Keyword research can help – screenshot Scribe Your blog headline plays an important role in an age of tweets and stack able content. If your content is relevant, it will be read, found and shared. Not everyone is looking for quick and easy reads as our blog proves. However, if your blog headline is compelling and optimized for the way people search, what they search and the keywords that help you achieve your goals, you’ll simply do better.
Probably, you’ve heard the famous words of David Ogilvy before: on average, five times as many people read the headlines as read the body copy. His conclusion: unless your headline “sells,” you have wasted 90% of your money.
Some people advice to write some headlines before actually starting to write and as soon as you have a basic structure of your blog post. Writing several blog headlines allows you to let them sink in for a while and take time to pick the best one. Other people advice to write the headline after you wrote the actual blog post. Often your post will be somewhat different than you first set out. The writing process brings new ideas. It’s often also better if you are a very result-oriented and work a lot with keywords, bullet points and strong ideas in your text. Furthermore, in a business context, blog posts often are used in a content marketing strategy whereby content, including blog posts, is produced for different stages and touch points in the customer journey.
In most cases, search engines are the main drivers of traffic towards your blog post. Understand what people are doing on search engines before they discover your blog post. On search engines, people predominantly seek an answer to a question. When they enter a search phrase, they expect the results to correspond with what they want. Your blog post title is a promise that ensures them your post provides an answer. That’s relevance and search engines care about it a lot as well. There is nothing worse than a title that leads to content that doesn’t live up to the promise of the title. This goes for blog posts as well. Be clear about your goals.
Blog posts don’t always aim to provide answers but can also focus on sharing stories or sparking debate, for instance. The questions search engine users want to be answered are not always answered to business questions either. They can look for more information on your business, interesting use cases, data for a report they are writing, discussions on any given topic, etc.
Make sure your blog headline is clear about that too. Add words that describe the scope of your blog post and match the intent of the people you wish to reach. If it’s a blog post containing good research data, use words saying so. Again: it’s about relevance. Dare to be specific and drop the traffic mentality in your blog headlines, if it’s not relevant to what you aim for, it makes no sense to blog at all. You optimize for the way people search, your goals and for the way search engines work. However, you also look at your goal. If your purpose is very specific, for instance, reaching out to a very particular niche target audience, choosing keywords and titles that help you achieve that instead of looking at broad terms.
Attracting the right readers for your goals is more important than just driving traffic. Use keyword research. Even if you know what terms people will use to find your content within that niche, you might find surprising variations that work better. Specific types of content marketing software, aimed at optimizing your content and blog posts (such as Scribe or Inbound Writer (and SEO tools) help you in this regard. Also, make sure what you need to engage readers through their journey across all touch points and stages and get inspired by what THEY want to get answers to their questioned. The balance of personality and results there is a trade-off between results, personality, and tone of voice. While most blogging experts look at driving traffic providing very specific tips on how to write compelling headlines, sometimes it’s better not to follow such rules. Be authentic and keep your personality and that of your brand in mind, including the tone of voice. After all, how many blog posts can be written providing “7 Tips to boost your Twitter Following”? Choose a somewhat different approach allowing you to stand out. Competition is high on search engines and a “me too” approach is not the best. In fact, these types of posts with swinging headlines, little content and keywords competing for attention are less effective than many think, at least if you define effectiveness right.
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