Would you like to learn the secrets to crafting powerful headlines?
A good headline is the requisite to writing effective content as it is the first thing the reader sees. If it isn’t written properly then the reader will ignore your content and all your effort in writing it will go to waste, but if it is well written more people will read it. Even poorly written content can get more readers if they have a good headline. So to help you craft headlines that will convince more people to read your content I have listed out 13 tips below…
1. Mention a Benefit:
People read content that is going to benefit them in some way. It could be to help them solve a problem, to help them understand why taking a certain step is important, etc. So mentioning a benefit in the headline could convince them to read the rest of content to help them learn more about this benefit. So go through your content and find the most important benefit your audience will be interested in and add it to your headline.
2. Generate Curiosity:
Human beings by nature are curious creatures – this is one of the reasons why a good movie trailer or a wonderful book synopsis that creates suspense can convince readers to watch the movie or read the book respectively.
So try your best to generate curiosity for your readers, show them what’s to come in the rest of the content without revealing too much information in the headline. Generally mentioning the benefit should automatically generate curiosity.
3. Use Keywords:
Keywords can make your headlines extremely effective for these three reasons:-
a) SEO: Using keywords in your headlines will make the article appear higher in search engine results. For best results place the keyword right at the beginning of the headline or as early as possible.
b) Social Media: Using keywords in articles will make it easy for people to find them through social media search. It will also make it easier for people to add hashtags. This is good for content being shared on Twitter and maybe Facebook too (as the network is planning to add hashtags).
c) Your audience: Keywords will help your audience realize the content is for them instantly. For e.g. if someone is looking for an article on marketing with Twitter their mind will just switch on and look for any headline with the word Twitter and marketing in it and the rest will be ignored.
4. Keep them Short:
Keeping articles short is good for SEO as most search engines display headlines which are between 60 to 65 characters in length. It is also good for encouraging them to be shared on Social networks like Twitter. Even though your tweets can be 120 characters long, you have got to understand that people need space for hashtags, mentions, retweets, etc. Also short headlines can be quickly read which is good, as in these busy times people want something that they can read quickly.
5. Use Power words:
Power words have this ability to enforce and persuade people to read articles. These words can also make your headlines unique and can help them grab more attention. So use power words wherever you can. A few examples of power words are…
There are hundreds of other power words to choose from. Brainstorm a few after or before writing your content and check which ones would work best for your headline.
6. Make them Standout:
It’s important that your headlines standout from the rest of your content. They need to be easily seen and read. So make them as big as you can and use colours that are easily visible on a clear background.
7. Don’t use a full stop:
A full stop is used to show the reader that it is the end and that they need to stop reading. So if you use it in a headline it tells the reader to stop reading. As you want to show the reader that it is the beginning and you want to make sure they continue reading the rest of content after the headline you have to get rid of the full stop. This way they will likely read the rest of it.
8. Use numbers:
List posts with number can have a great persuasive affect on your readers especially if it contains a lot of tips.
An example is the post ‘101 Social Media Hacks: Magic Tips For Social Media Tools and Technology’ by Ian Cleary. As soon as you see the number 101 you want to read it instantly and learn what these tips are. Your post doesn’t have to contain 101 tips. Even if it contains as few as 3 tips it should be quite effective.
9. Ask a question:
Questions can be powerful triggers that can get people to read the rest of the content. This is one of the reasons why how-to articles are so popular as they are question headlines that lead to posts with answers. They show you how to do it. Keep in mind that you are not supposed to end with a question mark though as it has the same effect as a full stop which I mentioned in point 7. Question headlines can also help your blog posts get more comments.
10. Mention your target audience:
It’s important to mention your target audience or who the content is for in your headline. For e.g. in this post’s headline I mentioned that it’s ‘for your content’. This way it will attract readers who are writing headlines for their content – this could be any form of content blog posts, infographics, white papers, ebooks, etc. This will help me reach a wider audience. If I wanted to reach a smaller set of readers, like those writing blog posts I would have written ‘for your blog posts’.
11. Show Promise:
If you can promise your readers that you plan to share something really useful they have never heard of before they will want to read the rest. An example would be ’10 of my Secrets to Getting More Twitter Followers’ or ‘How I got …… in 5 days’.
These headlines show that you will be revealing unique tips that cannot be found elsewhere so they will really want to read the article and learn the tips.
12. Use Humour:
Everybody loves a good chuckle once in a while – so if possible add some humour to your headlines. Sports articles can provide inspiration for funny headlines. They do come up with some good stuff.
13. Brainstorm headlines:
You shouldn’t just use the first headline that pops up in your mind – however good it sounds. You need to spend some time brainstorming headlines. Before you start writing your content think of a few good headlines and use one of them, but as you continue writing think of a few more and when you finish writing it put your mind to it and just focus on your headlines and brainstorming as many as you can. Then go through the list of brainstormed headlines and pick your favourite one and use it as the headline.
Use all of the above techniques to create mind grabbing headlines that will get people to read your entire content.
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What process do you follow while writing headlines? Have you got any tips you would like to share with us? Please leave your comments below.