When your blog post comes up high in search results, that’s half the battle. After that, sharing good headlines can help you convert readers who are browsing the Internet into potential customers who visit your site. Knowing how to write a headline can entice people to read your site’s body copy.
There are some easy tactics you can use to create titles that deliver a sense of urgency and energy. It all starts with knowing your audience. Then you can create headlines that speak to frustrations your readers experience, or to things that make them happy in the subject lines to achieve the best conversion rates.
Take Advantage of Number Psychology
Using numbers in your headlines lets your content speak to the part of a reader’s brain that tends to organize things. Use a small number. Small numbers, nine and under, create the impression that the information is likely to be doable without wasting a lot of time. This is a useful approach for how-to articles. Just lead with the number, add your primary keyword and follow up with how the information benefits the reader.
Additionally, if you’re using numbers when expressing something based on a timeline, state the number in terms of weeks or days rather than months. The human brain tends to pick up on the shorter time period. That way, when your content ranks well and comes up high in results from search engines, it’s more likely to get the click. Readers are more likely to see your information as something that can be completed in a shorter time period.
Choose Words That Tap Into Reader Emotions
Great headlines that raise your click through rate often include emotion-rich words that affect readers on a personal level. For the most part, it’s best to stick with positive emotions that tell a reader they’re going to feel good after reading your content. Pair a positive emotion with a benefit to make the headline address potential readers on an even more personal level.
However, there may be times when a negative emotion is what feels right to you. For example, let’s say your story is about someone who has been abused. You can pair an emotion-laden word with a reader benefit, such as tips for avoiding the risk of the unpleasant emotion.
Go Easy on Humor
Tempted to write a “punny” headline? It’s best to avoid puns and humor unless you are confident your audience is on the page as you. A simple headline that tells the reader what to expect is likely to attract more readers than one that’s more complex. So, it’s typically best to avoid headlines that are less straightforward. A clear, concise headline shows readers you respect their time.
Humor doesn’t translate the same way to everyone. So, putting humor in your headline could throw off some potential readers. It could seem ambiguous or too confusing, leading people who are searching the Internet to look elsewhere for information.
Add punctuation When It Fits
It can be tempting to skip all punctuation in titles because of the low number of characters available. However, it can be worth adding some punctuation for emphasis when trying to appeal to your target audience. Consider an occasional exclamation point to add a sense of urgency and excitement.
Is your title directly asking your readers a question? Don’t skip the question mark if it makes your title read better. Punctuation, like a colon, can also add to readability when you’re preparing some longer headlines.
Keep It Short and to the Point
While 70 characters is considered the maximum length for headlines, it also pays to keep the number of words low. The number of characters tells you if your headlines are likely to get cut off in search results. The number of words you use in your catchy headlines can impact your conversion rates.
When you keep the number of words around eight, it forces you to keep the message clear and simple. It also increases the chance your content will be shared on social media sites. It shows you respect the reader’s time. On the flip side, if your headline is overly long and wordy, readers may pass it over in favor of content with shorter headlines. Because, if the headline is hard to read, readers may expect the same from the content.
Use Words That Show Uniqueness
Your content marketing efforts are part of a marketing strategy to make your service or product stand out. So, choose headline terminology that shows readers why your content, and product or service, is unique. Terms like ‘enhanced quality’ or ‘richer flavor’ for products immediately create a comparison between your offerings and those of your competition.
While the title is only the first step in conversions for sellers, it can help improve your ecommerce conversion rates. Compelling headlines do this by getting more people to visit your site.
Address a Reader’s Problem or Pain Point
While it’s generally considered best to stick with positivity in headlines, there are times when it’s okay to focus on the negative. If your content is geared toward addressing something that troubles your readers, you could increase conversions by adding negative concepts to your title. Just pair the negative concept with how your content benefits the reader. However, be sensitive to sensationalist themes that could leave readers feeling distressed. Avoid terms that could insinuate mental illness or that are misleading and dramatic.
For example, consider a headline like ‘5 Vital Ways to Avoid Snake Bites When Hiking.’ Or, try a theme like ‘3 Powerful Tips to Protect Yourself From Energy Vampires.’ These are examples that include the use of number psychology, emotion and reader benefits.
Add the Year to Show Information Is Current
Adding the year to a headline can support clickthrough rates if your topic is news-related. This is especially true for topics that change frequently, like fashion, business trends or technology. For example, if you’re writing about content marketing trends, adding the year tells readers the content is current and relevant.