How To Write Headlines That Gain More Clicks
According to the ever-popular Copyblogger, 8 out 10 people will actively read a headline. Despite this, only 2 out of 10 are seen to read the rest of the content lying within.
Not a great statistic, right?
This is really important to understand before you publish your content. Even if your content is truly unique and innovative, a weak headline will ruin its chances of being super successful.
Fortunately, data and analytics can help you write great headlines that will instantly capture the attention of your readers. Here’s your ultimate guide to write a great headline, backed by research.
Rule #1 – Write At Least 10 Headlines For Every Piece of Content
What’s the first thing readers will see when coming across your content? The headline, so it better make a good impression then!
A weak headline can send traffic away, this is why it’s important to ensure your headline connects with your desired audience.
In Upworthy’s well-renowned process suggested that writing 25 headlines per blog post. I personally think that’s far too much, I understand it’s a sort of ‘filtering’ process, but 25? Seriously?
The way I see it, you should already have an idea for a title in your head. Some even form a title so they can better direct or keep on track with their content’s aim or ‘point.’ Still, I recommend making 5-10 headlines, just to test the water and filter out what doesn’t sound right.
Rule #2 – Use the CoSchedule Headline Analyzer
I only recently discovered this, and it’s a nice guideline to writing punchy headlines.
Sometimes, it’s not good enough just guessing what a good headline is, sometimes you need a second opinion, or even better, data to back you up. The Headline Analyzer will not only rank your headline numerically, but it will also tell you how to improve it. This comes in the form of supplying marks ranging from A-D based on power words, common words, stop words etc. The Headline Analyzer is perfect for both the people who are struggling to create captivating titles and for others who simply need a title tweak!
Rule #3 – Suggest the Best Way to Do Something
Successful headlines connect with common searches and address a real target demographic, i.e., people looking for the most effective ways to combat their individual questions and/or problems.
Nowadays, content that starts with something like:
- The best way to..
- Top 10 reasons why..
- Did you know this scary health fact?..
- How to loose weight in no time..
These are just some of the headlines that seem to go viral in today’s social media-driven society.
Rule #4 – Headlines Need to Help, Not Tell
If you look at the most popular trending articles, many of them follow the concept of solving something, rather than telling you something. For example, an article titled: “New Alzheimer’s Treatment Fully Restores Memory Function” (5 million shares)
Rule #5 – ‘Room For Improvement’ Content Will Always Deliver
This follows a clever premise; instead of persuading your readers to do something, show them why it’s worth the time to do it. By tapping into the reasons and motivations of your audience will really help you to attract a large following.
Headlines such as ‘Why You Should Forget Facebook’ are obviously going to attract attention, why would you want to ignore that largest social network on the planet? This also tackles many emotions, anger, confusion, happiness, altruism, the list is endless, but why is that important? Because emotions are the main reason we share articles, take a look at my previous article titled 10 Key Traits That Trigger Viral Content.
Rule #6 – AVOID CLICKBAIT
This drives me up the wall, and yes I’m going to name and shame some of the guilty websites:
- Lad Bible
- The Independent
These were literally the first three high-profile pages I found on my Facebook and every single one had an appallingly obvious clickbait title:
Not too bad for Lad Bible, the link asks a fairly legitimate question and provokes the reader read on. However, Lad Bible aren’t exactly the most creditable news source, often contradicting themselves, misleading the reader and generally writing poor, ‘trashy’ articles. They were also thrown into the spotlight for their infamous and childish comments on Wentworth Miller back in 2016 regarding his weight gain. Miller responded swiftly, claiming that the meme they created was incredibly disrespectful, as he’d been battling depression for quite some time.
Rule #7 – Make Sure Your Headline Aligns With Your Content
Every headline you create should accurately and fairly reflect the point of your content. Here are two questions to ask before you publish your content:
- What is the point of this content?
- What is the most important issue/point this content raises?
If you find that your headline doesn’t hit these aims, you may need to revisit your content.
Rule #8 – Share Your Experience
Titles that follow the concept of “What I Learned” are also very popular and most of the time, successful. By speaking to your readers from experience, you’re allowing them into a more personal world, which means that you’re reaching out in order to gain their trust. Not only that, but (hopefully) from your experience, you’ll have some good content to offer.
Rule #9 – Hint At Something Interesting
Here you tread a fine line, you want to leave out just enough detail to get readers interested, though you don’t want your headline to fall under the ‘clickbait’ stigma.
So, for example, the title ‘This New Games Console Blows It’s Competitors Away’ might get an audience interested, therefore clicking the link.
Rule #10 – Know Your Audience
Arguably the most important factor to realise is who you audience is. People who have high-authority websites don’t necessarily need to concentrate on their headlines as much as someone who’s just starting out. Look at Pewdiepie for example, because of his 53 million + subscribers, the titles for his videos are becoming more and more casual and are actually ironically jab at clickbait titles.
If you’re looking for a more specific way to understand and target your audience’s needs, Google Analytics may be your best bet!