In ‘5 types of content that drive traffic to your website’ we outlined the importance of managing a business blog on your website as a key SEO marketing strategy. But writing blog posts is just the first step – no matter how compelling your articles are, if your headlines fail to hit the mark, you will struggle to gain readers. The below are our top tips on writing better headlines for your business blog:
- Be creative – but not too creative: The trouble with copywriters and people who are passionate about writing in general is that we (yes, we! I’m including myself!) tend towards being so clever with our headline that it ends up confusing the potential reader as to what the content of the article is about. For example, early on in my copywriting career I ignored the advice of a colleague and use the title ‘Why SEO, SEM and Social Media make the perfect ménage a trois’ instead of the easier to read headline ‘How to develop a killer digital marketing strategy’. As a result, potential readers who were unfamiliar with this French phrase were unlikely to click through and read my content. By all means, think up creative headlines but always err on the side of the obvious to avoid alienating half the internet population with your creativity.
- Try to limit the number of words to no more than 8 per headline: A recent study found that the optimum numbers of words in headlines are 8.
- Offer ‘Top Tips’ & ‘How to..’ advice: Articles that start with ‘Top tips to…’ and ‘How to…’ tend to have higher click through rates, and also are more likely to be shared via social networks. Hey, it must have worked on you eh? Otherwise you wouldn’t be reading this article right now!
- Use odd numbers: Sounds strange, but if you are going to write a ‘Top tips’ article, try using an odd number like ‘5 top tips’ or ‘7 top tips’ – not sure what the scientific reason behind this is, but a recent report has found that odd numbers resonate better with the reading public.
- Include compelling stats: Business blog articles which use stats in their headlines are a great way to grab attention. eg. 98% of people take admit to playing with their iphone when on the toilet (not sure if that is a true stat but I swear I read an aticle like this very same subject somewhere!)
- Avoid hyperbole: The best headlines are those that are punchy and straight to the point, so try to avoid too many descriptive or over the top adjectives. For example, one of my previous articles I chose to title ’10 powerful stats that prove the phenomenal ROI of business blogs’ but after a lacklustre clickthrough rate I realised I would have been better of keeping the headline shorter and to the point (eg ’10 compelling stats on business blogging’). Ah well, you live and you learn!
- Swap positive sentiment for negative sentiments: One of my most widely read and shared articles just happens to be 5 mistakes business blogs make – originally I was going to write this article in the exact opposite view (i.e. 5 top tips on how to write a business blog’. Sometimes negativity works! Give it a try next time.
Coming up with intriguing and clickable headlines can often be the hardest part of copywriting and blogging for business, but as with most things in life, the more your practice, the better you will become at crafting shareable, compelling headlines for your content marketing. What are your top tips on writing catchy headlines for your business blogs?