If you’re reading this article, that means the headline did its job: It convinced you to click.
Writing headlines is an art form. Some of the most brilliant pieces of writing in the world go unread if the headline cannot sell the reader on the piece. One might say that headlines are one of the most challenging aspects of copywriting.
Here’s how to write a compelling headline:
Get to the point
This piece of advice also applies to the body of your article, but it’s especially important for your headline. Too many headlines attempt to be “artistic” or fancy, or they simply use too many words. Avoid clunky phrasing such as “in order to.” Remember, your reader is spending a split second on your headline: Ensure it’s something that will immediately give them the gist of the article.
Tell the reader what they’ll get
Everyone’s time is precious, so no one will click on a headline that doesn’t offer some sort of benefit to them. Not everyone will be interested in your topic, but it’s your job to ensure that anyone who is interested will feel compelled to click. That’s why “How to…” and “X Tips for…” constructions work well in headlines. They tell the reader what they’ll get when they click the link.
Make it powerful
By adding a sense of urgency or immediacy to your headline, you’ll drive up your click rate. Otherwise, you’ll be relegated to the dreaded “Reading List.” To get your reader to click now, use urgent language such as “Why You Should/Must” or “Top Things to Do Now.” You can also say that you’ll give them knowledge that will yield immediate results, such as in the headline of this article.
Play with words
No one likes a boring headline. While descriptive headlines do provide an SEO benefit, you can be descriptive without being dull. Take some time to craft something that’s fun yet free of clichés or overused constructions. Are there words or phrases you can pair up, as in the headline of this article? Is there a common quote or expression you can tap into? Entertain the reader from the start and you can hook them into reading the article.
By following these tips, you can transform your headlines from boring strings of text into concise, compelling titles that drive readers to click. Using title case, in which each major word is capitalized, also helps your headline stand out. If you must use subheadings or a multi-part title, use a colon or dash to mark out the different parts. Above all, know your audience: Think of the headline as a way to answer a pressing question they have. Then, use your headline to sell your piece.