Guess what, there is no secret! All content writers have experienced the struggle on thinking of a creative headline. It’s simply one of the biggest challenges we face when producing a piece of content, whether it be for a client, a personal blog or any website at all; thinking of a unique and compelling headline takes a lot of work. Many think there’s one definitive secret formula for success. One way of writing the best headlines on the web. Well, there is no such thing.
Headlines are without a doubt a very important part of your content. Some content writers even say that you should spend up to half of the time you would spend on writing the content, thinking of a good headline. You must make good use of every character in the headline.
Many content writers have tried to overcome this tricky obstacle before, some have tried to help others with their own formulas to success and others simply tear their hair out.
We’re going to tell you the truth: there is no secret formula; there is no ‘how to create a 100% successful headline on any piece of content’.
Just kidding! Although there may not be a definitive answer to your problem, we can certainly give you a few tips and examples of things to include in your headlines.
No formula can guarantee you 100% success with every piece of content. However, you should certainly think about trying a few different techniques to see what engages your audience most. When promoting your content on social media platforms, we’d suggest keeping the message short and snappy. Give your readers an idea of what they’ll be reading. They should have instant knowledge on what the article is going to be about.
One technique that has proven to affect engagement for many content writers is the use of numbers. For example ’10 Things Not to Do on Holiday’. Posts like this often catch the reader’s eye. So why not have a play around with headlines like this, to see if you get more views and engagement? The use of strongly opinionated, and even negative wording, such as ‘wrong’ ‘always’ and ‘never’ are also effective. For example ‘5 Reasons Why Your Content Strategy is Wrong’. Titles like these are attention grabbing, making the reader want to know why they’re wrong.
Headlines that make the reader question their own theories and opinions encourages them to read on. Although this technique can be effective, we’d recommend not overdoing it. If you use this with every update you post, it could potentially become less effective. Your readers don’t want to see a long list of ’10 Reasons Why You Can’t Do This’, ’15 Places You Will Never Go’ and ‘5 Ways You Can’t Make Money’. It’s likely they’d lose interest. Whereas, using this every now and then makes it more effective.
One of the reasons why this technique can be so effective is because many people headline copy. This basically means skim reading. They’ll only take notice of part of the headline. You should bear this in mind when writing any headline. Try and make the headline as short, simple and straight to the point as you can. Often, the content that fails the most to engage readers are the ones with long winded and uninteresting headlines. Pretend you are your audience – do the first and last three words of your headline give you an idea of the article? Does it sound engaging? Would you read/comment on your article if it was someone else’s?
You should try and have a maximum character count of 65, as any characters after will be cut off in search results. Remember to keep the headline specific.
Question the Reader
Another good technique is the use of questions. Ask your audience a question within the headline. Give them something that’ll make them stop and think. Questions encourage engagement. People enjoy sharing opinions on things that concern themselves – meaning comments! But again, like the number technique and for the same reasons, this should not be overused.
Now go and try these techniques for yourselves. Switch it up a bit and see what works best with your target audience. Let us know how you get on, and add anything you think might help other fellow content writers in the comment section below.