A headline or title is one of the first, if not the first, element that a person sees on any given page. It grabs the person’s attention and gives the individual an idea of what to expect in the content.
The headline is sometimes compared to making a promise, with the content delivering on that promise. Normally, you need to make the promise first before you show people how you can deliver. This can be a challenge when it comes to producing content.
A lot of writers prefer to write the content first before thinking of a suitable headline. However, the technique can sometimes result in boring titles. With writing the headline first, you have a better idea of how to write and present the article to fit the tone of the headline.
10 Useful Tips on Writing Headlines
1. Collect swipe files
Swipe files are references for effective headlines. These are tried and tested in grabbing a reader’s attention. Refer to these resources for ideas on how to write a catchy headline.
Understand what makes them work and incorporate them into your title. You can find inspiration for headlines from popular magazines, sales letters and even ads.
2. Use keywords
The importance of incorporating keywords in the title remains a debatable topic for writers. Some believe that it is an essential tool to help websites rank on search engine results.
Other writers see it as unnecessary, as articles are designed for people to read and not for search engines to analyze on. When it comes to writing headlines, proper research and proper use of keywords is essential.
Knowing what people search for will give you a better idea on how to write an effective headline. Go for the less popular keywords for less competition. These also tend to sound better than high ranking keywords.
3. Write a list
A list headline is effective in grabbing attention. It defines the number of tips, hints or suggestions that the reader can expect from reading the article.
Presenting information in a list is easier to scan through. At the same time, it also shows your expertise in the subject.
4. Understand your target market
Know what gets them excited or interested. Understanding what makes your readers tick will help you create headlines that will draw them in.
Avoid making it too safe in an attempt to appeal to everyone’s tastes. This will make your headline less effective and may draw fewer people than an attention-grabbing headline.
5. Ask a question
Headlines that start with what, when, how or why can grab a person’s attention and make the reader think. Such headlines inform the reader that the answer will be found and explained within the content.
6. Do not exaggerate
Do not make generalizations if you have no proof that it works for all. For instance, instead of using “always,” you can use the terms “some” or “almost all.“ It makes your statement more believable and adds credibility to your content.
7. Make it simple yet direct
Expressing a concept in fewer words tends to be more effective than a lengthy headline. Headlines that are straight to the point sound more convincing than vague ones. These types of headlines work well with offers.
8. Indicate the benefits
Readers want to know what they can get for reading the rest of the content. It is similar to selling an actual item. You need to convince readers that they will benefit from reading the content.
9. Create a headline for “how to” articles
People often like to learn something new when they read an article online. It makes them feel that they are doing steps to improve themselves or their lives.
When creating a headline for a how to article, emphasize the result from reading the article and not on the procedures themselves.
10. Offer a sense of order
With the amount of information that is readily available, a lot of people are finding it difficult to make sense of it all. They want to read tips and hints that would help them put it all together. It gives them a sense a control over their lives or their situation.
How to Write Posts That Will Always Work
1. Include personal stories
Inclusion of personal stories makes you more human. It helps in making people relate to you and your situation or issues. Such articles expose the writer’s emotions and can make the story more engaging or interesting.
2. Format posts
People that have become accustomed to using the Internet tend to have shorter attention spans than the generations of people that came before them. As such, they like to scan posts first to see if it is worth spending time on.
Make it easier for readers to scan your posts by dividing information into smaller segments, using bullets and bold fonts to indicate a new thought or concept.
3. Solve a problem
People want to read content that would enrich their lives. Some of the more popular posts involve helping people out by solving their problems or directing them to where they can find a solution to their problems. This means becoming more involved in the industry and knowing where the problems are.
Bethany Wesch writes about blogging, branding and online marketing. She writes for Quantumlinx.com.au – a leading SEO Sydney company which specialise in providing search engine optimisation services and online marketing solutions to local businesses and sales people.