Would a rose by any other name smell as sweet? Would a headline by any other wording get as many clicks?
You can have the most well-written, thoughtful, researched piece of content on the Internet, but without a decent headline, it won’t attract many clicks.
Here are five tips from the pros to make your headlines irresistible.
- Use numbers
While it seems like no one has yet to make an official count of the percentage of articles on the Internet headlined by a list, we’d put good money on it being pretty high. Our own blog, for example, uses this technique regularly. In fact, you’re reading one right now…
Our brains love lists. They’re neatly organised, easy to read, easy to understand, and we know that by clicking on such a headline, we’re not going to have to wade through pages upon pages of text to find the information we want.
Another way to use numbers is to add in statistics. A headline such as ‘Panda 4 – 7.5% more pandary’ is more likely to catch your eye by breaking up words with digits. It’s also specific and suggests there will be an interesting explanation within the article itself. Click.
- The ol’ ‘how to’
If you look closely, any headline beginning with ‘how to’ is, in fact, making you a promise. It says: Lean a little closer, have a little read, and I’ll teach you something you never knew you always needed to know.
This form works particularly well because of how people search for information. Type ‘how to’ into Google and you’ll instantly be rewarded with some of the most common searches – how to tie a tie, how to make pancakes, how to write a cover letter.
It even works on TV and film. Have you seen How to Train Your Dragon, How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days, or How to Get Away With Murder?
- Pose a question
We humans are inquisitive beings, so when a question is asked, it tends to peak our curiosity enough to make us want to learn the answer. If this means clicking on a headline, so be it.
Entire studies have been devoted to the question headline phenomenon, which largely state “that question headlines represent a more effective headline strategy compared to traditional, declarative headlines”.
There’s even a common ‘law’ around question headlines. Known as Betteridge’s Law, it suggests that the question in any headline will ultimately be answered with a ‘no’.
- Use a quotation
Quoting other people is a fun way to get away with saying something ridiculous. You’ll see it most often in journalism, such as this recent example from the Sydney Morning Herald.
The journalist couldn’t make a claim so bold as ‘it will come back to bite us’, but they can quote others saying it. Since this particularly well-chosen excerpt fills the reader with nothing but curiosity as to what exactly will come back to bite us, it will often lead to a click-through.
The trick here of course is to choose the most succulent of quotations.
- Keep it snappy
Not only do long headlines not fit particularly well on a page, they don’t tend to get as many clicks either.
The Guardian and found that there is a maximum limit of eight words if you want to attain approximately 21% more click-throughs than the average headline.
For those of you keeping track at home – yes we did use tip #1 and tip #5 for this post. Looks like it worked!
Looking for memorable, perfectly curated content for your business? Get in touch with the team at Croud Australia.