With so much content online, it can be difficult to stand out from the crowd. Internet users are getting shorter attention spans and this is reflected in the way they interact with content. If a headline doesn’t grab the attention of surfers immediately, they are unlikely to progress to the actual body of the content. In fact, it is estimated that only a fifth of readers will continue beyond the headline to read the article itself. With this in mind, it is imperative that copywriters choose a headline which will entice users to continue reading.
Make a list
When you look at the success of sites such as Buzz Feed, it may not be surprising that list posts can really resonate with readers. Headlines which promise a number of different answers to a specific question can instil curiosity which is one of the reasons they are so popular. These types of posts are also relatively quick and easy to read and this is another explanation as to why they are often favoured.
Changing the style of an article to more of a list based format can be done without altering the overall content but could help to increase your readership. Headlines for these types of article should reflect the list format and include numbers. This is tactic which has been used by magazines for many years, with these types of headlines gracing many covers.
Users are more likely to click on headlines which they feel a connection with and this means creating articles which are more ‘human’. Articles based on topics such as lifestyle, food and home are some of the most popular and this should be kept in mind. Content based on business, finance and technology may be a more difficult sell but choosing the right headline can help immensely.
For example, an article on cloud computing can be completely changed with a simple alteration to the title. So ‘The Benefits of Cloud Computing’ can be changed to ‘How Cloud Computing can transform your Working Day’. The actual body of the article doesn’t have to be different but the headline will help to make more of a connection with readers.
Listen to Consumers
It may seem obvious but answering questions directly asked by customers can be a particularly successful tactic. Usually if a question is asked numerous times then it is something that a large cross section of consumers want to know. Therefore basing an article around one of these questions can attract a large amount of traffic.
When creating a headline for this type of article try to keep it simple and straight to the point. Don’t reveal too much in the title or readers won’t want to continue on to the body of the piece. Also, try to use words such as ‘why’, ‘what’, ‘when’ and ‘how’, these are recognised as trigger words and can attract even more attention from consumers.
Readers want to get something out of an article and this should be remembered when crafting a headline. Some of the most popular articles guarantee that readers will learn something that they didn’t already know. This doesn’t mean you should offer something you can’t deliver but you can try to reshape headlines to meet this formula.
For example, an article with a headline such as ‘What is Big Data?’ can be changed to ‘How Big Data can Benefit your Business’. Both headlines describe an informative article but the second makes a direct promise to the reader.