Once you’ve gone to the effort of creating an article, a video, an email marketing campaign, a blog post or anything else that you can share online, add an attention-grabbing headline to draw in the maximum possible number of readers.
The online world moves fast. In an effort to keep up with what’s going on in my industry, every morning I do my best to skim through the blogs that I have subscribed to, read what people are tweeting about and review the new discussions from my LinkedIn groups.
If you’re similar, think about how quickly you decide whether or not to read an article or move on to the next one.
What makes you stop skimming to start reading?
Generally because there is something in it for you. Something you will get that is valuable to you. You assess level of value based on the words used in the headline. Certain words make you recognise that the article is relevant to you, and other words make you want to read it.
Just like a headline in a newspaper helps you decide which articles to stop and read, a well written online headline catches your attention and makes you want to click on a link to read more.
Whereas headlines used to be the realm of copywriters, everyone who promotes something online now needs headline writing skills.
In fact, your ability to write strong, attention grabbing headlines will give your articles the power to pull clicks, drive visitors to your website and, if your website is effective, generate new business opportunities.
All that from a few well chosen words? Yes! It’s possible.
When writing headlines:
- Think about your target audience (the people who you want to read your content). Write the headline based on what’s in it for them. Read more about writing benefit driven, reader focused copy.
- Be specific and clear. Adding the keywords that your target audience would look for to your headline can add clarity and relevance.
- Make sure your headline matches the major topic of the article, video or whatever it is promoting. It’s really annoying when you’re drawn in by a false promise of what is to come.
Sometimes it’s easier to write the article first and then write the headline, once you are absolutely clear about the content of your article.
It might be necessary to edit or rewrite the headline based on where you’re using it.
- On Twitter, you only have 140 characters
- If you’re starting a LinkedIn discussion or news article, you get around 200 characters but aim to be succinct and clear. Tweaking your topic using headline writing skills may help people choose to become part of your discussion, rather than skimming past it to the next one.
- For Google AdWords ads you only get 25 characters
9 Ways to Write Headlines that Pull Clicks
There are lots of different headline writing formulas available online. Here are some of the ones I use regularly. Try writing a few different headlines for your next article, using some of the styles below. Review the list a day or so later to pick out the headline you like the most.
1. Include strong, simple words that attract interest. “How”, “These”, “Why”, “Which”
How to Write Compelling Headlines
Why all Articles Must Have a Compelling Headline
These Headlines Pull Clicks
2.Ask a thought-provoking question.
The question can have a “yes” or “no” answer or be written to get people thinking. Be a little bit intriguing to draw your readers in.
Would you like to increase the number of people who read your articles and tweets?
Are you getting maximum value out of the articles you write?
3.Start with a number and an adjective and then describe your article
9 Proven Methods of Writing Headlines that Pull Clicks
9 Simple Ways to Write Compelling Headlines
4.Write a command. Tell your readers what to do in a non offensive way.
Add a Compelling Headline to Every Article You Write
A Great Article Must Have a Compelling Headline
5.Use an offer as the headline.
State what you are giving away and how long the offer is available. “Free ” is a power word, include it if appropriate.
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6.Include words that call out to your target market.
Why All Small Business Owners must be able to Write Compelling Headlines
Discover the Headline Writing Skills that LinkedIn Users Need
7.State what you’re writing about. Be clear and succint.
Articles with Compelling Headlines are Read by more People
Without a Well Written Headline, Your Article is Wasted
8.Start with an introductory word.
My favourites are “at last”, “now”, “because” and “isn’t it time”
At last, an easy way to write compelling headlines
Now everyone can write compelling headlines
Because every business owner should know how to write compelling headlines
Isn’t it time you learned how to write compelling headlines?
9.Testimonial style headline; Use a quote from a client as your headline
By writing compelling headlines, Company X’s articles are read by 63% more people
From now on when you read tweets, blogs and discussions and view online videos, take a moment to re-read the headline that made you want to read more, and think about what elements made you click through.
Next, start practicing. Use different headlines. Find out what works for you and which style you’re most comfortable with.
Melinda aka Mel is a Premier Google Partner, AdWords & Analytics Consultant, Speaker and Trainer and co-owner of Click-Winning Content. Mel provides results-driven services to Australian businesses and is committed to never using an acronym without explaining it first. She also likes grand slam tennis, cracked pepper and Melbourne sunsets. Please connect at the links below.