The following transcript was taken from InSights, a staffing and recruiting podcast from Haley Marketing Group dedicated to providing quick-hitting takeaways on Social Recruiting, Content Marketing and Employer Branding. To listen to the episode, click play on the player above or visit the episode page [InSights] Every Post Has a Purpose
Brad Bialy: Matt, when we think about content marketing in writing blog articles before someone reads your article they see the headline, they see the title. What’s the key to writing a successful blog headline?
Matt Lozar: With a headline, we don’t want to jump ahead and just write that headline right away. We want to go back to the goal of that piece of content, but even really your company or business goal to where what are we trying to achieve in that long-term plan? Are we trying to get candidate applications? Are we trying to get new business? Then, that takes us into the second step of our audience, and is it, candidates, is it clients, is it light industrial candidates? Is it information-technology? Is it healthcare? All of those different audiences are going to respond and engage with content, and even a headline differently.
Matt Lozar: Then, sometimes a challenge we’ll see is a staffing agency or a recruiter will write that headline for the message they would click on instead of the message that RN would click on, or that IT contractor would click on, or that a construction worker would click on. We have to do our best to put ourselves in the shoes of that job candidate, of that HR manager, of that person who’s going to read the headline wherever it is, it could be on your blog page, it could be on your social, it could be in your email, your Twitter feed, to get them to click.
Brad Bialy: Really, the click while it’s the most important part in terms of actually driving that user to read your content, it’s really not the most important part. We need to understand what the goal is. We need to understand what the purpose of that piece of content is before we actually get to the click itself. Once we have a goal identified, then we can move through that process. Goal, understand the audience, understand the messaging that we want to convey to that audience, understand their pain points, their challenges, how we can address those pain points and challenges, and then how we can construct the headline to actually get them to click that.
Matt Lozar: Brad and I wanted to walk through an example of a headline for some active job seekers, there’s not a lot of them right now, but someone who is out there looking for a job on Indeed, ZipRecruiter, on your website, and to look at a headline, three different examples that evolves from a good to a better to a best. The first one is very simple, but it would work is Five Ways to Ace Your Interview.
Brad Bialy: You have an active job seeker, if they’re coming into your office they might not understand how to ace that interview, they might not know their best practices, how to put the best foot forward. You, screening candidates on a day-to-day basis, understand what the best practices are for acing an interview. With this headline, we have Five Ways to Ace Your Interview, sure it’s a good headline. Matt, talk about better.
Matt Lozar: We can evolve it a little bit into let’s put into a bracket of case study. (Case Study) This Preparation Will Make You Ready for Your Interview, and Brad and I felt that worked better for a couple different ways.
Brad Bialy: The first is we identify that it’s a case study, we’ve done the research to show that this works. Then, we really pinpoint it into this preparation will make you ready for your interview. We direct it to the end reader, the end consumer. It’s not this is a general tip. It’s this will make you ready.
Matt Lozar: We could get lost in data and studies, and that phrase, ‘will make you,’ was the top phrase from a study by BuzzSumo. BuzzSumo is a website that looks at content across the Internet, what drives the most clicks on Facebook, on LinkedIn, different sources. Their study from a year ago had that exact phrase, I don’t have the number, but it essentially drove twice as many clicks as any other two or three-word phrase because it really starts to invoke that emotion. You see that headline come across, think about yourself as an active job seeker, ‘Will Make You Ready,’ and that’s pretty powerful. Maybe you’re struggling to find a job, or you need a little bit of a break, and that might just evoke a quick emotion. You click on it, and you look for some tips on a preparation to help you get that job offer from the next interview.
Brad Bialy: Matt, tell me about, and tell the listener about the best headline that we came up with on this topic.
Matt Lozar: It evolves from the first and second ones where now we just have in brackets study, and we have (Study) 4 HR Experts Teach You How to Land the Job of Your Dreams.
Brad Bialy: Not only are we directing this again talking about the fact that we’ve done the research, we’ve done a study that shows that four HR experts are going to teach you, specifically you the reader how to land the job of your dreams. Now, we’re tying in emotion, so we’re tying in data, we’re personalizing it to the end reader, and we’re speaking on emotion.
Matt Lozar: Brad and I don’t want you to say these are the only three ways to write a headline. A lot of headline writing is testing for your audience, and tracking. It can be difficult and challenging. It can be a different skill than someone who writes the blog. If you go back to the newspaper industry they break up those skill sets from the person that’s actually writing an article to an editor, a copy editor that’s writing a headline.
Matt Lozar: Look for some trends, think about ways you can really get through to your audience with your message, and refine as things go on. Maybe one formula works for you that might not work for a different staffing agency, be open to that testing but stick to some main principles and evolve it for your content.
Brad Bialy: I couldn’t agree more Matt. This isn’t the end-all solution. Certainly, you need to test, you need to trust the data, but I think the key takeaway here is before you think about the headline, and you think about what the title of your blog post is going to come back to the main goal. Why are you creating that piece of content? Then, think about the audience, who is going to consume that article? Is it an active job seeker, a passive job seeker, a potential prospect or a client? Then, think about the messaging, what do you want to say to them, and how can you answer their challenges? Then, and at that point think about the title.