“On the average, five times as many people read the headline as read the body copy. When you have written your headline, you have spent
eighty cents out of your dollar.” – David Ogilvy
If you’re a business owner, you may already understand the importance of blogging. But what about the importance of your blog post’s headline?
Talk to any copywriter and they’ll tell you the headline is what makes or breaks your content. In fact, Upworthy (one of the Internet’s most popular sites) has their writers come up with 25 different headlines before they’re allowed to even start writing the content.
You could have written the most amazing blog post in the world, but if your headline stinks, no one is going to read it.
Creating your headline can be a pain, even if you’re a seasoned copywriter with tools at your disposal. Lucky for you, I’ve analyzed and compiled the strategies you can use to make your next headline successful.
1. Headlines should inform and entice the reader.
Many writers find coming up with a headline harder than writing the actual content. Why? The headline has to be creative enough that the user is enticed into clicking-through and reading. Yet, it can’t be too creative (or clever) or the user won’t know what they’re going to be reading. It also has to be informative, but not so much as to put the user off with its dryness.
The goal in writing a compelling, “click-worthy” headline is to find a good balance between enticing and informative.
Example of a headline not informing and enticing the reader: “11 Local Marketing Strategies”.
Example of a headline that is informing and enticing the reader: “11 Ways To Fast-Track Your Local Marketing Strategy”.
2. Don’t be too vague.
There’s a lot of noise on the Internet. In fact, over 2 million blog posts are published each day. As you can see, it’s easy to get lost in the digital kerfuffle (I like that word). In order to stand out, you need your headlines to be unique and specific. Doing so increases the perceived value of your content in the eyes of the reader when compared to other similar sources.
Example of a vague headline: “How to Wash Your Dog”
Example of a headline that is specific: “How to Get Your German Shepherd Clean in Under 10 Minutes”.
3. Create urgency.
We’re constantly being pulled in many different directions when it comes to how we should spend our time.
Think about how infomercials work. Their main selling strategy boils down to a few simple phrases: “Act now!”, “This offer won’t last long!”, “Don’t miss out!”
This strategy works because it forces people to make a quick decision. It doesn’t allow them to think too hard or long about the matter at hand. This can dramatically increase the number of people who read your content.
Example of a headline not using urgency: “Learn about Facebook’s New Algorithm Change”
Example of a headline that is using urgency: “Facebook Is Changing It’s Algorithm Tomorrow. Learn How to Prepare Now!”
4. When in doubt, use numbers.
There’s a reason Buzzfeed has become one of the top sites on the internet. Their headlines are just so darned good! One of the main reasons is because they almost always use numbers in their headlines.
It may sound too easy to work, but it does. When we read a headline with numbers, it allows our minds to break down the content into more manageable pieces, rather than one giant post. Also, list/numbered posts are easier to “scan” and get a general concept of what the content was about, thus saving the reader time.
Example of a headline not using numbers: “The Best Quotes on Entrepreneurship”
Example of a headline that is using numbers: “101 Quotes Every Entrepreneur Should Read”
5. Be personal and always put yourself in the reader’s seat.
Last but certainly not least, when you’re writing your headlines, always ask yourself, “What’s in it for the reader?” I don’t want to sound mean but, unfortunately, people care more about themselves than anything else.
A good way to leverage this strategy is by incorporating the word “you” into headlines to make it more personal. Remember, you’re trying to gain the most important resource a person has – time. People can always make more money and buy more possessions but they can never get back their time once its gone.
Example of a headline not being personal: “Free Stock Photo Resources”
Example of a headline that is being personal: “12 Free Stock Photo Resources to Make Your Site More Beautiful”
Creating headlines that pull users in and get them to read your content isn’t easy, but by using the tips above, it can be a lot less frustrating. Don’t feel obligated to incorporate every single strategy into your next headline. Rather, use them on a case-by-case basis as a way to make your headline more “click-worthy”.