Here’s a tough truth about blogging: more people will see your headline than ever click through to your content. So it’s essential to get your coworking blog headlines right.
Years ago, when someone told me that publications now write headlines before writing the content, I laughed at the absurdity of the idea. Now, it’s common practice.
As much as we’d like to think readers are hanging on our every word, the reality is that you have seconds to catch a reader’s attention before they click away. Headlines are the attention-grabbers.
Crafting great headlines is an art and science. It requires practice, trial-and-error, keyword research, and throwing many ideas around before deciding on one. Here are a few resources to get started.
Upworthy challenges writers to create a whopping 25 headlines for each article before deciding on the best one. A Blinkist writer took the challenge and reported on their results, sharing insights and resources along the way.
Buffer’s blog has a wealth of information about blogging, social media, writing, and more. They usually go big and create epic, insanely-useful posts. This one is no exception. In it, Kevan Lee does a deep dive into crafting great headlines for blog posts, tweets, emails and more.
In this post, HubSpot shares the outline for a simple formula for writing kick-ass titles and headlines. Formula steps include brainstorm, have a working title, optimize for SEO, and make it sexy.
CoSchedule gives the rundown on writing great blog post headlines, including using their cool Headline Analyzer.
Now you have some tips for crafting quality, clickable headlines. How do your coworking blog headlines look in comparison? Here are four common mistakes you may be making with your own coworking blog headlines, as well as some tips to improve them.
1. Your Headline is Too Vague
With millions of blog posts out there, you have to make your headlines stand out. One common mistake bloggers make is being too vague. For example, a blog post titled “5 Great Coworking Spaces” will not catch the attention of either coworking folks or search engines because it’s too vague. Who are the great coworking spaces for? Where are they located?
The Fix: Drill down as far as you can into a topic. A much better headline would be, “5 Great Coworking Spaces in Austin” or “5 Best Family-Friendly Coworking Spaces in the Bay Area.”
2. Your Headlines is Too Wordy
It can be hard to distill a topic into a short headline. There are certain things we want to convey at-a-glance, so we end up cramming everything into the headline. The problem is, if you turn too many corners in a headline, or try to pack too much in, your headline loses punch. For example, a blog post titled, “A Recent UCLA Study Found that Coworking May be Contributing Positively to Economic Development” just doesn’t get the job done.
The Fix: A better way to frame this post would be: “6 Ways Coworking Boosts Economic Development” or “Study Links Coworking to Positive Economic Impact in Cities.”
3. Your Headline is too Newsy or Dry
If you have a news blog then, by all means, make your headlines as newsy as you want. However, if you run a blog about coworking, or community, or the future of work, you want your headlines to match the content.
For new bloggers, it can be tricky to shake the idea that your writing has to be academic, or newsy, but your readers want to connect with you as a person—not as a stiff, academic robot, which can happen if your posts are too newsy. For example, a blog post with the headline, “New Coworking Space Leases Empty Building in Downtown Buffalo” is pretty uninteresting.
The Fix: Find what’s most interesting about a particular story, and zoom in on that. A better headline would be, “New Buffalo Coworking Space Aims to Revitalize Historic Building” or “Vacant Building to be Reimagined as a Coworking Space and Community Hub.”
4. Your Headline is Misleading
Make sure your content delivers on your blog post headline. If your post is titled, “The Greatest Songs Ever Written,” you’d better have a lot of evidence that the songs you’ve chosen are in the running for best songs ever. If the songs are just the ones that you’re into this month, take a different approach with your headline. You may know you’re just being playful, but readers may not and the post ends up feeling like click-bait—where you put something you know will attract readers in the headline without delivering in the content.
Another example is to make a promise, such as, “Double Your Freelance Income by Joining a Coworking Space.” Yes, freelancers tend to make more once they join a coworking space, but be careful about what you promise.
The Fix: Be clear about what your blog post is about. If it’s a list of your top songs of the month, title the post, “The Top 10 Songs of the Month at XYZ Coworking Space,” or “XYZ Coworking’s Monthly Playlist.”
If you have a proven strategy for freelancers to double their income in your coworking space, then share away. You might title your post “How 10 Freelancers Doubled their Income at XYZ Coworking.” But, if what you have are some reasons to join a coworking space, then a post like, “11 Ways Freelancers Take their Career to the Next Level at XYZ Coworking.”
Creative Ways to Market Your Coworking Space: Tips from the Pros
The Secret to Great Headlines for Your Coworking Blog
Content Marketing for Coworking Spaces: 6 Ways to Make Content Work for You
Note: a version of this post originally appeared on this blog in 2015. It’s been updated and reformatted for coworking space operators.