When you write news articles or blogposts for your radio station's website, the most important line is the headline. That's because the headline will appear all over the internet: when people share the post on social media, find it in their search results, pull it into their RSS reader, open to it in an automated email campaign, etc.
Good headlines are a crucial component of your overall digital strategy because this is how you use your content to draw people from social media and search engines back to your website. Compelling headlines can have a significant impact on your overall website traffic. With that in mind, here are five tips for writing better website content headlines:
1. Don't Be Too Vague…
Don't assume that people will only see your headline in the context of your website. Headlines should make sense by themselves because people may encounter them off your site with no other clues about their meaning. For example, your headline may appear in a retweet, in which case the reader wouldn't even know that this headline was written by a radio station! Headlines should give people all of the information they need to decide if they want to read an article.
Example: Instead of “Concerts,” try “Boston Concerts.” Instead of “Interview with Brad Paisley,” try “WKRP's Johnny Fever Interviews Brad Paisley.”
2. …But Leave Some Mystery
Have you ever watched a movie trailer and thought, “I don't need to see that movie now; I already know everything that happens!” A bad headline can have the same effect. If you put too much information in the headline, people may feel like they don't need to click through to your website to read the post. A great headline strikes a balance between telling people what a post is about, and also intriguing people enough to make them click.
Example: Instead of “Katy Perry and Taylor Swift Are Fighting Over Backup Dancers,” try, “Here's the Real Cause of the Rift Between Katy Perry and Taylor Swift.”
3. Include Proper Nouns
Search engines like Google use headlines to determine what a post is about and whether it should be included in their search results. By including the proper nouns that people are most likely to type into Google when doing a search, you can increase your website's traffic. If you get too cute with blog post titles, it could hurt your website in its search engine rankings.
Example: Instead of “The Fab 5 Remaster a Classic Album,” try “The Beatles Release Remastered ‘Sgt. Pepper's' Album.”
4. Include Your Radio Station's Keywords
Keywords are the words or phrases that people type into a search engine when looking for content. Your radio station should know the most important keywords for its website and include these in headlines as much as is appropriate. Your keywords might include your city, your format, your disc jockey's names, etc. Don't miss opportunities to include these.
Example: Instead of “5 Things to Do This Weekend,” try “5 Fun Things to Do in Detroit This Weekend.”
5. Match the Style of Your Co-Authors
If your radio station's website has multiple authors contributing content, make sure that they all match stylistically. I ofte come across radio station websites where it's obvious that different staffers wrote different headlines: some use title case while others use sentence case; some abbreviate while others do not; some include emojis while others don't. It's helpful to create a style guide for your radio station's website content that covers headline writing to ensure that everything has a consistent look to it.
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