Whether you’re an avid blogger, editor or a reader, i’m sure you’ve had that moment when you come across a truly awful blog headline. You know, the kind that makes zero sense, doesn’t relate to the article at all, and you almost feel like you were tricked into clicking on it.
It’s one of those, “What were they thinking!?” moments. The moment that every single marketer wants to avoid at all possible costs.
The title of your post is one of the most important aspect of your article. It’s what gets people’s attention and entices them to click. Ultimately it’s (with a little extra help from the content inside) what generates leads for you.
So think of it this way-- have you ever judged a book by its cover?
Well, the same rings true for your blog post. Even if your blog is filled with the most compelling, remarkable, amazing content in the world; if your blog headline totally misses the mark we can venture a guess that it’s not going to get the attention it deserves. So before you just throw any old headline together take a look at our 4 Tips for Writing a Killer Blog Headline.
1) Don’t Fear the Working Title
Have you ever struggled with coming up with an idea for a blog? If you haven’t, I would like to personally meet you, shake your hand and get in on your secret to success.
The reality is, who hasn’t struggled at coming up with a creative, new idea for a blog post? Luckily, there’s a solution that we use in our own blog writing process all the time: the working title.
Back in the day (okay, a couple of months ago) I used to fear the working title. That’s because working titles are incomplete and very vague. Once I overcame that fear I realized how helpful a working title can be when you’re in the beginning stages of planning out your next blog post or mapping out your editorial calendar for the month.
Here are a couple of different ideas for working titles:
X Best Practices for Writing Your Next X
5 Tips for Driving Traffic to Your X
Let’s break it down a little further. Instead of working with a title like “10 Best Practices for Writing Your Next Blog Post” try using a working title, like the one we listed above. In our example, with a concrete number tied to it, it can be intimidating.
And what’s even worse is the fact that maybe your blog post is stellar at just 8 best practices and since you have that 10 looming above you, you’re forced to fill up the space with nonsense.
And nobody has time for nonsense. Your quality points just took a nose dive.
2) Come Up With a Title that Resonates With Your Buyer Personas
When it comes to ‘writing for your buyer personas,’ we probably sound like a broken record. After all, there have been numerous posts on the HubSpot blog that talk about the importance of understanding who you are writing to and targeting with your inbound marketing.
The truth is, writing with your buyer personas in mind is absolutely essential in the world of content marketing. Businesses that can speak to their personas (whether they strike a pain point or elicit an interest) can speak to virtually anyone and see a higher return on their marketing investment. Plus, isn’t that what being a successful blogger is all about, resonating with your audience and your customers?
Ultimately, a headline can make or break the success of your blog post. If your audience doesn’t feel compelled to open the post, chances are you missed out on a golden opportunity to either attract a new visitor, convert an inbound lead into a customer or engage with one of your happy customers.
Talk about missed opportunity...
Here’s a solution. Instead of going with the basics, focus on strategy. What’s really going to elicit an interest. Start by honing in on one of your personas. What is she going to be looking for? If she’s a marketing professional for example, she’d be looking for content that is going to help her improve her social strategy, drive higher conversions on her website, or build an email nurturing program that will help her convert her leads into customers.
Focus is key. Choose a primary persona and then build out an editorial calendar with blog posts that speak directly to their pain points and align keywords they would be searching for. Not only will your blog posts be attracting new qualified visitors, but for those leads that are already in your funnel, you’ll be providing even more valuable content and helping them see you’re the right company to do business with.
3) What Have Your Customers Asked You Lately?
Your customers are your brand ambassadors, your biggest fans and one of your greatest assets. While your job is to educate your customers through high-quality content, chances are they still have some questions. And we’re guessing they don’t typically hold back.
If your customers are asking questions, it’s likely there are others (in your ideal audience) that have similar questions. When you’re really stuck on what to write about, turn to these questions your customers have and answer them in a blog post.
Think creatively about it-- it doesn’t necessarily just have to be a rehash of a question with potential solutions. You can do a post on commonly asked questions, or you could write about common misconceptions in a particular industry.
4) When All Else Fails, Use Your Resources
Fast-forward (or rewind) to Friday afternoon. Ah yes, that moment when the weekend is on the horizon and you’ve already worked 50+ hours. You couldn’t find any ounce of creativity left in your brain even if you really tried.
So what do you do? Leverage your resources, of course. Here are a few places we recommend you dig around for inspiration:
Industry publications - look for what’s trending and other headlines that catch your eye
Social Media - take to the streets and look at what people are talking about; it’s a great way to drum up ideas and get the wheels turning again
Your archives - look at topics that have particularly resonated with your readers; think about doing something similar but with a different spin (for example, if you wrote a post about best practices, think about doing one about mistakes to avoid)
HubSpot’s Blog Topic Generator - great way to quickly plug-in your topics and they’ll spit out title ideas for you
Let’s face it marketers, we’re all up against some stiff competition in the world of inbound marketing and business blogging.
When it comes to your next blog post really put your mind to it and try creating a blog title that incorporates the tips I have listed above. Trust us, your blog posts will start generating more views and getting the attention they deserve in no time.
Originally published Jul 24, 2014 2:00:00 PM, updated February 01 2017