On average, 8 out of 10 people will read headline copy, but only 2 out of 10 will read the rest. Not great numbers if the purpose of a headline is to get someone to read your material.
Before you read more, your takeaways from this from this article will be:
- Headlines are a promise to your reader
- Have a set goal before writing your material
- Write, rewrite, test, and rewrite
- Headlines with lists and “how-tos” are very effective
- The best headlines are specific and straightforward
Headlines (and email subject lines) are a promise to your reader of the value that you will be providing; specifically, what they should expect to takeaway from the article or email you crafted. Therefore, you have to promise that what you are offering will make an impact and is worthwhile.
It is essential to have a goal prior to writing an article, email or blog post, usually to receive a response from your target audience. In business, you normally want a response that causes the reader to act (i.e. for the reader to comment and like your post or in this case to connect with me on Linkedin).
Writing and rewriting – investing the time and effort to tweak what you have started writing will help you make the headline useful. Typically you should give yourself a day away from the material so you have fresh eyes. If you are writing your sales page or website landing page, you should write a dozen headlines and test which works best.
Numbered and list headlines are successful because they tell you the amount of information the reader will receive. With a headline such as, “99 Tips to Makeover Your Home”, your reader knows exactly what they are getting by reading your article.
Stating the specific outcomes the reader will get by reading your article is extremely effective. For example, a headline that reads “7 Tips That Will Help You Save 130% on Your Summer Vacations” will grab more readers because it tells them what to expect. By reading this headline we know the number of tips we are getting and the amount we will save by following those tips – pretty straightforward.
A great tip I learned was to emulate headlines on the front cover of magazines in supermarket aisles. Those headlines only have a second to get the shopper to buy the entire magazine – they need to be powerful.
Remember “repetition is the mother of skill.”