What attracts readers to your articles? What inspires them in the first place, motivates them to focus on your content, and pushes them to click on your piece? What moves them, makes them thrilled even before they open your content, and then stirs them to start reading your article?
It’s your headline.
Research has shown that of the 8 out of 10 people who will read your headline, only 20% will read the rest of your content. So, if you want to lure Internet users into reading your post, you have to master the art of crafting compelling titles that will turn ordinary browsers into loyal readers.
Remember: your job as a writer is to get people read your first sentence, and then move on to the next, and the next… up to the last word of your article. And that is why you don’t want to miss the first and, probably, the only chance to grab readers when they scan your copy.
Your headline needs to grab your readers’ attention, and make them click on your article. If readers are not attracted to your headline, they will move on to the next activity.
So, how do you seize, snatch, and seduce your readers with your headline? Use the following tips:
Understand who they are
If you don’t know who your readers are, how can you capture their attention? As a writer, it’s important to know your readers before crafting a headline that will entice them to read on.
Study them. Try to understand who they are, what they like and what they don’t like, and what they look like. After familiarizing yourself with their pains and desires, now is the time to write a title that will target them.
To begin with, understand that you’re about to enter a promise with your readers; therefore, don’t make a promise you can’t keep – that will tarnish your credibility. Don’t make hefty claims – lest you appear too salesy. And don’t use wrong terms – you’ll lose readership…
Instead, tailor your headlines modestly, and wrap them with the right keywords – the very ones your readers want to hear.
Focus on benefit
Imagine a grown-up teenage girl who is disturbed with irritating pimples on her face… she doesn’t even want to see her friends… she’s too shy to make an appearance at school, because those spots blemish her whole face.
Having applied her antiseptic soap for days with no result, the girl decides to turn to the Internet to research some quick fixes. And as she types “pimples solution” on Google, a number of web pages pop up:
- “How to Get Rid of Pimples Naturally”
- “Causes and Solutions of Pimples”
- “How to Make Your Acne Treatment Work”
Which headline will the desperate girl go for? Of course, she’ll click on the first title because it clearly communicates a promise – getting rid of pimples. In other words, it promises to cure her pimples… naturally.
If you want to write a sure-fire headline that will attract huge readership, you have to distinguish yourself from the crowd. But how do you do that?
You’ve got to be unique… you’ve got to be creative.
Even if what you’re about to write is a general subject, you can still write it uniquely and make it fresh and attractive. Understand that people want to see something different… they want to read something unique, and it’s your job, as a writer, to create an exceptional headline to draw them en masse.
Recently, Ben Settle, the brilliant copywriter, crafted a uniquely mesmerizing title that was shared by thousands on social media. Here is the headline:
“How to Sell Without Selling”
Isn’t that creative?
Narrow your topic
No reader will click on a headline that focuses on a general topic when, in reality, they are looking for a specific answer to solve their problems.
No matter how broad your subject is, you can squeeze it and make it very specific. To narrow down your title, focus your subject on a particular angle: a problem, desire, or need, and write your headline based on that.
Here is an example of a specific headline:
“How to Dress Elegantly for a Birthday Party.”
This is very specific: it promises to teach the prospective reader how to dress for only one occasion: a birthday party.
Compare that with this title:
“How to Dress Elegantly.”
This one is general. It doesn’t focus on a particular dressing occasion. So, it’s less compelling than the first one.
Invoke a sense of urgency
While being specific is important for any great headline, adding a sense of urgency is crucial to making people read your article.
Urgency pushes readers to act sooner than later. To induce a sense of urgency in your title, you need to include a time element, such as tomorrow, today, and now.
“Hot Akara in Alaba for N1 Per Piece… Offer Ends Tomorrow.” This one has a sense of urgency than this: “Hot Akara in Alaba for N1 Per Piece.”
If the first headline still stands, I’ll not hesitate to click on it to get the details and enter Alaba later to enjoy the bonanza!
Study other headlines that have proven results
If you want to master the art of crafting good titles, you need to study the ones that work. Direct response copywriters have crafted many great headlines that sold hundreds of dollars of advertising.
Some of these powerful headlines are classical, but their impact still shines today. And those who use them either directly, or with a simple tweak, still experience some great results. Take a look at some of these headlines:
- Do You Make These Mistakes in English
- They Laughed When I Sat Down at the Piano – But When I Started to Play!
- Can You Spot These 10 Decorating Sins?
Your headline is what makes people read your article. Whether you’re a professional blogger or a newbie freelance writer, learning how to write great headlines is important for your business. Take heed of these tips to sharpen your headline writing skills and generate a tide of readers to your content.