The old adage cautions us never to judge a book by its cover, but many of us still do — and the same goes for the headlines you choose for your small business content.
Your headline is the first introduction people have to your blog posts and articles. Make a good impression and people will click or scroll. Fail to capture their attention and you’ve just wasted a massive amount of time writing something that no one will read.
It doesn’t matter how good your content is. Your recent article could put Steinbeck to shame. Your blog post could contain the solution to world hunger. But the majority of people will never know because your headline didn’t reel them in.
Ready to start crafting headlines that get your content noticed? Let’s begin.
Create a Problem to Be Solved
Look at the title of this blog post. There you were, minding your own business, just scrolling right along, and suddenly, someone tells you that people are judging your headlines. For most small business owners, that’s a problem. You clicked, and here we are now.
In this headline, we created a problem that you may not have even known you had until now — namely, that your headlines may not be up to par. But creating awareness of the problem is only half the battle; you need to make sure everything below the headline solves the problem.
People love numbers in headlines. Numbers give your reader an idea of how long the piece will take to get through and how much information they can expect to get. It’s also a great way to differentiate yourself from the competition — who wants to read “How to Tie a Knot” when they can read “10 Knots That Can Save Your Life in a Survival Situation?”
You don’t have to stick to common numbers, either. Change things up by using off-the-wall numbers like 11 or 23, or — if you’re writing lengthy pillar content pieces — 99 or 107.
Your headline should tell your readers exactly what they’ll gain by reading your article. If your blog post is about gardening in small spaces, for instance, don’t call it “How to Grow Great Flowers.” Instead, go with something like “Best Blooms to Plant in Small Spaces.”
This way, your target audience can find exactly what they’re looking for, and you’re not disappointing readers who came to your blog looking for something else.
Play With Your Words
Not every headline needs to (or should, for that matter) begin with “How To” or “10 Things You Need to Know.” In fact, the more you stay away from those overused phrases, the better chance you have to stand out from the crowd.
Instead, engage in a bit of word play. Try a little alliteration. Capitalize on a pop culture trend. Add a dash of humor. Make your headline eye candy for your readers — something they can’t help but click on. “How to Deep Fry a Turkey” suddenly becomes “Turkey Frying 101 — No Firefighters Required.” “10 Ways to Increase Social Media Engagement” morphs into “Put a Ring On It: Up the Engagement with Your Social Media Fans.”
Avoid “Click Bait” Like the Plague
Anyone who has spend more than 12 seconds on the internet has seen click-bait headlines.
“[Insert superstar here] Recovering From Serious Accident!” (He got a papercut, presumably while counting his stacks of money.)
“Doctors Say This ONE Habit Significantly Reduces Obesity!” (Spoiler alert: It’s exercise. Who knew?)
Creating click-bait headlines can lead to some not-insignificant penalties from Facebook, up to and including reducing your ability to monetize your account. Just don’t do it.
The headlines you choose matter much more than you think. They can actually determine whether or not your content is getting read — and if your content isn’t getting read, what’s the point of creating it in the first place? Choose your words wisely, deliver what you promise and enjoy the new traffic coming your way!
Your audience may judge you for your headlines, but we don’t judge at all! Whether you just need some help driving traffic to your content or need the content created from scratch, Mischa Communications is in your corner. Let us know how we can help!