It doesn’t matter if you are producing content for your blog or for a publication, you still want people to read it. With social sharing enabled on everything these days, sometimes the headline is all that people see. To ensure your content gets clicked on and read you really need to make sure you have a snappy headline to grab their attention.
Here are five common pitfalls to avoid when creating your headlines.
- Avoid misspellings. As you know from my previous experience on this blog, misspellings throughout your content can make you lose readers and you rest assured that people won’t even click on it your content if the title is misspelled.
Tip: Run your content through spellchecker by copy and pasting it in Word (or similar program) or email.
- Avoid puns. Not everyone has the same sense of humor as you do so avoiding puns or jokes in your headline is safe bet. For example, recently the Today Show listed ‘Sand Diego’ as a joke, but since no one mentioned it was a joke, it looked like a typo – says one viewer.
- Avoid long headlines. Journalists are taught to include a verb in their headline, however, for those that want the content shared, it really needs to be less than 140 characters these days.
Tip: Many experts say that between 70-80 characters is a good rule of thumb.
- Avoid keyword stuffing. When you create content, it’s important for SEO (search engine optimization) to have keywords or key phrases in the title as well as the body so that search engines will find it and rank it according to its relevancy. However, you can get dinged by search engines for too many keywords. So try to keep a nice balance between SEO and the humans that are reading your content.
Tip:Shoot for no more than 2 keywords per title.
- Avoid variations of similar headlines in the news. When hot news hits, a lot of people tend to use similar headlines to convey the impact of the story at hand. However, if a viewer has already read that story or thinks they read that story then they are not going to click on your content. Show them why your piece is worth reading by using the headline to convey that you have something to entertain, teach, or invoke emotion in them.
Do you know of other reasons why others would not click on your content that haven’t been covered here? Please add them to the comments so we can all benefit. Cheers!