In a world full of noise, how do you rise above it? How do you get people to read your content? It begins by creating great headlines. Whether it is a blog post, an eBook or an email, a strong title gets your readers to pause, read and share your content. As the famous advertising tycoon, David Ogilvy, once said, “only 1 out of 5 readers gets beyond your headline.”
Creating great headlines can make a difference on whether or not the effort you put into your content will pay off. This is especially important for small businesses that don’t have that much budget to spend on advertising and other paid marketing strategies.
No matter how outstanding your content is, if it lacks a strong headline, potential readers will not click it. It is like writing an amazing book and giving it a terrible cover. Without further ado, we share a few quick ways to help you start crafting a good headline.
Four Ways for Creating Great Headlines
Use Numbers to Offer Real Takeaways
In a 2013 study done by Conductor, it shows that one of the best types of headlines that resonate best with readers include a number. People are naturally drawn to numbers and lists. This is because the brain finds it easy to process. It immediately tells a reader that the format is going to be easy to digest. Numbers and lists also set an expectation and promise a quick solution to a problem. As Buffer’s Courtney Seiter said, “Numbers work well in headlines because humans like predictability and dislike uncertainty”.
Examples of catchy headlines with numbers:
10 Easy yet Effective Strategies to Drive Traffic to Your Website – by CoSource
10 Ways to Make Customers Fall in Love with Your Business -by Neil Patel
65 Habits that can Help Boost Staff Morale and Motivation – by Inc.
Find Resources for Inspiration
Creating great headlines can be difficult, but you can always take some ideas by exploring the type of subject lines that have worked for others time and again. Check out Content Marketing Up’s 100 Proven Headline Ideas. It is an excellent resource of title ideas which you can use for any topics you wish to write about.
For extra inspiration, do your competitive research. Find out what your competitors have written and whether they have published the same topic that you are planning to cover. Look up their headlines in Google and see how they rank. It would also be wise to look at newspaper and magazine headlines for inspiration.
Take Advantage of Your Customers’ Questions
Offer your customers the information they are actively seeking. For example, if you are running a digital marketing agency, common questions you may come across from customers include:
Why is SEO important?
How often should I post fresh content on my website?
How to create impressive social media graphics?
Using headlines like these resonate well with customers because it tells them straight to the point what they wanted to learn.
On the other note, asking a strange or funny question is another good way to pique your readers’ interest. Questions create a so-called curiosity gap that leaves your readers wanting more. Humans are innately curious. So in order to satisfy their curiosity, readers have to click on the headline and visit your blog post. When done correctly, this method can improve your click through rates.
Examples of catchy headlines using questions:
Why the Government Sucks at Making Websites – by Gizmodo
Would You Eat These Foods for Breakfast? – by BuzzFeed
Facebook Ads Targeting: Are You Speaking to an Empty Room? – by BMG
Brainstorm Potential Headlines
Often, the first idea that comes to mind is not the best. That is why it is important to brainstorm all possible headlines to give yourself different options. While it can be time-consuming to construct dozen of headlines for every content you are creating, this strategy allows you to mix and match titles together until you can come up with the best one.
If you have a team of content creators, let them pick the top three headlines you have created then ask them to vote. Chances are you will come to a clear consensus quickly.
For example, if you are writing about email marketing, a few titles you can use are:
5 Easy Steps to Successful Email Marketing
How to Run a Successful Email Marketing Campaign
Email Marketing Made Simple: A Step by Step Guide
Step-by-Step Guide for Better Email Marketing
Other Quick Tips
Avoid being salesy so you don’t get marked as spam. Don’t use a string of punctuation marks and overtly promotional language such as “buy now” and “free”.
Keep it short and sweet. Make sure your headline is scannable at a glance and the most important words are written at the beginning.
Convey a sense of urgency. Phrases like “48 hours left” or “discount expires tonight” encourage your customers to take action immediately.
Highlight the value you offer. Grab the reader’s attention by offering them something that is helpful.
Do you have great content to share? Let us help you prove it in your headline. Creating great headlines does not have to be challenging when you have the right team. Contact us to work on your content writing and content marketing!