Want to Write Better Blog Headlines? 3 things you need to know
I know: grabbing the attention of a reader is hard work. How do you convince them to read your blog and trust what you have to say. Many people put most of their effort into the actual blog content– and you should – but think first of the reader’s journey. Let me explain…
Say you’re looking to replace your house alarm system, and a blog shows up in your Google search, all about technology updates in house alarm systems. It could be helpful, thorough and show that the writer is an expert who’s ahead of others in their field… but this is the headline:
“House alarm systems could soon be utilising fingerprint recognition, but they will be too expensive for most homeowners to change”.
Would you click on it?
Headlines like this set alarm bells off in my head and it is essential to know that if the headline doesn’t work then the readers are gone.
You see, the actual blog is in the middle of the reader’s journey. The first thing the readers see is the search result, the first part of which is the headline. If the headline sucks, then your blog won’t get read. Simple.
So, let’s unpack the three key reasons why this headline DOESN’T work, and I’ll give you a couple of tips on how to get readers past the headline…
1) It doesn’t grab attention.
Thinking of the right headline is make or break for how successful your content is going to be. It needs to sell the article. If It intrigues the reader it will make them want to find out more. But if it doesn’t…
Did you know that the average human has a shorter attention span than a goldfish? The attention span of a goldfish is 9 seconds. A human’s attention span is just 7 measly seconds. You have 7 seconds to get their attention or they’re scrolling past. Crazy stuff!
If your headline is a long, meandering, negatively-worded mess that doesn’t say what the blog’s about in a few simple words, you’ve lost that reader. All that effort that goes into the blog goes to waste.
2) Everyone is too busy.
Considering that nearly 40% of adults in the UK are working more than 40 hours a week, our time is precious. In the case of our example, very few people will be interested in the option that is ‘too expensive’ and the headline also fails to sell WHY we need it in the first place.
The first thing this headline should have done is offer a solution. If your headline is solving a pain, the person whom it concerns will want to read it.
3) People don’t want to waste time.
How often do we WANT to spend time making decisions in the modern world? Being in the midst of a booming digital age, that delivers information to our fingertips quicker than ever before, we look for instant answers to our questions.
Time has been cut on so many decisions thanks to search engines. Not sure what film to watch at the cinema? Get the full list of reviews in two seconds. Not sure which car to buy? Someone already wrote an article comparing the models.
Your headline needs to show the key message immediately. Don’t try and tease people too much. Get to the point of what your blog is about, or the readers won’t be interested.
So, in our example headline’s case, what could be done better?
The blog aimed at homeowners who want to change their security systems. “Why homeowners need to consider fingerprint technology when replacing their house alarm system”, for example, would have been so much better. The headline is positive, it suggests that the blog will educate the reader, it identifies its demographic… but there’s still some room for improvement…
Your content is doing the hard work for somebody else, so don’t make hard work of the headline. Keep it short and to the point. “Home alarm systems: More secure WITHOUT a code” not only grabs attention, but puts in just 8 words what the entire article will be about. The old headline was a sentence in itself.
Headlines are an art-form. Knowing the right angle to take, the best openers to use and correct words to get people clicking takes practise. But there’s a reason you clicked on this blog….
You wanted help creating better blog headlines that grab attention – I’ve got some for you! I compiled 30 of the best-performing headlines, along with some extra tips, that will get people clicking on your blogs to see what you have to say. You can download my Boomerang Blog Headlines guide HERE.