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Do you like catchy blog titles like these?
Data and psychology say you do. And so will your audience when you apply this method to your own blog posts. So would you like to learn how to write catchy blog titles like that?
If you’re genuinely interested in writing better, catchier, and awesome-r blog titles for your already great content, you’re in the right place. This post is going to help you maximize the time you invest in writing your awesome content to help you get more social media shares and traffic from your blog titles.
You’re going to learn how to use the four pillars of awesome content in your blog titles, how to use psychology to increase shares and clicks, and how to use the best words to capture your audience’s unique interest. To top it off, you’ll even get a ton of proven catchy blog title templates, formulas, and structures we’ve seen work for getting more social shares and traffic.
Let’s do this thing.
Start writing better headlines now with these three free downloads:
A very basic principle in content marketing is to look back at your best content and repeat its success. I’ve recently taken this idea to the next level at CoSchedule to help us use our data from past content to help us plan better content and actually predict future growth.
That analysis revealed that top-performing content reflects four key traits extremely well. On the other hand, worst-performing content does poorly in all four areas.
Simply rank each blog post according to four questions, giving each question a 1–3 ranking (meaning a top post according to your gut would be a 12 whereas the worst would be a 4.)
After you rank them, compare each blog post’s score to its page views to translate your gut into actual data. The results should show that most of your high scoring content ends up being your best performing blog posts. If not, you just learned a lot about how your gut is off, and you can use your new knowledge backed by data to strategically choose to publish better content.
You can do this process for your content, too. But the point is: Since the idea of solid topic, research, depth, and keywords define success for content, your blog titles should reflect those qualities to connect with your audience from the moment they see your headlines.
The #1 thing that will help you write successful blog titles is by first creating content your audience will be deeply interested in learning more about. It makes sense, right? That’s why this post kinda started off with that tangent, but it’s coming full circle right now:
From there, define the single best value proposition for your content.
For example, after a ton of brainstorming, this blog post’s value proposition is to increase traffic. Recent research shows 29% of content marketers measure success primarily through social media and 38% see traffic as their #1 form of measurement. This blog post helps both of those groups of content marketers reach their goals.
^See what I did there?
The second pillar of successful content is to back up the claims you made in your value proposition with research. This is where you prove to your audience that your blog post is different because it’s actually based on real success they could also experience if they just read your blog post.
Informal research from Canva and Ian Cleary of Razor Social suggests that including numbers in your blog titles can double your social shares. Data from Brian Dean at Backlinko also suggests that including numbers in your blog titles can increase your clickthrough rate by 36%!
There are a few ways to do this:
You get the picture.
The blog post you’re reading right now has several numbers; I chose to focus on 500 words, 100 templates, and the results you could achieve if you follow this advice with 438% more traffic. We drew those 500 words from more than 1 million of the most-shared headlines we’ve seen go through CoSchedule, so I could have also included that number.
This is not blowing smoke. Seven of our top 10 posts on the CoSchedule blog have at least one number in the blog title, if not more. And of those seven, six are in the top six positions and they get on average 206% more traffic than an average blog post.
The third pillar of awesome sauce content is depth and delivering on the promises you made in your blog title with your value proposition and research.
When you translate this to your blog title, it means telling the story truthfully and as clearly as you can. If your blog post doesn’t follow through on the value proposition or you can’t back up your number, you’re doing it wrong.
This is where you translate your actionable, in-depth, how-to advice into a few words that help your readers understand what to expect after clicking through to read your content:
It seems obvious, but it’s incredible how often blog titles don’t deliver on the promises they make.
I wanted to include examples of successful blog titles outside the marketing industry to complement this post. Unfortunately, I was super dismayed by the sheer lack of quality behind the headlines I found because they were purely click bait.
Here are some things to look out for:
I searched for “manage multiple projects” and clicked through to see the headlines:
The top five search results promised how to resolve my challenge to manage multiple projects at once, but they barely scratched the surface. You can avoid situations like these for yourself by thinking of searcher intent:
If you were to click-through the top five search results for this example, most of the blog posts don’t deliver on these three searcher stories (to use a term from agile project management). In fact, #2 only delivers one mistake instead of the five it promises while all of the others neglect the how to nature they promise.
That causes poor reader experience that could increase your bounce rate and cause you to lose fans like my friend John here who commented on a recent post Ben wrote:
Good blog titles are only as good as the actionable, in-depth, and how-to advice that follows after the clickthrough.
Takeaway: Write blog titles that tell the complete story in your posts, and deliver on the promise you make. If you’re not sure if you’re making this mistake, take a look at your bounce rate in Google Analytics. If it’s more than 5%, you can use the advice from this post to help you work through even better blog titles.
The fourth pillar of great content is optimizing it for your audience to find it via search engines. The 17% of you who put 5–10 hours into writing blog posts can get more traffic from your content if you simply optimize it so people can find it when they need it.
I say it that way because Google seems to reward longer content with better rankings. And if time is an indicator of length, depth, covering everything having to do with that topic and giving actionable stories, then those who spend more time creating content have more opportunity to get traffic and social shares from this pillar of successful blog posts.
Relating that back to your blog titles, Brian Dean recently researched the top 200 ranking factors that make Google tick, and one of them was this:
H1 tags are a “second title tag” that sends another relevancy signal to Google, according to results from this correlation study.
What Brian is trying to say, is that when you target a keyword in your blog posts, it makes sense to include that keyword in your blog titles for your page title and H1. Brian also notes that including the keyword closer to the beginning of your blog title (specifically in your page title) helps search engines understand the importance of it in relation to your post.
Jonah Berger is the author of Contagious: Why Things Catch On, and found there are six STEPPS behind the psychology of contagious content:
I’ll let Jonah himself explain his research a little more thoroughly:
Neil Patel also researched a few different studies to find five key elements that help influence social shares:
And when the New York Times analyzed why their readers were sharing content, they found people share:
Now, all of this goes way beyond writing catchy blog titles, and it’s all great advice you can use to craft even better content. But let’s take all of this research and apply it to your blog titles specifically:
Appeal to the emotional reasons people would read your content. Understanding your readers’ challenges and suggesting your blog post offers a solution immediately from your headline will encourage clicks and shares.
For example, think of headlines that include that will messaging in them: 21+ Easy Ways To _____ That Will Skyrocket Your Followers By 552% In 1 Year.
Take advantage of trendy words and appeal to entertainment, amazement, and astonishment. Jonah uses the word remarkable often to describe content that gets shared—so include noteworthy information in your blog titles that shows the remarkable information your readers will get after they click.
For example, Neil Patel offers this example for a blog title that amazes: How Spending $162,301.42 on Clothes Made Me $692,500. That blog title also has numbers as proof that you can experience the same success as Neil if you just follow his advice.
Write your blog titles to help people look good. Your readers want to feel successful, engaged in the world, and be supportive. Your readers feel as though the blog titles from the content they share—like yours—define who they are as people.
A great way to connect this emotion to your blog titles is through uncertainty. When someone reads your blog post, they know the answer to something others don’t—so let them boast their knowledge while also encouraging more clicks back to your content.
Do this by asking questions. And not just any questions. Close-ended questions that essentially cause your readers to answer with yes or no. In a recent case study, I found that social messages with close-ended questions get more clickthroughs than any other type of social message we shared. In fact, close-ended questions get 255% more clickthroughs than open-ended questions!
For example, write a blog title like: Are You Using _____ To Get 277% More _____? Blog titles like this suggest that the sharer knows the answer and is getting the kind of success your headline promises. It also makes anyone seeing that blog title feel the fear of missing out (FOMO) that will encourage them to click through just to know the answer. And hey, you might get the snowball effect of yet another share.
Blog titles that focus on practical value are those that offer how-to, actionable, and oftentimes step-by-step solutions to problems. They cover information that is interesting—not the same-old thing that feels like it’s been done over and over again.
You can do this by differentiating your blog titles by including your value proposition in them directly.
For example, this blog title includes the value proposition of doing something super quickly (because who has time these days) coupled with a promise of doing it in 10 quick steps: The 10-Minute, 10-Step Solution For The Best _____.
So other than focusing on telling a complete story with your blog title and connecting it to your audience’s emotional needs, what specific words make certain blog titles catchier than others?
That’s a good question and one that Joanna Wiebe from Copy Hackers has an answer to.
Joanna is a copywriting genius. When I read her Headlines, Subheadlines, and Value Propositions book recently, one very interesting point really stuck with me (among tons of others—you should totally check out her book since you’re interested in writing better blog titles):
Use the words your audience uses in your blog titles.
That’s a very simple idea, and it’s one that can help you connect with your audience immediately because it’s exactly how they think.
While planning a headline test with Crazy Egg’s website, Joanna surveyed their users by asking them to describe Crazy Egg in two to three words. From there, she worked the most-used words into her headlines to connect with an audience like Crazy Egg’s existing users. That. Is. Brilliant.
So when we launched a new course recently, I took Joanna’s advice and used the words from our audience’s biggest challenges in the headline to connect with their lingo immediately:
The words were: on track, organized, and save time. The result? For an initial launch just to our existing email subscribers, 2,181 people signed up with page view to signup conversion rate of 27%!
You can apply that same strategy to the words you use in your blog titles by sending a simple survey to your existing email subscribers. Just promise them a reward (a free e-book or exclusive content of some kind is perfect for this), that it’ll only take two minutes, and ask one simple question: “What is your biggest professional challenge as a (insert job title here)?”
That will not only give you tons of blog post ideas; you’ll also have their own words you can use in all of your copy—and blog titles—moving forward.
Since CoSchedule is a social media editorial calendar tool, we have access to millions of blog titles. Literally. So, being the data nerds we are, we looked at more than 1 million headlines and found the words used most often in the top shared content.
From there, we compiled a list for you of those 500 words to use as a tear sheet for inspiration the next time you’re writing blog titles:
So you could take all the advice from this post and start writing catchy blog titles right now. You know the background of your four pillars of successful content, how to connect to your audience emotionally, and how to use catchy words in your headlines.
Or you could get a little more advice from the headline pros out there with some formulas so you don’t have to come up with everything from scratch.
Let’s take a look at the best blog title templates from around the Interwebs.
Write better headlines with formulas from Joanna Wiebe of Copy Hackers: Joanna wrote an amazing post with every copywriting formula you could imagine. In it, she says she keeps a swipe file handy for when she sees cool headlines she’d like to use for inspiration later on. Might be something for you to consider, too. :)
Write magnetic headlines with templates from Brian Clark of Copyblogger: Brian is a genius when it comes to writing pretty much anything. He has some great advice for using social proof, insider knowledge, and appealing to ease to get more traffic.
Get attention with headline templates from Michael Hyatt: Michael is a friend of CoSchedule who’s built a platform of 615,597 fans to date. His blog titles definitely tie into the information throughout this post, and his templates—though simple—are extremely effective at getting more readers.
Increase conversions with headline formulas from Sherice Jacob on the Crazy Egg blog: Sherice takes the stance that writing great copy is an art and a science. She’s helped a bunch of folks increase conversion rates with her headline writing skillz. Since Crazy Egg—a tool that helps people get better conversions—thought this information was awesome, I thought you gals and guys would enjoy it, too.
Get more social shares with a little advice from CoSchedule users: We recently analyzed the 4,302,684 blog titles in our database, focusing on the headline structure behind the 1,000 most popular posts that got the most social shares of any content we’ve ever seen. Those formulas are proven to increase your chances of getting more social shares from your blog titles.
To top off that list, I’d also like to share the blog title structures from our top-performing content on the CoSchedule blog:
If you start with these ten blog title formulas and write ’em in the headline analyzer,
I can nearly guarantee you’ll get an awesome grade and score which means you’ll get more social shares for your hard work.
Which brings me to the last step here…
Woohoo! You made it and understand the best ways to write super catchy blog titles. Let’s just say you’re having a bit of trouble staying inspired. There are some great tools out there to help you out:
Impact has a blog title generator that helps you insert a topic you’d like to write about and spits out all sorts of headlines to get the inspiration going.
Similarly, HubSpot as a blog topic generator that will help you enter in a couple nouns that you might use in your blog post (think about using the keyword), and generate a bunch of topics based on your nouns.
Where HubSpot starts, SEOPressor takes it a step further and literally asks you to enter a keyword into their blog title generator to get the ideas flowing.
And if you’re looking for something a little more humorous and trendy, the content idea generator by Portent is the one for you.
Last but not least, once you come up with your headline through any of these generators, run it through the headline analyzer (which is now built directly into your CoSchedule editorial calendar, too). While your blog title might be close, you could probably use a few of the lessons you’ve learned from this post—along with the huge list of emotional words—to improve your blog title even further to increase your social shares.
You’re a headline maniac now with your 5-step process for writing a super catchy blog title. I wanted to recap with a bit of advice you might have seen from us in the past because if you’re serious about improving your blog titles, this is how to take what you just learned to the next level:
You’ve got this. :)
Our headline analyzer is always free to use on the web. However, CoSchedule customers can conveniently use it directly in their calendars, too. Create a new piece of content, enter a headline, and get your score saved directly on your calendar.
This post was originally published on Feb. 15, 2016. It was republished with new information on Jan. 27, 2017.
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