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Do you want to create headlines for your blog posts that instantly draw the attention of consumers? If so, you’re not alone. Content creation is one of the cornerstones of successful businesses, blogs, and even influencer videos. Marketers and business owners know that viral headlines can improve brand awareness, social engagement, and sales. But many of these people fail to capture the charm of real viral posts.
We are going to explore the different types of headlines and give you some helpful tips for getting started. Additionally, we are going to cover the five most popular templates used by multi-million dollar companies when they create blog posts.
Let’s dive in!
The Importance of a High-Quality Blog (and Headlines!)
Launching your first blog or eCommerce storefront is an overwhelming experience. You have to consider your target audience, the overall theme of your website, the type of content you’ll produce, and work with a development team to make it all happen.
Blogging is probably the last thing on your mind, but it should be the first thing you consider when creating your website. Is your topic broad enough to write about without alienating your primary audience? If so, good. You’re ready to start coming up with topic ideas.
Typically, our content ideas manifest in several sentences. Your job is to take those ideas and condense them into one headline. Your headline should explain the purpose of your content, how reading the post will benefit the readers, and language that conveys the message presented in the article.
Your blog is the lifeblood of your website. If your site is simply a blog, you wouldn’t have a website without exciting content. Similarly, business owners find that blogs help them keep their audience engaged, even when they are not buying products every time they visit. The goal of content and great headlines is to keep consumers interested in your brand by providing tangible value. Consumers that are interested in what you have to say, and thus are more likely to trust your business and become a return visitor or customer.
5 Types of Headlines
There are five primary types of headlines that have the potential to go viral. Let’s take a look at each type, show you some examples, and give you some advice on how to leverage the different types of headlines on your blog. For our example, we are going to show you how to create five different headlines for someone that operates a website based on artificial intelligence or machine learning. We selected this example because we want to show how business owners can create content about a topic that is extremely technical.
1. List – This is the most common type of viral headline. There are plenty of articles on websites like BuzzFeed, Ranker, and WhatCulture. You’ll want to use this headline is you plan on compiling a list of facts, quotes, or ideas for consumers.
Example: “10 Exciting Ways Machine Learning Is Drastically Improving Internet Security”
2. How-To – You can find how-to posts on virtually any topic imaginable. A quick search on Google or YouTube reveals that people genuinely want to teach others about their experiences. You can use these headlines to show your users how to how to solve a problem, make life easier, or save time and money.
Example: “How to Program Your First Website Chatbot (Step by Step)”
3. Question – Question posts are great for making consumers curious enough to click your headline. The topics usually answer a common problem among your target audience. If you want to know what people are asking about your niche, check social media conversations, blog post comments, or Google for your keywords.
“How can AI Significantly Improve Your Customer Service Team?”
4. Heartfelt – Heartfelt headlines are designed to invoke emotions of compassion, trust, and relatability. These posts are usually very personal and written in the first person. When people read these headlines, they should feel the urge to click because they want to experience the good feelings hinted at in the topic.
Example: “Here’s How Using Machine Learning Programs Saved My Life.”
5. Resource – Resource posts are great for growing your email list because they are generally used as lead magnets. Case studies, fact sheets, and compiled statistic articles are all considered resource posts. The purpose of this type of post is to educate by offering a solution to a problem. For instance, if you worked in the machine learning industry, and wanted to get people interested in the topic, you might use a resource headline example like the one below.
Example: “5 Case Studies that Will Help You Understand Fundamental Machine Learning Principles”
It’s important to note that headline types can overlap. In our previous example, we combined elements of the list, how-to, and resource headlines into one topic.
Split Test New Ideas
Split testing your headlines is a great way to determine what works while avoiding words, phrases, or topics that result in lackluster traffic. In essence, split-testing is when you create two situations with one key difference. The goal is to determine whether changing the variable impacts the results of the action.
For example, if you decided to run an online contest, and used a post headline that reads “Click Here for Your Chance to Win an iPad!” You might want to consider changing the headline and keeping everything else, including the prize the same. You might opt for a headline change for half of your audience that reads, “Need a FREE iPad? Here’s Your Chance.”
After the contest concludes, you can determine whether the headline change resulted in more subscribers, traffic, or entries. You can split-test virtually every component of your website. Colors, text, images, and link placement all contribute to how consumers see your blog content and website. The goal is to determine if the change boosts one or more aspects of your business. Additionally, you must figure out the degree of transition. An increase of .001 percent is insignificant when compared to a 5 percent spike in sales after a split test.
Experimenting with your headlines during the spit testing phase requires you to stay patient. You’re going to want to know on the spot whether or not your change is helping your business, and the truth is you probably won’t be able to come to a conclusion until you’ve had time to review the data at the end of the testing period.
Create a UX and Content that Matches Your Headlines
High-quality content and intuitive user experience are just as crucial as creating viral headlines. You have to make sure to stay focused on the content within your headline. If one million people clicked your headline, it’s not nearly as impactful if 950,000 of them bounced from your site due to poor content or design.
When you’re working on your headlines, content, and UX, we suggest that you stay mindful of mobile users. Currently, there are over 5.13 mobile users worldwide. Business owners and bloggers are expected to create a website that caters to their audience. Mobile responsive websites generally see more traffic, increased engagement, and better profits because they cater to a broader audience, as opposed to businesses that only optimize for desktop PCs.
Analyze Your Results
Now you know the five main types of viral headlines, understand the importance of split testing and understand how a headline is only one piece of the content marketing puzzle. It’s a good idea to combine data from your email marketing campaign, social media profiles, and your on-site Google Analytics for an accurate reading of your marketing campaign and headlines.
On the Google Analytics side of things, you’ll want to look at your click-through rate, overall traffic, and bounce rate. A change in each of these metrics can help you make educated decisions about your marketing strategy. For instance, if you see an abnormally high bounce rate, it could indicate that consumers don’t think the headline quality matches the content. However, a higher click-through rate means your headline is doing is working and effectively drawing in new visitors.
Social media statistics will give you data about user engagement on your posts and let you know how often your posts are getting shared. Your goal is to improve shares and engagement while delivering diverse content that keeps your long-time fans satisfied.
Email metrics are vital if you’re prompting users to subscribe to your newsletter within an individual post with a lead magnet. For example, if you create an excellent resource with a viral headline and see your subscriptions go up nearly 100 percent in a short amount of time, your headline is catching the attention of readers. The more people interested in joining your email list, the better chance you have of increasing your engagement and sales.
You will never stop analyzing your results after each new post. The best way to grow your business or blog is to keep an eye on your metrics and make changes as necessary. Your metrics, UX, and headline variety all play a significant role in the success of your website.