It doesn’t matter if you are writing a blog post, newsletter, or status update on your business page on LinkedIn or Facebook, the goal is to get people to read what you are saying and hear your message. Did you know that some of the best-paid people at Cosmopolitan magazine are headline writers? Think about why that might be and why they are at the checkout of your local grocery. They are masters at grabbing attention, and you can be too. Here are 5 tips!
Top 5 Phrases to Get to “Yes”. 11 Steps to Financial Freedom. 25 Television Sitcoms You Forgot About. You see these headlines all over. Why? Because they work!
Firstly, let us get our concentration on an essential plus trendy method of title-writing. Here are a few best practices:
Not too little, not too much. Financial freedom takes a lot more than 11 steps, right. But would you click on a headline that said “79 Steps to Financial Freedom”? Probably not. Keep is small enough to be digested in a single reading session, but large enough to let your reader know you have some substance.
Use Odd Numbers. I don’t know why it works. It just does. I have A/B tested blog posts and newsletters and the odd numbers always outperform the even ones. Do any psychologists out there care to explain it? Leave a comment!
Use Powerful Words
As humans, we are drawn to the powerful. So it is no surprise that powerful words will attract us. As you craft your headline, think of the powerful words to draw your readers in and make them want to read more. “5 Things to See While in Rome on Vacation” or “5 Sites to See in Rome for a Perfect Vacation”? Same content, but which one gets your attention.
Some other powerful words are best, fun, unique, impressive, stellar, beautiful, awe-inspiring, money-saving, professional, etc. Some people say that “free” is a powerful word—I say it may be a powerful motivator, but you need to be careful because it sounds spammy and you may just wind up in a spam filter or have a client believe you are some long lost cousin of Crazy Eddie.
Keep It Friendly
We’re in a fun industry. Make sure all your headlines are friendly. No one wants to read the article about the latest COVID outbreak on a ship. Find a way to re-word and use the tips above. “3 Safest Ships at Sea in a Post-COVID world”
Don’t BS Your Readers
Most everyone has a BS sensor. Some are more finely tuned than others, but most people can sense bull#%$^ a mile away. Make sure your titles are accurate and truthful. “3 Tips to Travel for Free” is likely a lie, it’s spammy, and will lose any credibility you had built up. “3 Money-Saving Tips Cut Your Next Vacation Price in Half” is a lot better and more reasonable. Remember, we’re building relationships, not simply attracting transactions!
One More Tip
SEO is the name of the game in the online world. There are content analyzers that you can use to help you out. If you use WordPress, a free plugin called YOAST SEO is a great tool. And for general content (blog, email, Word, etc.) I like to sing the praises of a program/plug-in/add-on called Grammarly—it’s a spell checker on steroids and I love it. However, it does use some resources, so if you are pasting content into WordPress, for example, there is a significant lag as it analyzes the content! Here’s a screenshot of this column with Grammarly in action!
Do you have any more tips? Leave a comment!
PS: And, I took my own advice here. As I was writing this, I ended up with four tips. But the odd numbers work, so I added that final paragraph to deliver five. Note the power word “Ensure”, the use of numbers, odd numbers, and (I hope) friendly and honest content!