Did you know that headlines are one of the reasons people continue to read articles? The headline is a powerful weapon in our arsenal for catching our audiences attention. You may have written an excellent article, but however well researched and interesting it is, it may be overlooked if you don’t write a catchy headline.
The headline is the gateway to the rest of the piece, the first thing that makes an impact on readers, and as such it should capture the essence of what they will find when they continue reading. Why are attractive headlines important? According to Brian Clark, founder of Copyblogger Media: “Eight our of ten people read the headline, but only two out of ten read the whole article”. Are you beginning to see how important it is? In order to help you write catchy headlines, here are a series of tips.
Before writing the headline…
You should bear in mind a series of aspects before writing the headline:
- Who is your audience? Knowing who your audience is, and what their interests are, will help you get better results. Ask yourself, who am I addressing? What do I want to tell them? What do I want to get across? Knowing your target audience is crucial to attaining your objectives.
- Define a style. Once you are clear on who your audience is, you should define the style you want to use to address them. Writing headlines for a travel blog is not the same thing as for a blog on economics or politics. At this point you can see which work best by combining more audacious headlines with ones that aim to answer questions or give advice. Once you have published a series of articles you can see which have been most popular. You will be able to see this especially on social media such as Twitter, where headlines are what draw audiences to click on your link.
- Be coherent. There’s no point in writing a catchy headline which gets lots of traffic if the content is totally unrelated. Make sure the headline clearly explains what readers are going to find if they click on the link: an infographic, advice, an ebook, tips… Offer readers what you’ve promised in the headline, if you don’t, you’re credibility will suffer.
- Be brief. Although the shortest headlines aren’t always the best, they do catch the reader’s eye and are more memorable. This is important when sharing on certain social media such as Twitter, where you are only allowed 140 characters. For SEO purposes, try and cut the headline down to 55 characters or less.
- Keywords. Once you know what you’re going to write about, don’t forget to include the keyword or words in the headline, as close to the start of the headline as possible.
5 types of headline that work
There are different types of headline depending on the type of article we are writing, although we can’t know which is going to be a hit, we do know that there are a series of headlines that work most of the time.
- Headlines that include questions. Write headlines in the form of questions so readers want to know the answer or continue reading. Who wants to leave questions unanswered? Headlines work when they spark the reader’s curiosity. Examples: “Is The Community Manager The Profession Of The Future?”, “Are We Addicted To Smartphones?”, “Are We Prepared For The Technology Of The Future?”.
- Enumerations. Headlines with enumerations summarise the information we are going to provide in the article in a clear and direct way, so the reader knows what they are going to find. Examples: “5 Tips On Being More Productive”, “20 Marketing Experts You Should Be Following”.
- Headlines which provide solutions. When you know your target audience and their interests, you also know what their concerns are. Use that knowledge to write eye-catching headlines that invites them to solve their doubts. Examples: “How To Run Campaigns On Twitter And Facebook?”, “What To Do With My Blog In Summer?”, “Tricks To Get More Visits On Your Blog”.
- Headlines that showcase benefits. If for example you are selling a product or you want to get people to register for a webinar, showcase the benefits in the headline. Example: “Sign Up And Learn How To Manage Your Social Networks For Beginners” Users know that this content is for beginners and can learn what they need by taking this course.
- Headlines that spark curiosity. Headlines that spark readers’ curiosity are very attractive. Try and write headlines that make the reader want to continue reading. Example: “How To Get More Followers Without Investing Money”.
These are just some of the different ways of writing eye-catching headlines. Now it’s up your imaginations depending on what you want each headline to achieve. Well, now you know that most of your readers may get away thanks to a badly written headline, are you now convinced of the importance of writing good headlines?
Cristina holds a degree in Journalism and a master’s degree in Political and Business Communications. She has three years’ experience writing posts for blogs and websites on digital marketing. With past experience as a Community Manager, she currently works as Social Media Manager, managing strategy, programming and advertising and corporate blogs.
Follow Cristina on Twitter: @cristinatarodo