Headline can make or break a piece of content. An amazing headline can make your content go viral. A great headline can bring in thousands of visitors. A bad headline will make your site invisible and immune to traffic.
You guessed it; this blog post is about writing better headlines for your blog posts, websites and other content. You are probably reading this blog post because you want to know the secret word I mentioned in the title. Keep reading…
Powerful headlines have been responsible for millions (if not billion) of dollars in sales. One of my all-time favorite copywriters is Dan Kennedy. You have probably seen direct-mail ads, TV ads and online content created by Mr. Kennedy. There is a reason fortune 500 companies agree to pay $800+ per hour to simply consult Dan. If you hire Kennedy to write a sales letter or even a headline, he will not only charge his hourly fee but also a royalty on every sale you will make. Companies know that content can be VERY profitable and it all begins with a powerful headline.
It is important to pay attention to headlines that are already getting great results. The world’s most famous and most popular headline dates all the way back to 1926: “They Laughed When I Sat Down at the Piano but When I Started to Play!” – it worked then and it still works now.
Whenever you are at the checkout at the grocery store – look through the magazine’s cover pages, thy use attention grabbing headlines to sell these magazines.
Go to Reddit’s front page and look through the titles on the first few pages. Many of those headlines are very strong. Go to sites like ViralNova and look at the headlines they are using. This website went viral because of the creative and promising headlines (although the content is often mediocre).
Use Lists And Numbers
People love lists. This is why you should try to offer a list of things as often as possible. “Lose Weight” doesn’t attract as much attention as “10 Ways to Lose Weight”.
Consider using obscure numbers. Many of us are starting to ignore the “top 5” and “top 10” lists. However, “Best 7” or “14 Ways” will grab people’s attention and get them to read your content. Once again, if you look at magazines, almost all of them will promote a TOP list of something on the cover page: “Angelina Jolie’s Top 5 Weight Loss Secrets”, “15 Must Have Christmas Decorations”, “Best 7 Place to Visit in New York”, etc.
Use Question Words
Question words always help crafting more interesting headlines. “How, When, Why, What” can be added to almost every headline to make it more interesting. The first headline I wrote for this blog post didn’t have the word “HOW” in it. Adding that single word made the title more compelling.
Which sounds more interesting: “Lose Weight in 10 Days” or “How to Lose Weight in 10 Days”?
Use Strong Words
Who wouldn’t want to be dazzled? Or discover a secret? Use of strong words works online and offline. Pay attention to headlines around you and you will often notice words like: “Incredible, Free, Secret, Revealed, Exposed, Essential, Must, etc.”
Use these words wisely.
Address Your Reader
We tend to respond when someone is addressing us directly. This is why YOU should always try to address your reader, be simply adding the word “You”. I’d like to use the previous example: “How To Lose Weight in 10 Days”. I’d bet that a lot more people will click on the article titled: “How You Can Lose Weight in 10 Days”.
Viral content websites use this as well: “YOU won’t believe, Here is what YOU must know, How YOU Can Lose Your Job If… etc.”
Precise and clear headlines deliver better results. A good headline offers more details without being too long. Let’s work with weight loss again:
“How You Can Lose 10 Pounds” vs “How You Can Lose 10 Pounds With This 10 Minute Exercise”.
Hmm, an exercise that only takes 10 minutes that will help me lose 10 pounds? Let me read more!
Another example: “How I Made A Lot of Money” doesn’t sound nearly as interesting as “How I Made $23,745 in 7 Days With 2 YouTube Videos”. Be precise.
I’d like to apologize that I am not sharing a secret headline that will help you make $293,887. However, this post is about writing better headlines and if you have read this article, you have probably learned a thing or two. The initial headline for this post was: “Write Better Titles for Your Website” and I am sure that headline would have gotten a lot less readers 🙂 The headline for this post is kind of misleading, for the sake of proving a point. When you write your headline try to make sure you deliver great content. If you keep showing off amazing headlines and offer not-so-amazing content (like Buzzfeed), you will start losing readers.
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