5 brilliant ways to start your blog post with a bang 

start your blog post with a bang

Most blogs suck. 

You might have the most brilliant advice, but nobody reads it. 

The solution starts withthe start. 

A recent survey found that only 30% of readers make it to the end of a post. Just like a YouTube video – if you dont grab your readers attention in 3 seconds its sayonara.  

Theyre gone. 

In this post you will learn a 5 step approach to quickly retro fit old posts gathering digital dust, or tweak new posts to start working miracles.  

Lets jump in with some mind work.

1. Enter the conversation

To capture your readers’ attention you have to first enter the conversation going on in their mind (Robert Collier). In other words, grab their attention with something theyre already thinking about. 

– If youre a financial planner, tell me how to avoid costly mistakes.
– If youre a realtor, tell me how to make more money when I sell my home.
– If youre an IT consultant, tell me how to choose the best IT consultant. 

Not sure where to start? Start with a list of the most common questions your prospects ask you.

2. Get my attention

water splashing in woman's face

This is keymake me stop and want to read more. Your reader found your latest post via your email or social media. But, theyre not committed yetwith the click of their mouse theyre gone – never to return to that post. 

So, hook them with bait that makes them hungry for more. 

Start with your first sentence. Its job is to get me to read your second sentence. And so on.  

In your #blog, the job of your first sentence is to get me to read your second sentence. And so on. Click To Tweet 

Dont force me to wade through a muddy dissertation. Instead, start with a bold statement, a bit of controversy or a question. 

For example, I could have started this post with something like: 

The problem with all too many blogs is that they fail to get the attention of readers and, as a result, dont drive traffic to your products or services. 

Ugh. 

Instead, I started with: 

Most blogs suck.

3. Tell me the Problem

person holding question mark to face

Heres a blogging secret. If the reader doesnt care about your topic, they wont care to read about it 

So, make it obvious. 

In the first 2 sentences you need to TELL ME THE PROBLEM you will solve. 

Here’s a blogging secret. If the reader doesn’t care about your topic, they won’t care to read about it. Click To Tweet 

Even better: choose only one problem to solve. 

Here are 3 examples from our blog:

1. In this post we tackled time management:
Lets get one thing straight. I waste time, you waste timeeveryone wastes time.

2. This post is all about getting more traffic:
And its time to get serious about your business and your blog. You want more trafficthe right traffic.

3. This post is about restarting your blog writing:
You havent published for at least a month – not so great.

4. Make a promise

Every salesperson worth his/her salt knows this. To keep your prospects attention you need to make a promise of what you have to offer. 

It could be as simple as Let me show you how we can fix that, or I think I have the perfect solution for you. 

Its no different in your blogonce you get my attention, tell me what comes next.  

For example, this post is about blog performance:
In this post were looking at super simple tune-ups to make your blog work better and, maybe, even a bit sexier. Sound good?

5. Please get to the point!

time on site screenshow showing how to start your blog post with a bang
The average time we see on our client’s blog posts is 2-3 times more than other pages.

Finally, a great blog gets to the point. 

You got my attention, you entered the conversation going on in my mind, you even described a problem you know I have – great! Now, get to the point and deliver the goods.  

The average visitor time on our clients websites is about one minute. The average time we see on their blog posts is more like 3 to 7 minutes. Wow! 

Your blog has the ability to stop readers from clicking away. Your blog can also drive traffic to your revenue pages.  

If you do it right. 

A few small changes to the start of your post can improve time on site, list growth – even conversion to sales.  

It all starts withthe start. 

Enjoyed this post? Here are 3 more all about blog writing: 

5 easy steps to publishing your next blog post (even if you dont have time)
90 seconds to becoming a better writer
How to never run out of blog ideas ever again

Five quick and dirty steps to writing a top headline

Write a top headline: 5 quick and dirty steps

I am going to do something not possible: write a blog about writing the perfect headline in less than 1,000 words.

You see, like writing a book, painting a picture and redecorating your bathroom – there is no one way of doing it. And hundreds of blog posts have already covered this topic – all in much greater details.

So, this will be the quick and dirty version (maybe I’ll revisit it later with a looooonger post).

In the meantime, let’s jump in.

1. Keywords

A “keyword” in your headline needs to be a match to what someone types in their search bar. When you get a match (3 lemons) – that’s “organic search”. Less frequently searched, but still valuable, keywords are known as “long-tail” keywords.

The best keyword research is using Mrs. Google keyword planner. In 5 minutes you can find keywords that have the highest click-rate and lowest competition. You’ll also get some great suggestions you might not have thought about.

For this post I searched with “great headlines” and came up with “top headlines” and “how to write blogs”. Both had reasonable average monthly searches and low competition. After seeing this, I changed from “killer headlines” to “top headlines” as a long-tail keyword option.

Keyword planner tool

2. Killer words

Certain words will stop a reader – clicking-finger in the air – and then there are boring words.

Certain words will stop a reader - clicking-finger in the air - and then there are boring words. Click To Tweet

I still refer to this great post on Noah Kagen’s OkDork site with the results of a study of nearly 1M (that’s million!) headlines looking for posts with at least 100 social shares (in other words, someone clicked on that little Twitter or Facebook icon and shared the blog).

From that huge data bank, these are the top words to include in your headline.

bbb

3. Try many

The more headlines you write the better the final result – so experiment with many.

The more headlines you write the better the final result - so experiment with many. Click To Tweet

Once you have your keywords, build 5-10 versions around it. So, for this post I came up with:

  • How to write a top headline fast.
  • How to write a killer headline explained in less than 500 words.
  • The quick and dirty on how to write a killer headline.
  • Why you need to write a killer headline.
  • 5 ways to write a top headline fast.
  • How to write a killer headline in 5 easy steps.
  • How to write a top headline the quick and dirty way.
  • Five quick and dirty steps to writing a top headline.

I often use www.buzzsumo.com to get ideas for headlines. You simply type in the keywords (in this case, I only entered “writing a killer headline”) and you’ll get the most shared (on social media) headlines.

BuzzSumo

According to research compiled by Buffer’s Kevan Lee, the optimal length for a blog headline is 6 words. He goes further by suggesting that our eyes tend to pick up the first 3 words of a headline and the last 3 words.

2016-09-10_06-19-07

4. Quick check

Once you have a good handful of headlines it’s time to check them out. The easiest check is Mr. Google. Slap your headline in your favourite search engine and see what search phrases are suggested (the phrases that pop up when you type/paste in your headline). Tip: To narrow your search to only other bloggers, include “blog:” before your search phrase.

This isn’t definitive, but will give you an idea of who is using that same headline or maybe better versions you can use. When I did it with “The quick and dirty 5 steps to writing a killer headline” I don’t see an exact match with other bloggers.

Search engine results

5. Clever tricks

Okay smarty – you’ve checked keywords, written multiple versions, even made sure to insert “you” and a number. Now it’s time for big boy tricks.

The objective is to get the scanner to become a reader – that means we have to get them to click on our headline. The following hacks are guaranteed to work…some of the time 🙂

bracketsYou ARE an expert (now act like one)

ask a questionShould you share your best stuff on the Internet?

prove authorityHow I got rich (and 6 ways you can as well)

be a contrarianDo nothing – five fast ways to turn work off so you can have a life

be boldStop! You’ve Been Primed – why doing dumb stuff might not actually be your fault.

Writing great headlines is an imperfect science. It seems every week I read more advice, often contradicting other advice I’ve read.

Regardless, here’s one think that’s always been true: without a great headline your readers will pass you by.

As the great ad man, David Ogilvy once explained, “On the average, five times as many people read the headline as read the body copy. When you have written your headline, you have spent eighty cents out of your dollar.”