No matter how good your blog post is, if your headline sucks you’ll never get the traffic you deserve.
According to Copyblogger, 80% of your visitors will read your headline – but only 20% will go on to finish the article.
That is why your headline is a very important element in determining the success rate of your entire article.
Whenever someone finds your article on social media or search, all they can see is the headline, image or excerpt. So a magnetic headline is very important for grabbing the attention of the readers.
Here are some tips based on studies that you can follow to write a killer headline.
- Start with a Draft Title & Write the Actual Headline at Last
- Keep The Language Simple and Easy To Understand
- Stay Accurate and State the Benefit
- Use Headlines with Numbers
- Use Negative Superlatives
- Provide Clarification
- Use Adjectives and Power Words
- Keep the Length of the Headline Within Limit
- Try to Make the Headline SEO-Friendly
You don’t need to write the final title of your copy or blog post when starting out. A better strategy is to start with a draft title which will guide you to to write the content. A draft title is a simple title which describes your content precisely.
When writing a draft title, you don’t need to spend hours to make it perfect. You don’t need to worry about making it interesting, clickable and seo-friendly at this point. These tasks should be attended when you’re writing the final headline after completing the post.
Let’s take an example, you are writing an article about the benefits of strength training on the body. Then your draft title can be “How Strength Training Benefits the Body”
Notice, this title isn’t perfect but it is good enough to guide you to write the post.
The reason for using this approach is that sometime you end up writing content that is different than what is promised in the title. That is why writing the final headline first before writing the actual content isn’t the best thing to do.
The second thing you need to remember is that it is not a place for you to show your sophisticated language skills. So, stay away from using complex words which your audience might not able to understand.
You may think that you’ll sound smarter if you use complex words but according to a study published in Applied Cognitive Psychology, it is completely untrue.
Using simple words and easy to understand language is the best way to hook your audience.
Your headline should clearly state the value that your readers are getting from your content. It is very critical to put the big benefit of your article in your headline.
You have to give people a good reason why they should click, read and even share your content.
The next thing you need to know is never misrepresent or overstate the value that your content is offering to the readers. Staying accurate is the key. Your content should always deliver the value that you’re promising in the headline.
Headlines containing numbers perform better than any other type of headlines.
A study performed by Conductor where they included 5 different headline types showed that headlines with numbers performed the best and performed 15% better than the headline at the second place that is “reader-addressing.”
Also, Coschedule studied that list posts were the most likely type of post to be shared more than 1,000 or even 100 times on social media.
Odd numbered headlines perform better than even numbered headlines. Conductor noted that odd-numbered headlines have a 20% better CTR than headlines with even numbers.
According to Content Marketing Institute, the brain seems to believe odd numbers more than even numbers. Odd numbers also seem to help people digest and recall information more easily.
Buzzfeed, the digital content provider makes use of number-posts a lot probably because they know that it is a brilliant strategy to get a higher CTR. In fact, in an analysis of 1861 buzzfeed headlines, 46% of headlines had a number in them and 64% of the numbers were odd
So a major takeaway from all these studies is to start creating more headlines with numbers.
Superlatives may be effective in improving the clickability of a headline.
Studies show that negative superlatives are more effective than positive superlatives.
A study performed by Outbrain compared 65,000 titles with either positive superlatives, negative superlatives or no superlatives. Headlines with positive superlatives performed 29% worse and headlines with negative superlatives performed 30% better with respect to headlines with no superlatives. The average click-through rate on headlines with negative superlatives was 63% higher than with positive ones.
The reason for these results may be that positive superlatives have been so much overused that people have turned a blind eye towards them.
It’s always good to give your readers a little glimpse of what kind of content they’re going to find when they reach your article so that they can set clear expectations.
With the help of the brackets  you can tell your audience what type of content they’re going to find like [Infographic], [Video], [Case Study], [Guide].
In a study of over 3.3 million headlines, Hubspot found that headlines with clarification of type of content performed 38% better than headlines without clarification.
So try to give a clarification in headline wherever possible to improve your reader’s experience.
Adjectives grabs reader’s attention and makes your headlines more interesting. Power words are phrases that are well-known for inciting action.
According to Coschedule, These words inspire an emotion or call to action without a lot of context. Power words are typically rarely used words or phrases that almost guarantee some clicks through to your blog posts.
While there is no single perfect length of title that can be implemented in every article and it is not always possible to have the same number of characters or words in every written title. But there are some points you can consider while writing a headline perfect for your goals.
According to a study by Outbrain, a title with eight words received a 21% higher click-through rate than average titles.
If you want your post to perform well on search engine, you can focus on keeping the title under 70 characters so that your title don’t get cut-off.
Hubspot noted that headlines between 8–12 words in length got the most Twitter shares on average. And in case of Facebook, headlines with either 12 or 14 words received the most Likes.
Optimising your headline for search engine traffic will only help you to increase your traffic but the important task here is to include relevant keywords while keeping the headline meaningful for the audience.
Remember, keeping the headline interesting for your audience should be your first priority but if you can make it SEO-friendly at the same time then it’s just cherry on the cake.