October 17, 2013
“On average, five times as many people read the headline as read the body copy. When you have written your headline, you have spent eighty cents out of your dollar.”- David Ogilvy
If you have an interesting, well-written article that you are proud of, you are going to want people to read it. So, you post it to your blog or share it via social media- but is that really good enough? The chances of people actually reading it are not very high unless you throw in a few attention-getters to spark their interest. One way of doing this is coming up with a clever, appropriate title for your article.
Think of your headline as an advertisement for your body copy.
In a world of infinite options, your headline has to stand out if you want to convince your audience to read and reply to your copy. In fact, an average of 8 out of 10 people will read headline copy, but only 2 out of 10 will read the rest. How do you turn a browser into a reader?
Here are some tricks to writing great headlines:
Questions are a great way to get your audience involved. However, using them in a headline can be risky. You want to make sure your question is directly related to your article and not clever or random. Chances are, your audience is looking to have their question answered, not sitting around trying to answer yours.
Numerals stand out in headlines because they are surrounded by words. They look different. They also suggest your article will be in a list format, which some people prefer. Numbers like 3 and 5 are commonly used, so to stand out even more you could throw in numbers like 9 or 13.
Think about what a reader is wanting to get out of reading your article, then think about what a reader will probably actually get. You want to describe your content well without promising too much. Here are some examples of adjectives that have been proven to work best:
beautiful, best, brilliant, epic, essential, excellent, fails, fantastic, free, gorgeous, important, inspire, killer, lousy, mindblowing, persuasive, simple, successful, ultimate, valuable, effortless
Offer useful information.
Keep it simple and straightforward.
Include an exciting announcement.
Use the “how to” approach.
Clearly state the benefit of reading the article.