Almost all writers and marketers struggle to think of creative, captivating titles for their publications.
But the payoff? The payoff is huge. That?s why David Ogilvy, the father of advertising, spent weeks perfecting the headlines of his most famous ads.
If you don’t pay much attention to the process of developing catchy headlines, you shouldn’t be surprised when your content is met with high bounce rates.
A catchy title will increase the appeal of your post and compel your visitors to take the time to read it. Without it, the post you worked so hard to create will be handicapped – it’ll be doomed to fail from the outset.
The good news is once you come up with an idea, properly constructing a catchy title is fairly easy. Here are 7 hacks to help you:
#1. Your Readers Matter. Have a Conversation With Them. Ask a question!
Smart bloggers and content writers do their best to involve readers in the content they write. They address them and make them feel like they?re talking directly to them. This approach makes readers feel appreciated, but it also enables them to connect with the writer.
Have you ever thought about implementing this strategy in your headline?
For example, you can start with a question: ?Are You Planning Your Next Vacation? These Tips Will Help You Prepare!?
The question needs to be direct, and it would be great if the reader answers with a ?yes.? That?s certainly a way to get their attention.
You can also make the question in the title a bit provocative. For example:??You Support Pro-Choice? These Facts Will Make You Look at Abortion from Another Point of View!?
This type of formulation will probably get a reader frustrated since you?re trying to change their opinion about something. However, you?ll provoke them to read what you have to say, and you?ll probably get lots of comments. You should offer a top-quality post based on facts if you want this headline to be successful.
Don?t try to be too clever when asking a question in the headline; make it as direct and clear as possible. Of course, you need to leave an impression that you?re about to teach them something they don?t already know. That?s the only way of getting the reader interested in finding out more.
Don?t ask a question like, ?What?s Your Favorite Childhood Story?? However, do formulate the same idea into something like ?Looking for the Best Stories for Children? Check Out This List of Favorites!?
#2. Adjectives are cool. Use them!
If you use an editing tool such as Hemingway App, you probably get suggestions to reduce the number of adjectives. This is done for the sake of clarity and readability. It?s good advice, but don?t abide by it when writing headlines.
With headlines, adjectives are almost necessary. You need an intriguing, strange adjective that will add a bit of excitement in the title. Use words like chilling, heartbreaking, invigorating, exhilarating, effortless, or any other unusual adjective you can think of.
Theasurus is an online tool that will help you find the right words.
#3. Get Many Ideas and Choose the Best One
You have greater chances of coming up with awesome headlines if you generate plenty of ideas. In this case quantity really matters.
There are different techniques that get your mind into a creative mode, but brainstorming is still the most efficient one. If you?re working on a blog post, you can cover the idea-generation process on your own. Use a plain piece of paper to note down all ideas you get. If things get messy when you start writing, you should follow the signs and start using an online brainstorming tool.
Bubble.us and MindMeister enable you to brainstorm and create inspiring digital mind maps online. Although creativity is a messy process, a little visual order can only benefit you. When you?re writing on paper, you can?t connect all the ideas when you?re finished. An online mind map enables you to find connections between the different ideas you get, so you?ll end up with a more creative headline.
If you?re trying to think of a headline for a really important post you?re about to publish, you should try team brainstorming. A few heads are always smarter than one, right? With GroupMap and Stormboard, you can collaborate with your team in a constructive online environment.
Here is a technique you can use in team brainstorming: one member of the group starts with a pitch. It can be anything related to the topic. Then, every other person tries to refine that suggestion, add a different angle, or offer another option that might be better.
#4. Rely on Online Tools
Thanks to the Internet, there is almost no obstacle you cannot surpass. For example, let?s say you haven?t started writing a post because you?re having trouble thinking of a twist on the topic you have in mind. Tweak Your Biz Title Generator is a great tool to use in such situation.
Using this generator, you’ll?receive?suggestions on the topic headline. You?ll get several alternatives categorized in lists, how-to titles, best, love, questions, business, secrets, and other groups. You?ll surely find something suitable in this huge selection of potential titles.
Portent?s Content Idea Generator is another tool that helps you get a catchy headline for your posts. Each suggestion comes with explanations. For example, when you search using the subject ?headline?, you will get something like, ?The Simplest Ways to Make the Best of Headlines.? Some of the suggestions will be ridiculous, but they will at least serve as a guiding point for the creation of your own title.
Australian Writings is another type of service that can help you come up with a catchy headline. We are not talking about automated software this time; you?ll get to collaborate with a real writer.
This service delivers custom-tailored results. You provide your detailed instructions and explain what exactly you need. Then, the company pairs you with a writer who has relevant experience and expertise, so you can collaborate with him or her through a direct messaging system.
You can use this opportunity to ask for several title suggestions.
#5. Prove That Your Content Is Useful!
People waste a lot of time doing useless things on the Internet, but some of them still want to learn something that will improve the quality of their lives. This is the type of audience that will read your posts and comment on them.
The best way to target real readers is to offer something useful. Needless to say, you need a headline that proves they will learn something from your text. How-to titles always work!
Everyone has needs, problems, and goals to achieve. If you tell your readers how to solve some issues and how to achieve their goals, they will certainly want to read what you have to say.
A how-to headline is rather simple to construct; you only need to express the final benefit or result of the content you offer. Here is an example:
?How to Write Catchy Headlines in 6 Simple Steps.?
This construction makes a potential reader believe that he or she will develop an important skill by reading?your article. You can make the title even better if you indicate a more useful final effect. For example: ?How to Attract More Readers by Writing Catchy Headlines.?
#6. Add a Number!
Numbers give precision to a title. For example, ?10 Books to Read in This Lifetime? sounds much more inviting than ?Books to Read in a Lifetime.?
When you offer a numbered list of suggestions or tips, the reader will have realistic expectations. The second version of the title seems too broad, so one might assume you are offering a list that?s too long and impossible to accomplish.
Are you wondering which numbers you should use in the title? There is no rule on this, but remember to stay realistic. You can?t expect someone to read 129 tips on writing catchy headlines.
#7. Pay Attention to Search Engine Optimization
SEO and online content go together like milk and cookies. If you don?t make your text attractive for Google, it won?t reach the audience you target.
The process of search engine optimization starts with the title. When you?re using Google to find the content you need, you first locate titles that fit your keyword search. That?s exactly why you should insert the right words and phrases in your headline.
Some keywords make the title sound strange, which is why it would be best to use a general phrase and leave the longer, more specific ones for the body of the post.
Optimization is not only important for search engines; it?s also helps you attract readers who are looking for the exact things you offer.
Google Analytics can be?your best friend. Use it to identify your top-performing pages.
The analytics will help you realize what your target reader is looking for at your site, so you?ll have a better idea of the titles that work. WordStream, Ubersuggest and AdWords Keyword Planner are some of the best tools to help you infuse the right keywords in your headlines.
Now You?re Ready to Start Crafting Better Headlines!
The 7 tips provided above are really simple. That?s exactly why they work!
Your title needs to maintain an authoritative tone and give the impression that you know what you?re talking about. Readers want to get tricks, tips, rules, lists, and hints. When you manage to create such a useful post and pair it with a catchy headline, you can rest assured that the bounce rates will be low.
Are you ready to write catchy headlines? Let me know in a comment below!
Creative Commons Image via Kevin Lim.