Content is hard enough put together. Full stop. We feel your pain. You need to think of an interesting subject, work out how to frame it in the most valuable way for your audience, let alone sit down and write the bloody thing.
But there’s little point investing all of this precious time and effort if no-one is going to see it. Aside from when and where you publish or post, how can you attract as many clicks as possible to a blog article? It’s something that we wondered here at DN; so we’ve done a bit of digging into headline writing and feature images, both things that create that all-important first impression for your (potential) reader, and can either draw them in or push them away.
A picture tells a thousand words
Quality images are key
Use high-resolution images that are going to still look good when scaled on any platform or device. You’re not going to entice anyone with a blurry mess. Don’t forget people’s attention spans are short…if they need to spend time working out what the image is even of, you’ve probably already lost them. Don’t jeopardize your credibility.
Make it relevant
The content of the image depends a great deal on the subject of your article. If you are a food blogger, your feature image should be of the actual recipe or dish you are preparing, not just some random slop. Your bounce rate is going to be pretty high if that image of a big fat juicy steak leads to a recipe for vegan chocolate mousse. If you are struggling, you could manipulate the title of the piece to make something seemingly abstract seem relevant…like here.
Stay true to your brand
Having a consistent style to your images increases your brand’s awareness and makes your content more instantly recognisable. This will help you to get more clicks from people that already follow you, building a loyal and engaged readership. In some instances, you could add your business logo and/or another element of your branding to each image.
Make it a thumb stopper
Today’s content consumer is savvier than in days of yore. If your headline is pretty much the same as the last 10 in someone’s feed, what do you think is going to happen? They’re going to skip right past you. Make your headline unique. Stand out. Grab your customer’s attention. Think going out on a limb is too risky? Sure, you might put some people off, but people buy from people. If they like you, you’re in, so don’t be afraid to show some personality. If they don’t, they’re probably not the people you want as clients!
Make it relevant
OK, I’m repeating what I said about your image here, but the same holds true with your headline. People want to know what it is they’re being taken to. Make it specific enough to tell compel them to continue reading. Set clear expectations that you do actually fulfil in the content. Seriously, avoid overpromising and under-delivering; clickbait is super annoying, and could severely damage your brand.
Appeal to their inner FOMO
Fear of missing out. One of the most compelling reasons to make anyone act. If you can convince readers that your content is something of benefit, even better something they need know as a matter of urgency, they’re more likely to click through. Communicate why someone needs to stop and read your blog and communicate it quickly and concisely. Appeal to their pain point, and then solve it. “How to…” headlines are a good start.
As for the technical details, questions, numbers (including stats), exciting adjectives, and call-to-action words are great ways to urge your reader to read on. This infographic is an interesting place to start; try putting together some templates that will work for your brand that you can return to every time you publish. Also, the headline analyser from CoSchedule is a handy tool for measuring the quality of your headlines and seeing how small tweaks can make a difference.
It’s amazing how much of an impact some small changes to your feature image and headline can make to the success of your link. You thought writing the content was the time-consuming bit! It’s clearly worth spending at least as much time on choosing the right image and writing the most catchy headline.