The headline of your blog post or article can mean the difference between a person reading your content or not. Engaging headlines need to entice your audience to make them click on your link in search engine results and read your post. Obviously this takes them to your website, where you get the chance to entice them with more content, such as a possible opt-in form to build your list, or even an affiliate commission if they buy something.
The best headlines offer value to your readers and should never just be the title of your work.
How can you create attention-grabbing headlines that will help grow your audience?
In this article, you will find out how to use headlines in your content marketing to engage more readers. You will also learn why headlines are one of the most important features of your content marketing.
Elements of an engaging headline
What are the necessary elements to an engaging headline? A good, engaging headline needs to have at least 2 goals:
A headline should encourage readers to click on your link. When looking for solutions to problems, internet users quickly browse a list of headlines in the Search Engine Results Page (SERPs). They will scan these headlines and only click on a link that seems relevant, informative, and educational.
Your headline should contain keywords for Search Engine Optimization. Headlines are one of the factors that determine how well your content ranks in the SERPs. The better keywords are optimized for SEO in your headline, the easier it will be for readers to find your content.
5 Ways To Write Engaging Headlines for Content Marketing
Let’s look in more detail as some ways to construct headlines that will engage your audience and rank well in the SERPs at the same time.
1. Create value to the reader
A consumer who can see value in the title of the article will probably click on the link. What are the best ways to create value for the reader in your headline?
Researchers at Buzzsumo analyzed over 10 million articles that were shared on LinkedIn. They found that the content most readers engaged with had headlines that offered something of value (https://buzzsumo.com/blog/write-engaging-b2b-headlines-analysis-10-million-articles-shared-linkedin/).
The 3 top phrases for a headline to engage the reader were:
• How to…
• The X…
• X ways to…
Interestingly, headlines that started with “The” were shared more often than ones that started with “How”. So, an engaging headline could be “The 10 Things You Should Know About…”
You will also notice that many of the top ranking headlines include numbers in their title. Readers and Google all seem to love numbers in headlines.
2. Target high-volume keywords in your headlines
To have any chance of your content reaching the first page in the SERPs, you need to include your main keyword that has a large number of searches. The high volume of searches is a good indicator that people are looking for this information. You also need to create SEO-optimized content that includes variations of the keyword in the subheadings and text.
3. Keep headlines short
To master the art of creating engaging headlines, you need to keep them fairly short. In most cases, an optimal headline should be less than 55 characters to prevent words from getting cut off in the search results. However, short headlines also capture the reader’s attention much better than a long wordy headline. Ideally, headlines should be around 6 words.
4. Write accurate headlines
Of course, you can include elements of shock, surprise, controversy, or opinions to grab attention in your headline. In fact, very often headlines that include a bold statement rank very high. However, your headline always needs to be accurate. If you use misleading statements, you will only disappoint the reader and this will fail to grow your audience.
5. Make headlines interesting to engage your audience
As well as providing value to your reader with information on “how to” do something or what are “The top X ways…”, you can also create interesting headlines.
For example, you could ask a thought-provoking or funny question or you could create a sense of urgency by including words like “today”, “now”, or “Are you ready for…”
Remember, that one of the most important pieces of content that you create is your headline.
Think of your headline as a worm on a hook that will be enticing enough to “catch” the reader. This way, your headlines will engage your audience and boost your marketing success.