Who said not everyone can write a killer headline? Well, coming up with a great title is more of a science that art and following certain guidelines will make you a master this science. Out of the entire jigsaw called article, the most essential part is the heading. From eery 10 readers, 8 read your title and only 2 out of them go through the entire content. Further, to grab the attention of the reader for eliciting response, you just have 3 seconds. A killer headline has the capacity to turn a visitor into reader, however if the reader stops after reading the title you’re in mucky waters. Every element has to be compelling, each sentence should have a call to action, guiding the reader to move to the next sentence. In this guide, I teach you stepwise how to develop the critical skill of writing a catch headline that would entice your readers to read further.
- Your title should communicate the benefits: A simple question: Why would someone buy your product/service? Most common mistake that writers make it adding features in the title. Customers are more interested in the benefits that are offered rather than the features. Benefits are the means in which the product makes the user’s life simpler. Costs, features, facts or color does not help you sell your brand. Follow this point and you’ll have more happy customers who’ll want to share your piece in their circles.
Eg: “Buy our loan services, our reps have more than 10 years’ experience.” Rather than using this heading, a better option would be: “Our loans have hassle-free procedure.”
- Mention the big benefit: Discounts and sales are attention grabbers. By announcing the sale right in the title you tend to attract more attention.
Eg: Free subscription to our e-book series.
- Spend 80% of your time writing an effective title: The screaming title leads the visitor to further read your content. So from 1 hour that you spend writing the article, 30 minutes should be given to writing and rewriting an apt title, the 20 minutes to writing the whole framework and the rest time in proofreading.
- Keep it to-the-point and short: Strip down your title to the bare essential. A headline minus the superfluous words that explains to the readers all that is there in the article attracts more users.
Eg: “Our devices help you save more electricity.”
Edited headline: “Save more electricity.”
- Use more verbs and sparse adjectives: Excessive use of adjectives leads to a dull title. Winston Churchill’s iconic speech “Blood and Tears” just had 12.1% adjectives.
Eg: Best services and affordable rates.
A better version: “Get more and save more”.
- Don’t use a self-centered perspective: Another common mistake that marketers make is using “we” in “What we believe”. This portrays a we-perspective that focuses more on what you think is important. Instead, by building headlines that say how it would be beneficial to the users.
Eg: “We vouch by our tax-saving schemes.”
More effective title: “You deserve a bank that helps save on taxes.”
- Avoid writing sayings and puns: Your reach to the target audience decreases when you use puns and idioms. They are not understood by all readers and that itself discourages the user from reading further.
Eg: Saving more is as easy as making Maggi.
Instead you can use: “Here is a guide to saving more.”
The crux of each headline should include: It should have an urgency call, ultra-specific, convey benefits to the user in a distinctive way and be of use to the reader either in enhancing his knowledge or solving his problem.
Huffington Post case study
Huffington Post is known for the terrific titles that have heled them boost traffic. They use certain time-tested methods which we have listed here.
- Use of dramatic headlines making you intrigued to read further.
- Asking its readers for headlines- crowd sourcing the headlines.
- Huffington Post pitches in articles about the most trending topics.
- They often try out a single post with two different titles to see which ones works more.
Practice these above skills and you’ll learn how to write magnetic headlines aimed to fascinate your target audience.