Writing a headline is the most important part of writing an article. The ‘Father of Advertising’, David Ogilvy, once said:
“On the average, five times as many people read the headline as read the body copy. When you have written your headline, you have spent eighty cents out of your dollar.”
This essentially means that 8 out of 10 people will read your headline, but only 2 out of 10 will go on to read the rest of the post. The headline is so important that it is even said that a writer should spend about half the time they have spent writing the post on writing the headline. The headline should be short, around 6 words, and to the point. The goal of the headline is to summarise the article in an enticing way that makes the audience want to read on.
Here are a few simple secrets to writing catchy headlines:
1) Use numbers
When people read headlines containing numbers, they are given the impression of an efficient and easy to digest article. The believe that the information will be concise and that reading it won’t take up too much of their time.
2) Use trigger words
Why, what, who, when, how. These words add power and dimension to your headline.
3) Make lists
Your readers love a good list. It means they don’t have to spend time searching for information as you’ve already put it together for them. Some classic things you can list include:
- Ways to
The list is endless…
4) Use questions
It’s psychological – when your brain sees a question mark, it wants to know more. A headline containing a question is going to receive far more attention that one containing a statement. For example, ‘Are you struggling to manage your workload?’ is going to be more effective than ‘Don’t struggle with your workload’. Mixing questions with problems is also an excellent way to grab reader’s attention.
Offer your readers the chance to do something like something or someone that they already know and respect. For example, ‘How To Run Like Usain Bolt‘ or ‘How To Dress Like Victoria Beckham’
6) Be specific
Let your readers know what exactly your article has to offer them. If they are unsure how exactly your article will benefit them, they are unlikely to waste time reading it. For example, ‘How To Be Good At Photography’ compared to ’10 Simple Tips for Beginner Photographers’.
7) Offer to overcome a problem
If your headline suggests that your article will solve a problem which is relevant to your target audience, there’s no reason why they will not want to read it. You can research what kind of problems your target audience may be facing, and focus your article content and headline around this.
8) Make a promise
Your reader has to believe that they will get something out of reading your article. This could be entertainment, laughs, a new skill, new knowledge, a new attitude. If you can persuade your reader that all they have to do is read your article to benefit in one way or another, you’re on to a winner.
9) Use intriguing words
Signal to the reader that you’re going to let them in on a secret. Examples of this include ‘5 Little Known Ways To…’ ‘The Mystery of… Revealed’. Show readers what they’re missing, with lines such as ‘5 Things You Should Really Know About…’
10) Use the magic formula
This tried and tested formula has produced a number of successful article headlines.
Number or trigger word + Adjective + Keyword + Promise
‘How You Can Effortlessly Get Beautiful Skin in 4 Weeks’
‘5 Unbelievable Ways You Can Make Money Instantly’
Make sure you are spending enough time and effort on coming up with eye-catching headlines to entice your readers. Otherwise, hours spent writing an entertaining and thought-provoking article are wasted if the headline doesn’t do it justice.
If you’re struggling to come up with compelling content for your business blog on a regular basis, contact us or give us a call on 0191 228 9444 to discuss how we can help.