How to search for better headlines

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A classical struggle that digital marketers face on a regular basis is what to put in the subject lines of their promotional emails. I’ve known that feeling far too many times! I’ve also faced the problem of what to Tweet more than once, as I’m sure others have. I’ve struggled with the titles of blog posts and ways to make them more compelling.

All three of these are the same problem, when you clear away the mental interference about what channel you’re on. All three of these boil down to having better headlines. A Tweet is a headline without a story; your Twitter stream, a news ticker. An email subject line is a headline, the enticing tidbit on the cover of the magazine that compels you to pick it up and open it. A blog post title is a headline, the first part of your story.

So how do you get better headlines? The answer, if you’re feeling a lack of creativity, is through search. Let’s look at a few different ways to get some ideas.

1. Check Google’s Webmaster Tools. In your site’s Webmaster Tools settings, look under Search Traffic > Search Queries. Change the resulting table to sort by click through rate (CTR), in descending order:


The queries that you get 100% click through rate on are the queries you can start to experiment with in your headlines. This is effective if you’ve got a reasonably popular site that people search for often, on a variety of topics.

2. Check question and answer sites. Go to a site like Quora and find the topic that you’re writing about. Find your topic. Look at the Answers section for the questions that garnered the most answers (and therefore the most interest).


Take some lessons from the questions that get answered – what made that question so compelling? What’s unique about the top questions that made people want to interact with them more? Use the syntax of top questions as starting points for your own headlines.

3. Check Google Trends. Type in the area of inquiry and scroll to the bottom. Find the Related Searches and switch it to rising, then see what Google is considering a “breakout”.


Those are the topics which are rapidly trending right now. Look to those words and phrases as seeds for your headlines.

Better headlines can come from many inspirations, but if you’re running low on ideas, try these three tactics to get yourself inspired again!

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