How to: Write Headlines
By the end of this blog post you will learn how to write 10 different types of headlines as well as extra headline writing tips.
Every day your audience is becoming more time poor and content rich. It's a daily challenge for you to get your content seen by your target audience, especially when you're competing with up to tens of thousands of other competitors.
To get noticed, you have to do something different or shout louder than everyone else. But to shout louder often means to spend more money.
Then it just becomes a bidding war where the business with the biggest budget wins. But we’re all about marketing on small budget.
So it's best to do something different. This is where writing great headlines comes in. The right headline can be the difference between your piece of content being ignored and it going viral.
It doesn't matter how good your actual article/blog post is. If no one clicks on it because it doesn’t captivate your audience, it will all be in vain. Let’s think about it from a dating perspective.
If you’re going on a date with someone you’re going to try and look your best, so they will more receptive to the things they can’t see (your personality)
The headline sells the rest of your content to your audience, similar to how a trailer sells a movie.
"Build it and they will come" only applies to your business and marketing if you're building a 20ft wall of free money in your city centre. That would cut through the noise! Scenes!.
Use verbs not adjectives.
Look at the example below. Which person would you rather read about?
Kate: An intelligent businesswoman, prolific blogger who prides herself on her mental resilience.
Or Katie: Runs a successful business, writes a popular blog and competes in triathlons. ...*Clicks on Katie*
Why? The phrase "Actions speak louder than words" is applicable here. In this case the verbs prove actions instead of just personality traits. Kate sounds great, but we don't know what she's actually done.
10 Types of clickable headlines
1. Ask a question - It's good to turn the tables sometimes and make people think. It switches on a different light in the brain.
Example: What does your business card say about you?
Questions are now running through your mind as you look down at your business card.
2. FOMO (Fear of missing out) - Fear is a great motivator for someone to take action. Think about how fast you'd run if you were scared!
Example: Ten things you didn't know about starting a business.
This makes people think "What don't I know?" and they will be more likely to click to find out.
Coach Buzz says:
Write more than you need. You only need one for each of your platforms. But you should be writing 15-25 different versions of your headline. Then test out 2 or 3 before using the best one.
3. Lists - People like lists. It's a quick, effective way to convey information to people.
Example: Five quick SEO wins for your website.
Someone looking for SEO help would be drawn to a headline like this.
4. Make your customer feel - Humans tend to remember how something made them feel easier than what something made them think.
Example: How to tell if your cat loves you.
Makes you start thinking "Does my cat love me?"
Coach Buzz says:
Remember the "The 4 U's" Your headlines should be/create:
• Ultra Specific
• A sense of urgency
5. Inspire your reader - Everyone loves to feel motivated or inspired to do something positive.
Example: Help a puppy find a home.
6. Create Intrigue - What's your favourtie TV series? (online or terrestrial) How do you feel when there is a tantalising end of episode/series cliffhanger? Exactly.
Try to create that same feeling when writing this type of headline.
Example: Tom woke up and you’ll never guess what happened next.
Coach Buzz says:
Headlines should be between 8-10 words. Those words should be a maximum of two syllables each
7. State Benefits - No one cares about something until it's proven to improve their lives in some way.
Would you care about water if it wasn't essential to your survival?
A common mistake in writing to sell is that people state features (water) and forget about the benefits (You need it to live)
Example: Eating Avocados can help prevent cancer.
8. Achievement - Success, everyone is drawn to it, no matter how big or small.
These type of headlines paint the picture to your audience, if they read your blog post they will be successful in doing something in their lives.
The phrase "making your reader the hero" comes to mind.
Example: The weird way to lose 4kg in 7 days. (This one also causes intrigues with the word "weird")
9. Conversational - This is a popular type of headline. It's good because it starts a conversation.
Example: Which country pays its firefighters what they're worth?
This starts two different conversations: (What do firefighters get paid in different countries. What are they worth.)
10. Be Honest - Gone are the days where you could hyperbole your way to success. Word's and phrases such as "The best" "Amazing savings" and "Greatest" now arouse suspicion instead of intrigue. People are fed up of over the top, unoriginal positive phrases. Tell them the truth, fast.
Example: Save up to 50% on cakes this weekend only.
Above is a screenshot of our favourite headline analysis tool from CoSchedule. You can use it, for free! It's not perfect, as it uses an algorithm to give your headline a score, but it's great for giving you a rough idea of how effective your headline may be.
Want 5 tips that can quickly:
• Increase traffic to your website?
• Improve your social media profiles?
• Help you communicate better with your customers?
• Create content that converts?
Now you've got the tools to write headline for your content that people will be more likely to click on.
Time to get started!
Let us know how you get on.
Until next time
Asher & The BuzzRamp Team