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4 steps to crafting fantastic headlines that drive traffic to your blog

Studies have shown that about 60% of people will share an article with a great headline without even reading the article. This means that people online are sharing content online without even reading past the headline. Moral of the story? You might want to focus more of your time on crafting perfect headlines rather than writing perfect content. 

It’s common to write the body, or content, first then write a fitting title or headline. But I challenge you to this: next time you’re writing content for your business, consider drafting the perfect headline first then writing the body. If headlines really are the most important part of blogging, that’s where you should spend the most time! 

Read on below for our recommendations and download our Headline Optimization guide HERE so you can refer to it each time you’re writing a new headline!

Step 1: Optimize it

Narrow down your focus – keep your content, and therefore headline, specific and tightly focused

Pick your keywords – Google Keyword Planner,, and Answer the Public are great tools to explore keywords and queries around particular subjects (pro tip: if you have the Keywords Everywhere Chrome extension, you can see search volume and cost per click)

Match your headline to search queries – if you’re trying to answer a specific question, or address a particular problem, make your headline match what people are searching

  •  i.e. if your customers search “how often should I change my oil?” you could write an article titled “Why You Should Change Your Oil Every ___ Months”

If you’re a local business, include your city name (and maybe state) where relevant

  • i.e. “The Secret of Seattle’s Best CrossFit gyms” or “Why Seattle Gyms Dominate Washington’s CrossFit Competitions”

Use some commonly searched words like how, what, why, and about

  • i.e. “Why I Learned How to Blog for my Small Business”

DON’T keyword-stuff – you’re aiming for a blend of relevancy (keyword in title) and clickability (unique and interesting). You don’t want to look like clickbait!

  •  i.e. avoid something like “Best Dinner and Lunch Restaurant in Seattle, WA for Happy Hour and Families”

Step 2: Formulize it – math and psychology to the rescue

Keep your headline under 55 characters – this will keep your entire headline visible in the Google search window

Make your headline 6 words long – according to Kissmetrics, readers mostly focus on the first and last three words of a headline. Therefore, the ideal length is 6 words.

If you can’t get your headline down to 6 words, stick your keywords at the beginning and end

  • i.e. “Killer Tricks to Driving Your Business’s Web Traffic”

Try out the Jeff Goins headline formula:

  • Number or Trigger word + Adjective + Keyword + Promise

Include numbers:

  • i.e. “10 Tips to…” or “23 Reasons Why….”

Here are a couple tried and true headline formula examples:

  • “The Secret to…”
  • “How to (task) that (result)”
  • “What You Need to Know About…’
  • Explore some more ideas from Copyblogger here 

Step 3: Spice it up – be bold and audacious!

Generate some creative ideas and spins on your headline draft by using Portent’s Headline Generator. The results might be too silly for your informational articles, but it will definitely give you some new ideas!

Make it emotional – use positive or negative superlatives. Avoid being neutral  because emotional headlines get more attention on social media

  • i.e. “Why You Should Never Make These 5 Financial Mistakes” or “Save Up for Your Retirement with this Easy Financial Plan”

Use interesting adjectives:

  • i.e. free, effortless, incredible, ultimate, fantastic

Appeal to readers’ rationale:

  • i.e. principles, reasons, tips, tricks

Create urgency:

  • i.e. “…Lessons to Read Now” or “5 Things You HAVE to do Before…”

Step 4: Test and edit using the Coschedule headline analyzer tool

This tool will score your headline based on word balance, length, keywords, sentiment, and more. Based on your score, you can make the suggested edits if you wish to do so and re-test.

And don’t forget to download our Headline Optimization guide HERE so you can refer to it each time you’re writing a new headline!

headline optimization

So you’ve got the perfect headline, now what? Look out for my post next week on writing the perfect content to follow.

Haven’t started a blog yet? Download this quick-start guide to get going and read a more in-depth article here.

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