Even with excellent content, good headlines are needed to hook the readers into moving on to the article proper. Headlines and copy titles are a virtual headache to amateur copywriters, and they often leave them to sit and stew until the end of the writing session. Only then do they grab at a headline and stick it in, happy the article is complete.
How Important Are Headlines?
If we look at an article as the meeting point of the reader and the content writer, the headlines are a greeting, introduction, and invitation to know the writer better. In other words, the first line of copy is not in the first paragraph, but in the headlines. For news and copy articles, the titles.
What Elements Should An Eye-Catching Headline Have?
Despite Google’s emphasis on strong, quality content, there will always be some headlines that get more clicks-through than others. These are headlines that take into account the way people think and give weight to what they see.
Numbers Usually Work
Behavioralism is a big word, but all it describes is a mode of thought that assigns much more weight and value to what is quantifiable, or knowable in terms of numbers. It is a mindset that has survived because numbers are the easiest kind of data to read. In other words, when people see numbers, they immediately and automatically assign more weight to them.
Articles that begin with numbers grab the eye faster for that reason. Books and articles with the “Top 10” or “1001” always have a bigger pull than those without. To draw readers’ eyes, numbers are a basic necessity.
Strong Adjectives Provide Power
Stop for a second and pull up different adjectives that can be used to describe products or anything else that can be described. Think in terms of ratings. 5-star. Second-rate. Best. Essential. Mind-blowing. Successful.
Start with a number to catch the eye and put weight into the headlines. Follow up with a strong adjective that convinces the reader that there is something new and unique they will find in the article.
An article labelled “5 Tips for Home Improvement” has nothing on “5 Essential Tips for Home Improvement.” The first simply suggests tips. The second says the reader needs to know what those tips are, that the tips are absolutely needed for daily life.
A Benefit Gives Them A Personal Reason to Read On
Copywriters always work with the assumption that the reader is looking for a benefit for him or herself. Content writers should do the same. The headlines should tell the reader exactly what they will learn, what they will come away with after reading the article.
“5 Essential Tips for Home Improvement” becomes “5 Essential Tips for A Visitor-Ready Home.” The first suggestion calls to homeowners who want to know how to fix up their houses in general. The second calls to homeowners who have a specific phobia about visitors popping into a house not ready for them (those who come too early or too late or without calling first).
Headlines Are Essential to Good Content Writing
Think in terms of numbers, strong adjectives, and benefits to the reader. Headlines written in this fashion are more likely to get click-throughs than those that simply write clever titles that only make sense after the article is read. If web users will not even read the article, the point is gone.