So a couple months ago, I wrote an article on how to write a killer article. What I didn’t tell you is, driving traffic begins with crafting a badass headline! So today, I’m going to show you how to create a traffic headline formula. Think about it, when someone stumbles across your pin on Pinterest or your headline on Google, do they wonder if your content is high value or if your headline is attractive enough? I hate to say this, but when strangers don’t know you they’re going to judge your book by its cover. This means, yes, the headline wins, sadly.
What if you write an outstanding article on your blog, but it never gets to see the light of the day? Most often, you are told to create valuable content that your readers can walk away with, wow-ed. I spent a lot of time on writing and one day I realized my headlines weren’t crafted with a marketing mindset. Eventually, I realized I was selling myself too short.
I never really focused on my headlines in the past and still had a good influx of traffic. But in any crowded niche, generic headlines are the easiest way to have your articles shuffled to the bottom of search engine page results and never to be seen again.
Oh no! So what can I do?
As an introvert, I’ve always had an issue of writing dramatic headlines because I know I’m not a dramatic person. If I ever show dramatic-ness in my writing, I do it for humor. So when I see dramatic headlines, I go as far as avoiding them, especially when it comes to celebrity gossip stuff.
But when you’re writing valuable content your headlines don’t need to look like a click bait. It doesn’t need to look dramatic, it just needs to be more specific than all the generic content out there.
Why does crafting an irresistible headline matter? Take a look at how the content journey works for your peeps:
It all begins with the headline!
How to Write a Headline That Drives Traffic
#1 Drive traffic by promising them a result.
This is probably the most important for the reader because the promise is really where the value lies for ’em. I know the word “promise” sounds like there’s so much commitment to it, but it comes down to being more specific and intentional about the results they’re getting. Here are a few examples where you’re offering a promise in your headline:
- How much time can your method help them save? (e.g., “Effective 5 Step Plan to Ditch Insomnia in 3 Minutes Every Night”)
- How much money can your method help them save? (e.g., “How I Cut Business Expenses by $10K Using This One Piece of Software”)
- What other quantifiables do people care about that you can offer? (e.g., “How to Plan Your Meals to Lose 10 Pounds in 2 Months”)
So why are headlines with promises more clickable? It’s more specific, generates desire if your results are mind-blowing. In the first example, if someone was sleep-deprived every night, they would love your recipe on how to ditch insomnia. But wait, instead of only telling ’em your recipe to success, your recipe only takes 3 minutes! The readers’ reaction might be, “Wow I need this right now! Even if it doesn’t work out, I will only lose 3 minutes.” People are very conscious of their time because it’s the one thing they can’t get more of.
Being specific also adds to your credibility because it shows that you’ve tested your method and it’s tried and true. You have results, solutions (and no drama) to back up what you have done. You know what you’re capable of and that erases the fear people might have of you being a fraud.
Generally, a promise can be anything that you can quantify because people are always thinking in terms of numbers, such as time-saving tactics and money-saving or money-generating strategies. In the health and fitness world, quantifiables that people are obsessed with are usually pounds and muscle weight. In the beauty industry, it might be a “5-Minute Natural Makeup Routine for the Girl-Next-Door.”
#2 Drive traffic by knowing which words you want to rank for.
Now your keyword choices are just as important as your promise, if not more important. Well, let’s put it this way. Your promises are more important to your readers like I’ve mentioned. But your keywords are more important for search engines. If your keywords doesn’t tell search engines what to rank you for, readers won’t be able to find you. But once reader’s find you, they have a whole host of options and pages of results to choose from. So your keywords matter before your promise, but your promise determines whether your headline is click-worthy. Get it?
Now choosing the keyword doesn’t have to take hours. The easiest and quickest way to pick keywords that you want to rank for is, of course, ask yourself, what is your blog post about? What’s your core topic and single takeaway? Then use Google Keyword Planner (GKP) to see the average number of monthly searches. Are the searches over 100? Your keyword can be one, two, or even three words. One word keywords are known as single keyword and anything beyond one word are long tail keywords. Generally, long tail keywords rank better because they are more specific.
Here are some examples:
- If you’re in the beauty industry your keyword can be “patent leather jackets”
- If you’re in the business and blogging industry, your keyword can be “build email list”
- If you’re in the health and fitness world, your keyword can be “healthy morning smoothies”
Ultimately, keywords help your peeps finds you so you want them to be as easy, top of mind, and intuitive as possible. Think in terms of what they’ll most likely type into Google search. It’s almost never high-level vocabulary.
#3 Let them know what type of post this is.
This one is relatively simple and forms the overarching layout of your post. For example, if your post is called “The 11 Reasons Why Bloggers Fail Within the First 3 Months”, then people can expect a listicle of the 11 reasons before in-depth detail on each reason. There are unlimited types of posts but some common ones are:
- How to (insert your topic)
- The Ultimate Guide to (insert your topic)
- (Insert your topic) Tools
- Resources on (insert your topic)
- Reasons Why (insert your topic)
- Ways to (insert your topic)
- Steps to (insert your topic)
There’s no right or wrong answer here; once you know the purpose of your article, this will come rather naturally.
#4 Drive traffic by adding a power adjective to describe your keywords.
It’s weird, but I’m a little obsessed with adjectives even though I’m humble and don’t use ’em a lot in my headlines. A power adjective adds strength, oomph, or volume (if you’re a hair expert, you’ll know what I mean) to your headline. These adjectives can be positive or negative depending on what you’re portraying in your article.
For example, in this article “The 11 Reasons Why Bloggers Fail Within the First 3 Months”, it gives the reader a negative sentiment. And in this post on the “Effective 5 Step Plan to Ditch Insomnia in 3 Minutes”, it induces hope for the reader. Adjectives can be really powerful and if it’s something that comes off as powerful, but still natural and not overblown, it can arouse both and emotion and curiosity for click-through.
Unlike keywords which require a bit of time to research and confirm, you can literally have a list of adjectives to select from each time you write a headline. I’ll guarantee you’ll have much more fun crafting these short 7-10 word not-quite-yet-sentences type of phrases. Don’t forget to download the headline formula for 30+ plug-n-play templates to craft headlines in less than 3 minutes!
Write a Good Headline Formula
[Number] + [Type of Post] + [Keyword Topic] + [Your Promise]
Example: 11 Ways to Double Your Traffic on Pinterest within 1 Month
The DOs and DONTs of Crafting Headlines
DO create more than one pin with a different, but accurate headline to A/B test which one drives more traffic.
Now the first time I heard of A/B testing your pins is to experiment with which pin graphic is more clickable. While creating different style pins, it dawned upon me to create different headlines for these pins to see which one converts better as well.
And it really works. Certain words like “traffic” and “readership” tends to drive more traffic for bloggers in my niche.
DON’T give a false headline just to drive traffic.
Writing a headline is short, fast, and easy (especially after reading this article). There’s literally a formula for you. But even with this, don’t write headlines with false claims if your content doesn’t really match what you’re giving away. There’s no better and quicker way to lose trust with your peeps than to lie.
DO craft headlines and permalinks that contain your keyword.
Permalinks help in your search engine rankings so make sure your links contain the keywords you used in your headline.
DON’T use headlines as a click bait. It makes you look untrustworthy.
One time I was browsing on Pinterest and came across an article I really wanted to read. I was already familiar with the influencer (she has a big online presence) so when I clicked through to read it, it leads me to another site. Naturally, that leads me to believe she (or someone) changed the link so a big influencer’s pin leads a reader to another site.
Perhaps this person wasn’t aware of pinning rules, but she shouldn’t change other blogger’s links when she’s repinning their stuff. It made me feel like it was a click bait.
They always say it’s about the 80/20 rule. You should spend 20% of your time creating your content and 80% of the efforts on promoting your content. Don’t sell your articles short, give it a nice bow on the top.
Would you use this formula to drive more traffic and make your content more clickable?