David Ogilvy once said: “When you have written your headline, you have spent eighty cents out of your dollar”. He meant that 80% of our effort, when creating content, should go towards a great headline.
Let’s check if that’s still relevant.
We are generation of scanners. We scan titles on Google, picking the ones most interesting. If the headline is boring or little inspiring, we give it a miss. We tend to skip possibly great content, just because the subject line is dull. Fair? Hell no! There could a bunch of useful information we’d never get to see.
For a copywriter, it’s a cruel game. They can spend days researching the topic, gathering facts and writing content, just to find out nobody reads it! It’s discouraging, but according to Neil Patel, people read on average 1 in 5 copies based on a title alone.
Google is changing, and we should keep up to stay in the race. SEO marketers recommend creating attractive headlines first, before moving to the content. If the subject is not clickable, even the best copy will struggle to get noticed. Your site doesn’t have to rank high – it can be number five, but if your headline is attractive, people will click it.
What is the secret of a great headline?
According to Conversion XL, numbers work best. People love lists – 50 ways to improve your skin or 10 worst movie mistakes – it’s very appealing. 36% readers are more likely to click on a headline with a number – doesn’t matter if it’s at the beginning, middle or end of the subject (food you used to love in your 20s). Numbers never fail.
Addressing a reader directly also ranks well. Things you should put on your bucket list will do 21% better than Things to put on a bucket list. We notice the appeal right away!
How To articles will get a great traffic too. 17% of readers prefer guides – plenty of websites supply only How To content – see WikiHow or Wired.com.
These few examples should spice up your headlines. But what if you’re stuck and cannot think of anything appealing? There is help. Check this online title generator – all you do is type a subject you’re writing about (cauliflower), specify if it’s a noun or a verb, and start the fun! The site generates over a hundred ideas divided into groups (questions, how to’s, lists etc.) from which you can choose the most appealing to your readers. It saved my life few times!
Also make sure your subject has 72 characters or less – otherwise it will be cut by Google. It’s not a great look – so before publishing, paste your headline into a Word document and review it with a Word Count. This great tool will sum not only words, but also characters and spaces.
Remember – start with a headline, grab readers’ attention and half a battle is won!
Freelance Content Strategist. Helping brands find a right voice, one story at a time. Passionate about animal onesies, meaningful conversations and well-spoken people
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