Oh, good…we got your attention. We knew we would. Here’s why:
Headlines starting with “This” received the most engagements on Facebook in 2017, and the phrase “will make you” was the most engaging headline phrase. The top B2B headlines on LinkedIn contained “the future of.”
So, if you’re reading this after seeing a post on one of our two most popular social media platforms, then the numbers don't lie.
Without an effective headline, your content may never reach your audience. On average, eight in 10 people will read a headline, but only two will go on to read the actual article.
You may have produced a piece of content your audience is eager to read, but without creating a strong, clear, succinct headline, it may post without a single click—let alone a conversion.
Headlines matter. Here are five tips to make them count:
1. Inspire Curiosity
You know what your audience likes, and you know what customers you’d like to attract. (If not, it may be time to update your buyer personas.)
Your content should be interesting, timely, and relevant to your industry, and your headline should embody all three. Take one of our previous Level Ups for example:
Interesting? Absolutely. Our audience—which includes fellow marketers, competitors, clients, potential clients, and people generally interested in marketing—want to know more about content marketing. They come to Hudson Fusion understanding that the latest and greatest trends could help them market their business better.
Timely? Definitely. The content is centered around what’s in store for 2018.
Relevant? Without a doubt.
2. Keep it Lively
Good content gets a reaction from your reader. Whether you’re sharing exciting, inspiring, or motivating content, your headline should say so. Motivate your reader to click with strong, emotive adjectives:
4 Attention-Grabbing Content Trends That Will Get You More Leads
4 Content Trends That Will Get You More Leads
Needless to say, we went with the first one. Content trends that get leads are important to our readers, but attention-grabbing content trends sound far more valuable.
A quick warning: Don’t go overboard with descriptors. Few experienced users will see “10 Shocking, Groundbreaking Content Marketing Trends We Watched in Awe This Year” and feel inclined to click.
3. Don’t Make Promises You Can’t Keep
No one likes a broken promise. Establishing trust with your readers (aka your potential clients) is vital to business growth.
There’s a fundamental difference between an effective, engaging headline and pure, unadulterated clickbait: one delivers, and one doesn’t. If your content delivers on the promise your headline makes, then it’s not clickbait. It’s that simple.
Bottom line: Misleading headlines don’t work.
Identifying your unique selling proposition (USP) is vital to an effective mission statement for your business—and the same goes for your content. What will this piece of content offer that your reader can walk away with?
In this case, we’re promising you five valuable tips to improve your headlines—and we’re keeping that promise.
4. Format Matters—and Quantity is Quality
Numbers in headlines work. Letting your reader know that they can expect a certain number of sections encourages them to click, knowing that they’re getting something specific, organized, and targeted.
Dividing your content into sections organizes your content and makes it easier to digest. Sections also create white space, allowing for easier readability and navigation—which is more important than ever.
On WordPress alone, users produce about 86.4 million new posts every month. That’s a lot of content. Nobody has time to read that amount of content—which is why most people will skim it.
There are two types of people that will engage with your content: true readers and skimmers.
Your headline should appeal to both your dedicated subscriber that pores over every post you publish, and your casual clicker looking to quickly scan the headings while speed-scrolling to the bottom of the page. Always write for both— you never know who will end up clicking your CTA and converting.
Speaking of readability, studies show that readers typically read the first three and last three words of a headline. If you’re exceeding the six-word mark, be sure you start and end your headline with what matters to your reader.
5. Write for Humans First, SEO Second
As copywriters, we always want to impress Google. We tactically incorporate keywords that will optimize content for search engines. It’s important to remember, however, that the readers that convert are human beings.
Speak directly to your customer. Remember that your content should promise value to target personas—and deliver it.
Unfortunately, there’s no magic formula for the perfect headline—but there are experts that have mastered best practices that lead to results. The most effective content strategies are designed to attract readers, convert leads, and enhance SEO.
That’s why you should trust an agency with your content creation. We know your business, and we know what it takes to make headlines.