Research has shown that people are five times more likely to read the headline than the actual body of your work. That is why headlines are so important. It is the first thing your viewers will read and it will determine whether they are interested enough to continue reading. If your headline lacks a certain level of attraction, viewers are likely to lose interest quickly and leave the page. A good headline grabs the viewers’ attention immediately and creates a need for them to continue reading the content.
With an increase in competition and business exposure it is now simply not enough to have a good headline.
The key steps you can use to ensure you have the best possible headline
Obviously you want people to read your content, but to get them to read it you have to give them a good reason. This is where unique rationales come into play. These help give your viewers a reason as to why an action should be completed.
Unique rationales also give your viewers a solid reason as to why they should not only read your content, but also share it through their social media pages. Through the use of sharing, this can assist in your content going viral. A few of the unique rationales that are a good idea for your headline include; lessons, ways, tips, strategies, etc.
So for example, you should replace this headline “How to Use Hashtags on Twitter”, with a headline along the lines of “5 Best Tips on How to Use Hashtags on Twitter”.
This is a very simple step to increase the effectiveness of your content. You should always try to integrate a specific number or some sort of data in the headline.
Research has proven that headlines containing a number have a much larger amount of engagement than those that do not. Another interesting fact that research has shown is when using numbers, the odd ones are best.
Odd numbers are said to help consumers remember certain information easier. So for example, you should replace this headline “The Most Common SEO Problems”, with a headline along the lines of “10 Most Common SEO Problems”.
Call to Action
Try to include a call to action in as many headlines as you can. This is more likely to grab the attention of the viewer as they are being suggested to do something. These days it is very hard to grab the attention of consumers because they have more to focus on in their life and in addition to this, the average attention span has also dropped.
It is hoped that a call to action in your headline will draw in the consumer. So for example, you should replace this headline “The Formula to Writing the Best Facebook Content”, with a headline along the lines of “Try this Formula to Write the Best Facebook Content”.
Use the 5W’s (what, who, where, why or when)
The 5W’s are engaging and they act as trigger words. They help to convince your viewers to do something (and this could be as simple as reading your content). However, it is important to note that using one of these trigger words and also a number in the same headline does not usually work.
When both are use together it can create a headline that could be too long and/ or confusing for the viewer to follow, so it is best to stick to one or the other. Using these trigger words also clearly explains to your readers the type of information you will be providing to them through your content.
So for example, you should replace this headline “The Search Engines that don’t Track You”, with a headline along the lines of “What are the 5 best Search Engines that don’t Track You?”.
Kieran is the Social Media Manager and SEO Expert at SEO Shark. He is an expert in Social Media, link building, PPC and of course SEO. In his time off work Kieran enjoys reading and playing rugby, as well as following all kinds of sports! You can read some more of his articles here.