’t look past the headline when browsing through content. The goal for you is to make the headline persuasive and enticing enough to make the reader want to dwell deeper and continue reading.
Your headline shouldn’t be part of the that 80% that gets glanced over. It needs to be a part of that lucky 20% that the audience would be willing to click on and dedicate their valuable time to read what you have to offer.
Title Rough Draft
As with anything, the first go at things isn’t always be prettiest. Brain storm a few potential titles that will work for you and the theme of your overall blog. This title rough draft will guide your main content idea for the blog post you’re writing.
Don’t overthink these rough draft titles. Avoid worrying too much about search engine compatibility and getting the attention of your audience. You’re only doing this to get the main idea out on the page, and begin plotting of a direction you’re heading in.
Headlines Set Expectations
When you are about to meet very important people, you try to present yourself in the best way possible. After all, first impressions matter. That’s what headlines are to your audience – the first impression of what they are about to encounter going forward with your post.
Setting expectations of your blog post is the goal of your headline. It should make your intentions clear and inform the reader of what they are getting themselves into.
Don’t Mislead or Abuse ‘Clickbait’ Titles
Misleading titles are abundant. Almost anywhere you look on the internet you will encounter plethora of titles that will mention anything to catch your attention.
Many bloggers, social media posts and news outlets use misleading titles or clickbait titles to provoke curiosity and catch your attention. This urges you to press their link and find out what it is they are actually talking about.
Low and behold, the content itself is not what the title claimed. You went through a roll-coaster of emotions only to be left disappointed in the end. This devious tactic is used to make you click and go through the information that appeared to be interesting when in reality it was far too underwhelming.
Avoid using this strategy when creating headlines and titles for your blog. You want to be sure the reader is well informed of what’s about to come when they click on the link.
Headlines For Search Engines
Search engines are some of the most important traffic drivers for any online content. You want your content to be as visible as it can be to any of the search engines out there. Having a well made headline will increase your online exposure and help with your search engine optimization (SEO) efforts too.
Search engines put more value on the words that are found at the beginning of the title or a heading. If your goal is to rank higher in search engine results (it should be), you should aim to place the relevant keywords at the front of your heading or title. That is front loading.
Again, this plays into search engine optimization. This is just a small but very important step of the whole SEO process you will want to undertake to attract the right audience to your blog.
Short and Sweet
Avoid making your titles too long. Get straight to the point about what the content within the blog post will be about. Most search engines are only able to effectively show somewhere between 70 and 71 characters. Now that can all depends on the type of letters you use. For example, you can fit more “i’s” than “w’s” in a typical title or a heading.
Perhaps all the time spent developing your blog lead you to establish a name for yourself. You have become a well known and reputable source of insight and information on the internet. Maybe you would like to consider adding your brand at the end of a title.
As your brand builds reputation, your name will be associated with reliability and trustworthiness. Whenever people see something that is relevant to them, a long with a name they can trust, the reader will be much more inclined to click on you than the competition.
Outside perspective is incredibly valuable in any creative field. You should always invite others to express their opinions on the potential headline you have come up with. A fresh set of eyes may see something you don’t.
Creative criticism can give you a slight nudge in the right direction to help you create the perfect headline that will get users to engage with your content.
Can Be Tricky
As you can see, creating the perfect headline for your blog post isn’t so cut and dry. There are quite a few things to take into consideration if you want to attract the right audience and have them keep coming back for more.
Learning to write effective headlines may take some time. A lot of kinks need to be ironed out for you to start creating the best and most effective headlines that will work for you. Take your time and focus at the task at hand. Keep these suggestions in mind when moving on to new topics on your blog.