Headlines are the first, and possibly the only impression that you’ll have to impress your potential reader. Because even before the first flighty, millennial mind was short circuited by a smart phone, people were getting bored by articles by the second line. Your headline must engage them from the first sentence, because it’s unlikely that more than 20% of readers will make it any further.
As far back as the mid-twentieth century, advertising mogul David Ogilvy said: “Five times as many people read the headline as read the body copy.” In other words, a massive 80% of your persuasive power must shine through in that FIRST line!
So be prepared to dedicate a good deal of your time crafting a headline that’s irresistible to your target audience and promises a clear benefit upon reading the article.
How to give your readers what they want
With 80% of readers dropping off after the headline you need to give them what they want. You need to capture the attention of your audience with a promise that’s both intriguing and relevant to their interests. So before you start writing any content you need know: who your audience is, what they want, and how you’ll give that to them.
By defining and researching your target audience it’ll be easier to create headlines that they’re interested in and are specific to their needs. With this in mind, the perfect headline will be useful, create a sense of urgency around the subject and provide a benefit they haven’t found elsewhere.
Once you’ve created a headline, go back and ask yourself:
- Has your reader been offered a reward?
- Could the headline be more intriguing?
- Is your headline believable?
- Does it trigger a strong emotion, or evoke an action?
- Will your reader be nodding in agreement?
- Does it accurately reflect the article
- Will my target audience find it interesting?
So thanks to the 20% of you who made it this far. I’ll be linking to other articles on the subject of headlines as I post them. If that doesn’t compel you to read further, keep an eye out for my other stuff.