A Clickable Headline Has These 5 Things
So you want to write a blog post.
You research and crank out some thoughtful content. Refine it until it’s flawless. Choose a headline that captures the contents.
Right? Wrong. You’ve just spent the least amount of time on the most important part.
If a headline doesn’t speak to the innate needs (think Maslow’s hierarchy) of the readers who encounter it, they won’t click it in the first place.
You should actually write your headline (or a rough version of it) before you get too involved with the body copy.
Doing this helps inform the rest of your article and ensure every part of it has a purpose.
But how do you write a headline that warrants a post? What makes a headline clickable and worth spending hours writing all that body copy for?
If a headline doesn’t speak to an innate need of the reader who encounters it… they won’t click it in the first place.
1 | AUTHORITY.
Establishing credibility with readers is important. But that requires a relationship that happens after they click your article and arrive at your website.
How can you prove you’re worth your salt before that? By establishing authority in your headline.
Think about it. When someone dives into Google or Pinterest, they’re probably trying to do the same thing your ideal client or customer is. They’re trying to solve a problem. Now. And they don’t want the answer from someone who doesn’t know what they’re talking about.
Would you click on an article that “possibly,” “could,” “maybe” or “might” help you? Probably… not. Let’s start talking in definitive and authoritative terms.
When you speak authoritatively in a headline, you demand the credibility you haven’t had the opportunity to establish. There’s no ambiguity on your knowledge of the best product or idea.
You’ve made it clear you’ve been there, done that and will save them the time and trouble. A reader can trust that your headline will take them to an answer they frankly don’t feel like searching any longer for.
Take the headline of my blog post, for example: A Clickable Headline Has These 5 Things. By asserting I know and will share five tips for a click-worthy headline, I’ve implied authority.
A reader should trust that your headline will take them to an answer they frankly don’t feel like searching any longer for.
2 | CURIOSITY.
When you saw my headline, did you immediately wonder what those five things were? Research tells us humans are hard-wired for curiosity. You probably have your own proof of that.
Think about the last time you ended up knee deep in an article. The next thing you knew, you were muttering…
How did I end up here?
By creating a sense of intrigue in the headline, the reader is forced to make a decision. Should they keep scrolling? Or do they have to satiate their curiosity by clicking?
I’m not suggesting you craft click bait headlines that trick readers into an empty promise or completely unrelated article. I’m advising that you don’t give away everything upfront.
Entice them with just enough information to capture their attention and make a promise—a promise which you’ll deliver when they read the article. More on that later.
Again, let’s look at this blog post’s headline: A Clickable Headline Has These 5 Things.
You can’t help but wonder what these five things are. That is, of course, if you’re a part of my target audience and are looking for writing and branding resources.
Either way, I’ve created intrigue, but been clear about what I’ll offer within the post.
Which brings me to clarity.
3 | CLARITY.
As with all things, a good headline requires balance. Yes, humans crave curiosity, but they’re turned off when they’re completely left in the dark.
If you’re too unclear in a headline, you can go ahead and toss that authority out the window. It’s another way to say I don’t know what I’m talking about.. but click it anyways so I can get affiliate link earnings, please.
When you speak in short, succinct language, readers are less apt to think you’re covering something up or being salesy. They’re compelled to believe there’s actual value you can provide. Because you’ve already told them what that value is.
Let’s deconstruct my headline title: A Clickable Headline Has These 5 Things. The headline is short, direct and has no extra fluff. If you read this blog post, you’ll understand the 5 things that a clickable headline has. The curiosity lies within what those things actually are.
Be clear in your headline about what topic you’ll address, what problem you’ll solve, and what the reader will get in return.
This is your promise.
Be clear in your headline about the WHAT: what topic you’ll address, what problem you’ll solve, and what the reader will get in return.
4 | PROMISE.
What will the reader get in return if they spend their precious time scrolling through your blog post? What are you promising? Is it knowledge, a shortcut, a best kept secret?
The promise usually relates back to saving time, money or some type of agony. Again, it’s some type of solution to a problem your target audience is prone to.
Think about how promises have evolved over time. Years ago, it was easy to obtain email addresses with a simple sign-up box. ‘Sign up to get the latest updates.’
Now, a vague exchange rarely flies. People are pressed for time and holding onto their privacy for dear life. Unless you can give something of value to them. Made through a clear promise.
It’s a trade. If you clicked A Clickable Headline Has These 5 Things, I promised you I’d share 5 things to make your headlines more clickable. You were able to make the determination of whether it was actually relevant to you and therefore worth your time.
Numbers can help made the promise more clear—as long as it’s not too arbitrary and actually reflects what’s in the post.
Nobody likes unclear promises, so make it count.
5 | BENEFITS.
What’s the difference between a promise and the benefits? The benefits are what the reader will experience as a result of the promise. The benefit is the value gained from clicking the headline, reading the article and using the blog post’s takeaway to their advantage.
In this article, the promise is the ‘5 things.’ The benefit? They, when used correctly, will make your headlines clickable. Did that keyword in the headline allow you to envision the positive outcome you’d experience as a result?
More clickable headlines = more traffic to your website = more eyeballs on your unique offering = more sales as a result.
The benefit is the value gained from clicking the headline, reading the article and using the blog post’s takeaway to their advantage.
Once you’ve trained yourself to think more strategically before fleshing out an article, you’ll know that you’re providing real value that will been seen, digested and appreciated.
Did this article help you? Let me know in the comments!