Admit it. Bacon just makes everything great. Eggs… sandwiches… dare I say cupcakes? You’re probably already in a better mood simply after reading this post’s headline. That, or you’re just left hungry and resentful…
But before we start daydreaming about the perfect omelet, let’s talk marketing. The word bacon livened up this blog title, right? Or, at the very least, it piqued your curiosity. When promoting one of your blog posts, the headline is often the first impression your reader receives. So it’s important to attract your audience with a sizzling hook and reel them in right away! (Of course, a mouth-watering visual doesn’t hurt either...)
In a digital world saturated with all kinds of content, your headlines need to stand out and firmly grab your audience by the eyeballs. However, that’s not to say you should be creating outrageous names for all of your blog posts. Frankly, your prospects will immediately become frustrated if they find out they’ve been misled by a sexy title and the real content just “doesn’t look as good in person.” Crafting the right headline is about balancing creativity with real value – and letting people know what they’re getting into as they make the conscious choice to click through.
Particularly for B2B businesses in considerably “less exciting” industries, your blog is a great way to showcase your company culture and have a little fun cooking up content. So here are 10 more pointers that will help you create an effective title for your next delicious blog post…
1. Think intrigue.
Adding an air of mystery to a headline or subject line can often compel a person to click on your post. For example, consider an email subject line from your favorite retailer that says, “Welp. THAT escalated quickly.” Wouldn’t you be curious and click on it? Call me a sucker, but I would (and have…). Yet here’s the thing: the headline must deliver the goods. So if your blog title facilitates a bit of intrigue, then you need to make sure the big reveal is, in fact, BIG. Otherwise, you’ll likely see your bounce rate increase, and you might turn off a potential prospect altogether.
2. Include an SEO-friendly keyword.
A well-optimized post brimming with great content certainly increases your chances of ranking higher in search results. As the H1 tag carries significant SEO weight, make sure you optimize your blog title with a keyword commonly used in search engines by your target prospects. What are they interested in reading about? What do they need help with? When conducting research for your keyword strategy, your ideal term or phrase will have a decent monthly search volume and a low to medium level of competition associated with it. There are a number of tools out there that can assist you with keyword research, but Google’s Keyword Planner is one of the most convenient. Can you guess the keyword I used in this post? (And no, it’s not bacon…)
3. Pose questions that address a problem.
Don’t be afraid to use a question as a headline. With respect to tip #2, that’s exactly how a prospect of yours might enter a search query. This is why “how to” titles get so many reads. In fact, one of our top performing blog posts of all time uses this format. Remember, not every blog post headline needs to be clever. Though a little humor can go a long way, never underestimate the power of directly calling out a challenge your buyers regularly experience.
4. Keep your headline 55 to 65 characters in length.
Another search engine stickler! Depending on the width of the characters you’re using (for example, the letter I vs. the letter M will impact title length differently), Google and other sites will cut off your headline at a certain point – typically around the 55 or 65 character mark. If you want your entire title to appear in search results, heed this advice.
5. The ol’ numbered list standby.
How many times per day do you come across a Top 3 or Best 5 or Worst 10 list in various publications or social newsfeeds? And yet, you still click on them time after time. Our minds are designed to organize and rank things for a variety of reasons, efficiency and convenience chief among them. But numbered lists also set off that “Do I know them all?” signal in our heads. And other times, we simply just want to view these supposed rankings to validate our own opinions, regardless of the source’s credibility. The moral of the story is: people like numbers. So incorporate them into your editorial calendar.
6. Create a sense of urgency.
Every now and then, mix up your writing with a “negative” statement that gets your readers’ wheels turning – using words like never, avoid, etc. This will often breathe life into some otherwise dry topics. Feel free to let people know they’re “missing out” on something, too – as this usually inspires clicks. But again, be sure your content is valuable enough to support whatever statement you make with your title. Some examples could include: What NOT to Consider When Buying Used Generators, 5 Common Phrases that Obliterate Your Construction Sales Efforts, or Why Your Supply Chain Management Strategy Is Sinking Fast.
7. Be frisky and risky.
Not every business is going to be comfortable with an irreverent headline, but if you work in an industry that has some leeway or you typically deliver incredibly conversational copy in your day-to-day messages with clients and prospects, then this tip could be perfect for you. Frisky and risky headlines might simply involve a little PG-13 language: Create Kick-Ass Headlines in 3 Easy Steps. Or they might tout an opinion on a particularly hot-button or controversial topic. Either way, just be ready to field comments from your audience!
8. Incorporate a play on words.
Speaking of risky headlines, a coworker of mine recently sent me a link to this “Ship My Pants” ad from a couple years ago. Solid example. But a play on words doesn't have to wind up in that direction. Simply coming up with a great metaphor or pun will attract attention to your blog post.
Who doesn’t love a little alliteration? Though the influence on your reader may be subtle, it’s a literary device that makes a headline naturally catchy and more fun to read. I might’ve tried this today, but Bedazzle Your B2B Blog with Bacon didn’t quite work out…
10. Entice with results.
At the end of the business day, it’s generating results that count. And so many industry professionals care about these types of articles. If your blog post features a new set of data, a recently published survey, interesting industry statistics or a report that your target buyers would find valuable, use a major point for the blog title. Even publicizing the report's initial launch itself can boost your views. For instance, our post entitled State of Inbound Marketing 2015: HubSpot Releases Full Report received an outstanding number of views after the first day we promoted it via social media.
Still looking for more ideas? Honestly, the best way to boost your headline creativity is by subscribing to blogs by companies that write headlines well. And if all else fails, I’ve heard that bacon is a great cure for writer’s block. (At least that’s what I tell myself).