Four actions you can take right now to extend your blog’s reach
Driving traffic to your website is one of the primary benefits of a company blog. However, posting relevant and useful content consistently may not be generating the traffic you expected. Other action is required to powerup your blog.
We’ve seen how to structure your blog using categories and tags and how to share your posts on relevant social media channels. Now what’s really important is getting people to click on the link to your blog and then read it. The only thing that can make people do that is the headline.
This third post in the series: How to Powerup your Blog: Four actions you can take to extend your blog’s reach, explains how to optimize open rates with keyword-rich headlines.
Action 3: Powerup your headlines
First things first
Crafting a good headline should be the first step in writing a post. Start with the topic, one identified in your content calendar. Then, think about what benefit you will provide your readers in the post. With a topic and key benefit sorted, start brainstorming headline ideas, coming up with at least five drafts.
When writing the post, keep thinking about the headline, keep focused on the promised benefit and make sure you deliver in every post. The sections below will help you powerup your headlines to get them opened and read.
There is some debate about whether headlines should focus on SEO or on “writing for humans”. As it turns out you should do both.
Keywords are important because they are words and phrases your audience is searching for. By using keywords, you attract more readers and drive more relevant traffic to your website.
Niche phrases, several keywords together, can add the human element. Although they generate less traffic, that traffic is more targeted with less competition. A niche phrase is more specific, and specificity makes for a better headline.
A really great headline, then, should speak in the language of the audience with keywords, presented in a proven formula that catches human attention and offers value.
Classic headline formulas
How to posts
How-to articles and blog posts are some of the most read, linked, and shared content online. Readers are looking for useful information that they can apply in a practical way. Try to focus on benefits that make your readers life better, easier, and happier. Follow up with great content that fills the promise of your headline.
There are many variations of the basic How to headline. The How to [Blank] and [Blank] was made famous by Dale Carnegie with How to Win Friends and Influence People, and it is still a powerful formula today. The How to [Blank] Without [Objectionable Action] title works because sometimes your reader wants something but doesn’t necessarily want to do what it takes to get it.
A headline that lists a number of reasons, secrets, tips, or actions works because it makes a specific promise to the reader. As long as you deliver on the promise with quality content, you’ll have a satisfied reader.
The human brain loves numbers, in headlines especially because numbers place information in a logical order. Interestingly, we seem to believe odd numbers more than even numbers. Odd numbers, the number 7 in particular, appear to help our brains process and recall information more easily.
The Content Marketing Institute recommends using the numeral 7 in headlines rather than the word seven. For example, instead of Seven Things You Should Know About Your Clarifier, try using 7 Things You Should Know About Your Clarifier.
Why and a declarative statement
People find it difficult to resist a headline that presents an interesting take on a topic they care about. This headline uses Why not as a question, but to put forward a point of view with the promise an explanation: Why Facebook May Be Bad for Your Business.
A reason to read
This headline formula is about giving readers a good reason to read your post. Use numbers combined with reasons to really powerup your headlines: 7 Facts about your Water Tanks that you May Not Know or 6 Insights into the Future of Membrane Technology
Optimizing with keywords and using winning formulas can powerup your headlines, increasing your click-through-rate.
The final post in the series, How to Powerup your Blog: Four actions you can take to extend your blog’s reach, action 4 is about using all channels, SlideShare in particular, to extend your reach.