The crowning piece of any content is the headline.
It takes a matter of seconds for someone to read your headline. It is often placed in between a million other links and headlines too, so these precious few seconds are likely your only window of opportunity to seize a passing visitor.
Think about that – only a few seconds… at most.
Do you frequently skim through Twitter, Triberr or whatever your content curation tools of choice are and read or share content based on your first impressions?
You’re probably lying to yourself if you say you don’t.
A headline is like wrapping paper to a present.
Have you ever received a present covered in bows, ribbons and shiny velvety paper, that includes a hand signed happy birthday message on a charming little folded piece of glittery card?
It just makes you want to open it that extra bit more. It makes you wonder what’s inside and how much time and effort must have gone into selecting such a well-dressed present.
A headline must do exactly the same thing.
Is must make readers want to read more. It must create desire. It must affect emotion in some way.
So it’s clearly essential that in order to improve your readership, especially in spaces where differentiating from another piece of similarly presented content is key (think Twitter), it’s all about the headline.
Lets explore 9 different types of headline commonly used by authors:
9 Types Of Commonly Used Headlines
- Lists: e.g. -> “8 Reasons Why Bloggers Avoid LinkedIn“
- News title: e.g. -> “Best 20 Social Media Marketing Articles Of The Week: 22/12/13“
- Guarantee: e.g. -> “Free–Yes, Free!–Marketing Resources“
- How To: e.g. -> “How To Establish A Blog In 30 Days From Scratch“
- Benefit: e.g. -> “iLobster.it – Buying and Selling Social Media Photos Made Easy“
- Scare: e.g. -> “3 Issues Bloggers face that leads to Death”
- Question: e.g. -> “Does Your Business Content Suck? Let’s Find Out!“
- Testimonial: e.g. -> “How I Make Money Blogging“
- Command: e.g. -> “Stop wasting time and hack your productivity”
- Outrageous: e.g. -> “Connecting the Dots: The Link Between Gay Marriage and Mass Murders“
Choosing the angle of your headline will be based on your content and your audience. Different approaches will work better in different situations and in different industries.
But there is best practice and proven approaches, like with the 9 examples given above. And using a well structured and researched headline will improve your article readership.
So take these as a starting point and think about how you can differentiate them to attract, engage and convert attention.
Then take a bow. Your content will have its crown.
Over To You…
No matter which approach you use to angle your headline, it should always include your keyword research.
Establishing what people want to know about before writing any content is a stage most often overlooked.
So ensure your article focus keyword is included in your headline – if you use WordPress then installing the free Yoast SEO plugin will ensure your headline is SEO’d appropriately.
Have you been putting any real thought into producing your headlines?
Is there one headline that you have come across before and thought was magical?