Why are catchy titles so important?
Because titles are the focal point – the first thing potential readers see. And good titles will help them decide to click through to your blog or open up your email.
It doesn’t matter if you write amazing content or create beautiful graphics if readers don’t click through to your content. And the critical factor in stopping the scroll is your title.
Without a catchy title, your content marketing strategy isn’t going to work.
Blog post headlines are also a key element for search engine optimization.
Whether you are trying to drive traffic from Google, Pinterest, or social media, you need to get good at creating catchy titles.
A great blog headline starts with a strong keyword
The key with catchy blog titles is to shoot for balance.
First, you want a title that will help search engines understand what your post is about.
You also want a title that’s catchy enough to make your target audience want to click.
To achieve that balance, I like to start with a keyword that I want to rank for in the search engines.
Over the years, I’ve used a variety of different keyword research tools. Right now, I’m using the free version of the Keywords Everywhere chrome extension in conjunction with UberSuggest (also free). I start with a basic topic idea and then play around with it until I come up with a long-tail keyword that I want to rank for.
For example, let’s say I want to write a post about productivity tools.
After checking Keywords Everywhere and UberSuggest, I landed on “digital productivity tools” as my focus keyword.
Make your headline interesting by focusing on your readers
Now that you have a keyword, the next step is to make it interesting and engaging for humans. One way to do that is to focus on what’s in it for them. Here are a few examples:
- The Five Best Digital Productivity Tools That You Can Use
- 21 Digital Productivity Tools Your Business Needs
- My Top 5 Favorite Digital Productivity Tools for Bloggers & Marketers
Are you starting to get it?
Begin with the keyword and then think about who your readers are and why they would be searching for this topic.
Write more than one title
Don’t write one title and stop. Write several headlines then choose the one that resonates most with you. I typically write 5-10 titles for each blog post to come up with the one I want to use. Think of the first few attempts as practice swings. Sometimes I have to write 15-20 titles before I come up with one that is catchy enough to use.
Keep it simple
Catchy blog titles don’t need to be complicated. The most direct and simple headlines that you can create will usually perform better than trying to be too creative and think too far outside the box. Strong, descriptive words will improve click-throughs to your site.
Don’t be too clever
A good blog post title should match what’s inside the article. You don’t want people to just click through and not read past the first paragraph, right? You want them to stick around and read the whole article.
Clever titles are fine but don’t try to be tricky and click-baity. The more straightforward your title is the better. You’ll be more likely to attract your target audience – the people who want to read your content.
State what’s inside
Another way to avoid being click-baity is to state what’s in the article. Is it tips, lessons, facts, behind-the-scenes, what you’ve learned, etc?
Here’s an example:
“How to Start a Killer Blog in 6 Easy Steps.”
You know exactly what that blog post is going to be about.
Use active voice rather than passive voice
Attention-grabbing headlines use active voice. When you use active voice, it will help your audience feel active and encourage them to take action.
Active headlines will get more attention and clicks. Active verbs give energy to the headline. And when you choose a single action, it’s a lot more direct, descriptive, and effective.
Use power words to grab attention
“Power words” is a common phrase among copywriters to indicate words that trigger a response in the reader.
Power words might evoke an emotion, arouse curiosity, play on vanity, etc.
Here are some examples of power words and phrases that you can use when you are writing catchy titles:
- Behind the scenes
- Ahead of the game
And here’s a list of 700 power words that you can peruse when you are brainstorming ideas for your catchy titles.
Don’t go crazy and try to stuff a bunch of power words into your title, however. These words pack a punch, so one or two is plenty.
Try using numbers in your title. And when I say “numbers,” I mean show the numeral rather than spelling out the word for the number.
- Do this > 7 Simple Hacks. . .
- Not this > Seven Simple Hacks. . .
The number symbol looks better online than words because it helps to break up the sequence in the reader’s mind.
If you can, put the number first in the headline. And if your article includes data, then try to compose a headline that mentions that data.
Watch the length
Depending on where the headline will be used, you may need to optimize for a different length.
Blog post titles should be no longer than 65 characters because that is all the will show up in Google search results. At the same time, you want to use as many of those 65 characters that you can.
Catchy headlines are not just for blog posts. You also want to write catchy newsletter titles. Email subject lines should be between 41 and 70 characters so that the full title shows up in the reader’s email inbox.
Punch up your titles with the CoSchedule Headline Analyzer
The CoSchedule Headline Analyzer is a free tool that will give you a score for your post title and tips on how to improve it. Simply enter your title and hit “Analyze Now.”
A score of 70 or better is considered good, so keep trying until you get at least a 70. Occasionally, I’ll score 70+ with my first title, but most of the time, I have to write multiple versions to hit the sweet spot. If your score is below 70, then look at the elements of your blog title for ideas of what you can improve.
- Strive for a good word balance and be sure to include uncommon, emotional, and/or power words.
- Check the length of your title: are the character and word counts within the guidelines?
Here is an example of my original title for this post and the improved titles after I punched them up with the Headline Analyzer:
- Original: 11 Simple Tips to Write Catchy Titles – score 62 – not bad.
- How to Write Catchy Titles – 63 – a tad better.
- 11 Simple Tips for Writing Catchy Titles – score 62 – ugh, going backwards.
- How to Write Catchy Titles: 11 Simple Tips – score 69, getting closer.
- . . .I actually wrote 9 more titles, but I’m not including them here in the interest of space and time.
- Winner: How to Write Catchy Titles That Get More Clicks – It scored 71 in the analyzer and includes common, uncommon, and emotional words.
Writing catchy titles takes practice
Writing catchy titles for your content takes some practice but it is a skill that you can learn. Also, keep in mind that you can adjust titles after you’ve finished the post (and even after you’ve published it).
Start with a working title to help you stay focused on your topic and then go back and make it catchier after you finish writing the draft.
Related content on blogging and content marketing:
- How to Start a Blog with WordPress & Siteground
- Blog Post Promotion Cheat Sheet
- Content Marketing Basics for Solopreneurs
- How to Format Blog Posts for Improved Readability and SEO
- How to Write an Awesome About Page
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