Stampwood go through the characteristics of a fantastic headline, and give you tips on how to craft your own. It’s guaranteed to help you attract more readers and increase your click through rates!
Titles can make or break your content marketing efforts.
According to David Ogilvy, the father of advertising, five times as many people read the headlines as read the body copy. So for every reader, five other people viewed the headline and skipped on to something else.
For content creators, this means that only a tiny proportion of readers will actually click through and read the content you’ve spent the majority of your time creating if your titles don’t entice them in.
A great title should clearly indicate who should read your content and why…
1. Promise a desired benefit
The best titles promise to solve a pain point or help readers achieve a goal.
Compare the following two titles:
- An Introduction to A/B Testing
- Improve Your Click-Through Rates With A/B Testing
The first title describes what the content is about. The second title describes the benefit to the reader.
2. Make it relevant
Don’t just use a title because it will attract more readers. You must deliver content related to the title or you’ll damage your credibility.
3. Include numbers
Numbers provide structure for information. They also make large goals appear achievable by pitching them as a series of smaller tasks
Make sure you use digits rather than words.
4. Emphasise your target audience in your title
Identifying your target audience in your content’s title makes it appear like it was written specifically for them.
You can target your market by naming them, or by describing their characteristics. Either way, be obvious.
Consider: Guerrilla Marketing for Writers.
Another way to target your market is by describing what they are not.
For example: The Non-Designers Design Book.
5. Shout about special content
If your offering something different, making sure your readers know about it.
You could include the relevant term in your title such as: An Executives Introduction to Marketing Automation: 3 reasons you should be introducing it right now! .
6. Make titles clear and easy-to-understand
Some of the best titles are the most obvious, or transparent.
For example: How to Write A Successful B2B PR Strategy.
7. Use negative wording
Negatives tap into our insecurities. The words no, without and stop lead to many shares.
8. Be concise
Concise titles are high-impact. Eliminate small words where possible and use the most powerful words you can. The fewer the words, the more attention each word receives.
Use a maximum of 70 characters – anymore and search engines will cut your title because it’s too long.
10. Add reinforcement
Combine short titles with longer subtitles that provide extra details.
Subtitles and series titles are used to add additional keywords to a title and attract more search engine traffic.
11. Include SEO
It’s essential that your publication’s title and subtitle contains the keywords that readers are likely to use when searching for relevant information.
Using the right keywords also helps attract organic search engine traffic to the landing page on your blog or website — where visitors can learn more.
Place the most important words at the beginning of your title without loosing the meaning of the title. One way to solve this challenge is to put the keyword first and use a colon. Here’s an example from Heidi Cohen’s blog: Twitter Etiquette: 24 Guidelines to Tweet By.
12. Test your titles
Once you’ve created a few blog posts or articles, assess which titles perform best in terms of page views, time on site and bounce rates.
Consider what’s making these successful. Is it the topic, the day of the week or title? What changes do you need to make going forward?
13. Monitor competitors’ titles
Track what works for other content creators focused on your target audience.
Use their social sharing buttons to give you a rough idea of how effective they are. Are there topics or titles that work for your competitors that you’re not using or aren’t performing for you? If so, take a look at these posts and try to work out why.
14. Capture title ideas for later use
Keep a note of ideas and inspiration you glean from others content so you can modify them to meet your own needs. But don’t use someone else’s exact title.
Did you use more than one of the above techniques in your title? The best titles combine two, or more for maximum impact.
Writing strong titles that yield good results takes a great deal of work. Even the most seasoned blogger can occasionally write a weak headline. That said, the more you practice, the more readers you’ll attract with your titles.
Content Marketing Institute: Write the Best Titles for Content Marketing: A 10-Point Checklist, by Roger C. Parker
Heidi Cohen: How to Write Compelling Titles for Blogs & Content, by Heidi Cohen