1) Start with a Working Title
When writing a piece of content, you should never get hung up on the headline. After all, it aims to draw in your readers into the content, which is where you have the chance to satisfy and surpass their expectations. So when you begin to write, start with a working title that roughly outlines what you want the content to be about. Then, write the content, and get back to your headline after it's finished.
2) Set Reader Expectations
Once you have the chance to spend some time for your headline, it's time to narrow down the specifics. First, make sure that any headline you come up with clearly explains what your readers can expect from your piece of content.
Take this post's title as an example: without even reading the introduction, you know that you'll come away with a better understanding of how to write headlines. Of course, the content itself should satisfy these expectations in order to avoid the dangers of clickbait.
3) Attract Your Target Buyers
Ultimately, your content probably serves to help attract potential leads and buyers for your company. Does your headline reflect that fact? In other words, is it attractive not just for any audience, but the segment (or persona) that is most likely to convert?
Making a headline attractive for your audience of choice relies on a number of variables. It should center around promising to answer at least one of your audience's pain points, which will lead them to want to learn more. The more you know about your target audience, the more easily you can increase the attractiveness of your blog titles.
4) Keep it Short (No, really)
When it comes to headlines, short really is sweet. On average, blog titles that are between 8 and 12 words long receive the most Twitter shares, which is an indication of just how important a short headline can be. Other research shows that the majority of your readers will only read the first three and last three words of your headline, so make sure you don't include much information outside of those two spots.
5) Optimize For Search
Ideally, you are using your blog to increase your website's SEO. That means your headlines should be optimized for a specific, long-term keyword that your audience likely to search for. Through keyword research, you can identify relevant keywords for your target audience.
But optimizing your title for search goes beyond keyword research. In addition, you should also make sure that it's short enough to not be cut off on search engine results pages. Google typically displays the first 50-60 characters in any page and blog title.
6) A/B Test for Future Lessons
Finally, never assume that you have found the perfect blog title. Instead, continue your research to improve your titles over time. One way you can do that is through A/B testing, in which you can run two headlines to an identical article for two random segments of your audience.
If one outperforms the other, try to find reasons why. Through A/B testing, you can analyze the success of using questions, numbered lists, and other types of word play in your blog titles.
Your blog title can make or break the success of the article. Do you have a strategy in place to ensure its success? The above best practices can help you get there. Following them, you can stop worrying about the perfect title and start coming up with the perfect content.