Today, just creating high-quality content isn’t enough. The internet is flooded with information, and the average reader can easily overlook even the best content. But if you’re able to create effective headlines, you can better capture your target audience’s attention, which is ultimately what will drive your traffic, leads and sales.
If your content doesn’t immediately engage readers at first glance, they are not likely to stay on your site or engage with your content. So how do you create effective headlines will help your content stand out and garner the attention it deserves? Here are some great tips from CopyPress on writing effective headlines that convert:
1. 5 W’s And H
Writing effective headlines starts with a basic understanding of your target audience. Much like you wouldn’t write an article or create a video without thinking about who would benefit from that content, your headline should also not be written without an intended target in mind. When you have an intended target in mind, your headlines will be written with more purpose and direction.
Your headline should clearly tell your readers what they can expect to take away after reading your content. What’s your Who, Where, When, Why and How of your content? Think about which of these is the most relevant and important to your readers that you want to highlight in your headline.
2. 4 U’s
According to Neil Patel, many copywriters follow the “four U’s” rule when it comes to headline writing. To pull a potential customer in and convince them to read your content, your headline should be unique, ultra-specific, useful and should convey a sense of urgency.
If your headline sounds like everyone else’s, what reasons do your customers have in choosing your content over your competitors? And if your customers aren’t engaging with your content, chances are they likely wouldn’t consider your brand when making a purchase decision.
An attention-grabbing headline should be different and refreshing, and delights and speaks to your customers in a way that appeals to them – whether that’s being more personable and approachable, giving your brand more personality that resonates with your target audience, etc.
An effective headline should also be ultra-specific. Your customers should be able to read the headline and know that your content is targeted to them and has information they’re interested in reading about. If you don’t give your readers enough information to decide whether your content is relevant and interesting to them or not, your headline won’t get your target audience’s attention and they’ll just move on to other content.
In addition to being unique and ultra-specific, a great headline should be useful. It’s not enough just being clever or entertaining, your headline should actually communicate your value add to your target customers. What benefits and value will they gain from reading your content? If your title doesn’t give your target audience a good reason to continue reading, they won’t make past the headline.
Lastly, your title should create a sense of urgency. This rule might not apply to every single piece of content you create, but where appropriate it is extremely effective. Give your target customers a reason to continue reading your content, and that if they don’t do it now, they’ll miss out on something that’s important to them.
3. SVO Topic Ideation
Another formula that can help you create great headlines is the SVO Topic Ideation method. It’s a process of writing headlines with a simple approach with the subject first, verb second, and the object last. If you’re stuck with the two approaches above, this formula can be a great place to start and get your brainstorming going.
Whichever headline writing techniques you’re working with, you’ll want measure your effectiveness as well as taking a look at what your competitors are doing. By understanding your past successes and what’s working for your competitors, you can find trends and best practices to help improve your headlines overtime and create your own formula for success.
The ultimate goal for effective headlines is to help your content cut through the noise and capture the attention of your target customers. Once you have their attention, your content also needs to meet the expectations and promises you make to readers in your headlines. If your content does not add any value to your target audience, it will not achieve the marketing goals you’d ultimately want your content to accomplish, no matter how effective your headlines are.
Check out additional headline and blog writing tips from CopyPress’ infographic below.