7 Simple Secrets to Writing Catchier Headlines
Writing headlines can be confounding, but it’s possibly the most pivotal moment of content creation. Magnetic headlines can draw in readers – even when your content isn’t all that strong. But headlines come in different forms, like email subject lines and snappy posts on social media. With SEO, there’s also the consideration of using keywords – there’s a lot that can go into writing a headline, but it’s well worth the extra effort. When written consistently well, headlines can transform your digital marketing efforts.
While some may shrug off the importance of headline writing, there’s solid data from all over that validates their importance. According to CoSchedule, 8 out of 10 people in an audience might read a headline, while only 2 out of 10 people will then click and read the content. That’s a very small conversion, but that also means all of your other marketing efforts will be futile if you fail to write a convincing headline.
Even if you’re not a gifted writer, you can still improve your headline writing with these simple tips below.
- Using numbers in a headline is scientifically proven to increase engagement. Including numbers and data in a headline is basically a cheat code, as it makes great use of human psychology. People are simply drawn to numbers, and they’re often more powerful than words. Everyone understands numbers, especially smaller numbers and even numbers. According to the Content Marketing Institute, the brain seems to believe odd numbers more than even numbers, as they seem more natural than even numbers. Another important aspect of using numbers in headlines is that you should always use the digits rather than writing out ‘Seven’ or ‘Five’. Digits provide an easy way to break up text and make it more digestible, and nearly everyone can quickly recognize numerals, no matter what language they speak.
- Write a lot of different headlines! A lot of famous outlets will say that they require up to 50 or more headlines to be proposed for an article. While that might seem over the top, these outlets also A/B test their headlines for maximum effectiveness. While you may not have the time or resources to do this, it’s a good exercise to write a lot of different headline variations because not only will you end up with stronger headlines, you’ll also improve as a headline writer. You might not need to write 50, but the more the merrier.
- Insert rationale into your headlines. What we mean by this is that you need to give your audience a good reason to read your content. What do you have to offer to a reader? By inserting rationale into a headline, you can offer readers tips, tricks, secrets, lessons, facts, giveaways, strategies, or ways. For example, ‘10 Ways to Social Proof Your Website’ uses rationale in a great way. Everyone wants to discover secrets, so those interested in improving their digital marketing will likely click, read, and share.
- Apply a sense of urgency. Instead of ‘5 Ways to Grow Your Clientele’, opt for a headline such as ‘6 SEO Trends to Invest in for 2021’ or ‘5 Ways to Grow Your Clientele In One Week’. This trick has to do with the principle of scarcity, which can be a very compelling and motivating factor for some. When people view content with an urgent message, they may be quicker to react and respond to it. We live in an ever-changing world where success is fleeting, so if people believe you have the hottest new advice, they will listen.
- Use ‘You’ in your headlines to flag the reader and grab their attention on a personal level. Your competitors – whether B2C or B2B – are also writing unique headlines, so sometimes you have to meet the customer at their level. This means that you have to call them out directly with headlines like ‘Are You Using Marketing Psychology to Boost Sales?’ or ‘How You Can Increase Your Sphere of Influence’.
- Provide value to the reader. Your headlines should offer tangible value – whether that’s revealing secrets or strategies or urging an audience to avoid certain actions. After all, people typically search for information when they have a unique problem they need to solve – so the headline should also be simple and specific. For example, ‘How to Write Better Headlines’ is simple and the value is clear. Conversely, ‘Are You Writing Good Headlines?’, is posed as a question, which is not adding value, it is only fueling doubt in a reader. When people need solutions to problems, they don’t want to hear more questions, they want to hear solutions. For example, ‘Have You Reached Your LinkedIn Invitation Limit? Here’s How to Solve It’ is clear and provides a solution to a very defined problem. By reading the headline, the reader instantly knows what the article is about and how it might help solve their problem.
- After everything else mentioned above, remember to use your keywords. Despite the increasing prominence of social sharing, Google is still the primary traffic source for the majority of websites. If your SEO strategy lands your article on the first page of a search engine result, that’s great, you’ll likely not even need the best headline in the world. Simply appearing on that first page of Google results is likely enough to entice readers to your page, as audiences rarely ever go beyond that initial search engine result page. However, it’s best practice to always include an SEO keyword in your headline.
Writing headlines can be a real head-scratcher for some, but keeping things simple is often the best practice. Focusing on the benefit of your content while luring readers in with a unique spin is something that anyone is capable of with a little practice and effort.
Sometimes a second opinion can work wonders to improve headline writing, so please don’t hesitate to contact us if you’d like a little feedback. We’re always here to assist with your digital marketing efforts!