Will people consume your content or ignore it? As a small business publisher, the difference between those two outcomes starts with the headline. It’s not just a case of write it and they will read it. With so much content around, your headline must truly engage to attract attention. Here’s how to make sure it does every time.
First let’s look at why headlines are so important.
What’s the Big Deal About Headlines, Anyway?
With millions of blog posts published daily and a wealth of social media content produced every minute, people need a way to figure out what’s worth paying attention to. The headline is how they decide.
This applies when people search for information online, when they browse your website, and when they see your ads on other sites. The bottom line is that writing engaging headlines is the first step to attracting traffic to your website.
Clickbait or Clickable: Does it Matter?
- When thinking about engaging headlines, one issue that’s sometimes confusing is whether you need clickbait headlines or clickable ones. There’s a huge difference in the user experience between the two.
- Clickbait headlines are enticing, but most of the time they don’t deliver. If people click on a headline, visit your site and then don’t find what they expect, they’ll click away fast. That’s bad for your reputation, and it reduces your content’s prominence in search results.
- In contrast, clickable headlines make people want to click AND they deliver what visitors expect when they land on a web page. This validates the decision to click, and makes visitors more likely to stick around or return.
Tips For Headlines That Work
- Here are a few tips to guide the headline creation process. First of all, don’t be afraid to experiment with multiple headlines. Many publishers and bloggers write 25 or more headlines before picking the one they think will work best for a piece of content or ad.
- Next, keep headlines short. According to CoSchedule, the ideal headline length is six words or 50-70 characters. But don’t be afraid to go longer if necessary.
- Make sure your headline tells potential visitors what to expect. Whether you play it straight or use humor, readers want to know what they’re getting. Related to that, show the benefit, by letting them know how it will help them.
- You can also appeal to the emotions to entice people to click. Surprise, curiosity, simplicity, and urgency all make your headlines more interesting. This list of power words will help you get started.
Winning Headline Templates
BuzzSumo says that the most successful headlines contain words that relate to the post format, the type of content, emotions, a trending topic, and a promise to the reader, e.g. 25 Surprising Stats That’ll Make You a Marketing Genius.
There are some types of headlines that consistently engage audiences. These include:-
- The number or list headline, e.g. 4 Tips for Writing Engaging Headlines
- The how-to headline, e.g. How to Write Engaging Headlines for Your Articles
- The question-based headline, e.g. How Do Publishers Write Engaging Headlines?
- The command headline, e.g. Use These Tips to Write Headlines That Win Traffic
- The story headline, e.g. What Happened When I Wrote 25 Engaging Headlines
- The fear-based headline, e.g. Warning! These 5 Headline Types Will Tank Your Traffic
Use these as a starting point for creating your own.