The art of writing a headline is tricky, challenging, and demanding. In today’s over-stimulated society, there is no shortage of headlines to sift through and interpret. Readers and potential customers take mere seconds to determine which headlines are worth their time and which can be ignored. As you write headlines for your own business purposes, it’s critical that they capture the attention of the people you want to reach.
Contrary to what many people think, it’s not the headline’s job to sell anything. Nor does it confirm a point of view, argue for or against a position, or represent the advertiser. A headline’s core job is to grab the reader’s attention enough to keep him reading. This is especially true in email, since readers must sift through hundreds per day and decide in a split second which are pertinent. So how can you write a dynamic, results-oriented headline?
Make a Cliche Work in Your Favor
Cliches are easy to spot a mile away, and using a direct cliche in your headline won’t help you garner attention. However, putting a fresh spin on an old cliche is a popular and proven way to keep your audience reading. For example, rather than using the cliche “What Your Mother Never Told You,” you can cater to your own industry by saying, “What Your Doctor Never Told you” or “What Your Teacher Never Told You.”
Ask Questions That Demand Answers
Some headlines are simply too intriguing to ignore, so your job is to write your headline in the form of a question that begs for an answer. “Do You Know How to Escape a Mugger?” and “What Are the Indicators of an Impending Slot Machine Pay Off?” are great examples that will successfully keep readers interested in the remainder of the content. Find questions relating to your own industry that can be crafted in a similar manner.
Your headline isn’t the right time to play it coy. Use detail to help the reader grasp exactly why your article or email will matter to him. Rather than boasting about your “Incredibly Effective Washers,” make the statement like “Our Washers Perform 58 Percent Better Than the Competition.”
When you craft headlines with these tips, you’ll find yourself able to increase reader engagement significantly.