Whether you’re writing a landing page, a blog post or any other type of content, your headline has the clear and simple goal of encouraging visitors to continue reading. After all, the headline is invariably the first experience people have with your content. It appears not only on the page itself, but also alongside search engine listings and social media shares. If you want your content to get noticed, you’ll need to focus on writing effective and engaging headlines.
1 – Use Numbers and Lists
Since people often turn to the Web in search for useful snippets of information, the list format is enormously popular. People generally have a much shorter attention span when surfing the Internet, and numbered lists tend to encourage engagement more than many other formats. In fact, there are many highly successful websites that deal exclusively with list-type articles.
2 – Define the Content
Titles should never be misleading, and if they confuse their target audiences in any way, few will bother clicking on the link to find out more. Great headlines are short, concise and to-the-point. They should define the subject matter of the content in just a few words without focusing excessively on SEO. Most importantly, always prioritize your reader instead of thinking only about targeted keywords.
3 – State the Benefits
Your audience is going to be asking themselves why they should continue reading. They want to know what’s in it for them. For this reason, your headlines should be benefit-driven, using words such as ‘reasons’, ‘tips’ and ‘how to’. By focusing on the needs and desires of your target audience, you’ll be able to come up with titles that address their concerns and reach out to them in a personalized, meaningful way.
4 – Use Superlatives Carefully
A good headline invariably makes use of one or more superlatives, but it’s also easy to go too far. Words such as ‘fantastic’ and ‘amazing’ tend to be overused and, more often than not, they don’t convince readers to continue. A little bit of creativity is essential if you want your headlines to stand out. It is important not to indulge in excessive hyperbole, lest your content start looking like spam.
5 – Break the Rules
Sometimes, it’s best just to break the rules entirely in order to come up with a headline that truly stands apart from the rest. Headlines that spark controversy often work quite well, and curious readers will often find them irresistible. Although you might risk angering some of your readers, user engagement tends to be far greater with more controversial content that dares to break the norm.
Coming up with great headlines can be challenging, but by remembering your goals and focusing on your readers, you’ll be able to communicate with them with a more individual approach. On a final note, remember to define your tone and style, and keep it consistent across the board. People will come to recognize you by the personality of your business, and this should be reflected in all of your content.