Every piece of content you write should have a powerful headline.
That headline sets the first impression for readers, and ideally it incites people to click through or keep reading.
The headline is the most important element of your content. You can write the best 800-word blog post of your life, but if the headline is boring and bland, that post might never get read.
Think long and hard about your headline options. Here are eight tried and true trips for making your headlines more effective:
1. Use numbers. The human brain gravitates toward numbers, so if you can offer specific digits, do so. Examples: 5 tips for writing better blog posts; 8 content marketing statistics you must see.
2. Focus on value. What’s in it for your readers? Why should they care about this blog post? Write headlines that let them know they’ll benefit from your content. Example: Hit all your sales goals with these lead-generation tips.
3. Use strong verbs. Whenever possible, skip to be verbs in favor of something more compelling and specific. For example, consider these two variations:6 ways to be a better content marketer versus 6 ways to write better content. The second option is active and punchier.
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4. Mention the reader. Play to your readers’ egos; invoke them in the headline, using you and your. That gets people’s attention. Example: Discover 6 ways you can inspire your team.
5. Ask a question. If you’re stuck on your headlines, try converting statements into questions. Generate curiosity. Example: Can better headlines improve your blog conversions?
6. See what your competition is doing. Spend time researching the blogs of your competitors or industry peers, and note how they phrase their headlines. Are there lessons you can learn? Also, use tools and analyze research to craft winning headlines.
7. Draft a bunch of headlines. Open a Word document, and jot down all the headlines and variations that come to mind. Give yourself a bunch of options to choose from.
8. Make sure your headline is accurate. Avoid the bait-and-switch routine. Write a headline that reflects the content within.
A version of this post first appeared on the Grammar Chic blog.