Drive Real Estate Website Traffic with These 10 Expert Blog Headline-Writing Techniques
By Matthew Bushery
About Inbound Marketing
“It ain’t whatcha write, it’s the way atcha write it.” Those words from Jack Kerouac still ring true today, in a world where content marketing drives businesses’ bottom lines and broadens awareness of their brands. You don’t need to be the greatest writer in the world to catch people’s attention. You simply need to be creative to do so — and it all starts with the headline.
Most people don’t read beyond the headline. That means even if your blog posts are articulate, illuminating, and entertaining, people won’t read it if there isn’t a catchy title. Ensure your blog post headlines attract visitors to your real estate website with these tried-and-true headline-writing techniques.
1) Use astounding, eye-catching, jaw-dropping, unbelievably enticing adjectives.
See what I did there? Use an adjective (or even two or three) that pique people’s curiosity so much so that they’re compelled to click on a post and check out your content.
Search the popularity of different adjectives in Google Trends to see which ones are popular and compare and contrast different options. Let’s say you write about housing market statistics you think your audience would like to know. Test out adjectives in Google Trends that make the stats seem like must-know ones to see which are ideal to include in your blog post title:
2) Offer some kind of guarantee to your readers.
“10 Open House Tricks That’ll Make Visitors Fall in Love with Your Listing.” “25 Surefire Ways to Get Buyers to Work with You.” Titles like these that promise readers solutions to problems or easy ways to accomplish tasks perform like gangbusters. Why? Because everyone wants to know the shortcut to success, regardless of whether it’s something small, like discovering ways to cook the perfect apple pie, or something big, like learning how to earn an extra $1,000 each month.
Find out what your audience is dying to know about, and develop titles they’ll want to click. For example, if sellers want to know how to start a bidding war over their residence, write a post about featuring sales tips titled something like “9 Tips Assured to Get You More Than the List Price for Your Home for Sale.” Of course, you need to actually provide worthwhile, expert advice in the actual post, but a great headline like that will draw in readers to your real estate blog.
3) Numbers are your best friend.
Content marketing software firm Ripenn analyzed more than 2,600 headlines from BuzzFeed, Upworthy, and other highly consumed websites, and found one in five viral posts from the sites featured numbers in them. That means blogging about new and interesting statistics from the latest housing, mortgage, and economic reports or highlighting a specific number of tips and tricks for buyers and sellers plays a critical role in click rates. Even writing promotional pieces — perhaps about how you sold a home for a certain percentage higher than the list price or how many homes you sold in the last year — could lead to significant traffic to your real estate website.
4) Answer your audience’s highly searched questions.
Readers tend to check out agents’ real estate websites, and particularly their blogs, to discover something they’ve been dying to know for some time. How to save for a home purchase, how to select a mortgage provider, what types of extra insurance to purchase — there are seemingly endless questions buyers and sellers have about home transactions and homeownership. Since they’re likely searching for their answers by typing in questions into Google, include the most commonly searched questions in your blog post headlines.
“The currency of blogging is authenticity and trust.”
— Jason Calacanis
Use a keyword research tool like Google AdWords’ Keyword Planner to identify what long-tail phrases are searched most online. They could be general ones, like “how to buy single-family home,” or more market-specific ones, such as “how to buy single-family home in Austin Texas.” Answering these questions for your audience will position you as a thought leader — and one they may turn to for answers regularly.
5) If experts contribute to your post, make it known.
Finding revered experts with substantial followings to provide quotes, analysis, or even guest posts for your real estate blog can be a big coup. Simply by including their name and even a couple sentences from notable influencers in your industry (or even out of it) can lead to significant traffic for your content, not to mention numerous social media shares.
Research big names in real estate, experts in the mortgage industry, and other noted business minds who you think would gladly provide insights for your content. Once you’ve interviewed them or received their guest entries, craft a title that explains what they explained. For instance, if you get a big influencer to talk to you, a headline like “Oprah Says Home Buying Should Rise, Thanks to a Growing Economy” (I doubt she’s a housing market expert, but you see where I’m going with this).
6) There’s nothing wrong with showing a little personality.
Ever read a company’s blog post and start to fall asleep? We can’t blame you — some professionals and brands just don’t know how to tell stories, engage audiences, and … well … keep readers from dozing off. Relate to your audience by crafting headlines that sound like they were actually written by a human being, not a real estate blogging robot. If you have a strong opinion on a particular subject you want to blog about, share your views in your title.
Take this recent Copyblogger post, for instance:
The article assuredly raised some eyebrows of site visitors and searchers who came across it, but it’s certainly an attention-grabber. People who see these headlines clearly know the writers in question are down-to-earth folks who don’t mince words or pull any punches. While you certainly don’t want to come off as arrogant or a know-it-all with your content, remember that it’s okay to be a little flashy.
7) Make your readers excited for your content.
In the same vein of catching people’s attention, you want to get them excited to read your content as well. Being outlandish is one thing — knowing how to pique visitors’ interest is a whole other matter. Find out what sparks your audience’s curiosity, what they’re passionate about, and what they go online daily to learn. Then, produce content with eye-popping headlines that make them instantaneously click on your blog post without even thinking.
Discover the content your audience craves by asking them. Send emails to a select group of leads and clients to learn what they want to read online regarding real estate and their local communities. If they mostly enjoy articles about up-and-coming restaurants in their neighborhoods, a piece titled “A Fresh Slice of Something Delicious Is Coming to [Market Name Here].” You get the picture.
Just remember that feedback for this type of content is key. Guessing your audience’s content preferences won’t improve your blog traffic.
8) When writing on a niche topic, target niche audiences.
Some topics you write about on your real estate website’s blog may need to target a very small segment of your lead database.
For example, if your audience is mostly interested in townhomes, produce the occasional post detailing interior decorating trends for townhomes or how the local townhome market is shaping up and make it known in the title exactly what readers will get. Titles like “12 Townhome Decor Tips You Need to Know” or “Interested in a Townhome in [Market Name Here]? Now’s the Time to Act” will appeal to this niche audience.
While they may not boost your blog traffic, these posts are just the kind of middle-of-the-funnel content that can get visitors to fill out forms and turn into leads. Once published, share the content with specific leads you know are interested in the niche topic in question via email.
9) Second-person voice makes your content seem personalized.
There’s nothing necessarily wrong with using third-person in a title, like “15 Signs Homeowners Should Put Their Homes on the Market.” But second-person — “15 Signs You Should Put Your Home on the Market” — makes your content more personable and can have a far more intimate impact on readers.
As noted by Melissa Tydell, a regular contributor for the writing advice blog The Write Practice, “Because it’s not often used, the second-person point-of-view feels fresh to readers.” People simply respond better when they’re singled out in headlines and content. This writing style makes it seem as if they’re getting advice or other information one-on-one.
10) Add in appropriate, popular, trending keywords.
As veteran inbound marketing-savvy real estate agents can attest, keyword research is an ongoing process of finding the long-tail terms your audience is searching for and incorporating them naturally into your content. Settling on one group of keywords to use for the next next six month isn’t an option.
Consistently combing through keyword planning tools to discover what’s appealing to buyers and sellers will allow you to target them by adding those terms in your blog headlines. If local buyers want to know about single-family home prices in certain neighborhoods, you’ve been handed a blog post topic assured to bring in traffic on a silver platter.
Optimize the post with the most relevant keywords and ensure the most pertinent long-tail term is added to the title.
The Real Estate Marketing Guide to Keyword Research will help you determine which real estate keywords to use in your content.
What kind of content do you prefer writing about for your real estate website? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.
Published on September 17, 2014
Written by Matthew Bushery
I'm the Sr. Content Creator for Placester, where I educate real estate professionals about modern marketing and, in turn, help agents and brokers make the most of their online presence, earn more traffic, and generate more leads and business.