According to the father of advertising David Ogilvy, people read the headlines five times more than they read the body of the content on average. It means you have spent 8 cents out of your dollar when you have written the headlines. He is saying; make sure your headlines count. How do you get people to read your piece of content? Of course, it takes more than good design or content. Writing a catchy heading is the most important part of writing an article. In fact, it is your entry into the world of your potential customers and readers. So you should begin your piece of content with a question, i.e., would this make me want to keep reading this article? If your answer is no, then don’t publish your article until you have got an irresistible headline. Concentrate on writing the more appealing headline, and you will get more buzz and more readers. Here’s how to write a headline.
What makes a good headline?
According to a study conducted by the Guardian, the following changes can help you increase the CTR (click-through-rate) of your headline:
- Headlines that contain eight words work 21% better than others.
- The CTR will be increased by 9% when you use colon or hyphen.
- Images and thumbnails can boost the click by 27 percent.
- Listicle posts work better, especially if the number is off. The odd-numbered article tends to do 20% better than an even-numbered article. However, number 10 has an exception.
- Studies suggest that the question headlines do better. The researchers discovered that the headline with a question mark works great if it referenced the reader with ‘your’ or ‘you’ as compared to rhetorical questions.
- If your headline ends with three exclamation marks, you will get two times more clicks on your post as compared to other punctuation. You can add too much, but you will lose your credibility in the end. So if you want to use an exclamation mark, use it thrice instead of one.
How to write a headline?
Writing more headlines is one of the secrets of the leading positive storytelling website Upworthy. They reach 80 million people every month is that they write plenty of headline variations. Every post that is published on their website has 25 different headlines. These posts are A/B tested to find the more shareable and clickable. They don’t care how lengthy their heading is, poor grammar, or headline writing conventions. They write a lot of heading variations and let science pick the frontrunner.
A/B test your headlines
If you want to learn how to make a good headline, you need to do an A/B test of your headlines. You should do a split test of your headlines to make them better. For instance, you can use Title split testing to make good headlines as it helps you create a lot of headline variations for every post you write. Moreover, it helps to increase CTR, which is around 1.5%.
Use numbers to give tangible takeaways
Use numbers in the headline because it gives concrete takeaways. For instance, when you go to the grocery store and buy a magazine. Look at the headlines of its front page; you will notice that either it is a tabloid or health magazine, they use numerals. However, there is no rule that which number works best. Usually, people remember 3 to 5 points, but sometimes abstruse numbers like 27 or 39 can catch the attention of the people. So, keep in mind that use the numbers arbitrarily and don’t overuse them. Add numerals to your headlines if your post has some key takeaways. It helps them make the takeaways more consumable.
Use why, how, what, or when
Why, when, and how are the trigger words. That’s why ‘how’ and ‘why’ are the most used words in the headlines. In order to make your headlines catchy, use either numeral or trigger words. In rare cases, both do better.
Make an audacious promise
Promise something that should be valuable to your reader. Will you encourage him to do something he’s never done before? Do you want to unleash your potential? What you want to do is urge your reader to read your article till the last line. So be seductive, be bold and be dangerous. And then deliver what you have promised to your readers.
Create a sense of urgency
Create a sense of urgency through the headline. All you need to append the words like ‘today’ or ‘now’ at the end of the headline. For instance, 9 tips to generate website traffic right now is more captivating than ‘9 tips to generate website traffic.
Alternatively, you can also imply the effects of ignorance to create a sense of urgency, like 7 mistakes you don’t want to make when losing weight.
Call for attention
The purpose of a catchy headline is to get your readers to read the first sentence. That’s why your headline should have a call for attention-means concentration and mental focus on a given task. Bear in mind that your readers are humans with various things vying for their attention. The span of people’s attention has been decreased every year. Statistics states that an individual’s attention span is just 8.25 seconds. Either you are a small business or a large enterprise, engaging the readers with great content is one of the ways to acquire and retain customers. The great content starts with an engaging headline that grabs the attention of the readers.
Write few words as possible
Try to choose a few words as possible for your headline like BBC does. They write punchy yet short headlines that contain six or less than six words. Bear in mind that Google displays only 70 characters for the title in the search results. So be mindful when you write the headlines. The character limit should not be more than 70 characters. However, it’s probably complicated to some degree.
Write something catchy that people will want in their feeds
You must consider the unique challenge, which is whether the people would want your headline popping in the newsfeeds of their friends. Jonah Berger writes in his book named ‘contagious’ that people share things to create and gather the social currency. In short, we can say that we all share things that make us look cool, worthy, and clever. We want others to see all these personal traits in us.
Use interesting adjectives
If you want to stun your readers with punchy headlines, use interesting adjectives. For an instant, ‘7 killer tips’ is far better than ‘7 tips’. Similarly, ’10 surprising facts’ are somehow better than ’10 facts’. Moreover, when you use interesting adjectives, it adds emotions to your headlines that grab the reader’s attention.
Conduct a poll
If you are a writer or your editor assigned a task to you, it might be the right time to take advantage of them. Make a list of headlines and conduct a poll and ask others to decide which headline fits best. Choose the one which is the top choice of your colleagues.
Make your headline accurate
Once you have decided what will be the title of your post, the foundation of your article, or your landing page is starting to take shape, then refine your blog’s headline. Always make your headline accurate and as concise as possible. Accuracy is essential when you are trying to refine your blog headline as it sets a clear outlook for the readers. For example, ‘The Top 10 Fashion Trends To Try In summer 2021, According To The Runways’ may encourage plenty of clicks unless you have found some other hottest fashion trends that will be more popular; it may be a little over the top (OTT). Moreover, a title like this one is also too long. You may write it as, top 10 best fashion trends from summer 2021 fashion week.
Question headline comes with various benefits like you can leverage a psychological effect by asking a question in the headline. It causes the reader’s mind to take to the next level, i.e., wonder or answer of this question.
Questions come with a lack of completeness that makes the reader more curious and causes tension. In this digital era, people are using their voices with their fingers to search for the answers to their questions. And they ask for full sentences and complete sentences. Google connects people to your content if you ask questions.
It is hard to focus on what works with emerging content marketing strategies every single day. That’s why people in digital marketing are so disciplined and smart. They understand how great content important is and how it can get leads fast. There is no doubt that the headline is the key element of your content, regardless of its format. The introductions, sun headings, CTA are also equally important. Your focus should be to educate the readers and your customers with new things. Only clicking on the headline is not enough. Your readers should read the information in the article body as well.