The great preponderance of business blog posts never hit home. They aren’t compelling enough to break through. They don’t speak to the customer in fresh, vivid language. They don’t speak to him or her about what really matters in readily understood terms.
So many business blog posts fail right at the outset. They fail because the title fails to catch and hold attention. This failure arises because most writers devote far more time to writing a post than to crafting a magnetic title for it.
So, what should you consider as you write titles for your blog posts?
- Be brief. An editor working for me reduced a 12-word headline I had written to four words and the result was much better because it was more direct and simpler.
- Be clear. Be clear about what is in it for the reader. Avoid the temptation to write a post title that is cute or clever, if the result is less clear. Tax Assessor Improperly Fines Local Car Dealers is better than Car Dealers Get Raw Deal because the first headline says more about who has done what to whom.
- Be aligned with the objective. A central consideration in crafting the post title is always who is it for and what do I want them to think, feel, or do after reading the piece. In other words, consider the objective in writing the headline.
- Be focused on the POV of the reader. Be sure that your post title is empathic and captures the world from the point of view of the reader. Stay focused on how your readers see what you are writing about.
- Be keyword savvy. If your strategy includes getting organic traffic, do the keyword analysis necessary to know which words searchers are using to find information like your post. Consider the content and how long-tail the keyword should be based on where your piece fits in the conversion path.
- Be graded. There are wonderful tools that will tell you whether your headline is on the right track. One of my favorites is CoShedule Headline Analyzer. It delivers a simple score and some specific suggestions to improve your headline.
If you are like me, you write the title, write the post, then change the title based on where the post took you. Very often the last paragraph, the wrap-up, reveals what the title should be. A great example of this “wrap-up” occurrence is found in the movie SING. (Love that movie) In the last scene, Buster Moon encourages Mina to do what she loves so she won’t be afraid – Sing.
A great title will capture the attention of your target audience and reveal just enough to make them want to read more.
I wish you great success in writing better headlines. To learn more about content strategy, start a conversation.