Your content might be the best thing since sliced bread, but if your headline isn’t up to scratch, it won’t get the eyeballs you’re hoping for.
It’s just a fact of the internet: think about how many headlines people scroll past everyday, from links to posts on social media, to the thousands of results served to them on search engines.
Once your post is written and ready to go, it can be tempting to just type out any old headline just so you can hit the publish button.
But think about it: how many posts have you seen with generic (and, let’s face it, snore-worthy) headlines like:
They’re not enticing at all, right?
This is because they don’t do the two most important things a headline should do:
On top of that, they don’t make anyone want to click through because they quite possibly use the most boring language ever.
However, you don’t want to go to the other extreme and pack your blog post headlines full of hyperbolic language that turns them from boring into cringey.
So where’s the happy middle ground?
I actually use a specific formula for client blog posts, and every headline I write has to hit a few key tick boxes on my checklist.
Ready for that formula?
1. Validate Who You’re Talking To
I mentioned earlier that blog post headlines need to do two things: validate who the post is for and lay out expectations.
When you validate who the post is for, you speak directly to those people and they are far more likely to click through into your post because they believe it was written especially for them.
Think about it this way:
Say you’re targeting small, local business owners like florists to use your SaaS product to fulfill orders and automatically order in new stock.
Which of these headlines is going to draw them in the most:
It’s obviously the second one.
If they click on that headline, they know they’re going to get content that’s been geared towards their specific needs and situation, and not some generic advice that applies to almost every other business bar theirs.
CoSchedule iterate that this blog post is specifically for solopreneurs.
2. Lay Out Expectations
Secondly, you’ve gotta lay out expectations.
Having a blog post headline like “Customer Service for Florists” doesn’t tell us anything. We have no idea what it’s going to tell us about customer service. Maybe it’s about why customer service is important, ways to improve it, or a case study about one particular florist. Or maybe it’s about something else entirely.
Either way, we’re probably not going to click into it because we don’t want to waste our time with information that’s not relevant to our needs.
Remember, most of your audience will come across your blog post headlines via social media or search engines. If yours doesn’t tell them what they’re going to be greeted with on the other side, they’re going to bypass it for a headline that does.
You have just seconds to capture the attention of a potential reader before they are gone (forever).
Pipefy lay out exactly what readers are going to get from this blog post.
3. Provide a Quick Win Result if You Can
I love a quick win - who doesn’t?!
Most of the time, people use search engines to find a solution to a problem they are having right then and there. And, the quicker the solution, the better. One surefire way you can make sure users click through into your blog post is to offer them a quick win.
Not only does this validate that you know who they are and what they need, it also raises you to expert status because you have that urgent solution they are dying for.
But what does this look like in action?
The key to nailing this part of the blog post headline formula is to either tack on a timeframe or tell them the result they’ll get.
Let’s take a look at some examples:
As you can see, these blog post headlines either offer a timeframe for which something can be done, or provide a focused solution to a specific problem.
HelpScout creates a ton of blog posts that focus on one specific problem. This particular one provides readers with a simple but effective quick win.
4. Add Your Own Experience
The problem with the internet these days (particularly in the increasingly bloated SaaS industry) is that a lot of blog posts cover the same things. And while in a way that’s totally fine - after all, there are some things that are just done a certain way - it doesn’t help your blog posts stand out.
But if you think about what makes your brand unique it’s you and your experience.
These are the things that differ from brand to brand, and you can really leverage this to make your blog post headlines stand out.
Think about some of the most captivating headlines you’ve come across on social media or via Google; chances are they follow a similar formula to these:
These headlines all share one thing: the writer’s personal experience. And, while a blog post titled “How to Generate a £10,000-a-month Business” might get some clicks, having that extra personal touch will help it get more.
5. Use the Words Your Audience Use
I’m not going to write out a section about using “less boring words”, because that’s pretty obvious. Of course, you want to inject some powerful words in there or maybe sprinkle a bit of alliteration round to add a bit of jazz to your headline.
But there’s something more important - especially if you want to attract the attention of the right people (a.k.a. people that are craving what you’re offering).
The key to a really captivating blog post headline is to inject it with the words your audience use.
For example, I’m not the biggest fan of the word “biz” as a shortening for “business”, but a lot of people are. So, if that’s who you’re targeting, then you’re probably going to want to use it in your headlines.
This also goes for technical terms. I know a lot of SaaS companies really want to show off all their tech and knowledge with fancy long words, but think about whether they’re actually going to resonate with the people you’re targeting.
For example, “optimise your ROI” might be a great term to use for tech-savvy marketers, but if you’re targeting local businesses like florists or the general public that don’t know much about marketing at all, those words are going to be lost on them.
Here are some quick ways you can find out what words your audience are using:
Make Your Blog Post Headlines Irresistibly Click-able
Your blog post headlines are the gateway to your content. If they're not irresistible enough, you're going to miss out on a ton of clicks - clicks that could have turned into customers.
Follow the formula I laid out here and see those views increase.