How to Write Better Blog Headlines

blog headlinesBlog headlines are the first impression of what is to come and gets people to read.  People are busy but yet are eager to read articles that satisfy a need or provide value.  For new bloggers or those who are trying to increase their reader base the content may be your best ever but if you have a lackluster headline, the article will go unnoticed.  There will be some loyal readers that will check in regardless of the headline that day as at some point you grabbed their attention and content did  its job of supporting the headline and was useful to them.  New readers are always welcomed  to a a blog and what gains attention and exposes a blog is the headline and then the quality of the content.

1. Simplicity.  The headline needs to pack that powerful punch in under 50 characters. This is not only important for retweets (remember a retweet first is your handle then the article and then the URL. You are creeping up on 140 characters very quickly) but also important for grabbing their attention.  Straight and to the point without all the extra noise.  Allow for the headline to get noticed in a quick glance.

2. Identify Needs/Solve Problems. We are all eager to learn and finding articles that teach us something, reinforce our thoughts/beliefs, are contrary to our thoughts/beliefs and that make us take action to better ourselves/company are probably hte most read and shared blog articles. These are not only educational but they also provoke thought and keep readers coming back for more.

3.  Descriptions.  Descriptive headlines lets readers know what is to come in the article so they can click with confidence believing that their time will not be wasted.  We read blogs to learn, to be entertained, for inspiration to ultimately better ourselves.  Make readers want to read by giving insight of is to come.

4. Teasers.  Teasers peak curiosity and do work very well if they appear legit and completely supported by the content.  While content is king, credibility is queen with teasers.

5. Ask Questions.  Headlines that ask questions like “Want to Improve Search Engine Rankings?” lets the reader know that you will be answering the question and providing useful information as opposed to seeking answers.

6.  Present Tense.  Present tense creates that sense of urgency and immediacy. Ex.  Snow Storm Closes NYC Schools as opposed to NYC Schools Closed due to Snow Storm.

7. Active Voice.  Using the active voice cuts out the clutter of additional words and keeps the headline simple.  Ex. Skunk Sprays Dog as opposed to Dog Sprayed by Skunk.

8.  Keywords.  Keywords are important and they let readers know not only what the article is about but what the company or author focuses on.  Keywords in headlines help to improve rankings and a keyword will not be placed in an article if you were not looking to rank for it.  If Kherize5 was an agency that only worked with large corporations we would not be putting small business in our blog headlines.

Headlines are more challenging to create than the article itself.  Many develop writers’ block as they focus on the headline first as opposed to getting the content down on paper. Sometimes the headline precedes the writing of the article and other times the post is seconds away from being posted without a headline.  A headline can make or break an article if the goal is to have expand readership.  People are looking for blogs that give them answers and solve problems quickly and are not afraid to share. Make your headline enticing and the content worthy of sharing.

What headlines have worked for you? Is there a particular style that you use that meets your goals?

photo credit: Lowjumpingfrog