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What Copyblogger Hasn't Told You About Writing Real Estate Blog Headlines

New-York-Post-HeadlineMany bloggers are under the false impression that it is what their posts contain that will attract readers.   Although this is true to some degree, it is really the headline that is most effective in the search engines and in the minds of your next visitor.

Bloggers are in the business of headline writing - fail to understand that, and fail to attract the readership your hard work deserves.

Consider the audience you are reaching.

Internet users are scanning large amounts of content, looking for something that either meets their needs, or catches their attention.

Your articles will appear in the following locations:

Inbox (email RSS subscribers)
RSS Feed Reader (Bloglines, Netvibes, GoogleReader, etc.)
Social Bookmarking Sites (Digg, reddit, RealEstateVoices.com)
Social Networks (ActiveRain, MySpace, WannaNetwork)
Search Engines (Google, Google and Goolge)

Is all cases, you are competing to be noticed.  A poor headline will render your article invisible.

Poor-headlineBrian Clark of Copyblogger has said nearly all that can be said about writing and formulating effective headlines.  Nonetheless, after absorbing all I can from his efforts, I have a headline writing formula that I share with our apprentices as template model for developing headlines that get noticed.

Emotion - Make your audience feel something they can relate to.
Emotion can be brought out in several ways:

Extreme words: best, most, never, crucial, perfect
Emotional words: scary, sad, mean, fun
Playful words: secret, hidden, unknown, forgotten, exciting…
Curiosities: celebrities, well knowns, news items, buzz words…
-Use something attention grabbing

The Bad: Interest Rates Are Unpredictable
The Good: The 4 Crucial Reasons You Don't Want To Wait On Interest Rates

Call To Action - What am I going to take away from this article?  Don't hide it in the body.

Improve on something
Teach something
Overcome something
Uncover something
-Just offer something

The Bad: The Real Estate Loan Broken Down
The Good: 5 Simple Solutions To Getting Organized For A Real Estate Loan

Description - Lay it all out there. 

Tell the whole story in a sentence
Avoid confusion with description
Avoid assumptions; your audience shouldn't have to guess what your writing about

The Bad: The Real Estate Transaction Is Not That Difficult
The Good: Exactly Why The Real Estate Transaction Process Is Easier Than Getting A Tattoo.

Keywords - Make sure you are being found for terms that match your focus.

Work your focus into your titles
The Title is the most weighted element in your articles search engine success
Search engines aren't going to give you credit for keywords, unless you include them

The Bad: Friends Don't Let Friends Pay 6%
The Good: Friends Don't Let Friends Pay 6% In Real Estate Commissions

The environment in which your headlines appear, and the impatience with which they are glanced, demands that you grab your audience by the collar and force them to notice you.  Otherwise, something else will get their attention, and you lose.

Bonus – Make your headlines look like headlines that are important, but not obnoxious.  Avoid using all CAPS and avoid writing in lower case.  Think magazine headlines: They Look Like This.

Related Must Reads:
9 Examples Of How Blogging Will Have You Overcoming Real Estate Objections
7 Crucial Tips To Developing Real Estate Blog Copy That Gets Read
How F Street Will Have Readers Returning To Your Blog

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Comments

Thanks, this post was extremely helpful. I know I am guilty of some bad headlines!

Always more to learn. Thanks tomato

I love how you continue to remind us and make us think and not just write the first thing to come into our heads.

Never forget to use our imagination. Now if I could just come up for some original headlines for listings posts that don't sound too campy- I just might get the hang of this.

Well done!

Great stuff, Jim. I especially like the "avoid confusion with description." I have found that my most effective posts are those where I have managed to tie in the headline very closely with the content. A catchy headline that doesn't line up with content might get clicked on, but not read by the user.

Jim, This is a very good post and I am working right now with Chris and he is directing me as to what I am writing. " You are not going to leave just a bunch of words for such a great writing" Chris said". So get with it William and treat Jim right and he will add you to his Blog roll".

Another great reminder. Thanks Jim!

--Roberta Murphy

Two days ago I put "Paris Hilton" in a blog title. It was a stupid little nonsense post. Got traffic from all across the planet....

Super post Jim!!

Jim,
As usual, a great post with rock-solid info. I've been amazed at what headlines can do. You've got some great reminders I am going to save for easy reference

I love those quirky headlines and find that they are not very effective since only I get it. When I follow your advice, it makes a huge difference in the visits I get. Thanks for reminding me to stick to the tried and true.

Nicely done Jim.
I am a newer writer and am just taking in all of the rules and proper format of doing thing. It's a lot harder then I ever thought it would be. But I am enjoying myself either way. It helps me;(hopefully this will help someone else) to practice practice practice. So I tend to post on newer and smaller sites like einformationsource. This site lets my work gain increase visibility and get me feedback so help me be a better writer.

This was a great article. I will certainly take more time to evaluate my headlines. I didn't realize the significance to the search engines. Thanks for sharing!

thanks for info, I am just starting both w/blogging & in real estate business,you message will be very helpful

Ok. I'm new so I'll play devil's advocate. Real estate is "serious" business, not something to make light of. If I'm buying a house, I'm not going to read zany headlines or those that reference a tatoo. Sorry, but that's just me.

Oh... but John, I did get you to read the whole thing... and you did make note of the one "zany" headline I posted. Which leads me to believe that you certainly would have clicked on it. That's all I need... the click. You mentioning it, thats the magic.

Got me Jim. But remember, I'll read anything of yours because you're the "blog guru." ;)

Anyway, great post. I have to admit that I love writing headlines. But it's tough to balance SEO & grab the reader's attention. I guess that's why they call it an "art."

Hi Jim,

I started a headline serious last Thursday on my Active Rain blog. I got a lot of my ideas from CopyBlogger, but I felt I could add more to it. This blog is something I am going to link to, because it's exactly what I have been looking for with my blogs.

You Rock! :)

-Lisa Udy

The following is a slight adaption of Jim Rohns Quote:
Q: Why do people Blog/Headline badly?
A: Because that which is easy to do is also easy not to do. Clearly I must bring my brain when I come to train!

Now headline is something I have to focus. A catchy and good one.

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