Before you wow readers with your content, before you develop an emotional connection between them and your brand, before they even click on your article… you have to get your foot in the door. Therein lies the art of writing blog titles.
Blog titles and headlines are a quick pitch to encourage visitors to read your content — and by “quick,” we mean less than a sentence. Each individual word must be chosen with care, because only the best titles translate into clicks.
That’s why we’ve compiled this list of expert advice on writing blog titles. Apply them now to turn your blog from a list of words into a conversion powerhouse.
If you’re looking for quick and actionable advice for writing headlines, it’s as easy as 1, 2, 3. Numbers in titles generate 73% more engagement and social sharing.
The thinking is that numbers give browsers an idea of what they’re getting into. If this article was just said “Expert Tips…” you wouldn’t know if it was a blurb post with 1 or 2 tips, or an epic manifesto full of hundreds of writing tidbits. By including the set number, you get an idea of this piece’s length and depth, making it more comfortable to click.
Diving deeper, odd numbers work better than even numbers. They seem more natural, whereas even numbers seem like the author manipulated the data to round it off. Going deeper still, lucky number 7 has the best results.
Use Power Words
Some words can make a big difference, but others can make a gargantuan difference. Content marketing strategist Kerri Stover recently compiled a list of 17 “must-use” words in headlines. While some of them fall into the clickbait category (there’s nothing shocking about “shocking” blog posts anymore), there’s still enough wisdom there worth repeating.
Try adding some of these power words into your next blog title:
- New — Everyone likes new things.
- Now — Great for immediacy and urgency.
- Who/What/Where/When/Why/How — Question words add an inherent mystery into your blog title, playing on the browser’s natural curiosity.
- You and Your — Addressing the reader directly to develope a personal connection. It gets them from thinking in the general to thinking about how the post will apply to their lives specifically.
- Video — Videos are popular content anyway, so mentioning you have one is a good selling point.
It’s not enough to throw these words into your headline haphazardly. Make sure you only use them when they flow organically.
Keywords and Colons
When it comes to keywords in blog titles, you start to stray from set-in-stone rules and rely more on instinct. Statistically speaking, formulas work; but rely on formulas too much and your headlines will become repetitive and uninteresting.
The rule for using SEO keywords in headlines is to have them close to the beginning of the title. We find one strategy that works well is:
keyword phrase + colon or hyphen + the value proposition
This checks all the right boxes: keyword at the start, explaining the article’s value, plus titles with colons or hyphens actually perform 9% better. We formatted this article’s title like this as an example.
But again, using this formula every time will have the opposite effect, and regular readers will catch on that you’re phoning in your headlines. It’s best to use this formula sparingly, and remember that keywords don’t always need to start a title for the post to be successful.