Tips For Creating Killer Headlines – Before publishing an article, review, slideshow, or video, be sure to spend a few minutes to make sure you choose the best title. A good headline directly affects traffic, it is a matter of life and death in content marketing and promotion in general.
The Internet is becoming more and more a boiling cauldron of chaos, you are getting less and less time to attract the attention of your audience.
By choosing a good title for your content you instantly drive the focus of the reader. The heading helps your readers quickly determine if they need your article or presentation, why they should buy, download or open a page with your content, as well as what benefits they get by clicking on the appropriate link.
If you choose a bad title, you make your content invisible to most of the audience. The title is an essential element of web pages, advertisements, video materials. It draws the attention of the audience to the content. Materials go unnoticed if you use a grey and nondescript headline.
This article will introduce you to the main characteristics of successful headlines. It includes 10 questions, answering which you will learn how to create high-quality and “catchy” headlines. You can also use the heading score table, which is a convenient tool for quickly determining their quality.
The following examples are mainly related to books. The names of the authors of most of them have become brands, and books remain bestsellers, including thanks to successful headings. However, these examples remain valid for any type of content – and, above all, for web content.
Here Are TOP 10 Questions We Recommend Asking Ourselves When Writing Headings:
1. Does your headline promise your audience benefits?
Choose a name that clearly communicates to readers about the benefits that they will receive through your product or your service. The best headline solves problems or helps the audience achieve their desired goal.
Compare the following names:
- Tools and techniques for graphic design.
- Improve your design: a guide to using basic tools and techniques.
The first headline tells the reader about the content of the article. The second title describes the benefits that the reader will receive after reading the article.
2. Does your title contain specific details that emphasize its relevance and value?
Specific details in the title, such as exact numbers, draw extra attention to your content. The numbers structure the information, as can be seen in the book “7 Skills of Highly Effective People” by Stephen Covey. Imagine the title of this book without numbers, “Skills of Highly Effective People.” That doesn’t sound very convincing, right?
The numbers in the headline also help “eat an elephant piece by piece in a sitting.” It is a step-by-step achievement of any complex goal. For example, pay attention to the title of Terry Orbach’s book “6 Steps to a Perfect Marriage”.
Another example is the article by Damir Khalilov “100 Main Skills of an SMM Specialist” (although, in our opinion, the round figure sounds a little taut, as if the author adjusted the results to the “round” figure, it would be much better to headline the article “97 or 102 skills … “).
Moreover, the numbers can make your content more relevant by offering the reader a specific deadline or schedule to achieve the goal. What do you think of the title of Partisan Marketing in 30 Days, which was used by authors Jay Conrad Levinson and Al Lautenslager?
But the headline, “Drop 21 pounds in 21 days: Martha Vainard’s detox diet” sounds even better. The title of this book accurately shows the reader how many pounds of excess weight he will lose and for what period. Buyers of books on diet and other methods of weight correction probably want to know the exact results of applying the described methods.
Another example on the topic of numbers is the diary of designer Yana Frank, “365 days of a very creative person.” But, as you already understood, there are a lot of examples of successful headings using numbers. The main thing is the ability to beat these numbers.
3. Does your title take into account the target audience for which the content is intended?
Identify the target consumers of your content with a heading where possible. It makes your materials personalized. You can identify target readers by directly naming them or by indicating their key characteristics. The more obvious it is, the better.
CJ Hayden’s “Attract Customers: A 28-Day Marketing Course for Professionals, Trainers, and Consultants” defines the audience by occupation.
Heidi Muroff and Sharon Maisel use the “What to Expect When You Expect” heading to indicate target book buyers, describing the circumstances in which they find themselves. A similar trick is used by Patrice Karst, author of Survival Guide for Single Moms.
Jay Conrad Levinson remains a recognized master at targeting specific market segments. It was he who released the book Partisan Marketing in 30 Days. After that, Levinson adapted his ideas for consumers working in different niches.
This is how the publications Partisan Marketing for Writers, … for financial consultants, etc. appeared. In addition, Levinson wrote a separate book describing the use of his approach in the online field – “Partisan Internet Marketing.”
Some authors manage to determine the target audience by telling who the readers are not. For example, Robin Williams created the “Non-Designer’s Design Book,” literally, “The Design Book for Non-Designers.”
4. Does your title help position your content?
The series of books “… for dummies” is one of the successful examples of positioning content using the title. For example, the book “Red Wine for Dummies” is unlikely to interest experts and connoisseurs of this drink. However, if you want a basic knowledge of red wine, the title will quickly catch your eye.
The name can position your content, directly indicating the method used to solve the problem. Natural Cancer Prevention is an example of this approach.
5. Do you try to arouse the curiosity of potential readers with your headline?
As we are told by all kinds of books on literary analysis and the nature of literary creation, interest in the text (it is clear that the word “interest” is very arbitrary here – it is a complex of feelings that the reader evokes by the text) is born when the text exceeds our inner expectation from it.
And this happens thanks to certain techniques that “break” the general paradigm of the text, the familiar picture of the world.
There are three such methods:
- Metaphors. They make the names more understandable and memorable. They create images that remain in the reader’s memory. A metaphor is a transfer of meaning, the use of a word in figurative meaning.
- Examples of metaphorical headlines: “How I ate a dog” by Evgeny Grishkovets (didn’t eat!), “I burn Paris” by Bruno Jasensky (didn’t burn!), Etc. Come up with a metaphorical title is very simple.
- But it is important not only to invent it, but it is also much more important to beat it in the text. The headline is a bait, a hook. If you deceive the reader’s expectations by not “playing back” the heading in the text, you will lose confidence in your next headings.
- Alliteration is another way to make a name memorable. It involves the repetition of homogeneous or identical consonants in the heading words. Alliteration is a technique more characteristic of poetic speech. But the compilation of headings, believe me, is closer to versification than it might seem at first glance.
- Contradictions or unexpected expressions also arouse the curiosity of readers. They remain winning against the backdrop of trivial headlines. Pay attention to the name of the fairy tale “How the Devil Fool Outwitted the Devil.”
- The arising contradiction between “fool” and “outwitted” makes the reader wonder how all the same, Ivan outwitted the trait. Tim Ferris’s book title, The Four-Hour Workweek, is an example of an unexpected phrase.
- Many buyers do not believe that you can work only four hours a week, so they are interested in the book. Another example: “Goal:
- A Continuous Improvement Process” (the goal is not a finish point, but a process stretched out over time) by Elia Goldratt and Jeff Cox. Well, the most eloquent example of the contradiction is “The Man Who Was Thursday” by Gilbert Chesterton.
6. Does your headline engage with the audience?
Pack a promise made in simple and understandable words in the title of your book or article. The best headlines retain the almost naive evidence characteristic of everyday conversations of ordinary people. Pay attention to the following examples:
- “How to Finish Things You Started” by David Allen.
- An Easy Way to Stop Smoking by Allen Carr.
- “I don’t know how to lose weight” by Pierre Ducane (the dialogue goes on easily: “And you know how?” “No, I, too, unfortunately do not know how …).
- “Until your teenager drives you crazy,” Nigel Latt, etc.
Choose the right verbs by creating headings. Also use verbal nouns. They form the necessary attitude to the product on the part of the reader.
7. How short is your headline?
Say the obvious truth: short headlines draw more attention to the audience. Remember, the fewer words you use in the title, the stronger each of them is remembered by a potential reader.
Writer Malcolm Gladwell is considered a recognized master of short headlines. Pay attention, for example, to the title of his book “Geniuses and Outsiders” (English The Outliers) – succinctly and briefly.
8. Do you use subtitles?
A subheading is a reinforcement of your headline. Combine short headers with longer subtitles that reveal some details. Here is an example of a bestseller, the title of which consists of two words, and the subtitle of 14: “Skinny bitch: An effective guide for smart girls who want to stop eating all sorts of rubbish and look attractive.” The English version of the subtitle consists of 17 words and contains profanity.
Author Larry Fine also successfully used the headline and subtitle. His work is called The Piano Book: Buying and Using an Instrument.
Garr Reynolds uses a few-word title to draw attention to his book. And the subtitle gives readers additional information. The work of Reynolds is called “Presentation in the style of Zen: design, development, conduct, and examples.”
Well, another example that we could not ignore. The book by Michael Stelzner, which is translated into Russian as “Content Marketing:
New Methods for Attracting Customers in the Internet Age,” and the original title is even shorter and the subtitle even longer is Launch: How to Quickly Propel Your Business Beyond the Competition.
9. SEO: Does your name include popular searches?
Naturally, we could not ignore this issue. Web content should think about driving traffic. The most basic traffic generators are search engines. But here you need to find a middle ground and not go on about the “bare SEO”.
The main thing is relevance to the content, and then “fit” for search engines. We illustrate with the example of this article. We wrote the article itself, in the head, there was already a headline – simple and capacious.
The only thing we did was check which request was more frequent – “How to write a headline” or “How to create a headline”.
And although I personally like the verb “create” more in this context (it is closer to the nature of the action to invent headings than the verb “write”), nevertheless, the final version of the heading was coordinated.
In general, all of us working with content and hand in hand with specialists in optimizing and promoting websites on the Internet should keep in mind the frequency and competitiveness of those requests that somehow coincide with our headlines.
It is clear that not every request can be “pulled” to the top of the list only thanks to the content. But if the page does not have text relevance to the proposed query, then the query will never enter the top query at all.
But authors of printed books also need to remember Yandex and Google. Your works can be found faster on the “shelves” of the online stores Ozon.ru, Books.ru, Amazon.com if their headings and subheadings contain popular queries.
10. Combined approach: do you use more than one of the methods listed above to create headers? Tips For Creating Killer Headlines
The authors apply two or more of the techniques described above to come up with bright and popular headlines. For example, alliteration and metaphors can be successfully combined with subtitles that detail information.
Thank you for reading up to this point. As a thank you, we want to tell you this. In fact, the nature of a good text – and a heading as part of it – is very contradictory.
You can create a great headline that completely rejects all of our recommendations above. The geniuses of the pen will do it. And even talented copywriters with a “full” hand. But we are talking with you about the mechanics of creating texts, and not about the nature of talent. High-quality copywriting is the sum of the technologies that the author uses, learning from his own, and others’ mistakes. And in this article we talked about technologies, trying to analyze successful, in our opinion, headings and generalizing their properties, leading these generalizations to some conclusions.
Speaking about the workability of creating headings, we can also recommend using the following technique.
Use the grading table to determine the quality of headings for articles, books, blog posts, social networks, and other content marketing products. Consider the highest quality option, gaining the most points.
Header Score Table
|Promise||Does your headline promise your audience benefits?|
|Specificity||Does the title of your content contain specific details that emphasize its relevance and value?|
|Targeting||Does the headline emphasize the target audience for which the content is intended?|
|Positioning||Does the title help highlight your content?|
|Interaction||Are you trying to arouse the curiosity of potential readers to make the headline memorable?|
|Dialogue||Does your headline “communicate” with the audience?|
|Brevity||Are you trying to keep your content titles short?|
|Gain||Do you use subtitles to underline the title of the content?|
|SEO||Does your name include popular searches?|
|Combined approach||Do you use more than one of the above techniques to create headers?|
For example, you can print this spreadsheet and distribute it to employees creating content for your project. Invite them to evaluate each working version of the article title using this tool. This will reduce the impact of subjective factors on your headlines.
Take the spreadsheet with you to your favorite bookstore or “go around” your favorite blogs. Practice evaluating the titles of books and articles that catch your eye.
We would be grateful if you shared in the comments your options for article titles or book titles that you think are successful. Let’s discuss these options. Please wait and see at Blogbind.com