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Elements of Great B2B Headlines

All of your business-to-business (B2B) content starts with a headline or title. Those words are the most important part of your writing. The right headline captures the reader’s interest. Without it, the rest of the content will never be seen.

Focus on Your Audience

As you review the advice below, remember that your headline and content needs to speak to your audience. Some of the advice may be more or less applicable to the audience you need to reach.

Know your audience. What do they like? Need? Get turned off by? Make sure all of your content is written with the needs and interests of your audience in mind.

The Best Headlines…

Research shows:

  • The words that come first in the headline have the most impact on reader interest
  • Headlines that introduce steps (“How to”) and lists (“x Tips/Ideas/Ways/Things”) get the most attention
  • The numbers 3, 5 and 7 create interest
  • Headlines that suggest forward-looking and predictive content provoke curiosity about industry developments
  • For B2B headlines, a focus on practicality and industry insights wins out over emotional appeals

7-12 Word Headlines Are Best

Headlines that are 7 to 12 words get the most B2B engagement. Shorter headlines work best for B2B messages.

SEO Considerations

To build in search engine optimization (SEO) know the focus keyword for your content and make sure that is part of the headline.

Do some research to understand the words that your target audience uses when looking for the content you are providing. Sometimes these are a little different than the words you would naturally use. Whenever possible, factor keyword vocabulary in your writing.

The words of the headline are a strong signal to search engines about the topic of content. Using the keyword first or nearly first in the headline is best.

 

Ban These Words from Your Messaging

know your keywordsWords matter. Avoid lazy words and phrases to make sure the messages you write have the best impact.

Avoid Words that Reduce Impact

Since words are permanent, many people add qualifiers to their messages that take away from the impact of what they write. Ban these words to make sure your writing has impact:

  • Think
  • Just
  • Guess
  • Very
  • Try

Next time you draft a message to post online or send an email, scan for these words. Look for opportunities to remove or replace them. You will likely find that your message becomes more focused and clear without them.

Stay Away from Meaningless Phrases

We often clutter our writing with meaningless phrases that don’t add any meaning. Strip these from your messaging too.

Some examples:

  • The bottom line is…
  • At the end of the day…
  • To make a long story short…
  • What I mean to say is…
  • With all due respect…
  • At this time…

 

Do This Before You Publish

before you publishYou are in a groove with producing content for your online marketing. Great! Make sure you get the most from your efforts, by minding these important factors before you publish each piece of content.

Search Engine Optimization

Take a look at the content. Are your important keywords included? Can more be built in? Do all the images have ALT tags. Can any internal or external links be added to enhance SEO value? Run through your SEO checklist and make sure the content is working as hard for you as it should.

Human Spellcheck

Ah typos. I have many more of them than I care to admit. We all do.

Before you hit publish, have someone other than you give it a spell check. A fresh look should only take a few minutes and will almost always catch something you don’t see as the author.

Proofread

Flawless grammar isn’t enough to make a sale, but poor grammar may be enough to lose one. Again, a human reader can help with this. There are also grammar checkers built into Word and online tools like Grammarly.

Rightsize images

Take time to optimize the size of images for the platform you are publishing on. Autosizing is nice, but the results aren’t always great and can detract from your content.

If you are publishing to your website, optimizing image size also helps your site speed, important for both user experience and SEO.

There are many resources online to give you ideal image sizes, including this sizing guide from Buffer.