Article

Rick Barron
Rick Barron 5 November 2019

The 80/20 Rule Of Headlines

Your brilliant blog post will get no attention whatsoever if your headline misses the mark.

Your brilliant blog post will get no attention whatsoever if your headline misses the mark. Your headline is the first, and perhaps, the only impression you make on a prospective reader. Without a compelling promise that turns a browser into a reader, the rest of your words may as well not even exist. So, from a copywriting and content marketing standpoint, writing great headlines is a critical skill.

That headline sets the first impression for readers, and ideally, it incites people to click through or keep reading.

Think about these interesting statistics. On average, 8 out of 10 people will read headline copy, but only 2 out of 10 will read the rest. This is the secret to the power of your title, and why it so highly determines the effectiveness of the entire piece.

The headline is the most important element of your content. You can write the best 800-word blog post of your life, but if the headline is boring and bland, that post might never get read.

Remember, every element of compelling copy has just one purpose, to get the next sentence read. And then the sentence after that, and so on, all the way down to your call to action. So, it’s fairly obvious that if people stop at the headline, you’re already dead in the water.

Here are eight tips for making your headlines more effective:

1. Use numbers. The human brain gravitates toward numbers, so if you can offer specific digits, do so. The theory is all well and good, but data needs to be a driver in decision-making. And looking at data over time will help you hone your instincts for what works and what doesn’t.  Examples: 5 tips for writing better blog posts; 8 content marketing statistics you must see.

2. Focus on value. What’s in it for your readers? Why should they care about taking the time to read your blog post? Write headlines that let them know they’ll benefit from your content. Example: Hit all your sales goals with these lead-generation tips.

3. Use strong verbs. Whenever possible, skip to be verbs in favor of something more compelling and specific. For example, consider these two variations: 6 ways to be a better content marketer versus 6 ways to write better content. Obvious which one wins the day.

4. Include the reader. Play to your readers’ egos; invoke them in the headline, using you and your. That gets people’s attention. Example: Discover 6 ways you can inspire your team.

5. Ask a question. If you’re stuck on your headlines, try converting statements into questions. Generate curiosity. Example: Can better headlines improve your blog conversions?

Other tips to consider:

-Understand the target. Before writing, it’s important to understand your audience. Tailor your headlines so that you target the emotions of your readers.

-Write several different headlines and read them out loud.

-Select the most important benefit and include that benefit in the headlines.

-Include the product or problem in the headlines.

-Test like crazy and rewrite the headline when you see some degradation in response.

6. See what your competition is doing. Spend time researching the blogs of your competitors or industry peers, and note how they phrase their headlines. Are there lessons you can learn? Also, use tools and analyze research to craft winning headlines.

7. Draft a bunch of headlines. Open a Word document, and jot down all the headlines and variations that come to mind. Give yourself a bunch of options to choose from.

8. Make sure your headline is accurate. Avoid the bait-and-switch routine. Write a headline that reflects the content within. Here’s a list to consider:

-Does your headline offer the reader a reward for reading?

-What specifics could you add to make your headline more intriguing and believable?

-Does your headline trigger a strong, actionable emotion the reader already has about the subject at hand?

-Does your headline present a proposition that will instantly get your prospect nodding his or her head?

-Could your headline benefit from the inclusion of a proposed transaction?

-Could you add an element of intrigue to drive the prospect into your opening copy?

About the author

Hi, my name is Rick and I thank you for reading this article!

I explore to learn new stuff every day and here I will share all my experiences and thoughts with you.

You can also find me on Twitter and Instagram. :)

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