The Secret to Making Headlines People Can’t Help But Click

Published content is always meant to be read. 

It could be made up of columns of text. Or it could be interspersed with images. 

Regardless of its nature, the writer intends for written content to be consumed, along with the hope that the reader will share it with others.

There are various reasons behind wanting content to be read and shared. Journalists want to shed light on a pressing issue. Writers want a platform to showcase their literary and creative prowess. 

But for brands, it is a means of ensuring business longevity and increasing profit. 

What is universally true is that a piece needs to be noticed before it can be read. 

That’s where the headline comes in. 

A headline is arguably the most important part of any article you’re writing. It is what grabs the reader’s attention. It is designed to hook them into the story. 

Companies and advertisers rely on content marketing to get their message across and entice people to buy.

Before diving deep down into creating effective headlines, let’s take a short detour to better understand content marketing and its impact.

Content Marketing in Numbers

In the realm of promotional strategies, content marketing is the one focused solely on the creation, publication, and distribution of written material for a target audience online. 

Some articles are meant to advertise products and services directly. However, others are used to add value to the reader in a different capacity, while still keeping the brand top of mind.

Today, many business owners and digital marketers are investing in content marketing. In a survey involving over 1,500 marketers worldwide, Hubspot found that 80% of them were actively engaged in it.

And there’s also evidence that content promotion efforts are yielding results. CMI examined this in the business-to-business (B2B) setting. It found that 60% of marketers reported being able to generate leads and produce demand.  

Additionally, 70% of marketers say content marketing aids in educating the audience about a brand’s offerings. Finally, 60% have also said that marketing online using content has built loyalty with existing clients and customers

Tell and Sell 

The function of a headline is twofold. First, it tells the reader enough to attract their attention. And second, it makes the reader curious by leaving out details, making the person reading want to know the entire story.  

Your topic could be as general as baking. Or it could be something technical and complex like binary codes. Regardless of what it is, your headline should entice the reader to check out your write-up and hopefully continue reading until the very end. 

Aside from its ‘tell and sell’ function, the headline is important because it is essentially a brand’s first point of contact with your business.

Say you’re an entrepreneur selling on Amazon. You wrote a guest post about the dangers of AliExpress and linked to your online store on your bio and in the body of your article. The captivating headline you wrote would hook the reader in and learn about your Amazon business as they read through the article.

It’s worth noting that the headline matters to your reader because it can be a means of conveying your true purpose for writing something in the first place. Your readers will see it as an indicator of your true ‘behavior.’

Unless you’re writing an actual PR piece, you want to be subtle or not use your headline to try and sell something at all. If the content you put out is truly useful and expertly written, potential customers will find you by following the trail of blog posts you’ve published.

Writing Clickable Headlines

If you’re an experienced writer, chances are, you know all about the fundamentals of writing a clickable headline. 

Use simple words. Don’t make it too long. Focus on a single concept and explain it well. Maybe even lead with a question?

These are all pieces of advice seasoned writers and content marketers have come across.  

If you’ve been slinging sentences for years, consider the tips below more as reminders of how to keep the momentum going.

  1. Think about What Matters to Your Audience

You know your audience and understand their pain points. You understand their dreams and pain points. Use that knowledge to your advantage, and write a headline that will truly resonate with your readers.  

The information you have will allow you to develop some smart, strategic headlines that capitalize on your audience’s wishes or fears.

  1. Demonstrate Value

“Create an Eye-Catching Facebook Ad in Minutes”

The headline above promises a fast (and probably, easy) way to make an attention-grabbing ad on Facebook. It makes the article sound interesting and worth a read. 

Promising a desirable result within a set time period is a classic winning headline writing strategy. That’s because it demonstrates the value of the blog post someone is about to read. 

Remember, you need to follow through. The body of the article should prove it’s useful and provide essential info!

  1. Numbers, Digits, Lists

The human eye is naturally drawn to the juxtaposition of digits beside text. This is why numbers in a headline attract more eyeballs downward to read the actual write-up. 

A list also gives readers a clearer idea of what to expect in your post, while promising a scan-friendly read.

  1. Educate the Masses

We’ve become a society that educates itself on the World Wide Web. Google and other search engines have become our tools for looking things up. People will search everything online—from building fire pits to scoring tickets to off-Broadway musicals to learning about pay-per-click advertising.

So write your headline in a way that solves a problem or answers a question your target audience might have.

  1. Go Ahead and Embellish

When the occasion calls for it, don’t shy away from adding a little bit of embellishment and taking a few liberties with your headlines.

Exaggerate. Entice. 

There are ways to do this without going overboard. As with reminder #2, the key is to deliver on what your headline promises through the actual content on your write-up.

Adding a sense of urgency doesn’t hurt either, just see the example below.

“Don’t Buy Beachside Property without Asking Your Realtor These 8 Questions”

A Recap

All content is made to be consumed. However, it needs to attract a reader’s attention first. A headline is that part of the article meant to attract people’s attention. It is a writing tool meant to pique the interest and get the person reading in the mood to finish the piece and know how the story ends.

Brands and advertisers rely heavily on content marketing to get their message across, attract more customers and increase their bottom line. Creating good headlines is an integral part of a content marketing team’s job. 

However, business owners ought to know a thing or two about what makes a clickable headline. To that point, your headline should appeal to your target audience and demonstrate and deliver on a value proposition.

Author: SHABL

Rob has been traveling the world and living abroad for over a decade. The goal was to stop having a boring life and it turned into something far greater. He's worked with national tourism boards and been mentioned in National Geographic. These days he lives abroad and loves business, technology, the tropical lifestyle, good food and travel.

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