Your headline is perhaps the most important aspect of your content. It’s as essential to your content marketing efforts, just as the brand of a company is important to it. Rush over your content headline and your content will suffer.
Nearly all the content forms produced require headlines. Think of it, videos, blog posts, infographics, emails, anything. You need to come up with an irresistible headline that will give your content a winning chance in the content marketing world. In the age of surplus of content, working hard on the title of your content has never been more important.
While publications like Upworthy have mastered the art of killer headlines, the average blogger, freelance writer or CMO may not have. This blog post will offer you guides, with references and real-world samples of some of the most effective ways to craft content headlines.
#1. Feed people’s curiosity with your headlines
Headlines that intrigue interest in readers can help bait them into clicking to read your content.
Just like visual stimulus will prime you into longing for food, curiosity when used in a way that little bit of information is exposed, it arouses the thirst for details. That is how Upworthy quickly became the king of viral content, overtaking Buzzfeed in the number of Facebook shares it attracts to each of its content.
The Upworthy headline displayed above triggers curiosity that will make the readers want answers to questions. I bet you’ll be asking questions like:
“who is this Irishman?” and
“what is the emotional video?”
To find answers to the questions that curiosity has triggered, you’ll want to click the link and see the content. If the content is just as impressive as the headline promises, then the reader’s curiosity is satisfied. Using headlines that trigger interest intrigues readers.
#2. Appeal to readers emotion
Headlines that appeal to the emotions of your readers can lure them into reading the main content.
People will feel a connection to what you’re sharing when your headlines have elements that trigger emotional feelings. Not only will they further read your content (an average content gets 80% of readers read the headline and only 20% read the main content), they will also share it. According to research, posts with emotional headlines get more shares.
How do you include emotional values in your headline?
Does your headline elicit feelings like happiness, joy or excitement? Then you just hit one of the high emotional values.
Headlines with high emotional values like awe, joy or happiness will get more shares than headlines with low emotional values like despair, sadness or anger.
So the next time you’re creating your content, consider using a headline with a high emotional value.
#3. Use numbers in your headlines
Guess the saying “numbers don’t lie” must be a cliché by now.
But guess what, using numbers in your headlines will help you score high with your readers. People tend to trust what your content says when you include figures in your headlines, especially when the numbers are data.
They are naturally undeniable; hence, the reason users see more value in content with such headlines.
According to data from Conductor, 36% of readers prefer headlines with numbers.
Image credit Conductor
So when you want to write the headline for your next post, consider headlines like “10 ways start a manufacturing business” instead of merely saying “How to start a manufacturing business”
#4. Be expressive but not wordy
Your headline should be clear enough so that whoever is reading it has an idea of what they’re about to read. That does not mean you should be verbose with your headlines.
Some of the best headlines are quite economical with words.
To capture the attention of the reader enough and still keep your headline within acceptable length, you need to master how to use fewer words in your headlines.
An example of short but precise headline is.
10 Lessons Prince’s Death Taught Me About Life = 10 Life Lessons from Prince’s Death
As you can see from the example above, the initial headline(even though short enough at eight words) could still be shortened to a mere six words and retain its meaning.
#5. Imitate successful headlines
This is one of the most practiced headline hacks till date.
If you can recreate a headline style that is already successful, why go all the way to reinvent the wheel and start looking for the formula for what headline to use?
#6. Use search-oriented headlines
It’s not hard to figure this out.
While Google has become a lot smarter at understanding the intent behind every search, especially with rankbrain taking the lead as one of Google ranking factors, headlines that are crafted to appear like search queries will definitely have an edge in the search results.
Using search-oriented headlines will help your search rankings. When your headline includes keywords people search for, you’re increasing your chances of showing up first for the term in search results.
Using search-oriented headlines will help your search rankings. Your headline can be a long tail keyword that will make your content well optimized.
Mastering headlines is an art that can help your content marketing effort see a significant boost. By utilizing the powerful headline crafting methods I just shared with you, you should be creating content that gives more value.
Featured image credit (Flickr)