I’ll pick a poorly written blog post with a catchy headline over an excellent one with a dull headline any day!
Because a catchy blog post headline with weak content will at least convert a small percentage of the traffic it attracts from search and social shares, but a great blog post with a dull headline may never-ever get read.
Regardless of how you choose to distribute your content, you’ll need a catchy headline. One that will immediately capture your target reader’s attention, convince them that your article is what they’ve been searching for, and motivate them to share with their network.
So, if you’re ready, let’s dive in.
What you’ll learn
- What makes a blog post headline catchy?
- How to write catchy blog post headlines in 7 easy steps
What makes blog post headlines catchy?
From my experience writing, studying, and swiping hundreds of headlines over the years, I’d say that these are the three qualities that make a catchy blog post headline.
1. They’re well targeted
Newly built Eco-Friendly Beach Houses in Miami For SALE | Price range $400,000-$750,000
If you were looking to buy an eco-friendly house by the beach in Miami with a budget of $500,000, you’d probably click it.
Here’s another example:
How to Give Yourself an Intramuscular Injection – Even If You’re Terrified of Needles
It’s clear who the target reader for this blog post is. The writer could have gone with “How to Give Yourself an Intramuscular Injection” but that wouldn’t have been half as catchy as this.
To write blog post headlines that convert, you need to stop trying to attract everyone and start going after the people who need your post. Targeted headlines not only help you grab the attention of readers who need your post, but they also help you weed out the ones who won’t take any action. Whether that’s buying your product, joining your list, or booking a demo.
You must first gain an in-depth understanding of your ideal reader and their relationship with the topic to write a catchy headline. You can do this by asking questions like:
- Who needs this blog post and why?
- What questions do my ideal readers have about this topic?
- What does my ideal reader already know about this topic?
- What are my ideal reader’s most common pain points regarding this topic?
- Do they have any biases or internalized beliefs towards this topic? If yes, how can I address them?
- What is my ideal reader’s purpose for researching this topic?
You can conduct a survey or brainstorm these questions with your marketing team to get the most accurate answers.
2. They’re the right length
Headlines don’t need to be short to be catchy. Here are two headline length statistics that support the use of lengthy headlines:
Research shows that headlines between 16 and 18 words produce the most engagement.
Headlines with the highest click-through rates have between 90 and 99 characters.
By simply paying attention to these two facts and writing headlines that are between 16 to 18 words, and have 90 to 99 characters, you’ll be positioning yourself for good results.
3. They’re useful
Readers will click on a headline that promises to help them achieve something or overcome an obstacle. Useful headlines show readers how they can save, gain, or accomplish something by reading your blog post. And with a little twist, they can also show readers how they can avoid risks, worries, losses, and mistakes by reading your blog post.
The Secret of Making People Like You
Catchy right? You can see the value being communicated in this headline. Here’s another example – this time with a twist.
This Little Onboarding Mistake Cost Me a $5000 SEO Client
Another very catchy headline that clearly communicates the value of the blog post to the target reader – in a way that promises to help them avoid a negative outcome.
4. They’re emotionally driven
It’s every copywriter’s job to know how to play with the emotions of their reader and move them to take action. And now we have statistics that prove that emotional headlines get more social shares.
You don’t have to be a master copywriter to write emotional blog post headlines that get you clicks, shares, and conversions. You can create a catchy and emotional headline by using any of these words or phrases.
How to write catchy blog post headlines in 7 easy steps
STEP 1 – Understand the topic/ keyword
I write my headlines after conducting an analysis of the first 10 pages that rank for my target keyword or topic. This way, I have a good enough understanding of the topic before anything else.
Here’s how I go about this analysis – don’t worry, it’s easy and straightforward.
How to understand your topic/ keyword before writing your headline
1. Start by creating a google sheet. First, label the first three columns (A,B, and C) with these headings:
- Page rank – is the position of each page on search engines
- SEO title – is the title/ headline that appears in search
- URL – this is the link to each page
Next, fill in the information for each one of the ten pages
You can also perform this step using a tool like Ubersuggest.
2. Study and outline the content on each page.
Create a new document with google docs.
Next, visit each of the ten pages and list out every subheading and anything worth noting about the topic from that page.
After doing this for the top ten pages, you should have a good enough understanding of your topic.
STEP 2 – Understand what the target reader really wants
Brian Dean calls this step identifying the searcher’s intent.
Searcher’s intent is your target reader’s reason for researching a topic.
Everyone has a reason for researching a topic. It can be:
- For gossip
- To learn about a topic for the first time
- To get a template that will make their work easier
- To make a purchase
- To get more information before making a purchase
- To know their options before making a purchase.
Here are two ways to identify the searcher’s intent for your topic or keyword.
1. Analyze the first page of search.
“If something ranks on Google’s first page, you KNOW that it satisfies User Intent.” – SEO Genius, Brian Dean.
Google’s algorithm filters through every page targeting the same keyword to provide searchers with the most relevant results. This makes your job easier because all you need to do is search for your target keyword.
2. Check related searches
Google’s related searches are my go-to place for understanding my ideal reader’s intent for searching a particular keyword.
STEP 3 – See what’s already working
Now that you understand your searcher’s intent, it’s time to see what headlines are already getting the most shares and search results, model them, and make yours better.
You can go back to the spreadsheet you created in STEP 1. Study the headlines that rank in the top spots and take note of their similarities. You can also use a tool like Buzsummo to see the most shared articles for your target keyword.
What do they have in common?
- Are they “How to” posts? (example – How to achieve operational excellence)
- Are they “Ultimate guide” posts? (example – The ultimate guide to operational excellence/ The complete beginner’s guide to operational excellence)
- Do they contain numbers or data? (example – 10 steps to achieving operational excellence).
After figuring out what the highest-ranking and highest shared headlines for my target keyword have in common, I use the formulas in the next step to come up with as many catchy headline ideas as I can.
STEP 4 – Use any of these formulas
Headline formulas save you the stress of having to come up with catchy headlines from scratch every time you write a blog post. Here are 15 of my favorite formulas for writing the best headlines.
- [X-number] [power word] Facts About [Topic] – Example: 5 Shocking Facts About Beyonce’s Keto Diet
- Struggling to [pain point] You’ll love this guide! – Example: Struggling to Stay Productive In Lockdown? You’ll love this guide!
- How to [do something] – Without [something] – Example: How to Land High-Paying Freelance Writing Clients – Without Cold Pitching
- How to [do something] in [X-number] Easy Steps – Example: How to Write Catchy Blog Post Headlines in 7 Easy Steps
- [Brand 1] vs [Brand 2] Which is Better For [target audience]? – Example: Canon vs Nikon: Which Is Better For New Youtubers?
- [X-number] [power word] Things to Consider When/Before [doing something] – Example: 10 Important Things to Consider When Buying Contact Lenses
- [Person] [quote] – Example: Joe Biden: “This is How We Won the Election Against Donald Trump.”
- [X-number] Ways to [do something] That Will Make You [feel something] – Example: 5 Ways to Lay Down During Your Period That Will Make You Feel Less Bloated
- Worried About [something], Do This Now – Example: Worried About Your Crypto-Currency Investment? Do This Now!
- What is [keyword] and [question]? – Example: What is Operational Excellence and How Can I Achieve It?
- Keyword: Everything You Need to Know – Example: Operational Excellence: Everything You Need to Know
- How to [do something] that gets [results]- Example: How to Write Catchy Blog Post Headlines that Get Links, Shares & Search Results
- The Ultimate/Complete/Beginner’s Guide to [doing something] – Example: The Complete Guide to Overcoming Your Fear of Public Speaking
- [Trending topic] what does this mean for [audience] – Example: Joe Biden is President: What Does This Mean For African American Entrepreneurs?
- How [person] did [something] – And you can too! – Example: How I ran my first 5k Marathon after Training For Less Than 3 Months – And you can too!
STEP 5 – Write 5-10 options
This sounds like a lot of work but having multiple headline options helps you continue building until you find the best one. Expert copywriters like Joanna Wiebe, recommend writing at least 25 headlines before settling on one.
Don’t settle on the first headline you write. Spend some time creating different variations and testing your options using the steps outlined in STEP 6.
Here’s an example of 6 blog post headlines options I came up with for the keyword “Statement of Work”
- How to Write a Statement of Work: Complete Guide with Templates & Examples
- How to Write the Perfect Statement of Work | *Company name*
- How to Write a Complete Statement of Work | *Company name*
- How to Write a Complete Statement of Work for Your Next Project – Definition, Template & Examples
- How to Write the Perfect Statement of Work – Definition, Template & Examples
- How to Write the Perfect Statement of Work & Crush Your Projects
STEP 6 – Test the strength of your headline
CoSchedule’s headline analyzer scores your headline out of 100, based on various factors that make a strong headline. These factors include:
- Word balance
- Character count
- Headline type
- Word count
- Reading grade level
The analyzer scores each headline and gives you suggestions to improve them.
STEP 7 – Split test your blog post headline options
After scoring and optimizing your headline ideas, the next step is to select a handful of them (your top 2-5 options) and conduct a split test.
Clickflow is an A/B testing service that allows you to test groups of pages at once. Clickflow automatically records the results from your test and displays them in a revenue calculator that shows how much the increased traffic will improve your company’s profits.
- SEO Scout
SEO Scout is a search engine optimization tool that allows you to split test your blog post titles and copy to find the best performing snippets.
- Thrive Headline Optimizer
Thrive headline optimizer is a WordPress plugin that allows you to split test multiple headlines. It automatically keeps the one that delivers the best results and shows you detailed reports of your split tests.
Your blog post headlines can be catchy every time!
Using the steps, tools, and formulas that I’ve shared with you in this blog post, you should be able to write catchy blog post headlines for any topic.
And the only way you’ll get better at writing headlines is by actually writing them. With a little practice, you’ll be writing blog post headlines that rank high in search, get backlinks, and get shared by your ideal reader in no time.