Improve Your Business Blog Headlines in Four Easy Steps

by: | November 20, 2012

Remember the last time a headline caught your attention? What was it that appealed to you? Maybe it spoke to an experience that you personally had. Maybe it hit on a concern or a thought you were having recently. Whatever the reason, it seemed like it was speaking directly to you, didn’t it? With this four-step process, you can learn to make your headlines have the same impact on your customers.

Keep in mind the length of your headline. Google prefers 60 characters or less for their search results, so shorter headlines work better for page titles and blog titles. For those titles, use as many of these steps as you can while keeping the title short.

Follow this process for blog headlines, free report titles, webinar titles and more. I’m going to use an example from my own business. Watch as I take this title (for a webinar for bars and restaurants) and improve it following four easy steps.

Here is the title we’re starting with:

“Learn How to Lower Your Liquor Cost”

Step 1: Identify Your Specific Audience

That title is pretty plain, right? Your product or service isn’t for literally everyone, so in this first step, specify who this headline is meant for. I’m tailoring this one to bar owners.

“Attention Restaurant Owners: Want a Lower Liquor Cost?”

Step 2 Specific Qualifier

This is better. Now, narrow it further to identify the customers who need your solution the most and would be the best customers for you. Think about who’s most likely to buy or who would spend the most on your service. In this example, I am specifically speaking to restaurant owners with high liquor costs.

“Great Ways for Restaurant Owners to Reduce High Liquor Costs”

Step 3: Specific Problems

Now, the headline is getting specific, but let’s make it more personal. Add in a specific problem they may be feeling that you can alleviate. In my example, I’m mentioning a specific issue many managers face.

“Restaurant Owners Combat Shrinkage by Reducing High Liquor Costs”

Step 4: Specific Results

Now this is getting good, but we can improve it even more. People don’t buy products; they buy results. People who buy drill bits don’t want drill bits; they want to make a hole. Tailor your headline to include a result that entices them to act. A result can be peace of mind, saving or making money, or the speed of the resolution.

“Restaurant Gains: Fight Shrinkage by Reducing Liquor Costs”

You can see how the headline evolved from a general statement to gain a greater focus, so your reader can quickly identify with your content or move on. Use these four steps to tailor your headlines to your specific audience.

If you have any other tips on how to improve headlines, let us know in the comments!

Posted in: B2C, Content, E-Commerce, Engage!, Optimization

About the Writer:

Born in England and raised in the U.S., Charles Forster is the marketing director and partner at Vine & Grain, a company that creates management technologies for bars and restaurants. Prior to that position, he ran a graphic design company, Call Me Chaz, in Philadelphia, PA and Orlando, FL. He focused on branding, websites, print, video and marketing for small business clients up and down the east coast. He's a self-prescribed car nut and foodie. He's also the curator for This Is Visceral, a site devoted to poster art.

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