Writing an effective headline is an art. Especially online, where you depend on people making the conscious act of clicking it to read your content. Every single day, as many as – wait for it! – 2,73 MILLION blog posts are published and 144,8 BILLION emails are sent. To avoid drowning in mere numbers, you need good headlines. Here’s three that’s proven to be effective.
A headline has one single purpose – to get your readers’ attention long enough that they will read the next sentence. And what nearly every compelling headline have in common is that it contains an intriguing premise, which makes it almost irresistible to its audience. These three strategies have a built-in promise, which is what makes them so effective.
1. The How to
How to’s are some of the most sought-after content online, as they promise immediate and concrete solutions to the reader’s problem, whatever that might be. To catch the attention of your target reader, the headline for your How to should be concrete and to the point – make sure that the benefit and message is explicit. As an example, how boring would these headlines be without the words in the brackets?
How to Write a Headline (That Gives You Traffic)
How to Double Your Sales (In Just Six Months)
How to Lose 10 Pounds (In 10 Days)
Bonus info: double the benefits for extra attention
To spice things up a little, you can double the benefits. Like this:
How to Save Money and Retire Rich
How to Save Time and Get Things Done
Now, who wouldn’t want that? This double benefit-structure works, as long as you logically link the benefits in the headline.
2. The List
This headline strategy has become loved and cherished all across the web in general, and the blogosphere in particular. It was around long before the WWW, and in spite of the excessive use of this strategy, nothing suggests it’s going to die out anytime soon.
The List works in large part because of its attention-grabbing power. Beginning a headline with 7 awesome ways to…, 10 surprising reasons why…, or 5 kickass replies to…, promises very concrete and useful information. When it comes to articles and blog posts, people like predictability, not uncertainty – they want to be sure they’re not wasting their time. That’s why The List has made it as an all-time favorite strategy.
3. The Why!
This strategy builds the headline around a strong declarative statement. It promises that the reader will find the elaborated answer in the article, and intrigues their curiosity.
Why One Lifehack Can Change Everything
Why Successful People Leave Work Early
Why Everyone Should Learn a Second Language
This type of headline can be informative as well as surprising but don’t be tempted to oversell the content. Remember that keeping your promise is important to keep your credibility.
Though these strategies are well proven and effective, don’t limit yourself. The beauty of creative writing is that there are no real rules. Studying what works is important, but remaining creative is vital.
Rules of thumb in headlining
To sum up: no matter what headline strategy you decide to go with, remember to:
– Be specific about the benefits and/or the message in the article. Readers want to know what to expect.
– Keep the promise in the headline when writing the content. If not, you will lose your credibility and consequently your readers.
Hypefactors is software that measures how effective your PR is. It can also tell you which types of headlines are performing the best online or in press releases, which allows you to adjust your work accordingly for better PR. Learn more.