Editor’s note: This post was originally published on 5/18/17 and has been updated for accuracy and comprehension.
Creating headlines is one of the most important parts of writing a blog.
You want to hook your audience as soon as they read the title.
Captivate them right off the bat and they’re more likely to keep reading and take action, I.E. respond to your CTA.
Headlines matter because no one will read your blog content if they don’t have a powerful hook to entice them to keep reading.
Your blog articles may be killer all by themselves, providing the ultimate value for consumers looking for an effective solution to their problems.
But if you don’t use a great title to reel them in, prospects will never read your wonderful blogs.
In essence, a great headline (or title) is like the bait. It has to quickly hook a prospect or she’ll move onto another title that looks more interesting and entices the reader.
So while you may spend a few hours writing that blog, you should put the equivalent effort into nailing down a killer headline. This advice from seasoned marketing pros will get you on the right track.
According to QuickSprout, 8 out of 10 people will read the headline, while only 2 out of 10 will actually read your post.
Yikes! That just shows how important the title is.
Check out their formula for writing headlines that drive conversions, which includes steps like:
The guide also shows you how to implement the formula, with before and after examples.
The formula recommends using: a number or trigger word + an adjective + a keyword + a promise.
Here are a couple of before-and-after examples they offer:
Before: How to Bathe an Elephant
After: 18 Unbelievable Ways You Can Bathe an Elephant Indoors
Before: How to Sell Your House
After: How You Can Effortlessly Sell Your Home In Less Than 24 Hours
Based on research ProBlogger did on their own blog title performance over the course of a year, Darren Rowse discovered six lessons about headlines that guide the company’s strategy.
Here’s what he found works for titles that convert:
HubSpot published a list of “13 Types of Blog Headlines That Will Get You More Traffic.”
You’re sure to find some golden nuggets in here about writing headlines that drive conversions.
They reason that just by creating great headlines, you can increase traffic by 500%.
So what makes a great headline according to these inbound marketing gurus?
It’s one that “captures the pain points of your target personas and introduces a topic that will make their lives better. And it must be compelling.”
You’ll get lots of inspiration from perusing through their 13 kinds of headlines:
Check out their article for tips on how to choose the best headline to use.
For his article about writing killer headlines, called “The Step-by-Step Guide to Writing Powerful Headlines,” Patel tested his title.
He was able to increase the conversion rate by 40% with a compelling title. He offers meaty tips like:
Review the complete article, as it’s full of specific and relevant examples of headlines that fit each of these tips.
Copyblogger walks you through several headline examples and shows you exactly what is at work and why it’s working.
You’ll learn how to craft your own compelling headlines, like these:
A headline swipe file is a collection of sample headlines and helpful tips that will help you create your own headlines that drive conversions. It can be saved with a specific tool or just in a simple document.
I know what you’re thinking. “‘Swiping’ is stealing. That’s plagiarism and it’s not cool.”
Whoa, pull back on the reins. That’s NOT what a swipe file is.
According to Henneke at Enchanting Marketing, a swipe file is “a collection of writing examples. These examples can be anything from headlines to blog post openings, and from sales emails to landing pages.”
She goes on to explain that, “Pro writers use swipe files to inspire their content and improve their skills.”
Using whatever tool you like best (Evernote, a Google doc, etc.), every time you come across a headline you like, add it to your list.
You can also collect articles that provide how-to tips and any other relevant information that will help you develop your own skills to write headlines that drive conversions.
Your blog headlines are extremely important. They can make or break your traffic, leads, conversions and revenue growth.
Follow these tips from experts like Neil Patel and the folks at HubSpot, Copyblogger, QuickSprout and ProBlogger to create headlines that drive conversions.
And don’t forget to create and fill your swipe file with awesome headline-writing inspiration.
Make sure your team is spending just as much time on titles as they do other inbound methods, like writing the blog and tweaking it for SEO.