Buzzfeed today generates millions of visitors every month, mostly led by their well-crafted and extremely powerful headlines. What content marketers have come to realize is that if they fail to generate a powerful and clickable headline for everything they write, any other marketing step they take after that will be effort down the drain.
In this article, I am going to share a step-by-step guide to craft powerful, attractive and clickable headlines, which will also be useful for your visitors. The word ‘useful’ here is my keyword, for I hate click baits as much as your visitors do!
Step 1: Data Sticks, Data Clicks:
Highlighting specific numbers and data-points in your headline is an efficient way of making them more enticing for your readers. There are 3 reasons why number driven-list based headlines work better:
They set a clear expectation on the reader’s part as to how much they’re getting into.
They point towards variety- there is always a chance that if your readers don’t like one thing, they’ll like something else instead.
Numerals clearly stand out in a string of letters. And it is exactly for this reason, that I suggest using ‘7 reasons why..’ instead of ‘Seven reasons why..’
Also important to note is the fact that number driven headlines are not meant for just the list-based articles. Your number can be data points as well, indicating towards some kind of research. For example:
Some interesting facts about number-driven headlines:
If you’re writing a step-by-step guide, avoid providing more than 9 steps to follow. There’s only so much a human brain can take.
Headlines which include the number ‘7’ drive 20% more engagement than others.
Odd numbers are considered more authentic by users than even numbers.
Step 2: Empower your content with ‘Power Words’:
As a content marketer, if you want your users to read your content, it helps a lot if you give them a reason as to why they should. The reason need not be an explanation, but just an overview of what exactly is it that you’re offering. Multiple keyword based researches have given us the perfect list of power words that make the headline catchy and exciting for the readers.
Some of these words that come in handy here are:
Use these power-words by preceding them with a smartly thought out adjective and you will have a winner in no time. Here are some examples of how you can do that:
7 best-kept secrets of successful people that you need to know now
9 lesser-known social media hacks to grow your fan-base to millions
5 tried and tested strategies to help you design the perfect landing page
7 important lessons in life that I had to learn the hard way
As a rule, you should avoid using some of the more complicated adjectives in your copy. They might make your content look confusing to some people, leading to a lower CTR.
Step 3: Lend me your attention!
The headline is indented to get your reader to read the first sentence of your content piece. Once the reader finishes the first sentence, the job of the headline is done. The introduction and the story will take care of the rest. It is therefore extremely important that you focus on grabbing the attention of your visitor with a headline that stands out.
Focusing on 3 important factors here will help you get the required attention –
For example, if your headline is 7 life changing lessons that you can learn from Steve Jobs, run a quick Google search with the following search query:
“7 life changing lessons that you can learn from Steve Jobs”. Doing this will search the exact keywords and will result in all the links that exist with your exact headline.
Ensure that the final headline that you decide for your content piece yields no results on Google. This is a fool-proof way of ensuring uniqueness every single time.
Here’s how you can do this. Let’s say your keyword is ‘search engine optimization’. Possible specific headlines for this could be:
7 highly recommended Search Engine Optimization tricks that are ideal for beginners
10 Search Engine Optimization techniques that work without fail
Step by Step Search Engine Optimization guide that will make you a pro in no time
Adding specific details like what I have bolded here make the headline specific and set clear expectations for your readers.
Some brilliant headlines that use this urgency factors well are:
Reading this post right now will make you forget all your anxieties for a minute
10 note-worthy social media hacks you need to know before your competitors find them
6 trendy sweater designs that will make you looks upper-stylish this winter
With these 3 points in mind, you now have the perfect tool-kit to ensure that your headlines are catchy, refreshing, clickable and most of all, useful for your readers.
Step 4: Measure away!
People love listicles. People also love opinion pieces. People love too many things and there is no way for you to know exactly what is it that your customers dig unless you try different options and test them rigorously in a disciplined manner. Some important metrics that you should consider in your measurement practice over time are:
Website enquiry: Did your content generate any inbound customer enquiry about your product? It can be just 1 enquiry, but even that 1 enquiry will tell you that what you’ve been doing recently with your content that is clicking with people. The next step for you would then be to just optimize your process even further.
There’s too much happening in the content marketing space every single day. Be disciplined and meticulously record your data points over time. This document that you create, will literally have all your answers. Try new things and keep learning new ways of making click-worthy headline by following dozens of leading social media experts on the web.