5 Tips for Crafting Effective Headlines That Click

headlinesDirecting more traffic to your website or blog is important for building and maintaining customer relationships, but it’s not always easy. Even amazing deals and innovative content won’t draw mass views without your ability to reel in the crucial first clicks.

Headlines can make or break your click-through rate. After all, they’re what help a reader decide whether or not they’re interested in learning more – in fact, according to David Ogilvy, five times as many people read the headlines as read the body copy. If the headlines aren’t engaging, readers won’t click.

Writing headlines well takes time and practice. Many copywriters believe that you should spend half of your time on the headline, and half of your time writing the rest of the piece.

Here are 5 easy tips to help you increase click-throughs:

  1. Keep the four U’s for outlining a headline in mind: unique, ultra-specific, urgent, and useful. You might not be able to incorporate them all – but the more, the better.
  2. Make headlines short and sweet – people have short attention spans! Some claim that headlines with 8 words or less perform best.
  3. Use numbers. Many organizations already employ this tip, and it’s because numbers are memorable. Take note: odd numbers perform better than even numbers. “Listicles,” first made popular by sites like BuzzFeed, are taking the Internet and blogosphere by storm. When people begin to read an article, they like to know exactly what they’re getting themselves into; people like lists. “37 Cool Ways to Use Fans,” for example, is easy to recall. (And similar to the headline of this article – it’s also punny!)
  4. Create a relevant and immediate headline that will easily “click” with a reader. The US Women’s Soccer team may have only won the Women’s World Cup this past weekend, but brands such as Coca-Cola, Downy, Southwest and Nike are tapping into the power of timing to gain brand awareness. Use current events to craft a headline and you’re bound to gain more clicks.
  5. Write down as many headlines as you can think of, even the ones you’re not crazy about. Keep writing until you get to dozen or more, and pick the one that resonates most.

Of course, the content itself needs to be worthwhile after the reader clicks, and it should deliver what the headline promised. Investing time in both aspects of an article is more difficult up front, but your results will speak for themselves.

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