You can write the most interesting and compelling blog post, but if the supporting thumbnails and headlines are not attractive, it will probably not perform as expected. Here are 4 tips to make your blog posts more attractive by optimizing thumbnails and headlines.
Choosing the right thumbnail
Use a picture that speaks to users
To be eye-catching, your thumbnail has to be colorful and of high-quality. But more than that, your thumbnail has to be representative of your content. Just like a movie trailer, a thumbnail is a kind of teaser that gives your audience an idea of what you are sharing. Moreover, it has to show something that tempts your audience to access the rest of the story.
Some content writers use highly emotional pictures for their thumbnails, even when the pictures do not match the content. This kind of “mean” trick is unproductive because the thumbnail is irrelevant and the audience feels swindled. Even though searching for the right pictures can take a lot of time, you should always use an appropriate thumbnail.
Use a common reference
Common references help peak interest in your audience by creating a link between your blog post and reader. Readers are more inclined to discover your article, because they have been touched by a familiar visual content. Fictional characters such as Santa Claus, or historic moments such as the first time man landed on the moon, are a few examples of the unlimited number of common references you can use. These common references should be used in an offbeat way to create unique visuals.
For example, take a look at this thumbnail from one of our articles about Google Panda 4.0 and content quality. As you can see, we used a fictional character from Dreamworks’ animation movie, “Kung Fu Panda,” to illustrate an article about the Google Panda 4.0 update. SERP on the background and “Google” highlighted on the Panda’s chest help to adapt character to topic.
Writing the perfect headline
Using numbers in your headline is a way to be transparent with your audience. Headlines like « 7 ways to » or « 3 best practices » tell your audience exactly what they will find in your blog post. You can also use digits to highlight the main idea of your headline by integrating relevant statistics such as « 20% of Facebook users are ». These practices are efficient and easily digestible because audiences quickly get an idea of your blog post topic, and they are encouraged to click and to read your post.
Headlines with negative words get a lot of clicks because they contain a forbidding idea. By dealing with « no », audiences wants to know « why not ». Moreover using negative words is more imaginative. There are a lot of blog posts which have headlines that tell the audience what to do, but there are fewer blog posts that explain what you should not or must not do. It is a way to analyze problems from a different perspective.
To dig in deeper, take a look at this infographic from Quicksprout which explains the elements of a good headline.