Writing a headline that grabs readers’ attention can be tricky and time-consuming. You’ve probably heard the statistics a million times over: “Eight out of ten people will read your headline; only two out of ten will read the rest of what you wrote.” (CopyBlogger) … “Readers will only absorb the first and last three words of a headline.” (BufferApp) This doesn’t make it any easier. Follow these steps to create a headline that is guaranteed to get your content noticed.
Headlines are most appealing in the form of a simple statement. Any headline that asks a question can be answered with no. A great way to attract attention is with a numbered list.
E.g. “10 easy steps you can take that will help you create more quality content”
Using a numbered list gives the reader an idea of how long it will take to digest the content (Quicksprout). People are more likely to click on something that won’t take up a lot of time, so a short list works best paired with an adjective like “simple” or “easy”. Target keywords are the most important part of any headline as this is what people search for. And finally, the promise – what will they learn from this content?
Use this formula for high click rates:
Challenge assumptions that people have about themselves.
E.g. “5 ways to increase webinar attendance that you’re probably missing”
This creates tension between how the reader perceives themselves and what you’re telling them. They will want to read more, either to find out what they’re missing or to prove you’re wrong.
Create content that is consistent with how your buyer persona sees themselves.
E.g. “Content is the most important part of your marketing strategy”
People will read and share things that are reflective of how they see themselves. Sharing content relevant to their industry or role will reinforce their professional identity to their social media followers, possibly positioning them as a thought leader.
Offer something of value.
E.g. “If you enjoyed our webinar, you might be interested in downloading our full guide”
People are likely to click on something that will benefit them. Be sure to tell the reader what’s in it for them if they click on your headline. You don’t have to offer exclusive content – this method is equally effective when paired with the offer of learning a new skill or gaining valuable advice.
Establish what is normal for them and their peers and colleagues.
E.g. “4 types of content you should avoid”
Use words like “ought to” and “must” to exemplify the things a person should be doing. Content with a headline similar to this is likely to be consumed, as people want to remain up to date with the trends and developments of the industry that they’re in.
Whether you’re a beginner or an expert, it never hurts to make sure your headlines are as good as they can be. Above all, test what works for you. Measuring the click rates and shares of previous content will help you write headlines that are appropriate for your audience. Follow these steps when giving your content a title and see shares multiply.