“On average, five times as many people read the headline as read the body copy.” – David Ogilvy
With such a staggering percentage of people failing to read past your headline, it’s pretty clear that the title is your one shot to grab your reader’s attention and to have your message resonate long after.
With affiliate sites to promote, products to sell, and clients to sign, business owners find themselves increasingly dependent on quality copy to convey their message. But without that attention-grabbing headline, the likelihood is that very few eyeballs will land on their content and, most importantly, their call to action.
The importance of a headline
We use headlines throughout our online businesses; websites, social media announcements, flyers, online advertisements, newsletters, and blogs. In fact, we see them everywhere. And no matter which of these mediums you may use, creating an effective strategy to catch people’s attention is crucial.
But the real reason headlines are so important is that they set the tone for what is about to come. Just as first impressions are so important in person, this theory also rings true with regards to the written word. And we all know that you never get a second chance to make a first impression.
Psychologists have long since proven the fact that the first few moments of any interaction go a long way in influencing our opinions and decisions. These impressions can be nearly impossible to reverse or undo, so getting it right upon the first few seconds of your reader’s visit to your content is vital. Don’t waste the opportunity to turn one-time visitors into loyal supporters; kick off the encounter with a strong message.
The structure of a headline
A good headline can cut through the noise of advertising, so your message stands out from the crowd. It will grab the attention of readers and should pique their curiosity enough that they will venture into the first paragraph.
But how do you write an intriguing headline that will captivate your readers?
Tip #1 – Use specific numbers in your headline
Incorporating specific numbers into your headline is an effective way to entice your readers with the assurance of something finite. In a world of vague promises and diluted words, a specific number holds the promise of truthfulness and precision. Not only that but our brains are hardwired to automatically organize information into a logical order. So seeing a title with a number in it tends to reassure the reader that the content to follow will be an organized list with and easy to read structure. Music to the ears of your subconscious.
For example, the title ‘Write Blog Conclusions like a Pro’ could be far more enticing by simply tweaking it a little to become ‘7 Tips to Writing Blog Conclusions like a Pro’.
Headlines with numbers generate 73% more social shares and engagement.
Tip #2 – Use trigger words to grab your reader’s attention
A trigger word is one that immediately taps into a reader’s subconscious initiating a process or a course of action. If you know your audience, and what they want from your content, then figuring out which trigger words to use should be quite easy.
Here are a few examples
- Instant – 3 Steps to Instant Organic Traffic
- Free – Free Graphic Design Tutorials
- Reasons – 9 Reasons SEO is Vital for your Small Business
- Convert – How to Convert Blog Readers into Customers
Used correctly, trigger words can turn a mediocre headline into something altogether more click-worthy.
Tip #3 – Help resolve an issue
The most popular content you will find online is always that which solves a problem. How many weight loss or how to get a job headlines have you seen in the last week?
Play ‘Doctor Blogger’ and help resolve an issue. Readers are always looking for help in many aspects of their life and business and shedding some light on likely problems they may encounter is always worthy of grabbing their attention.
A title like ‘Get Rid of Writers Block’ is ideal as it hits on a pain point and promises a solution.
Tip #4 – Your headline should be useful
This simple tip may be the most important of them all. People want to know how reading your article will benefit them. Producing a witty title may get a few chuckles, but unless it communicates a reason for readers to get to the meat and bones of your content, it’s pretty pointless.
Your audience needs to know that their time spent reading the article will provide them with the information that will solve their issues or help them on their path to success, happiness, or just the perfect pot stew.
‘How to Increase Your Sales Funnel Conversion Rate Immediately’
‘Step by Step Process for Writing a Small Business Plan in 30 Minutes’
They don’t want to be tricked into reading something uninteresting; they want to be drawn into something exciting and advantageous for them, which brings us along nicely to the final tip.
Tip #5 – Avoid titles that look like clickbait
You know the headlines we’re talking about
‘He put a piece of cheese in the dryer, and then this happened’
Yeah, he called the dryer company to ask if the warranty covers acts of stupidity. These types of headlines are all that is wrong with online content these days so please don’t do it. You will instantly lose credibility, and anyone that does click through to your content will probably feel disappointed that it failed to deliver the miracle/punchline that the headline promised.
To sum it all up we’ll just remind you that when writing a headline, you need to be aware of the long-standing truth of falling prey to ‘judging a book by its cover.’
As you can guess, this happens when readers allow the headline to be the sole factor in their decision to either read your article or to seek out the next. And this is why it pays to spend as much time as possible researching, crafting, and tweaking your headline.
A little tool we love to use here at Gecko Create is Coschedule’s Headline Analyzer. It gives your headline a score based on the words used, sentence complexity, and even the number of characters. Use it wisely.
So now you’re armed with all this knowledge we expect nothing less than awesome headlines for all your content. And if you have any questions or would just like to show off your headline writing chops, leave a comment or brag in the comments below.