According to Copyblogger, which is the number one most followed blog on content marketing, 80% of visitors will read your headline, but only 20% of those visitors will go on to read the piece itself. This is because people who read articles and blogs typically scan headlines in order to determine whether or not your work deserves to be read. This means that what you decide to title your post is almost as, if not more important than the actual content itself. The more engaging and interesting your headline is to visitors, the better chances you’ll have of your post being read by more people. As writers and content marketers, it’s our job to help visitors know why they should choose to read us.
How to write a great headline
When it comes to writing an article on LinkedIn or a blog post for your company, being able to craft great headlines is a critical skill for any writer and content marketer.
Here are three ideas to keep in mind when crafting your next headline:
1) Create interest
One of the best examples of a headline that consistently gets me to click on the article even though I know the content itself will be subpar is when the headline says something like, “10 things to do while in (insert your city here.) Number 6 is a must!” As soon as I read this type of headline, I’m immediately thinking to myself, “Well, what’s number 6? I have to know.”
This headline does a great job at creating interest in the reader and as a result, it leads to more views. The problem with these types of headlines however is they usually have disappointing content backing them up. People don’t like to be tricked into reading something they’ll find boring, but people do like to be drawn into reading something exciting. It’s your job to do that through the content you write as well.
Take some time to consider what headline will grab people’s attention the most, and make sure that it describes your content in an honest way. The people who read your post will enjoy it and they’ll appreciate you even more for it.
2) Be beneficial
Before publishing, always ask yourself this question: Does your headline offer the reader a reward for reading your article?
This question is important because as humans, we are unquestionably self-interested. In all areas of life whether it’s business, politics, or economics, self interest reigns supreme as a normative principle of human behavior. This means in order to be a great writer or content marketer, you need to know how to appeal to people’s self interest because the truth is people just don’t care how good your article is. They only care how good they think your article is going to help them become.
In an age of distraction, no one has time to read an article with a headline that doesn’t seem to benefit them first. Every person who reads your headline is thinking, “What’s in it for me?” If your headline can answer that question for them, they’ll read your post.
3) Be specific
One of the biggest reasons headlines fail is because they’re not specific enough. An example of a poorly written headline is “Who would miss you?” This article was about brand differentiation, but the headline suggests it could have been about anything and readers aren’t going to click on the article to find out what it’s really about.
If you have a blog post or an article that is really important to you and one that you really want people to read, then you need to obsess over the title of your post. Without a brilliant, compelling, and interesting headline, your hard work may never be read by people. Writing a great headline doesn’t guarantee that your writing will be loved and shared. The quality of your headline still needs to be backed up by the content of your post, but great content with a bad headline is certainly always going to go unread.