The internet is saturated with great content. So how do you make sure people click on yours? The importance of a good headline can’t be overstated. No matter if your content sits on social media sites, your blog, or an external site, you need your audience to click on your headline to read more so that you can grow your brand.
Sites like Upworthy and Buzzfeed run off of headlines users can’t help but click. This blog takes a look at some of the tactics that can make your headlines irresistible.
When you write a headline, don’t do it with the purpose of selling to your audience. Instead, focus on drawing in readers and encouraging them to read the rest of the content. You must also ensure that the headline accurately represents the rest of the content and is not misleading. The majority of Americans believe the headlines they read. Fake or “click-bait” headlines can give your brand a bad reputation.
Melanie Duncan’s 4U formula is the perfect plan to get readers to click every time. This formula encourages headline writers to focus on creating copy that’s “useful, urgent, unique, and ultra-specific.”
A headline that’s useful offers users something they need, whether it’s educational or entertaining. Once you understand what’s useful to your audience, you can offer them what they’re looking for with a headline that offers a problem and a solution. The types of content that are usually considered “useful” are listicles and how-to pieces.
A headline that’s urgent pushes users to click. You want to make users believe they’re missing out if they don’t click on this (seemingly) time-sensitive content. Urgency doesn’t always always apply to all content, nor does it have to. You can skip adding this “U” if it doesn’t make sense for your piece of content or your brand voice.
A unique headline, for its part, will stand out amongst the pack. Their difference piques the user’s interest and drives him/her to click. “Unique” words could include puns, wordplay, humorous topics, etc. The Onion is great at creating clever headlines. Here are a few examples:
Finally, an ultra-specific headline makes it very clear what the user can expect when he/she opens the piece of content. Using numbers in your headline can help with this, as can better defining your topic to be more niche. Here’s a relevant example:
Now that you know the emotions you should evoke and address with your headlines, here are some of the specific formats from which to choose:
Having trouble thinking of an intriguing headline or format? Read this blog post for help on how to come up with a blog name.
6. Compare Two Seemingly Different Items. Doing an unusual comparison can intrigue users to figure out how the two relate. Most people wouldn’t put vodka and “health benefits” together, for example, but this example article does just that:
To employ this type of headline, start by thinking about myths you can burst in your industry.
7. Use Keywords in Your Headlines.We’d be remiss if we didn’t mention that you should always try to use your target keyword in your headline. Keywords attract more traffic to your piece, and because they’re probably popular terms, you can also rest assured that you’re writing about a topic your audience cares about.
8. Try to Use Between 16-18 Words. The highest- converting headlines have between 16 and 18 words. And although this many words won’t work in all situations, it is something to consider for blogs and long-form content.
Your headlines could be the key to gaining more traffic, leads, and customers. A great headline makes users want to read your content. Bad headlines make them skip over your content altogether. Use these tips to write headlines that convert. Keep in mind that you may have to write several headlines before you find one that works (and that you may need to A/B test them if you’ve narrowed down your choice to two or three options).
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