Content generation has certainly hit its stride over the last several years. The race to create great content has seen the creation of hundreds of thousands of articles every year, but the art of writing the headlines for these articles has seemingly been lost. There are many principles and foundations to adhere to when crafting a great headline; here are some of the top tips to follow when crafting headlines of your own.
- Always create and maintain mystery and intrigue
- Promise your reader results and front load that promise
- Utilize large numbers but don’t spell them out
Never Tell The Whole Story
Many news reporters and bloggers alike are making this basic mistake. When writing your headline, you want to be sure not to give away too much, as this will give your readers nothing to “look forward to.” You always want to maintain a sense of mystery and intrigue in your headline, which will naturally transfer to the article itself.
Whatever the topic, you always want to withhold the “answer” of the article from the headline. If you’re writing about the top baby names of the year, don’t give away the top spots write in the headline; reel readers in by presenting one or two, letting them read to the end for the rest.
Always Promise Your Reader
One of the main reasons people read online content today is to feel good about things. People chase the feeling of empathy and warmth, and the internet provides one of the best places for both of these qualities. One way to enhance these feelings is to promise a positive outcome to your readers if they read the article and take its advice.
For example, if you’re writing about health, you could write about the benefits of your health topic right in the headline. “Anti-inflammatories can help your digestion and energy levels,” for example. People need help with digestion and energy, and your article has promised them answers to these problems.
Front Load The Feelings
This is a similar tip to the one above, but with an important tweak. You should always lead with your promise of good feeling. Instead of “anti-inflammatories can help your digestion and energy levels,” an even better headline would be “aid digestion and energy levels by using anti-inflammatories.”
The benefits are the first things your reader should see, before they even get to the cause of those benefits. Providing the benefits first will enhance engagement and make your reader more excited and intrigued by the premise you’ve presented.
Always Write Multiple Headlines
This is a little-known secret that can vastly improve your site’s numbers and interaction with users. Whenever you or an employee write an article, you should write several different headlines, so you have the proper number of options when it comes time to publish.
When using this method, it’s okay to ignore conventional advice, such as headline length, perfect grammar, and even the advice given in the above tips. Use A/B testing with consumers to figure out which headlines will maximize your views and clicks, then repeat the process for your other articles.
Testing Your Headlines
How exactly do you test headlines to figure out which work, and which don’t? There are many tools online for this process. One of the best tools for the job is the WordPress plugin called “Title Split Testing.” This plugin allows you to create a variety of headlines for every article and test them in real time.
While this method will lead to an increase in click through rate, it will also help you discover which headline formats work best for your audience and the tone of your articles. Never assume you know which headline variants work best for your site; test them with Title Split Testing and see for yourself how well your headlines work for individual articles.
Statistics And Other Numbers Always Work
One of the most striking techniques you can use to increase view count is to include numbers in your article and make them relatively large no matter the topic. For example, “7 ways to increase SEO” is a decent headline, but “14 ways to increase SEO” will almost always get more clicks. People love information, and higher numbers signal a large quantity of information in the blog, and, oftentimes, a greater expertise in the topic at hand.
Additionally, don’t spell out numbers in your headline. “7” and “14” in the examples above should never be “seven” and “fourteen.” It’s simply more engaging for viewers to see numbers not spelled out, which invariably leads to more clicks and greater engagement.
In the tidal wave of content which has crashed down on consumers in the last few years, many have forgotten how to write great, engaging headlines. When coming up with a great headline for your article, be sure to make a promise, front load it, leave an air of mystery to the article itself, and use whole, large numbers. Follow these tips to greatly increase your traffic and get into the flow of great headline writing.