If your brand has a solid content marketing strategy, you’re almost certainly utilizing things like blogs, press releases, and tweets to communicate with your audience. To maximize the effectiveness of all of that content, you need attention-grabbing headlines that persuade your targets to keep reading. Most of your competitors aren’t taking the time to craft quality headlines. If you put some effort into your headlines, you can easily distinguish yourself from the pack. Use the following five tips to beef up your headlines and keep your audience engaged.
- Emphasize benefits. People are pressed for time and inundated with marketing messages. As a result, they’re very picky about which brands they give their time to. If your headline doesn’t provide a clear benefit, your readers won’t give you any more of their time. When you’re writing headlines, put yourself in the shoes of a customer and ask, “What’s in it for me?” If your headline answers that question, your audience is more likely to keep reading.
- Make realistic claims. Using extreme words like never and always in your headlines decreases your credibility and makes customers skeptical of you. Unless you can guarantee a particular outcome, don’t make an extreme claim. Consider the title of this post. Note how it isn’t called Five Useful Tips for Writing Headlines that Always Get Attention. If that had been the title and you followed the tips to a tee, you’d feel cheated if your headlines didn’t generate any more traffic.
- Be clear. A lot of people use jargon and buzzwords in an attempt to sound more knowledgeable. In reality, jargon only confuses people. Imagine that this post was titled Five Value-Added Solutions for Conceptualizing Headlines that Optimize Bandwidth and Mindshare. Aside from being a mouthful, that headline really doesn’t make sense. Whenever possible, use simple words that anyone can understand.
- Say more with less. Use the Breath Test to make sure your headlines are brief enough to be memorable. Speak your headline out loud. Did you have to take a breath before finishing? If not, you’re in good shape. If you did have to take a breath, keep editing. Headlines that require a breath in the middle are usually too long to remember completely. If a reader can’t remember your entire headline, she’s a lot less likely to understand the benefits of the content…and a lot more likely to go read something else.
- Be specific. If a reader isn’t convinced that a piece of content will benefit him, he won’t read it. In order to make sure you’re engaging as much of your target audience as possible, be specific in your headline. If this post was simply called Tips for Writing, that wouldn’t tell you very much about the content, would it?
So there you have it. With these five tips and a little practice, your headlines will be stronger, your content strategy will be more effective, and your audience will grow. If you’re pressed for time, you may want to use a freelance writing service to maintain your blog, write your marketing materials, or manage your Twitter profile. If you do hire content writers, these five tips will still be useful to you when reviewing the work. Remember, your content is a reflection of you and your brand. Make sure it’s top-notch!