It’s one thing to write great content, but it’s another thing to get it read and ranked — which is where nailing the title comes in.
Titles are what sell the content. They represent it in search engines, in email, and on social media. It’s no surprise, then, that some of the most common questions we get concern crafting titles.
How long should my headline be? What words should I use? What words should I avoid? Should I optimize it for search, or for social? Or both?
Luckily, we’ve come up with a simple formula for writing catchy headlines and blog titles that you can reference from here on out. So let’s just dive right in, shall we?
A Foolproof Method for How to Write Catchy Headlines and Titles
1) Start with a working title.
Before you get into the nitty-gritty of coming up with a perfect title, start with a rough draft: your working title. What is that, exactly? A lot of people confuse working titles with topics. Let’s clear that up:
Topics are very general and could yield several different blog posts. Think “raising healthy kids,” or “kitchen storage.” A writer might look at either of those topics and choose to take them in very, very different directions.
A working title, on the other hand, is very specific and guides the creation of a single blog post. For example, from the topic “raising healthy kids,” you could derive the following working titles:
- “How the Right Nutrition Can Strengthen Your Kids’ Bones”
- “A Parent’s Guide to Promoting Your Child’s Social, Emotional, and Behavioral Well-Being”
- “X Recipes for Quick & Healthy Dinners Your Teenagers Will Gobble Up”
See how different and specific each of those is? That’s what makes them working titles, instead of overarching topics. It’s also worth noting that none of those titles are perfect — they should just be specific enough to guide your blog post. (We’ll worry about making it clickable and search-friendly later.)
2) Stay accurate.
Accuracy is critical when trying to finesse a title, because it sets clear expectations for your readers. While I’m sure lots of people would love to click into a post that said “10 B2B Companies Killing Facebook So Freaking Hard They Don’t Need Any Other Marketing Channel” … it’s a little bombastic, no?
Unless, of course, you truly did find 10 B2B companies rocking Facebook that hard, and you could confirm that all 10 of them had stopped using other marketing channels. First and foremost, your title needs to accurately reflect the content that follows.
One way to ensure accuracy? Add bracketed clarification to your headline, like we did in this blog post:
In a study of over 3.3 million paid link headlines, we found that headlines with this type of clarification — [Interview], [Podcast], [Infographic], etc. — performed 38% better than headlines without clarification. Again, it’s all about setting clear expectations. Thanks to the brackets, these readers knew exactly what they were getting themselves into before they even clicked.
So if you remember nothing else from this blog post, let it be this: The most important rule of titles is to respect the reader experience. If you set high expectations in your title that you can’t fulfill in the content, you’ll lose readers’ trust.
Accuracy encompasses more than just hyperbole, though. With the example working title above, you’d also want to confirm all of the examples are, indeed, B2B. Or even that they’re all companies — instead of, say, individual bloggers that target B2B audiences. See what I mean?
3) Make it sexy.
Just because you have to be accurate doesn’t mean you can’t find ways to make your title pop. There are a lot of ways to make a title sexier.
Of course, all of this hinges on understanding your core buyer persona. You need to find language that resonates with them, and know what they find valuable. (Haven’t created or refined your buyer personas yet? Download this free template to create your own buyer personas for your business.)
Once you’re armed with knowledge of your buyer persona’s preferred style, try testing out some of these tips for making…