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The Write Stuff
October 2023 Volume 19 Issue 10

8 tips to writing click-worthy headlines

With more and more content being consumed via the internet, writers have had to learn new strategies to ensure what they post gets read. Think about your own online behavior—as you scroll or surf you’re making quick decisions about what you want to read based solely on a headline. Blah headlines are passed over without a second thought.How can you ensure your online content actually gets the eyeballs you seek? The Content Marketing Institute suggests your answers to the following eight questions should be yes:

  • Does the headline promise a benefit to the audience? Think about helping them solve a problem or achieve a goal.
  • Is the headline specific? Consider using details like numbers and percentages to draw interest.
  • Does the headline identify the target audience? Name your audience directly, e.g., marketing professionals or parents, or note their key characteristics.
  • Does the headline evoke curiosity? Surprising titles or those that create mental pictures do a great job in attracting an audience—but always make sure they relate to the content so readers don’t feel tricked.
  • Does the headline speak the audience’s language? Some of the best headlines sound like everyday conversations and use active verbs like think, create and grow.
  • Is the headline brief? Readers are more apt to respond to shorter headlines, which are also preferred by search engines.
  • Does the headline have a subhead? Using the structure of headline plus subhead allows you to be brief in the former and provide more detail in the latter.
  • Is the headline SEO friendly? Use a target keyword in your title and keep it short—ideally 60 characters or less—but err on the side of writing headlines readers will be attracted to rather than trying to please the algorithm.

Since having a strong headline is a major determinant as to whether your content will be read, you should take some time to craft one that won’t be overlooked. I often start with a draft headline that I tweak and finalize after writing the copy.

Avoid faulty personalization

No one is surprised anymore when receiving solicitations addressed personally to them; the ability to do that has been around for many years. I merely chuckle when I get something for Mr. Adrian Mock or another botched spelling of my name—not to mention my gender. But I have to wonder about those marketers who clearly aren’t doing their homework by sending communications “regarding your fleet” (don’t have one), “about your HR needs” (don’t have those) or referring to any number of things that aren’t applicable to me. Save time and money by communicating solely with your target audience.

Where does the period go?

While I usually prefer to use em dashes rather than parentheses, many writers rely on those little brackets. A mistake I see over and over again is punctuating around parentheses but it’s really quite simple: If a complete sentence is contained within the parentheses, the period is inside; for parenthetical phrases, it’s outside.

  • The meeting starts at 4 p.m. (Bring your laptop.)
  • We’ll be meeting at 4 p.m. (Pacific time).
Published On: October 16th, 2023 / Categories: 2023 /

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