You might be wondering if headlines are important and we're here to tell you that they are. In fact, they're incredibly important. Five times as many people read the headlines as the body copy. Therefore you need to make sure that your headline is well written. I mean, there's a lot of content out there and not a lot of time to read it all. This is where writing an effective headline comes into play. Besides, it's your one and only chance to grab your reader's attention.
In fact, a new study shows that 55% of consumers actually read an article for 15 seconds or less. What's more, eight out of 10 people read an article's headline only. Obviously, there's a way to create an article that quickly grabs and holds their attention. The best way to do that? With a killer headline. The best way to think of the headline is that it's the foundation of your content.
How To Write Effective Headlines
If you want to improve your headlines there are a few tips you need to master first. The following tips will help grab the attention and attract visitors with ease.
1. It's Best To Start with A Working Title
There are a few things that can help you create a good headline. It should be unique, ultra-specific, useful, and convey a sense of urgency. Now sometimes it can be difficult to cover all of these in one headline, but you can at least try to use two of them. When it comes to crafting the perfect headline, you should always start with a working title. This will help you form the basis of your article and give you something tangible to work off of.
But you need to be careful. A lot of people have a tendency to confuse titles with topics. Topics are general and assist in forming the foundations of a variety of blog posts. Working titles are incredibly specific and can help steer the creation of a particular blog post.
Once you have your topic and perfected your subject matter, you should write down a number a working titles before you start to whittle it down to two or three potential headlines.
2. Make Sure Your Headline Is Accurate
Now that you've decided on a working title (or two) and the foundations of your blog post, it's time to refine your headline. You should always strive for the headline to be accurate and concise as you can. Accuracy is incredibly important when you trying to refine a headline. Why? Because it sets clear expectations for your readers.
The most important rule to headline writing is to respect the reader's experience. This is something you should always keep in mind when you refine your titles. If your headline sets expectations that the article doesn't deliver, you just might lose the trust of your readers. And as a result, this can seriously damage your brand and it's authority.
When it comes to letting your audience know exactly what your article is about, bracketed headlines just might be the way to go.
In a study of more than 3.3 million paid link headlines, HubSpot discovered that headlines with bracketed clarification such as [Interview], [Podcast], [Infographic] and [VIDEO] performed 38% better than headlines without.
3. Experiment with Formats and Formulas
You need to be accurate, clear, and concise when it comes to headlines. It's especially important when it comes to writing a compelling headline. However, there are lots of ways you can make them stand out.
- Try a listicle: The use of numbers in your headline promises something specific and helps give it a certain structure. So why does this work? Our brains love to organize information in a logical order. Listicles stand out, plus they're popular too.
- Use alliteration. Alliteration is fun and catchy. Plus it rolls off the tongue nicely. When you use alliteration you'll have a subtle yet powerful impact. For example, 'ways to write' reads pretty well.
- Focus on the whos and not the whys. There's nothing wrong with adding 'why' in your headline. But if you can, try to use 'who' instead. According to research, headlines that include the word 'who' get a 22% higher CTR than those that don't.
- Use trigger words. Trigger words are great at compelling people to take action. Words like: free, new, proven, easy, and secret.
- Use interesting adjectives. They can prompt a reader to click through to your article. Words to use: fun, essential, amazing, incredible, and effective.
Don't forget to optimize your headlines for search engines.
Aside from getting your customer's attention and encouraging them to take action, you need to also boost your search rankings. It's incredibly important to make it to the first pages of results on Google. Why? Because page one results get around 92% of web traffic for a particular keyword or term.
One of the easiest ways is to use the right keywords. You need to make sure that your main keyword naturally fits into your headline. It's also a good idea to place it towards the beginning of the headline too. You also need to make sure that you choose the best keyword in regards to your headline. If you need some help, be sure to check out Google's Keyword Planner. The video below gives a little how to on how to use the tool to your advantage…
Think about the character counts.
When it comes to writing a title tag that fits neatly onto Google's SERPS page (and performs better in terms of SEO) you need to aim for between 50 and 60 characters in length. Typically your title tag will be very similar to your headline. Since it dictates and describes the theme of your article or page. Therefore it's best to shoot for a character count that's similar to your headline.
According to recent analytical findings, headlines containing 8-12 words in length get the most shares on Twitter. Whereas headlines with 12 or 14 words get the most likes on Facebook. Considering these differences its best to use around 12-14 words each time.
You should also checkout CoSchedule's free headline analyzer. This will analyze your headlines strength and weaknesses. It also takes a look at the originality of the words you choose. It also gives you an idea of how your headline might be perceived.
When it comes to headlines, they NEED to be effective. Hopefully, these tips can help you create effective headlines for your articles. If you have any more headline questions, let us know in the comments below!