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I’m currently enrolled in HubSpot Academy’s Content Marketing Certification Course. A free online course, the primary purpose is to “Learn how to power your business with remarkable content,” guiding students through 10 sections of developing a strong content marketing strategy for a business.

The section I watched this morning (section 6!), “Becoming an Effective Writer,” particularly piqued my interest. It discussed an element of writing blog posts (which I do quite a bit of!) that I realized I don’t think about nearly enough – blog post headlines.

Having already discussed the value of blogging itself in a previous section of the course (section 2!), Jami Oetting, Content Strategist at HubSpot, began this section by dissecting the anatomy of a good blog post headline:

“Headlines should be specific, and make a promise to the reader on how it will benefit them, and if possible, prompt the reader to read the piece right now.”

On average, people consume 285 pieces of content a day. The trick is to write content that cuts through the noise. A powerful headline, she said, is one of the most important things you can do to improve the performance of your content efforts.

“80% of people will read your headline, but only 20% will read the entire article.”

Here’s the cool part. Oetting listed 9 commonly used formats that successful writers use. Some of them I’ve used in my own personal writing, and others I’ve seen and look forward to incorporate in my future writing. At any rate, I plan to pocket this list as a resource the next time I’m stumped on a blog post title.

Let’s walk through them!

The “How-To” Format

Teaches the reader how to do something.

The List Format

Follows the “x” ways to format, or examples or tips. (Came in handy for this post.)

The Question Format

Piques the interest of the reader and promises to answer a compelling question.

The Negative Angle Format

Accuses the reader of doing something incorrectly, or failing to do something, where the copy provides a solution or answer to the question.

The “Secret Of” Format

Provokes the curiosity of readers.

The “Little Known, Advice, Tips, or Tricks” Format

Tells the reader that this advice is unique and different than what is already published online.

“You Should Know This” Format

Reminds the reader that there’s still information that they don’t know.

Interesting Data Format

Uses a stat to prove the value of the article.

The Quick Tip Format

Signals that it’s something that the reader can learn with a short time commitment.

So there you have it. 9 powerful formats to help you amplify the success of your content. Find this list handy too? Let us know in the comments!

Want more blogging tips? Flattered you asked. Check out my article, “Here’s 5 Hard Truths Why Your On-Site Blog Isn’t Bringing in Traffic” here.


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