Did you know that 8 out of 10 people will only read your headline copy, nothing more? That’s what makes creating effective headlines so important.
But often, the job gets rushed. The post goes out in a few hours. It’s time to slap on a headline and move on.
This isn’t the right approach, as the headline is often the reader’s first impression of your brand. And if you write a bad headline, it might just be the only impression.
Luckily enough, we compiled a set of tips to create better headlines, which will, in turn, result in better click-through rates and better engagement metrics overall.
Write 100 Headlines (Decent Headlines)
This isn’t easy. But if you truly want better headlines, sit down in front of a piece of paper and write down 100 decent ideas for headlines.
They don’t always have to be great, but they should range anywhere from okay to amazing. With so many options it shouldn’t be hard to figure out the best, most engaging headlines.
If 100 seems like too much, try for 50 or 25 even. It’s better than the two or three options that most content creators come up with.
If you struggle to get enough ideas for the headlines you write, consider the following strategies. These are rules meant to be broken, but they are a good framework to pull inspiration from.
Break the Headline Down Into Its Base Ideas
For example, if you are writing a blog post on storytelling lessons for marketers based on novelist advice and there are six main ideas, you would break the headline down into the following main ideas:
- 6 main ideas
From here, play with combinations of the words. You need to figure out how to define the main ideas. Are they tips, are they bits of novelist wisdom? Then figure out how to incorporate the other main ideas.
You can also take those main ideas, and switch up the tense or even the word you are using. Instead of novelists, you can use storytellers.
Try writing headlines starting with each main idea. This gets your creative juices flowing.
End With the Operative Word
What is an operative word?
It is the most important word in a phrase, the one that gives it meaning. By using the operative word at the end of the sentence, you make the reader wait until the end of the headline to understand its full meaning.
This means that someone will likely actually read until the end of the headline. You are tantalizing the reader to continue reading.
Additionally, using the operative word at the end of the sentence makes the headline powerful.
Consider the following example:
- 7 Content Tips to Make Your Brand More Human
Here, “human” is the operative word. Without the word, this headline wouldn’t have meaning and wouldn’t be as powerful as it is. If it were written:
- Make Your Brand More Human With These 7 Content Tips
This headline lacks the power of the previous headline. It’s not bad, but it certainly isn’t as good.
Follow the Trends – But Not Constantly
Keep an eye on your social media feeds. I keep an eye on both my personal feeds and the HiP business feeds.
Here, I observe what is getting liked and shared a lot and keep that in mind when I create headlines of my own.
What is important to remember is that while following the trends is certain to bring you some kind of success, it likely will not make your brand wildly popular.
The best headlines will be ones you’ve never read before. They are ones that are different and bold, something that seems to get more and more difficult as brands continue to constantly create content.
Try new ideas when you create your content, aim to be ahead of the trends as opposed to following them.
Pay Attention to Your Popular Posts and Tweets
Listen to your audience. The age-old marking wisdom holds true in this case too.
To find out which tweets are the most popular. Log in to Twitter, then click Analytics.
On the homepage of the analytics section, you can see the month’s most popular tweets.
You can also scroll over to the “Tweets” section of the analytics and click over to “Top Tweets.”
Here you can see which tweets have done the best. Use this to inform your headlines. Notice how this tweet did the best using its original headline?
There are many other places you can use to get headline data. Check out Google Analytics and whatever other channels you broadcast onto. You can even use subject lines to inform your headlines since often your audience is similar or the same.
Creating great headlines takes effort, but it is well worth the energy expended. Headlines are often what tease readers into clicking, and will often be the difference between a click-through and a pass. The above tips should help you create the best headlines possible and consequently strengthen your rapport with your audience.
How do you compose headlines? What makes you click a headline? Let us know in the comments section.