Whether you’re creating your next blog post, press release or e-Book, a good headline can make or break all your efforts. Why? Most people scan their daily feeds, emails, newspapers and other media, so if you don’t get their attention in the first few seconds with an eye-popping headline, you’ve lost your audience to someone who did.
It can be incredibly frustrating, but also quite rewarding when you get it right. Creating “click-bait”, headlines that get people to click for more, can bring you a larger, more receptive audience on which to share your small business message and value proposition.
#1. Negative Is Good
“Don’t Create Your Next Headline Until You Read This”. Whoa! Tell me more!
Headlines that use negative statements (stop, don’t, without, no, etc.) can be effective click-bait because it draws both attention and curiosity. Negative statements also elicit a sense of fear and urgency that our human behavior just can’t ignore exploring further. So think about using a negative statement like, “Without These Hacks, Your Headlines Will Not Work” the next time you set a social media post and then test it against an alternative like, “Writing Good Headlines” and see for yourself.
#2. Use Numbers
What is it about numbers that make them such eye-popping headlines? Maybe because using a number implies a list, one that sets very clear expectation of “what’s in it for me” (WIIFM) for your audience. Maybe numbers are effective headlines because it’s clear how much time it will take to get the information promised. Or maybe numbers are good click-bait because your audience knows the content will be filled with easy to digest, helpful hints that they will want to share to look generous, smart, etc. Whatever the reason, fill your blog posts with numbers and see the sharing skyrocket.
#3. Add Adjectives
Adjectives allow you to frame the subject of your headline with the right enthusiasm and excitement. Notice this post is about headlines and instead of using, “good” to describe our “headlines”, we used, “eye-popping”. If you’re reading this, it worked! So the lesson is to use not just any old adjective, but a strong adjective that color your headline with the right tone. A powerful adjective is where your headline will stand above the rest of the noise, or fall into the background, so take some time and get out your thesaurus.
#4. Call Out Your Audience
While speaking in third-person is fine for the body of the text, you want to speak directly to your audience from your headlines. Using “you” rather than “one” or “they” or “some people” is an example of personalizing your post because “you” is everyone in your audience that you’re trying to reach, yet makes it feel tailored to the individuals. You’re not fooling your audience, they know your headline isn’t talking directly to them, but that personalization still triggers an awareness that we all respond to, if only subconsciously.
If you write a lot of headlines, you can use these hacks to create a formula for effective headlines, but as long as you keep these in mind, your clicks and shares will thank you for it.