[guest post by Kate Thora]
One of the keys to achieving this is to create a headline that will get clicked by anyone who reads it. It needs to be so compelling that no one can see it and then simply navigate away. Here’s how to create one of these headlines for yourself.
Appeal to the reader
You need to appeal directly to your reader to ensure that they want to read more. You can do this by referencing them in your headline. You could use terms such as “you won’t believe”, “you don’t know” or so forth.
Make them want to click through even more by suggesting that something bad will happen if they don’t. Examples of this include “X things you’ve been doing wrong” or “things you’ve missed” or “reasons why you’re failing”. This will make them feel like they need to click on your headline and read the article before they end up failing or missing out.
Make it short
Keep your headlines short if you want to grab attention. First of all, think about your SEO compatibility. Search engine results can cut off the headline at 65 characters, so if your headline is over this, it won’t have the full impact. Research has shown that readers tend to actually only take in the first three and last three words of a headline, only scanning the rest. The solution? If your headline is six words long, then the reader takes in everything.
An adjective can help your reader know what to expect from your article or post. If you had a title of “10 things you didn’t know about your body”, for example, it might just appeal to one or two people. If you changed it to “10 disgusting things” or “10 incredible things” or “10 strange things”, it immediately becomes more interesting.
You can also more accurately target your audience. If you want to bring in people who like disgusting things, then let them know that’s what they will find with you.
The use of negative words taps into the fears and insecurities of the reader. Just like when we told them they were doing something wrong, it makes them want to read more. Words like “no”, “without”, and “stop” have been shown to generate many more shares when tested against the same article using a different headline.
You could use an example such as “Stop investing until you’ve read our tips” or “No one should invest without reading our tips”. That’s so much more effective than simply “Our top 10 investing tips”.
Readers love lists, because they are short and snappy to read and they know exactly how many steps there will be to go through. It also makes us feel like we are being more efficient with our reading time. Be aware that the bigger the number is, the more shares and reads you are likely to get. Spell it out with digits rather than letters for the best results. Compare these examples and see which one makes you the most tempted to read on: “Ten things to do in Sydney” or “100 best attractions in Sydney”?
The way that you put your headline together will hugely influence the success of your article, blog post, or web page. Put as much thought, if not more, into your headline as you do into the rest of the writing and you will see the results returned hugely!
**About the Author: Kate Thora is a Senior Content Specialist for Uphours, an online resource with information about businesses worldwide. Her artistic soul manifests itself also in her love for singing and dancing, especially to traditional Indian music. Follow her on Twitter @katethora1