Are your headlines or titles attracting readers the way they should? Do they draw the kind of readers you were expecting?
If your readership is dropping or you’re seeing a poor click-through rate for your ads, you probably need to do something about the way you approach headline writing.
Effective headline writing has been one of the keys to successful copywriting since the early days of print media. It’s still just as crucial in the online age.
If you think your headline writing needs some sprucing up, consider the following tips the next time you write an online piece.
1. Appeal to the readers
You can’t personalize a blog post or an ad the way you can target an email by inserting the recipient’s name, for example. But you can still speak directly to the reader. Right from the outset, make the reader feel you are writing the piece specifically to him or her.
By using words like you or your, you inject a more personalized note for readers of your content. For example, the headline “2 Weeks to a Healthier You” features a more direct appeal than “2 Weeks to a Healthier Body.”
Adding the pronoun “you” in the headline focuses on the reader, making the person feel as if the content is directly addressed to her or him.
2. Employ numbers
Studies have shown that content with headlines that use specific numbers are extremely magnetic and tend to draw more traffic.
Headlines such as “10 Steps to … ” and “5 Easy Ways to Success” greatly enhance the reader’s attention. One of the benefits of using numbers is that they set up expectations in the reader by providing a clear sense of how long the post is going to last.
3. Use adjectives that evoke emotions
Readers prefer simple language over highfalutin’ words. But if you pick just the right special word to spice up your headline, it can make all the difference in the world.
Vivid adjectives in a headline create the most impact in terms of evoking emotions. Consider the following example:
10 Steps to Becoming Rich in 6 Months
10 Steps to Becoming Filthy Rich in 6 Months
Notice how the world “filthy” increases the sense of drama in this headline, which is likely to boost its appeal for many web surfers who dream of making it big financially.
4. Stake a bold claim
People tend to be drawn by challenges. If you write a claim, statement, or promise that’s very bold, you’ll naturally pique people’s curiosity.
Here’s an example of a title that contains a bold claim:
The Only Weight-Loss Program that Works
This headline challenges the reader’s assumption that several weight loss programs probably work. Also, it stakes a claim to uniqueness, another quality of a great headline that automatically attracts a reader’s attention.
In reality, your weight-loss program probably isn’t the only one that works, but you can admit that generously later, deep in your content . . . after you’ve captured your reader’s attention.
5. Appeal to curiosity
One of the surest ways to draw visitors’ interest is to appeal to their curiosity by asking an intriguing question.
An example would be this sort of headline:
Are You Committing These Copywriting Mistakes that Cost Your Business Dearly?
By asking intriguing questions without revealing too many details, you leave your readers hanging, and make them want to plunge into your article right away.
6. Make it sound urgent
Time-sensitive headlines or those that hint about something that will solve people’s problems instantly are sure hits.
Headlines that contain words like “immediately,” “right now,” or “in ten minutes” or even two weeks not only raise curiosity; they also appeal to people’s acquisitive and anxious sides.
7. Appeal to deeply-felt emotions
Fear, desire, happiness, and sensuality are powerful motivators. Consider the following headlines:
8 Ways to a Sexier You
The Mistake That’s Costing You Thousands
The Deadly Side of Kids’ Toys
Any time your headlines can tap into deep-rooted human emotions, you’re sure to see a spike in traffic.
8. Be specific
Specificity is one of the key elements of an effective and powerful headline.
“Lose 2 Pounds in 2 Weeks” looks a gazillion times more powerful than “Lose Pounds in Several Weeks.” Wouldn’t you agree?
9. Avoid concepts that will appeal only to a small group
It’s great to be witty, but make sure that everyone is likely to get the point. Unless your product or service inherently appeals to a tiny demographic, stay away from cultural or historic references that may be too obscure for the average reader to recognize.
The safest way to play it is to be simple . . . simple enough for everyone to be in on the joke.
There you have it: nine quick and simple rules for writing magnetic headlines that guarantee an increase in readership and potential conversion.
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