Once a column writer, on a newspaper or maybe a magazine, has crafted their weekly masterpiece, their attention then turns to a suitable headline to ‘sell’ what they have created.
Is there a play on words or pun that could work well to grab a reader’s attention? Is there maybe a buzzword or topical reference that would fit well? Or maybe it’s someone else’s job to come up with the witty headlines, so the writer’s job is done?
Either way, in the digital age, the job of creating a headline has changed. The audience hasn’t purchased a newspaper to flick through and is to all intents and purposes, a captive audience. Online, a large proportion of audience members will be searching for something by keyword, and if your article is there, great. If it isn’t, someone else gets the visit.
So it makes sense that newspaper and magazine publishers will often run a different headline online than they do in print for exactly the same story.
So the name of the game on the web is to come up with a headline that closely matches what people are searching for. This will give your blog post a greater chance of appearing before the eyes of your target audience.
What this often means in practice is using words that are at the core of what you are writing about. So, for example, if you are talking about a new product in your blog post, it’s a good idea to use the product name in the title. This is what people will probably be typing into Google to look up prices and product reviews. So even the word ‘review’ is useful when it comes to putting a headline together for a post like this.
Are you someone like a kitchen fitter, for instance? You might write about the latest in kitchen design, so, again, what are people searching for? A good guess would be something like ‘kitchen design ideas’. So can this be incorporated into the headline?
Another good tactic is to use questions as blog post headlines, as this can often match what people are typing into Google. Here’s an example – a driving instructor has a blog that is updated every week. What about posts with headlines such as ‘How many lessons does it take to pass the driving test?’ or ‘How much does a driving lesson cost?’ – these will hopefully match common searches and be useful to potential customers.
If you are interested in discovering the number of people searching on Google for keywords relevant to you, have a look at the Google AdWords Keyword Tool. Created to give people an idea of how much it will cost to run Google AdWords campaigns, it also gives you a pointer when it comes to the words you should be using in your blog.
So type in your phrases like ‘cost of a driving lesson’, ‘kitchen design ideas’ or ‘Miele dishwasher’ and it will let you know if you are on the right track, or if you are missing something.