Any content writer will tell you that without a good headline your blog will fall flat on its face. The headline is your hook, and without it you can’t expect to gain much engagement. It’s dangerous to assume that your content and graphics can carry an article. A good piece of copy is what really gets you a loyal readership.
Sometimes headlines simply aren’t catchy or interesting enough. If you want to keep a serious tone then you will be more successful producing current and breaking news blog posts. However, if you’re making content about running a business, being an entrepreneur or any other general topic, it’s best to start pumping out the memorable headlines.
While writing and design are vital factors of content, the headline is the most important. Here are seven ways to keep your headlines fresh and interesting:
Numbers in headlines is a tried and tested method of getting people’s attention. A set amount of points seems upfront and honest with what your reader can expect from the article. They’re not going to click on ’32 Steps to Great Abs’ assuming there will be a quick answer.
For some bewildering reason, odd numbers perform better in headlines than even numbers. Are odd numbers more ‘alternative’ than the mainstream even? Possibly.
We’re not sure why numbers perform so well on posts but we suspect it’s because British people love lists. Going to the supermarket? Only once I’ve written a list the length of my arm, obviously.
We would promise the world to our readers if we could! And sometimes, we do. Promising to educate a reader on something valuable will guarantee engagement from your audience. It may not be as extensive as learning a new language, but if you can get better at producing content (or writing a great headline *wink wink*) by reading a short article then, why not?
If your reader feels dared to do something, the chances are they will probably do it.
What, Why, How or When
Using what, why how and when is similar to using a number. They are all trigger words that expect a response from the reader. Why and how are the most persuasive of the four if you’re looking for a reader reaction. Engagement is generally higher on these types of articles as people expect a response and click to get answers, rather than because they’re simply interested. Once the question has been posed there is a need to know – and that works in your favour.
Churning out the same content over and over isn’t going to grab anybody’s attention. It’s unique and original content that is the most shared online. Couple this with people that use their online presence to interact directly with their audience, and you’re looking at an unbeatable team.
Creating unique content can seem like climbing a mountain sometimes. It’s only when you’re trying to write it that you’ll understand the true meaning of writer’s block. And you’ll argue into the small hours of the morning that it is a thing, not something made up by writers so they don’t have to do work.
It might seem like broad subjects will have a higher reach because they will appeal to more people. In fact, the opposite is true. The more specific your headline is, the more likely it is that they will find what they are looking for in the article. You are also in danger of misleading the reader if your headline is too vague, so being specific is vital.
Creating a sense of urgency for the reader to see the article is the difference between them engaging and not engaging. Suggesting that a customer is losing sales by not doing something is essentially putting worry in their head. The business may then consider that they are actually losing sales, and now they must find out how to right this – luckily, your article is right in front of them.
If you take anything away from these points, please let it be this. If a headline doesn’t benefit a reader in some way they will pay no attention to it at all. Make sure your writing is giving readers a reason to continue. The first line is an indication of what’s to come and is the most important sentence; so make sure the rest of the article is just as interesting.
What rules do you live by to write great headlines? Leave your comments in the section below!