05 Mar H is for… How to write a killer headline
Your A-Z of Marketing Essentials
H is for… How to create a killer headline
11 Tips on how to write a killer headline that grabs attention
How often have you sat there trying to think of a killer headline that your audience will just ‘get’? Racking your brains until you come up with something that will just ‘do’ for now. After all, you’ll think of something better later, right?…
A killer headline is critical to the success of your piece of marketing content.
It is the part or your advert, email, webpage or article that will catch your readers attention and compel them enough to want to read more. It is essential to get this element of your marketing content right or your content or article might not get read or even scanned. In fact, Copyblogger states that 8 out of 10 people will read headline copy, but only 2 out of 10 will read the rest!
Here’s 11 tips for writing consistently great headlines.
- Use numbers – HubSpot and Outbrain conducted a study of 150,000 article headlines and revealed that odd numbers in list posts have a click-through rate 20% higher than even-number lists.
- Use adjectives – Words such as simple, valuable, important, quick, brilliant, essential, horrifying, ultimate etc. when mixed with emotion help to create a compelling headline.
- Use calls to action – You want your reader understand they can achieve something by reading your post. Words such as quickly, fast, easy, become, try, click, discover, learn, start etc. create a feeling of achievement.
- Include keywords – What is it you want to be found for? Include the keywords that people would search when looking for your product or service.
- Include a reason – Why should someone read your post? This is the ‘What’s in it for me factor’. Is it educational or informative? Use words such as learn, discover, reasons, tips, how to, facts, strategies, secrets, method, solution etc. to compel the reader to read more.
- Use negatives – Using words such as never, without, don’t, avoid, worst, stop etc. create a sense of potential loss. A study by Outbrain found that negative words such as “never” and “worst” performed 30% better than average and 59% better than positive words.
- Be helpful – By providing content that your audience will find valuable they will come back to you as a credible resourse and thought leader
- Use Emotion – Try add emotion to your headlines by including words such as worried, survive, reconnect, genius, genuine, simplistic, approved, willpower, success etc. as this will help you connect with your readers on an emotional level.
- Use punctuation – Adding punctuation such as a colon or semi-colon can increase your propensity for click-through. Headlines containing a colon or a hyphen performed 9% better than those without according to HubSpot and Outbrain research. It also showed that ending a headline with a question mark results in a higher click-through rate than using an exclamation point or a full stop.
- Think mobile and social – A shorter title that easily viewed on mobile devices will encourage a higher click-through rate. The study from HubSpot and Outbrain they revealed that headlines with eight words performed the best in click-through rates. Having a shorter title also leave room for comments to be added when retweeted.
- Be inspiring – Great content inspires people!
As I mentioned before, a killer headline is critical to the success of your piece of marketing content. Not only is it essential for your readers, but it will also help it to get ranked and found in the search engines.
Michelle Roberts (MCIM), is the managing director and founder of The Creative Marketing Agency. She is trained in both digital and traditional marketing through the Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM). She is also a member of the CIM and a Certified Practitioner in the Watertight Marketing Expert Community, both of which provide access to an additional wealth of knowledge and experience.