Make sure your content makes a good first impression with a high quality headline
The headline is one of the most important parts of any content you put out on the web. Why? Because it’s your content’s first impression, and first impressions count.
A piece of content should reflect your business, and a headline should reflect the quality of the content. Headlines are the first thing your audience sees when exploring your online presence. Their interest in your content (and therefore your business) depends on them seeing a headline that clicks and resonates with them.
So what is the secret to good headlines that grab attention, boost traffic and convert customers?
The secret to headlines that grab attention, boost traffic and convert customers is…
…knowing that there are different kinds of headlines out there. Yes, it’s that simple!
A headline needs to do more than simply summarise what’s being said in an article, post or email. Luckily, you can follow a few general rules to create better headlines for your business content.
Basically, a headline will fit into one of five categories: question, how to, benefits, list, and generic. Depending on which category a headline falls into, you can tell whether it’s good or bad. Let’s look at these categories a bit closer, shall we?
“What defines a question headline?” – that, right there, is an example of a question headline.
The point of a question headline is to plant the seed of curiosity in your reader’s head. If you were to come across an article entitled “Is coffee bad for you?”, the author would be hoping to make you think, “Wait, is coffee bad for me? Do I drink too much coffee?” and therefore click on the article to read more. A question headline promotes engagement with your audience, and gives the illusion of a conversation taking place.
But remember the golden rule of question headlines: if your content asks the question, it should also answer it.
The ‘how to’
A ‘how to’ headline (like the one at the top of this article) promises betterment by reading the full content. It also reflects the way your audience might be searching for issues on the web, which means using a ‘how to’ headline makes your business seem like a relevant and useful source of information.
You get 73% more engagement on average from content that includes a number in the headline. This is often used in benefit headlines to promote evidence behind a claim. To a reader, something along the lines of “These tips will increase your Instagram followers by 67%” sounds reliable; it sounds like the author knows their stuff. Just remember that your benefit should be specific.
A benefit headline is the content equivalent of “If you finish your dinner, we’ll get ice cream” – just make sure your content actually delivers the ice cream it’s promising.
List headlines work because they offer a round-up of information, and let readers delve deep into the content or just skim the headings to see the results.
A list headline usually begins with some version of “10 ways/facts/tips…” and can also incorporate benefits and ‘how to’ guides in its phrasing, for example: “10 ways to improve the first impression you make!” List? Check. Benefit? Check? Promise to tell you ‘how to’ do something? Check. Enthusiastic exclamation point? Check!
The dreaded generic
When creating a headline, pick any of the above four options. But in general it is best to avoid the “generic” headline.
Generic headlines obtain the lowest levels of engagement from viewers, and that’s because they’re simply not as interesting. They’re, well, generic. These are the headlines that have been used 100 times before. Is someone going to click on a piece of content titled “You should be sleeping better”? Or are they more likely to read a post that leads with something like “How to get a better night’s sleep” or “7 ways to sleep better” instead.
Outsourcing puts the tricky business of creating traffic boosting, attention grabbing, customer converting headlines in the hands of experts, so you don’t have to worry.
At Clear Editorial we work with a range of clients who wish to have a strong content presence online but don’t have the time, resources or inclination to keep their blog up to date. If you are interested in blog outsourcing, why not contact us today. Just email firstname.lastname@example.org.