How to Write Awesome Headlines That Will Entice Your Readers
The goal of any blog post or email is to get readers to actually read the content and take action whether it is to click a link, buy a specific product, or even to make a difference in the reader’s own life.
Unfortunately, none of this will happen if your viewers don’t even get past the headline. According to CopyBlogger’s How to Write Magnetic Headlines ebook, only a small minority of readers, about 20%, actually read the content. This also implies that you only have a few moments to convince your visitors to look at your content. Let’s find out more about writing great headlines so we can get more visitors to actually view the content and help you become more successful online.
There are a number of general tips you can use to write great headlines to get readers to read your content and take action. One tip involves using adjectives in the headline that will get your readers excited about reading your content. According to Hubspot’s headline guide, headlines that tend to attract the attention of readers include information such as numbers as well as descripitive adjectives and a call-to-action. For example, the headline “5 Fatal Mistakes that Could Derail Your Ecommerce Store” is a much better title than “Mistakes that Could Derail Your Ecommerce Store”.
Besides including numbers and strong adjectives, headlines should relate to the issues your readers may have. According to Neil Patel and Joseph Putnam in their Headline Writing 101 guide, headlines you write should stand out, address reader’s specific needs, make the reader feel a sense of urgency, and convey information that the reader could potentially use.
Uniqueness and Urgency
Whenever you write a headline for your blog post article it should be unique. This means that it should not sound like the competition. And it should be customized to your target audience or brand. For example, content targeting millennials would most like have a different headline than one geared middle-aged business managers. Headlines should also convey information that is targetted so that the audience knows precisely what is being sold or what action needs to be taken. For example, if you are trying to target software developers for a course, then the title needs to at least mention software or development instead of being general.
Besides being specific and unique, according to Quick Sprout, headlines should give readers a sense of urgency. For example, if you were trying to sell a programming course, you could mention how potential developers could ruin their career if they did not take the effort to update their knowledge from the course you are trying to sell. Finally, a headline should convey how the article can actually help your readers gain benefits from reading the content or taking the action. Benefits may include making more money, saving time, or learning a new skill all of which can address a reader’s personal and professional needs.
In addition to helpful tips from SEO and copywriting experts on writing better headlines and titles, the major search engines also have guidelines to help you write better titles. For example, Google on their webmaster help page suggests that titles should be unique and include your own site’s brand in the title. Though it is tempting to add as many keywords as possible to the title, Google actually discourages the practice. In fact, it could lead to lower rankings and may even turn off your readers. Google also suggests that all web pages should include a <title> tag and that webmasters should be careful about the robots.txt file on their sites. Using the file inappropriately could potentially prevent search engines from even visiting your site.
Though writing good headlines may be difficult at times, it can be made easier by following certain templates available online from various SEO and copywriting experts. Let’s take a look at some free resources around the web you can use to quickly come up with great headlines.
- Hubspot’s How to Write Better Headlines article include several formulas to use when creating your own headline. These formulas are combinations of nouns, strong adjectives, numbers, and call to actions. For example, one of Hubspot’s simple formulas is Call to Action + Keyword + Promise. The headline “Use these Tricks to Maximize Your Ecommerce Sales” is an example that uses this formula. Besides formulas, the site also includes lists of nouns, adjectives, calls to actions, and other words you can use to strengthen your headlines. This article is a good place to refer to especially if you run out of ideas on words to use.
- CopyBlogger’s 10 Sure Fire Headline Formulas that Work includes a list of commonly used headlines with “blanks” in them to fill in with words of your choice. For example, one formula listed on the site is “Here’s a Quick Way to [solve a problem].” If you are using this template for an article helping ecommerce store owners import products, you could write something like “Here’s a Quick Way to Import Product Data into Your Ecommerce Store.” CopyBlogger also has additional examples in their 7 More Sure-Fire Headline Templates that Work article.
- Amy Harrison, a copywriter based in the UK with several years of experience working with clients, includes a list of 41 Classic Copywriting Headline Templates on her website. Next time you need to come up with a headline, use this extensive and helpful list.
- Erika Madden, the “Chief Delightful Officer” of Olyvia also has an extensive list of 101+ Popular Blog Title Templates that Work. Use this list of headline formulas to come up with your own unique set of titles to attract readers and improve your reputation online.
- Another great resource for headline examples is Kopywriting Kourse’s article on Copywriting Headlines that Sell. The article not only lists the formulas you can use to create great headlines, it also gives general tips on writing headlines for social media sites and email lists. Another great aspect of the article is that it includes actual examples of where these techniques were applied including old advertisements and modern examples like PayPal. The section on email subject headlines is particularly helpful since it includes statistics on email open rates.
Major Social Media and Search Engine Headline Guidelines
Coming up with a great headline is part of the battle to get your readers hooked to your content. You also need to ensure that your headlines conform to the standards set by search engines and social media sites. Here is a list of popular search engines and social media sites with various character limits.
- Though Google’s tutorial page includes helpful guidelines on writing title tags, it does not discuss character limits. However, many SEO professionals in the past have recommended limiting headline lengths between 50 and 60 characters. As of 2016, Google has increased the number of pixels allocated to titles so that more characters can fit. According the SEOPressor, the changes which allow up to 600 pixels in width will now accomodate up to 70 or 71 characters.
- The Bing search engine limits displaying title or headline characters to around 65 characters according to its article on Guidelines for Webmasters.
- Though Yahoo! does not have official documentation on character limits, several experts have noticed that the search engine’s limit on headline characters appear to be 72 characters.
- Twitter not only imposes a 140 character limit on tweets, it also has restrictions on the number characters which can be used for its title tags. According to Kissmetrics’s Facebook and Twitter Open Graph Meta Tags article, Twitter limits its “twitter:title” tags to 70 characters.
- Facebook is not only a great way to reach out to friends and relatives, it is also becoming a place where people share and post content as well as advertise. Facebook currently limits title or headline character counts from 70 to 90 characters according to Greg Goodson’s A Complete Beginner’s Guide To Facebook Sharing Optimization. The character limit is dependent on the device used to access the page so it is best to limit the number of characters to 70.
- Google+: Since Google does not have any official documentation on title tag limits for its social media site, specific character limits could not be found. However, according to Julie Neidlinger’s article on headline tips, Google+ currently limits title tags to be around 60 characters. This is nearly inline with Google’s current title character limits on search engine results.
One of the main keys to attracting the attention of your potential readers and getting them hooked to your content is the headline you use. The right headline can make a major difference in whether or not your content gets read or your email gets opened. It could even result in thousands of dollars in sales. Great headlines as seen from the resources above involve a combination of branding and uniqueness that makes a personal connection to your readers. Though writing great headlines may seem tough, you can use many of the formulas and templates outlined in the resources above. Instead of writing boring headlines that make your readers yawn, use the free resources outlined to write awesome headlines that will entice your readers.