Bombarded with tons of low-quality, unremarkable stories that are constantly flooding the Internet, readers have become quite selective to their time and energy when it comes to reading blogs or content online.
Whether you’re ready for it or not, they use your own headline as their first selection criterion.
Just like a book is still being judged by its cover, each content piece that you produce gets evaluated by your readers in a few seconds based on its headline.
7 Headline Formulas That Will Convince Your Readers to Take Action
Simply because their originality and unique, totally recognizable style should be their most valuable trademarks, writers can seldom afford the luxury of relying on existing patterns to make their content piece seem more interesting in the eyes of their readers. However, when your goal is to create magnetic headlines, you can always turn to a few foolproof formulas showing you the direction that you should follow to make more people take a glance at your article. Here are the 7 golden headline formulas that you should have in mind as soon as you decide to put pen to paper.
- “The Secret” to [Something]. You simply cannot go wrong with a magic keyword followed by a promise. People can’t always keep a secret, but they would definitely like to hear one every half an hour. Secrets give them the power to stand out from the crowd and prove their superiority in their circle based on a very simple principle: “knowledge is power.” When that secret actually supports one of their most ambitious goals, things get even better. Let’s consider this example: “The Secret to Losing 10 Pounds in 2 Weeks the Healthy Way.” How could you ignore this headline, when all you want to do is stop eating donuts and achieve a gorgeous beach body without getting on the treadmill?
- “X Ways” to [Achieve Something]. The “X ways to do something” proves once again that readers love specialists and their expert insight. They want to take the easy way out and avoid unnecessary stress or expenses by following the advice of someone who has already dealt with this challenge and knows what he’s talking about. This is why a title such as “5 Ways to Revamp Your Career Rapidly and Stress-Free” will always deliver excellent results.
- “Little Known” Strategies/Ideas/Methods That Will [Support a Goal]. For the same reason why we love secrets, we are also very interested in “little-known” things. Yes, we want to get the latest scoop before anyone else. We also appreciate informative content pieces allowing us to show off our knowledge in front of our friends, from time to time. “I bet you didn’t know that male ostriches roar just like lions!” Following this simple idea, it becomes obvious why headlines such as “Little-known methods to develop a profitable home-based business” can guarantee your success as a writer.
- Here’s the Simplest/Most Rapid/Cheapest Way to [Solve Your Problem]. It’s no secret that most of the individuals who are surfing the Internet to find the best solutions to their daily problems and challenges are looking to save time and money. These two values always end up influencing their decisions. In this context, a concise title reading “Here’s the Easiest Method to Get Hired after Your First Interview” will most convince job seekers to read the entire body copy with greater attention; after all, it holds the key to getting a nice job rapidly and hassle-free. What more could you ask for?
- Grow/Build/Succeed in/Have Something Desirable. Sometimes, we need an extra push to get things done. Headlines such as “Build Your Own Website and Start Selling like a Pro” or “Grow Your Own Vegetable Garden in 5 Easy Steps” act like a powerful stimulus, reminding people of their ambitions; plus they also put the reward right under their nose. In other words, it’s like telling your readers that if they want to strike gold, they’d better start digging.
- “X Mistakes” That Could Bury/Destroy/Compromise [Something That Means a Lot to You]. When something means the world to you, you focus your entire attention on the good and the bad that your object of desire is exposed to. This is precisely why you would also read an article highlighting risk factors, such as your own actions, which could threaten your career, relationship, health and every other aspect that you care about. Let’s face it: a title reading “10 mistakes that could instantly terminate your relationship” is automatically associated with an article that you may want to read entirely, whether you’re single and still looking for your soulmate or happily married for more than a decade.
- A Reinterpretation of the Classic “How to” Headline. Truth be told, “how to” headlines can be quite boring. The good news is that you can amplify their power of seduction by introducing the reward, as explained above, or through associations with individuals or groups of people who have already reached a certain target. For example, headlines like “How to Take Care of Your Skin like a Dermatologist” or “How to train like a Navy SEAL” may stimulate the curiosity of your segment of public and get them to spend some (quality) time on your page.
How to Create the Ideal Headline in 5 Easy Steps
When it comes to writing killer headlines, putting theory into practice doesn’t have to be a challenge. Here are the 5 key steps that you should take to come up with the perfect title for your next content piece.
- Identify the Needs, Demands, Problems, and Expectations of Your Audience. Get to know your audience before anything else. In this phase, proper keyword research, a good social media strategy and tools designed to help you come up with interesting blog topics, such as Hubspot’s Blog Topic Generator, can simplify your mission.
- Brainstorm with Your Team. Your coworkers may just have what it takes to inspire your next masterpiece. By putting themselves in your readers’ shoes and relying on their empathy, they could offer you valuable suggestions allowing you to come up with an attention-grabbing, compelling title.
- Put Pen to Paper. As you may already know, the biggest risk is not taking any risk. What does the perfect headline actually look/sound like? You can get the most accurate answer to this question only by examining different available options, so put your mind at work, play with various keywords, create associations based on high-impact verbs, adjectives and nouns that could reflect the core of your story and see where they take you.
- Incorporate Powerful Adjectives, Numbers and Buzzwords with a Proven Effectiveness. When it comes to using emotion-rich words that could convey the entire message that you’re trying to send through your headline, don’t overdo it. Stick to one or two categories of words added to reflect just how unique, special, relevant or attention-worthy your story actually is. Here are some extra guidelines that you may appreciate along the way.
- The right adjective can take your headline to a whole new level by changing your readers’ reaction from “Ain’t nobody got time for that,” “Wait a second, I actually want to read the whole piece, it sounds promising.” Attributes like “effective”, “proven”, “remarkable” and “little-known” will always sound like music to your readers’ ears.
- Numbers let your readers know that you’re organized. They also deliver the promise that you will stay on point in the body copy and avoid divagations that can dilute the substance of your content piece.
- Nouns that are proven buzzwords can actually help you maximize the appeal of an ordinary list post and raise the curiosity of your public. As Goinswriter.com indicates, words like “reasons”, “lessons”, “secrets”, “tips”, “facts” and “tricks” are particularly effective because they highlight your mission (after all, you do want to educate, entertain and inform your readers) and anticipate the desires and demands of your audience (yes, your readers are still waiting for you to tell them why they need to buy your new product, and they would also appreciate a few easy tips on how to conduct a successful DIY home improvement project on their own).
- Use Online Tools to Measure the Effectiveness of Your Headline. Worried that you may promote a certain title and fail miserably along the way? If you don’t trust your instincts and would much rather rely on an authorized second opinion before selecting a headline for your new content piece, don’t hesitate to utilize one of the many online tools designed to help you make better decisions and maximize your odds of success. Trust us when we say that aids like the Emotional Marketing Value Headline Analyzer offered by Advanced Marketing Institute can make your job a whole lot easier.
Solving the Equation of Perfect Headlines
The perfect headline is a complicated equation comprising multiple elements of equal importance, including research, an wide knowledge database, creative thinking, brainstorming sessions, a deeper understanding of the targeted audience, an ample testing phase and proper optimization. Once you put all these pieces together, you manage to solve the puzzle and come up with the string of words with a magical resonance that will feed the curiosity of your readers and make them click on your links and land on your page time after time.
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