Formulate The Perfect Headline In 5 Steps

Headlines

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Draw attention to your articles and blog entries by giving them an enticing and attractive headline!

Last week, we have already had a look at different types of headlines and popular keywords you should keep in mind to seduce readers into reading your content. But how exactly do you create one of these perfect headlines?

 

With these 5 Steps you are closer to making your blog article, search engine, and social media headlines attractive for your potentially new readers!

 

1. Working Title

Perfection is not created in the beginning. But every perfect piece of work has a beginning!  Before you formulate the perfect title, start with a working title that roughly outlines the purpose of your article or other content.

 

A proper working title should already contain the kind of headline type you want to use (How to …, 10 Ways To…). It functions as a general guide for your blog post and how you may want to structure it.

 

From Topic To Working Title

Lets assume the topic of your blog article is “gaining Twitter Follower”. You can create different working titles from this topic.

 

For example:

  • How To Gain More Twitter Followers
  • 10 Strategies To Gain Twitter Followers
  • A Social Media Expert’s Guide To Increase Your Follower Number On Twitter
  • Gain More Twitter Followers Following These 5 Steps

 

2. Sex(y) Sells

Be fun, be cute, be sexy. Sex sells, that’s also true for your headline. Make your title stand out from the mass of headlines and add a sexy touch.

 

Strong Language

Of course you shouldn’t overdo in this respect, but using strong (and yet still appropriate) languages attracts people to click on your title and read through your article. Strong words and phrases, negative words and connotations – grab your readers’ attention.

 

Possible phrases and words you can use:

  • Kick-Ass, Bad-Ass
  • Brilliant, Amazing, Genius
  • The Best/Fastest/Worst/…
  • Love, Hate

However, use this tool in moderation. Too many strong words in one headline make the individual words seem a lot less enticing in comparison. The key is also to use the kind of language that appeals to the majority of your target audience.

 

Additional Information And Value

If you attached a video tutorial to your blog post, created an infographic, or any other information and item of extra value to your audience, why not state this in the title? If the reader knows what he can expect, he or she is much more likely to click on your created title.

 

Possible Additional Value could be:

  • Infographics
  • Short Overviews
  • Tutorials
  • Free Downloads
  • Templates

Add the extra value to your headline by, for example, putting it in brackets or braces.

 

Applying these tips to our working titles, they could look something like this by now:

  • 10 Kick-Ass Strategies To Gain Twitter Followers
  • A Social Media Expert’s Guide To Increase Your Follower Number On Twitter [Video Tutorial]
  • 5 Brilliant Steps To Gain More Twitter Followers

 

3. SEO Optimization

The title you choose for your blog entry is – if not specified otherwise – also the one crawled by search engines. Thus, you should try to optimize your headline for search engines as well. However, do not obscurify your title just to fit in an important keyword or search term. The title should still be correct and make sense.

 

However, if higher ranked keywords fit into your title, then add them to your headline.

  • 10 Kick-Ass Strategies For Twitter Marketing
  • A Social Media Expert’s Guide To Get More Twitter Followers [Video Tutorial]
  • 5 Brilliant Steps To Gain More Twitter Followers

 

4. Avoid Deceptive Clickbait

Just as important as not distorting your title with SEO optimization, is to stay accurate in your title – and not to be tempted to use false advertisement or so-called clickbait. Don’t set too high expectations and always let the reader know what to expect. Accuracy and actually delivering what you advertised in your title gains your readers’ trust way more than bombastic headlines that cover up for so-so content.

 

Instead of setting too high expectations, why not try it the other way round? Under-sell your article and then nail it with your content. Using clickbait or overselling your blog post only results in losing valuable readers that would usually share your content.

 

5. Keep It Short

The rule of thumb is that titles under 65 characters are more search engine compatible since google won’t cut them in their search results. If you want to make it easy shareable on Twitter, however, the title should not be longer than 117 characters (140 minus 22 characters of the URL minis 1 character for spacing).

 

The shorter and easier to read your headline is, the more likely it is that people actually click on it, rather than skipping a too long title. Lets have a look at our example headlines:

 

  • 10 Kick-Ass Strategies For Twitter Marketing
    • 44 characters, doesn’t get cut off in search results, not too long for Twitter
  • A Social Media Experts Guide To Get More Twitter Followers [Video Tutorial]
    • 75 characters, gets cut off in search engines, not too long for twitter
  • 5 Brilliant Steps To Gain More Twitter Followers
    • 48 characters, doesn’t get cut off in search results, not too long for Twitter

 

The second title, in order to not be cut off in search engines, could use some shortening. Try to rephrase the title or cut irrelevant words. Using special characters like & instead of and, and clipping phrases like do not to don’t are also valid strategies.

 

  • Social Media Expert Guide To More Twitter Followers [Video]
    • 59 characters, doesn’t get cut off in search results, not too long for Twitter

Of course you should also check that your headline is free of any spelling mistakes and typos!

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