If you lack in clicks and engagement on your content or articles, you may find that your unimaginative headline is the culprit. No matter how great your writing is, it can be easily let down by a poor quality headline.
Think about it from a visitor’s perspective. When they arrive at the site of your content, the first thing they’ll see is the headline. They’ll use this to get a general idea of what the page is about. If it isn’t captivating enough, they’ll likely to click away and view something they deem more attractive. This will not only deter potential readers, but will also drastically reduce the likelihood your content's ability to getting shared or bookmarked.
What makes a headline compelling?
It grabs attention
As already suggested, attention is the key. Grabbing your reader’s attention is the first step in getting them to read further content.
It targets your demographic
If your headline encompasses the interests and traits of your demographic, it’s more likely to peak their interest than a generic headline would. People are driven by their own interests, so if they feel the headline is relevant, they’ll likely take a look.
It generates interest and wonder
Grabbing their attention is just the beginning. You’ll need to ensure your headline can get the user to click the article and begin reading. Leave something out, such as an important punchline or a fact, to persuade them to read on.
It promotes something people want
Try to focus on what readers of content without your industry will want, whether it's news, rumours or even information that could improve their lifestyle. Do your research and find out what’s trending to give visitors the content they came for.
Categorizing your headline
There are a few main genres of a headline, so aim to cater to the category your content falls under.
From celebrity gossip to funny videos, social media is hot on the topic of entertainment. It’s constantly viewed by workers on their coffee breaks or users looking to relax with some easy-going content at the weekend.
How-To articles make up a relatively high portion of the web, from recipes to DIYs to style guides. Use this genre if you’re hoping to teach users how to create or achieve something.
Taking the how-to concept a little further, these guides are created to help viewers achieve their goals by providing them with relevant information, such as ways to pull off a certain look or fun ways to eat a healthier diet.
Content that can help improve an aspect of the reader’s life is popular on the internet, for example, articles that claim to teach the user how to remove a virus from their PC.
News-based content is designed to announce things that are currently happening in the world. Most people nowadays head straight to the internet for their news fix, so it’s important to know how to provide breaking news effectively.
By deciphering the relevant category, you’ll be able to scope out similar headlining techniques that have been proven to work on other sites within your industry.
Play on the viewer’s emotions
Finally, one of the most valuable techniques used to get the visitor to engage with your content is to get a reaction out of them. By utilizing the shock factor of a headline, you’ll stun the reader with new, highly interesting information, causing them to click immediately.
If you choose the fear mongering approach, the threat of a virus, illness or any negative aspect is enough to get them to seek an antidote. Tugging on their heartstrings is also effective, as many people tend to be drawn to headlines full of emotion, suggesting the content will be enough to make them laugh or cry.
Overall, it’s simple. You just need to focus on what you’d like your headline to portray and ensure it’s catchier than ever. There are plenty of set formulas used by popular websites, so take a look around and see which ones are the most successful around the web.
How do you write your headlines? Let us know some of your catchiest headlines to date!