The most important, overlooked, and easiest way to get more traffic to your blog is by improving your HEADLINES!
John Caples, a legendary Ad Man, made a career on writing and testing direct mail headlines.
He found that when split testing two different ads that had identical content, response rates for one headline over another could be as much as 20x higher.
That’s right, by simply changing the headline of your blog, Tweet, post, etc. – you could get up to 20x the response rate.
The reason is that the headline is the most important part of any piece of content. Because no matter how good the content is, people won’t read it if they don’t connect with the headline.
With so many blogs, articles, news stories, and content out there, writing “must-read” headlines will help you stand out.
5 Tips for Writing Better Headlines:
1. Include a”self-interest” component
This is crucial. Put yourself in the shoes of your audience and always make sure to answer the question, “what’s in it for me”? In other words, how will they benefit from reading your blog? Will it help them get more email subscribers, rank higher with search engines, or save money on their telecom services?
2. If it’s newsworthy, make it newsworthy
Have a new product or service? Use words in your headline that give it a newsy quality, like “new”, “announcing”, “finally”, presenting”, or “now”. But don’t forget rule #1, tell people how your new product or service will benefit them.
3. Opt for “clear” over “clever”
Clever doesn’t sell, simple sells. I have my Google Reader open all day and will only read and retweet articles that are clear to me before I open them. Here’s an example of a headline that’s not clear to me:
My loyalty can be had for about six cents
Would you click on this headline? I have no idea why this blogger’s loyalty can be bought for six cents, and it offers no benefit for me to read it (so I didn’t). Don’t be cute, just be clear.
4. Use numbers
Numbers are great for clarity and practicality. It’s no coincidence that you’ll find millions of blogs that start off with “5 ways to…” or “Top Ten ways to…” – it’s because they work. People love to know that there’s a specific number of items they’re about to read, scan through, or (better yet) learn from.
Here’s just a few of the “number” headlines in my Google Reader right now:
- 6 Helpful Apps To Make You A Better Person
- Top 10 Tech This Week
- 4 Positive Ways the New iPhone 5 Can Help Medicine
- 10 Must have Plugins for all WordPress sites
- 5 Ways Mass Communication Affects Your Daily Life
5. ABT (Always Be Testing)
Use the tips above and always be testing your headlines. I like to test my blog titles in Twitter to see which Tweets get more traffic, and you can do the same with Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and pretty much any social media site you use.
Now, go forth and start writing better headlines!