When it comes to blog writing, nothing draws in your intended target audience like a compelling headline.
Making headlines should be the first step to creating online content, whether it’s for your personal blog or for your boss’s website. The best kind of content naturally flows from the headline and allows you to expand on your ideas to your intended audience before asking them for the sale.
Sometimes, coming up with great headlines that are different from one piece of content to the next can be difficult. It doesn’t help if you need to ask what the words “headline” and “sub-headline” mean exactly.
On that note, here is our first tip for you: understand the basics. Don’t skip ahead to steps 2 and 3 when it comes to writing content for a website. By understanding the basics, creating content will gradually become easier for you.
Take a Closer Look at the Format of this Blog Post
Read the sentence above this one. This is what’s often referred to as the ‘sub-headline’, whereas the title of this blog post is referred to as a ‘headline’. A headline and a sub-headline are both very similar, at least in appearance, and yet they are different simultaneously. Sub-headlines are helpful in that by inserting them, you can sidetrack to other parts of the same subject you’re currently talking about.
For example, say your boss asked you to write a new web page about the new gluten-free diet program your company is going to offer and how it will improve your customers’ lifestyle; you could create a headline from that no problem. But what other aspects are there about a gluten-free diet that impact the human body? Are there side effects of eating gluten-free, as well as benefits? What kind of foods count as gluten-free? Is there anyone who should or should not go on a gluten-free diet?
Answering these questions along with others that may spring to your mind is a great way to create sub-headlines. They help you, the creator, explore other subjects that relate to the main topic at hand simultaneously.
Headlines & Title Tags
While it does help to get creative, even playful, when it comes to brainstorming new headlines, there is a limit as to how you can post them on search engines. This is its own special challenge within blog writing and any form of content marketing in general. Not only do you need to attract new readers and convert them into customers, but also each headline must be displayed using the most up-to-date SEO guidelines. Finding the balance is tricky, but it can be done (we offer some tips on how to find that content/SEO balance here!).
This brings us to the subject of title tags. The title tag needs to be approximately 50 to 60 characters long according to Moz.com’s article on the subject. This includes punctuation and the spaces in between the words. Each headline you create needs to be different from the last one; in a way, it’s like naming a child. Otherwise, search engines won’t be able to tell the difference from one page to the next.
Is there a Difference between a Title Tag and a Headline?
This is one of the most commonly asked questions from those who are new to blog writing. The thing is, there are no enormous differences between a title tag—a title that becomes the clickable link you read on the front page of a search engine, such as Google—or a headline. It really depends on the company or person you’re writing for; they will determine if there ought to be a difference and specifically give you direction pertaining to it.
So long as each headline is different from another that has previously been written or published, it’s okay to create two different ones; it’s all really a matter of personal preference.
What to Do If You’re Stuck
If you’re still struggling to come up with new ideas for great headlines that also fit SEO guidelines, consider examining your local newspaper for an example, or check out the headlines of your favourite blog or blogs on other websites. Creating headlines is in fact very similar to reporting the news; both have their limits as to how many letters and spaces can fit on the front page, and both have to be snappy and attractive to the reader in just a few seconds.
Another similarity to bear in mind between newspapers and blog post headlines is the use of major keywords. Now that newspapers have moved from print-only publications to the digital world, they too must work around major keywords in order to hold on to their audience and gain new readers. It’s essential to insert the right ones pertaining to your topic at the beginning of the headline, if and whenever possible.
Another way to come up with a good headline is to conduct some keyword research. Long-tail keywords are more descriptive and offer all sorts of possibilities for headlines, and they’re great for SEO too. Using keywords is also one of many ways you can promote your blog posts online. If promoting your blog is a difficult task for you, here are some other solutions we offer.
Our Last Tip:
Just because your articles contains snappy headlines doesn’t mean giving up the quality of your writing. The best headlines are pretty much useless if your content is not unique or of any value to your readers. Remember: content is king.
Now that you have a better understanding of headlines and sub-headlines for blog writing, it’s time to get to work! Good luck!
Angela Hovestad graduated with a Bachelor of Arts at Vancouver Island University, and joined KIAI Agency in early 2017 as a Content Manager, after working in other agencies for the past 5 years. She is responsible for managing our writers and editing their content, and she also creates blog posts and web page content for both KIAI and our clients, as well as helping with the text-based part of SEO. Angie is a writer in her spare time. She likes to write about video games and loves to read books, play video games, bake, and spend quality time with her friends and family.
Creative Commons Attribution: Permission is granted to repost this article in its entirety with credit to KIAI Agency Inc. and a clickable link back to this page.