I don’t mean the craft itself is forgotten. I mean we simply forget to use it.
Somewhere in our minds we know the headline is important. We know it’s what hooks the reader, or not. And we know it has a big impact on whether or not our content is shared through social media.
So how come we keep grinding out boring and unenticing headlines for our content pages?
I don’t know what your excuse it, but for myself I sometimes publish content with boring headlines simply because I have forgotten to rework the placeholder headline I started out with.
This is a side-effect of the way I write any page or post. I throw down a placeholder headline as an anchor to get myself started. It’s often simply a short description of what I plan to write about.
The trouble is…I sometimes publish my content with the placeholder headline still in place.
This is not smart, because there are numerous ways to make your content headlines more powerful and enticing.
Here are 7 of them…
1. 10 Ways to cut your heating bills.
The ubiquitous list approach. People love lists. They are easy to scan and read. If you then add a useful and attractive outcome – like saving on heating bills, or the equivalent for your topic or business – you’ll have a winner. Lists travel well through social media as well.
2. How to save 23% on your food bills.
The “how to” approach always works well. Millions of people go online each day to find out “how to” do something. How to train your dog, find a cheap vacation, choose the right smartphone…and on and on.
3. Five things you don’t know about your teenagers.
This is the challenge approach. People feel compelled to read in order to find out if they know the answers or not.
4. Body found. Man still missing.
This is the intrigue approach. It’s a brain-twister, and you have to keep reading to find out the answer. (That’s a real headline from a local paper. While searching for a missing man, searchers found the body of someone else.)
5. The truth about raw food diets.
The conspiracy approach. We are suckers for conspiracies. So if you suggest that doctors, lawyers, politicians – or anyone in authority – has been hiding the truth from people, your readers will want to keep reading.
6. Why men love to watch sports.
The secrets of the opposite sex approach. Remember the book, Men are from Mars and women are from Venus? Or just look at the captions on the front of supermarket magazines. We love to delve into the mystery of what makes the opposite sex tick.
7. Last chance to get tickets.
The scarcity approach. Maybe it’s the last chance to plant vegetables this summer, or the last chance to visit Venice before it becomes flooded…and so on. People don’t like to miss out…their attention is compelled by last chances.
Compared to a regular, descriptive headline, each of the 7 approaches above will likely get you more attention, and result in your page being shared more widely through social media.
Give some a try, and let me know what happens.
Note: Check out my new course on how to write better headlines for web content…