Have you ever noticed that you may have a large number of social media followers, but when it comes to leading these people to your website, the conversions are just not there? Or even worse, have you ever paid for an ad just for it to fall flat and have no results? If these problems sound familiar to you, chances are you are doing one thing wrong. That is writing bad headlines for your posts and articles. A bad headline leads to a decrease in the audience, your quality leads to decline, your call-to-actions are ignored, and your revenue starts to drop.
Bad headlines are all over the marketing world, especially on social media platforms like Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. Writing headlines isn’t easy, and it isn’t your fault that you just can’t seem to get it right. A good headline is essential for clicks on social media, your blog, and your sales page. Once you find the perfect headline, you can use it everywhere, on your sales site, titles on presentations, titles of blog posts, and in-person sales communication. But how do followers turn into website traffic, and how can you write professional and attention-grabbing headlines? We are here to offer you some strategies and examples!
Main Types of Headlines
Social Proof Headlines
First, think of the last item you purchased on Amazon. Did you check the reviews before you made your final decision? This answer is most likely going to be a definite yes. Around 95% of people from the ages of 18 to 34 read local business reviews and trust online reviews more than they would trust personal recommendations. 57% of all consumers will only purchase from a business that has four or more stars. These statistics tell a story, and it’s that people want to see the reaction of other people before they make any transaction. So, by integrating social proof in the headlines you write, you jumpstart this process.
Examples of social proof headlines:
- Why Writers Are In Love With This Grammar App
- $20k+ Drop Shippers Are Shipping Using This Automation Tool (And Here’s Why)
- 10,000 Digital Marketing Agencies Are Using This App to Hire Freelancers
Headlines like this are leveraging social proof and even taking it further by adding high-authority sources.
Imagine you are looking for a knife set online, and you stumble upon a review from Gordon Ramsey saying this is the best knife set he has ever used? You would obviously stop looking and purchase that on the spot, right? Many companies use headlines with celebrity names to catch the attention of readers.
Here is an example, the company Hootsuite used Seth Rogen’s celebrity status in their Twitter headline:
By leveraging the social proof of well-known professionals, you can make your headlines that much more clickable.
Threat headlines sound scary, but they aren’t. They catch a viewer’s eye almost immediately. It’s why many movies begin with the main character encountering a problem and ultimately finding a successful resolution. This doesn’t mean you are going to kidnap someone if they don’t read your article. Instead, you are going to show a reader how they can avoid a specific pain by reading your article.
Some examples of threat headlines:
- 13 Things to Do so You Don’t Lose Your Cat
- Read This Checklist Before Flying to Italy
- The 5 Biggest Mistakes Made by New Business Owners
So while a reader may be doing well now, they will jump into action after reading a headline similar to these.
Gain headlines follow a simple 2-step formula consisting of benefit and promise. What will a reader gain by clicking on your post, and what promise are you making them in return for a click?
- 10 Last Minute Valentine’s Day Gifts For Your Girlfriend
- 10 DIY Dinner Ideas Using Ingredients Already in Your Pantry
- 10 Easy At-Home Workouts for Beginners
For example, NYT Bestselling author Mark Manson is a master of these headlines. The headline, “5 Skills You Need to Be More Emotionally Intelligent than the Average Three-Year-Old,” will give the reader five skills to make them more emotionally intelligent and the promise that they will have a higher EQ than a toddler after reading this article.
Simple Ways to Improve Your Headlines
Now that you have read about the basics of good headlines for your posts, you can start to use your typing muscles. Here are some more strategies that you can use alone or with the above strategies to increase clicks from your headlines.
Add the Phrase “How To”
The “How To” headline can be added to the gain, social proof, and strategies mentioned above. It shows a reader that they will learn something new and valuable by reading your article.
This specific headline, “How to Work Out Like a Victoria’s Secret Model at the Gym,” posted by Harper’s Bazaar, used Victoria’s Secret’s social proof as leverage to make their post more clickable.
If you show people how much time they are going to need to receive the benefit they are promised to gain from your headline, your clicks will start to grow. For example, using the headline “This quick quiz will reveal what essential spices you are missing in your pantry” promises the benefit of telling quiz takers how to make their dishes taste better. Remember, no one has time to read pages of text, and most readers prefer to know upfront how much time they will need to finish an article.
Fascination is a part of your headline that makes people stop their scrolling and think, “That’s interesting.” The average person usually has an approximate attention span of 7 seconds, so this is slightly difficult to do. For example, the phone company ‘The Verge’ tweeted a photo of cows and used the headline “These cows already have 5G, and you don’t.” This may sound absurd, but it got tons of people to click on the article linked.
Define the Format of the Content
One way to guarantee a click on your headline is to define the format that follows after a click. What can a reader expect to get after they click your headline? If you are offering research, an infographic, an eBook, or a list, make sure you are showing that in your headline. Always make sure you are backing up what you are selling. Never lie in your headlines and promise something that your content won’t deliver. If you use click-bait headlines, you are only going to turn people off from your company and increase your bounce rate.
If you know what your audience is usually looking for, then make sure to include this in your content and in your headlines. Most people will click on an article that promises something of value to them. Always use headlines that identify a certain problem and offer a solution.
Find a Way to Be Unique
Often the content products or services you are offering will be similar to what other websites offer. Be sure to look over your competition and analyze the headlines they are using. To see what is and isn’t working out for them, check the comments on posts or the engagement on social media platforms. If you see that a certain headline style is working, then you can implement that in your content planning. Of course, this doesn’t mean copying competitors’ headlines. Instead, you must try your best to be unique and stand out. Your headlines must include your keywords and be compelling. They are the key to your results and SEO strategy as well. The more you differentiate yourself from your competition, the better.
High-quality headlines make all the difference in content and digital marketing. You only have around 5 seconds to grab a viewer’s attention online. If your headline isn’t up to par, you’ll lose a potential customer.
Find a way to stand out by using interesting phrases or jokes that encourage the user to click your headline for more information. Don’t overdo it, though; still clearly show what your viewers should expect when they click your article.
Use an Emotional Hook
Another interesting way to grab your viewer’s attention with your headline is to use emotional words and phrases. Words such as daring, rare, attractive, cool, unusual, unlimited, and similar phrases can appeal to a reader in some way. Many times, the emotions you’re want to stir up in a reader include appealing to them in intellectual, empathetic, or spiritual ways. To be clearer, you have a small chance of connecting with a reader on a deeper level, so don’t waste your words.
Also, make sure you are using active voice and present-tense verbs whenever you can in headlines. Viewers would like to know what is happening right now, in the current moment.
Keep in mind that most platforms have a character limit, so don’t write too much. Do not waste your characters on multiple adjectives. Instead, focus on grabbing a viewer’s attention and showing what they should expect in your article.
Superlative Language and Numerals Are Essential
Two other great headline tactics include using superlative language and numbers to pique your readers’ interest.
Superlative language consists of words like best, top, quickest, and smartest. Here are just a few examples we have put together to help you understand:
- 10 best places to travel to…
- Your ultimate guide to …
- Top 10 ways to …
Also, viewers’ eyes are always drawn to something that is different next to the words. That is why numbers often catch a viewer’s attention. Implementing lists in your content have been proven effective for engagement rates (like “10 best places to travel to” above).
The bottom line is that concise and intriguing headlines are always the best combination for
your successful headlines.
Test Your Headlines to Ensure Most Impact
Aside from writing the best headlines, you must also make sure to always A/B these headlines. If you do not follow up on the headlines you write, you will never know what works and what doesn’t. What if a small tweak will lead to immensely better results? You will only know this after some testing. Write down many different variations of headlines for the same content. Then try them all out to figure out which one performs the best in terms of click-through rates, engagement, likes, shares, comments, and reviews. If a headline isn’t receiving a high enough click-through rate, then change it out to a different version and watch the analytics. Keep a close eye on your site and social media after posting something new to see whether you are drawing new customers in with your headlines.
It is also crucial to test your pay-per-click ads consistently. By doing this, you will figure out which headlines perform better with your audience and which get you the most clicks and conversions. There are many free headline analyzer tools on the internet to help you understand what headline gets the most impact. Try to find a tool that will give you feedback on your overall structure, grammar, and readability after an analysis.
Remember, the ultimate goal is to bring more targeted customers to your website from headlines. You must strive to always increase your click-through rates. So make sure your headlines align with the three C’s:
Whenever possible, keep your headlines at eight words or fewer. Add hooks, emotional and superlative words, numbers, lists, threats, social proof, and whatever else applies to your article. Always make sure your message is properly getting across as you want it to, and test out your headlines. When you find one headline doing better, figure out what element makes it more catchy. Implement this style into your other headlines, too, and watch your numbers grow.