One of the biggest weapons in your online marketing arsenals is your content. Think of this as your ace up your sleeve that trumps all other cards. Why? Because without content on your website, there’s no need for someone to pay your site a visit and they won’t have any need to come back if they do. Content is what gets your site onto Google, it’s what makes people click that ‘share’ button and it’s how you turn an average member of the public into a paying customer. Here’s a bit more on why content marketing is so critical.
But what is it that makes someone click on a link to read your content in the first place? It’s not the quality of the writing, because the user won’t know that until they actually start reading. Instead then they’ll be forced to rely on the title along with any picture or snippet that they also get to see. Of these, the title is the only factor that will always be present and it’s the biggest influence on whether or not they click. Without a great title then, even the very best content can end up going to waste. So the question is, how do you write a good title that will leap out, get attention and beg to be clicked?
Curiosity is an incredibly powerful tool for getting someone to click on a link and can be incredibly effective, even when we know it’s being used against us. If you’ve seen all the clickbait on Facebook or Buzzfeed, then you’ll have encountered this yourself. Articles with titles like ‘When You See What This Dog Does To This Cat, You’ll Cry Your Eyes Out’ are almost impossible to resist because we want to know what happens to the dog, as well as whether or not it will really make us cry our eyes out. What could really be that sad?
Another common trick is used in ‘top ten’ articles, where the title will hint at one of the bullets being particularly interesting ‘Top Ten Reasons To Give Up Cooking, Number 3 Will Shock You!’. Again, this works because the reader can’t help but want to know what number three is. These articles prove so successful on social media that Facebook is actually having to actively suppress them.
Obviously some of these tricks are a little cheap and a little spammy, so you don’t want to overdo them. Nevertheless, including an element of suspense or mystery in your title can work wonders.
While curiosity is optional, every title should make an effort to demonstrate its value. The title of this article makes it very clear what you will gain from reading, which in this case is a valuable skill.
Add an Emotional Hook
We could have taken this even further by looking at the emotional impact of that and the ‘value proposition’. Then the title might have read: ‘How To Bring More Paying Customers To Your Blog By Writing Eye-Grabbing Headlines’. This brings emotion to the forefront which is important seeing as we are most impulsive when we are moved by emotion and thus most likely to click. Writing in the first person can also have a similar effect as it turns your headline into a ‘story’. ‘How I Increased My Traffic Tenfold With Better Article Headlines’ is an example of using the first person.
Use the Active Tense
An active tense sounds as if something is happening right now, or might be structured as an immediate instruction. ‘How to Keep More Visitors On Your Site’ is an example of ‘active’, whereas ‘Keeping Visitors On Your Site’ is passive and as such feels far less urgent.
This is really just the tip of the iceberg though and there are many other tips and strategies you can use. Try these headline formulas to get started and if you want to leave the task of crafting outstanding headlines and content to a trusted online marketing provider, SmartSites is here for you!