If you’re a blogger who wants more traffic, more readers, and more engagement with your tribe, this post is for you. I’m sharing a simple five-part framework that will make your blog post titles (“headlines”) more compelling.
In my work as a marketing consultant and copywriter, I see this problem all the time: great content obscured by boring titles and headlines.
A brief story: Morgan is a client who runs an executive consulting business, and she recently started a blog as a way of marketing her services. She called me to ask what she was doing wrong.
“I post lots of content, and it’s helpful stuff. But nobody seems to read it. I get zero comments.”
I brought up her blog on my laptop, and the first post I saw was entitled The Dynamics of Organizational Change Management During Transitional Periods. I read the post. She was right-it was good content. But for some reason she had crowned it with a repulsive title.
Virtually all her posts shared this flaw.
“I think I see your problem,” I said. “Nobody’s interested in reading an article with that title. Your title makes the post sound like a doctoral dissertation. You need a more appealing headline.”
“Okay,” she said, “what would you suggest?”
I thought about the movie I had watched over the weekend.
“How about something like The Avengers Guide To Building Superhero Teams During Troubled Times?”
It took some convincing for Morgan to believe this wasn’t a bit over-the-top, but finally she took my suggestion. Is it a coincidence that later that day this particular blog post actually began to get comments from readers? I think not.
The post titles you choose for your blog serve the same purpose as headlines in a newspaper or magazine. They either draw the reader in, or they push the reader away.
Here are five essential qualities of a compelling headline:
- Grabs Attention. Your headline’s number-one job is to grab the reader’s attention. To accomplish this, your headline must either make a claim or promise, evoke an emotional response, or stir up curiosity.
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- Screens and Qualifies Readers. Choose specific words that segment out the exact “tribe” you want to reach. Headlines that apply to everyone can just as easily apply to no one.
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- Draws Readers into the Body Copy. Remember you’re not selling your concept or proposition in the headline. You’re making one sale only: the idea of reading the rest of the post.
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- Communicates the “Big Idea.” What is the one true benefit of your post, and how can you communicate that to your readers in a way that is meaningful to them? Put that in your headline.
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- Establishes Credibility. Authority is one of the most powerful ways of gaining attention. If you have an “authority card” to play, play it in the headline if possible.
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Incorporating these five principles into your blog post titles should bring you more traffic, more readers, and more engagement with your tribe.
Question: What are some other qualities you think great headlines should include?