Headlines: Your Ride or Die
Maybe it sounds a little obvious, but a headline is one of the most crucial features in any piece of copy. Ask any journalist, they know it's headlines that sell newspapers and, in the era of clickbait, the way to make money.
Now, I am absolutely not suggesting that you reach for the 'lofty-ambitions' of click-bait headlines; we all know it's false news and often entirely misleads as to the content but, they do say what people want to hear/read. Phrase your headline around your topic in a way that directly answers a question or fills quenches a thirst for knowledge. Just do it honestly...if you lead on a headline that doesn't deliver, you've instantly lost the trust of your reader.
Why should we ask questions in headlines?
To capture attention and get those Search Engine clicks! When someone asks Google a question, not only will your title come up as the most relevant match, but you'll also have the answer. If you aren't sure what question to ask and answer, try Ask the Public. Enter the keywords that relate to your business or post, and see the most frequent questions people are asking - it's a great place to start. Make sure you follow this up in your meta descriptions (what appears on search engine listings), entice them in!
Draft and redraft
I do at least four drafts of a piece before it ventures out into the world. My headlines have about twenty drafts. Keep going, listing potential headlines until you find the perfect combination that will capture attention. Don't go for your first instinct; chances are it's an instinct because it's been overdone.
4 things your headline should have
We can learn a lot from Buzzfeed's list headlines. Their 'listicle' approach to content and headlines, has won them fans around the world and is now a common sight across many platforms. Numeral headlines like this give people an idea of the time needed to digest the information and captures their attention.
I don't know about you, but I can get quite overwhelmed when I see a screen laden with text and no breaks - and I'm a big fan of words. Sub-headings give your reader direction, an overview of the content and help to maintain their attention. While long-form copy is still compelling, even in our Amazon Prime generation, sometimes you need to break it up so people don't leave straight away.
Your copy and headline aren't going to capture everyone. If you try and write for everyone on the planet, your copy will be a mess. An accurate analysis of your SEO and keyword strategy will give you a foundation to target your copy.
If you'd like an analysis of your site's copy, or just need some pointers, get in touch.