Many businesses work hard to produce great content, but titles are often created in a rush or quickly slapped onto an article before or after the piece is written. It's important to realize how important a title truly is. If it's too dull or generic, how do you expect to attract the kinds of readers you want and deserve?
If you think about it, your headline is one of the most important elements of a written piece. For a blog post, your title will represent your article in search engines, in emails, and on social media. Coming up with a title that truly does your content justice isn’t as easy as it sounds, but fear not! We have some expert tips for composing an eye-catching headline that not only pulls your readers in but accurately represents your content as well.
Shoot for Accuracy
It’s important that your title accurately describes what your article is about. If you over-promise or inaccurately represent your content, readers will be upset when they click to read and don't find what they're looking for.
Setting expectations with an accurate headline will ensure that your reader is satisfied with what your content provides. If you consistently present titles with high expectations that your content doesn’t meet, you will lose readers’ trust. You might also confuse search engines, which will cripple your article's performance potential.
Add Some Flair
While accuracy is vital, that certainly doesn’t mean your title should be boring and shallow. A good, gripping title should have a dash of flash! Consider your target audience. What enticing words might resonate with them? Incorporate some language that gives your title character, substance, and meaning.
There’s no magic formula for how many characters your title should be, but it’s important to keep it fairly short if you want the entire thing to appear in search results on search engines. Try to keep your title under 70 characters, on average. According to Outbrain, eight words is the sweet spot; headlines composed of eight words had a 21% higher click-through rate than titles of average length.
It's important to optimize your title for search engines. Just make sure you don't make it sound unnatural or awkward by forcing in certain words or phrases. Jamming too many keywords into your title can kill the whole purpose of this exercise, which is to create a gripping title that will get the click.
Incorporating excessive keywords can change the meaning and value of your title and make it feel stuffy. The best way to optimize is to consider your target audience and focus on keywords you know people are searching for. If you can identify a keyword that will easily slip into your title without it sounding like it doesn’t belong, go for it! Otherwise, use part of a keyword phrase, rearrange the keyword phrase to make it sound natural, or focus on the meaning behind the keyword and use another word or phrase that closely relates or means the same thing but sounds more eloquent.
BuzzSumo shared some eye-opening stats about titles after analyzing 100 million headlines to see which posts earned the most Facebook engagement. Let’s take a look at what they found.
Top Word Combinations
“Will make you” was the most popular word combination—by a long shot! This combination may seem a bit strange at first, but when you consider that it links the content to why the reader should care about said content, it makes more sense. The reader will be eager to find out why "X" will make them do "Y."
BuzzSumo also found that titles that tug at your heartstrings perform very well. People want to feel something when they read, so consider taking an emotional angle if it makes sense with your content. Phrases like make you cry, melt your heart, and give you goosebumps were some of the most popular emotion-evoking phrases.
People are eager to show off their smarts, so it’s no surprise that titles with quizzes are also popular with Facebook users. Quizzes serve as great click bait. People like the opportunity to determine how many answers to random facts they know and brag to their friends about it on social media.
Writing a title may seem easy on the surface, but it should never be an afterthought. Taking time to compose the perfect title is a vital step in creating successful online content. Remember these tips next time you sit down to write.
If you need any help with content creation, Blue Frog Marketing can help! Our professional writers will craft content that will get found online and read, written and published with SEO best practices in mind.
We have offices in Des Moines, Denver, and Huron and work with clients all across the nation. Reach out to us today for inbound marketing services!