Your blog’s title is the first thing readers see and will be the deciding factor as to whether they continue reading. Your post’s title and headlines help your website get found in search engines. They are a critical part of your copy and shouldn’t be an afterthought.
In part three, How Financial Advisors Can Create Quality Content, of The Ultimate Financial Advisor’s Guide to Content Marketing I went into detail about how to format your content and discussed the key elements that you need to include.
Now it’s time to break out one of those elements and go into greater detail – titles and subheaders.
There is a strategy for creating titles. Used properly, it cuts through the noise and gets your content noticed. Once someone reads your content, strategically chosen subheaders within the body of your post can keep them reading, so I will talk about both here.
Use “the Four U’s” to Write Titles
American Writers & Artists teach the four U’s approach to write titles, and it has become an industry standard. Your titles should be:
- Urgent: Provide a sense of urgency so they want to read on.
- Unique: State benefits in a way that shows how the content is unique to the reader.
- Useful: Be useful to your reader and seek to add value.
- Ultra-Specific: When you’re specific, your content is seen as more compelling.
Cover each of these. Use at least three of the U’s – in many cases, it’s unlikely you’ll hit all four, so don’t stress too much about it.
Include Your Post’s Keyword Phrase in Your Title & Subheaders
Search engines like Google use the words in your titles and subheaders to figure out what your article is about and to determine when to show your article in a user’s search results. Include your keyword phrase in your title and in a few of your subheaders so that when prospects go searching for information contained in your article, the search engine will include your article in the search results.
More Tips to Boost Your Subheaders’s Appeal
There are other ways you can ensure that your titles are grabbing the reader’s attention and will help increase your chances of having them actually open and read your content.
Create your title and/or subheaders to focus on one single benefit that the text provides to the reader. This will help keep their interest and get them to keep reading because they know what to expect and can understand what you are talking about.
Speak TO Your Audience
Write as though you are having a conversation with your specific reader. Use “you” and “your” to make a connection with your reader and draw them into what you have to say.
Use Numbers in Your Title
Studies show that using numbers in your titles is a highly effective way to create specificity. Numbers imply a value and therefore it is thought that higher numbers are likely to capture more interest. Also, odd numbers are more likely to gain attention than even numbers.
Ask a Question
You want your reader to have a reaction to what you have to say. If you ask them a question they are more likely to keep reading to learn more and find out the answer.
Use “Why” and “How” Titles and Subheaders
Both of these words are very powerful words that make your reader feel they are gaining something by reading your content. When you use the word “how” it implies that you are going to teach them something. “Why” is also a very persuasive word for similar reasons.
The Creative Process
Think of writing your titles and subheaders as part of your creative process. Here are a few tips to help you get started.
- Don’t be afraid to change it up and use a thesaurus to get some new ideas.
- When you’re writing subheaders don’t get tripped up by trying to follow all the rules. Treat them as guidelines instead.
- When you’re writing a subheaders, write for your readers first, Google second.
- Pay attention to what works best for you. Some writers prefer writing the headers first to help shape the content. Others wait after the base content is written and then develop the subheaders.
- You can always write out three or four options and narrow them down as you develop your content.
Things to Remember When Writing Titles& Subheaders for Your Financial Blog
There are some good rules to follow when creating your titles and subheaders, not only for proper structure and grammar but also to get them noticed.
- Capitalize Each Word of Your Title and Subheaders.
- Capitalize My Title is a great tool that shows you the correct capitalization style.
- Short title are more effective than long titles.
- Aim for 65 characters and use between five and nine words.
- For longer titles and subheaders, break them up with dashes or a semicolon
- Use subheads to break up longer body text.
- Don’t use a period at the end of subheaders.
- Use a bold, dark font.
Putting time and effort into creating attention-grabbing subheaders and titles is time well spent. Good titles and subheaders draw in your reader, help the search engines find your content, and make your posts easier to read.
Crystal Lee Butler, MBA is a creative marketer and results-oriented business consultant with over a decade of experience collaborating with independent advisers. At Crystal Marketing Solutions, she delivers exceptional insights for financial professionals enabling them to create a consistent marketing presence so they can focus on the things that matter most to them.
Download a free copy of the Financial Advisor Content Marketing & Optimization Guide here.
Sometimes content marketing can seem like an overwhelming task to undertake on your own. This is exactly what we do for our clients! We help create and select the right content, optimize it so it is reaching the right people, and handle the scheduling to ensure it is as far-reaching as possible. Let us help you get a handle on the whole process by scheduling a discovery meeting today.