Write Engaging Headlines that Lure In Readers and Get Them to Take Action

In December of 2013, a study found that more than 92,000 articles were published on the Internet every day. We are in the era of information overload and our content must break through the “noise” if we want our content to be read, especially on social media. Wondering where to begin? How about at the beginning: your headline.

Copyblogger’s Copywriting 101 ebook is a how-to guide on getting your headlines, and content, read by the right consumer. The first tip in this ebook is quite simple: get your headline read. Whether a ‘headline’ means a tweet, Facebook post, or even an e-mail subject line, it must do two things:

  1. Benefit the reader
  2. Entice them to read more

 

That’s easier said than done. According to Copyblogger, 8 out of 10 people will read the headline copy, but only 2 out of 10 will actually continue to read the rest of your message. Below, I share some key tips from the ebook about constructing engaging headlines in order to attract targeted readers and get them to respond to your calls of action.

  • A “How to…” headline for a blog post never fails! People are searching for specific topics on how to do things. Give them what they want and they will read.
  • Power words persuade. Using the word “You,” or a person’s name in content, instantly makes users more engaged and trusting in a brand’s message.
  • Apply the K.I.S.S. (Keep it simple stupid) principle. Adjectives and adverbs are great for lengthy copy, but keep it direct and specific when developing headlines.
  • Numbers don’t lie. If you are stating a fact or claim within your headline, tell your story by providing numbers.
  • Write content that is straightforward and conversational, even if that means breaking a few grammar rules you were forced to learn in elementary school or college.
  • Lists are easier to read than chunky paragraphs. As a matter of fact, this entire post is designed to be visually appealing and quick to read. What do you think?

In fact, using “you” is more powerful than you’d think. A study conducted by BI Norwegian Business School found that using “You” in a question headline generated more clicks than a headline with a declarative headline. In addition to the Norwegian Business School’s study, Buffersocial shared a study analyzing the top power words used in viral headlines from Buzzfeed, ViralNova, UpWorthy and Wimp. “You” or “Your” ranked #5 on the list and appeared in 16% of all the headlines in the case study:

Most Popular Words in Viral Headlines via buffersocial

Most Popular Words in Viral Headlines via buffersocial

Another great way to see which headline performs the best online is to run split-tests on Facebook, Twitter or e-mail subject lines. Analyze which headline performed the best during a set period, and circle back to promote the ‘headline’ that performed best. Interested in learning more about how StrataBlue can generate power headlines for your brand and lead consumers to a call-of-action? E-mail me at [email protected].