Use honest and to-the-point headlines
While whimsical and punny headlines are more interesting to read, and can help draw in readers, they don’t always work with the article. This could be due to the platform or the nature of your article, as well as the audience you’re writing for. Honest headlines that don’t oversell your copy are best, so be upfront with your readers from the off. Focus on the benefits that reading your article will provide. Rather than saying “You’ll never believe how this company made millions,” try opting for “5 things every entrepreneur should be doing to increase profits”. While both headlines omit the crucial information, the second example explains how reading the article will benefit the reader.
Making titles more personal can also encourage readers. For example, “5 things your business should be doing to increase profits” works by targeting the reader, making it seem like they’re being directly addressed. If you’re going to use this tactic, it’s best to keep it going throughout the rest of the article, and keep that slightly chattier, more personalised tone of voice.
When building your headlines, stay away from generic clickbait catch-phrases, which can immediately turn your readers off. Some of the more famous headline no-no’s include:
- “Will make you”
- “This is why”
- “Can we guess”
- “What they did next”
- “Will shock you”
Don’t be afraid to experiment with your headlines
When thinking about how to phrase your headline, you may find yourself rejecting certain drafts. Don’t feel you have to do this. Instead, keep a record of your best headline ideas. You may be able to craft the best one using parts of previous drafts.
You may also want to trial different headlines, which is much easier if you send your articles out in a newsletter. Using A/B testing with your email list, send a small portion of your total readers—maybe 10%—one headline, and another 10% a second headline. Whichever headline gets the most clicks should be the headline you use to send to the remaining 80% of your readers.
This tactic can also be used to decide on the final headline for your article, which you can then tailor for social media use, which can really help to boost traffic.