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The Formula for Writing Blog Headlines Your Readers Can’t Resist

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11_FreeTrialQT2_560x400On average, 8 out of 10 people will read your headline, but only 2 out of 10 will read the rest of your content. People are busy and are distracted by a million other things online fighting for their attention. If your blog headline doesn’t immediately capture their attention, they won’t waste the time to read the rest.

In order for you to get your readers past the headline and to your first paragraph (and, hopefully, all the others after that), you need an irresistible title. Here are essential tips for creating that clickable headline:

1. Keep it Short

While there’s no one specific word or character limit for headlines, 95% of the time, it’s best to make it short and concise. For search engine purposes, keep your headlines shorter than 70 characters, as that is the maximum count that will appear in a search engine result. According to Outbrain, headlines with eight words perform the best, with a 21% higher clickthrough rate.

2. Use Numbers

Lists always perform well. They’re easier to digest and faster reads than lengthy paragraphs. Rather than share “What I’ve Learned About Retirement Planning,” change the headline to “5 Things You Need to Know Before Planning for Retirement.” Outbrain’s research also concluded that headlines with odd numbers receive a 20% higher click-through rate than those with even numbers.

3. Pose a Question

Headlines ending with a question mark perform better than those with exclamation marks or periods. This likely has to do with the fact that people generally read blogs to learn the answers to a question they have. “How Prepared Are You for Retirement?” is much more engaging and interesting than “Preparing for Retirement.” Another question strategy that has proven time and time again to work well is starting your headline with “Who Else Wants…” Why? It’s called social proof. This type of headline implies that there is already an existing desire and people naturally flock to things they know other people want, too. Instead of “How Prepared Are You for Retirement?”, you could instead go with “Who Else Wants to Retire Early?”

4. Show Them “How To”

Just as questions include an answer, “how to” posts also answer a question. Simply shifting your blog headline to start with “How to” will immediately boost your open and clickthrough rates. Along with “how to,” “why,” “the best,” and “the worst” also perform well.

5. Include Strong Adjectives

With a headline, you have minimal space to make the maximum impact. Use your words wisely. Swap out weak or overused adjectives, such as “good,” “amazing,” and “bad,” to more inventive terms, like “essential,” “unbelievable,” or “life changing.” Of course, if you’re an advisor with a broker-dealer, you’ll really need to choose your words wisely.

Want some other examples for creating impactful headlines? We love Copyblogger’s list of 10 headline formulas that work.

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