All about how to nail the reader—hook, line, and sinker.
Shakespeare, had it right about 450 years ago when he asked: “What’s in a name?” Now we ask ourselves “What’s in a headline?”. Crazy or bizarre as it sounds, literary works with great titles attracted more readers back then.
The same is relevant even now; web-content writers and social media experts are always searching for that one line that’ll gain them their 15 minutes of fame (or a top-5 Google ranking).
So, really, what is in a good title or headline? Here are some pro tips you can apply, you may not have hits all the time, but certainly fewer misses than before.
ProTip#1: It’s a Numbers Game
Put a number in your title; many successful writers prefer odd numbers. I haven’t quite got that part, but the mantra works. According to collective experience articles which start with numbers like 5, 7, or 9 are more likely to have better rankings than the ones which start with 4,6, 8, etc. The reasoning is, odd numbers make the reader curious about the content.
ProTip#2: Get Emotional For Once
Your title or headline should capture the readers’ soul (preferably not the dark and gripping kind like Voldemort). Try to play on the human psyche by using emotional triggers. Words like ‘top’, ‘great’, ‘amazing’, ‘good’, ‘bad’, ‘worst’, draw readers like butterflies to flowers in summer. Just make sure you don’t go bonkers and stuff all the adjectives from Oxford or Cambridge!
ProTip#3: Stand Out Like Audrey Hepburn
Now, this sub-header probably comes from the fact that I’m a massive fan of the actor. But it originates from the fact that she was extraordinary! When you saw her on-screen everything else melted into the background. Your content title must aim to be like Audrey Hepburn—extraordinary. Use words like ‘facts’. ‘ideas’, ‘reasons’, ‘secrets.’ Just a humble request, avoid the word ‘things’ in your headline, like the plague; it generalises the underlying content.
ProTip#4: You and Yours is Much Better Than His, Her’s, and Theirs
Once your reader is hooked, you need to reel him or her in and the key to doing it is by reaching out. Any title that says ‘you’ makes it personal. It appeals directly to your audience, don’t miss out on your audience by building a wall.
ProTip#5: Get Trigger-Happy
Now I don’t mean you put a gun to your readers’ head. Use trigger-words to make your headline more appealing. These are words that will literally raise a question and make one wonder, what’s next? Try to incorporate ‘what’, ‘why’, ‘how’, or ‘when’ in your title. Word to the wise here (again), don’t overdo it. One word per title is enough to reel in your target audience.
ProTip#6: There’s Audacity in Wordy Promises
As audacious as it may be, your title is trying to say something. So what is it? Maybe you have an idea that has never been tried before. Perhaps you want to explain a difficult concept in simple words. Or maybe you have an opinion and you want the world to know. Whatever be your reason, once your reader is hooked and reeled in, you have to ensure they stay that way. Just ensure you deliver in your content what you promised in your title (I hope I have).
ProTip#7: Use Keywords for SEO Writing
Often, you may have to integrate keywords to optimise your digital content. Businesses and individual bloggers do this to increase their content ranking. You may not like keywords in your titles but if they help get your content out to maximum people, use them.
The goal of excellent web-content writing is, you have to make the audience want to click on the ‘Read More’ link. Let’s face it; you’d rather read an article titled—5 Great Ideas On How To Wrap Your Christmas Gifts or 8 Fascinating Skin Secrets for a Great Summer Holiday. So, happy creating and happy writing!