The task of turning an accidental blog/website visitor into a committed reader is the harder than you think. The attention span of Internet users is really low; most of them just want to see the title and the images you’ve featured, so they scroll through the text without paying attention to a single word. How can you change that? One word: headlines!
A magnetic headline will capture the reader’s attention and intrigue him to find out what you have to offer. Let’s see how you can achieve that!
6 Tips that Work: Write Catchy Headlines!
- Brainstorm the right way!
You usually skip the brainstorming stage, thinking that you can just go with the flow? That’s a certain recipe for disaster. You’ll end up with disconnected content and you won’t be able to break it up with effective subheadings or think of a headline that encompasses all information. The lesson is clear: you absolutely need to start the writing process with brainstorming. However, you need to do it properly!
Think about the topic and write down all ideas you have in mind. You can use an online brainstorming tool for this purpose (such as Bubble.us), but you can also write in a plain notebook if that’s what you prefer. The point is to give yourself enough time and note down every single idea you get. Then, try to select the best ideas and categorize them in different section. Think of a subheading for each section and organize the list into a clean template. Then, set the headline! It should grasp the essence of the entire post.
You can get more effective in this stage if you have a team you can rely on. When you’re done with the template, you can rely on other people’s brainpower to develop a better headline. Stormboard and Mindjet are awesome online tools for collaborative brainstorming.
- Combine Numbers with Cool Adjectives
A number gives specific information to your potential reader. For example, you knew you would get 6 tips in this article, so you set your expectations clear. A headline that contains numbers gives you a greater chance for click-throughs. There is no rule for the numbers that work best. However, keep in mind that most people don’t like spending too much time on a post, so avoid really big, obscure numbers like ‘268 Productivity Tips for Writers’.
You can’t only rely on a number; you also need a catchy adjective that will attract more readers. Try something like effective, awesome, effortless, mesmerizing, electrifying, or any other attention-grabbing adjectives you can think of.
- Use a Title-Generating Tool… or Ask a Professional!
You keep avoiding title-generating software? You’re making a mistake. Yes, most of these tools suggest useless random titles that make no sense, but they will at least inspire you to think of something unique! Try Portent’s Content Idea Generator, Tweak Your Biz and Upworthy Generator – these online tools will help you get out of the box and think of a really unusual headline.
When you get so stuck that no online tool helps you get out of that state, it’s time to ditch automated tools and rely on a true professional. Online services that enable you to collaborate with writers (such as AustralianWritings) are a great choice when you need inspiration to write. Just offer the broad guidelines, and an expert in the given niche will help you come up with a catchy headline.
- Engage the Readers!
An intriguing heading should get the readers thinking. They should start asking themselves questions and wondering whether or not you can help them find answers. There is a certain way of achieving that state: ask a question in the title! Make sure the formulation includes the readers. For example, start with Do You Know or Are You Struggling to.
When you’re using a question in the headline, you shouldn’t only try to make it clever and unique. Your main goal is to set a direct question that makes the reader believe you have solutions to their problems.
- Show Them the Content Is Useful!
Make a list of few potential headlines. Now think: which one of them presents your post as content that provides benefits for the readers? Will they learn something new? Will they discover the solution to a problem? Show the value of the content through its headline!
A potential reader won’t spend time with your post if he isn’t convinced it would satisfy a particular need. For example, you started reading this text because you wanted to discover ways of creating catchy headlines, and the title made you think you would discover a solution. You can always rely on the good-old How-to headlines; they always target the right audience and convince the readers they will learn something useful.
- Optimize the Headline!
When writing a headline, the first thing you think of is: “how will I intrigue more readers?” Don’t limit yourself there. You should also make the search engines happy if you want to attract more visitors. The right keywords will list your post among the top Google search results, so you’ll have more chances of reaching a great audience.
Search engine optimization is a long, complex process that doesn’t produce immediate results. Thus, you shouldn’t be disappointed if you don’t see your post on the first page of the results at the beginning. You need to build rock-solid online reputation before your great headlines can reach their full potential. You can use different online tools to locate the best keywords for your headlines. Google AdWords Keyword Planner is a classic, but you can also rely on Keyword Tool and other simple generators that help you optimize your headlines.
A Catchy Headline Makes a Promise. Keep It!
There is nothing worse than reading an alluring headline and then reading completely irrelevant content that makes you frustrated you spent your time on it. Don’t do that to your readers! When you think of a great headline, make sure the content delivers the promise it made.