Headlines are sometimes an afterthought. They should be a key consideration, as they’re often your reader’s first entry point. Make sure your headlines are attention-worthy with these five tips.
Consider the fact that more than half of Google searchers don’t click on anything. To top that off, according to copyblogger, 8 out of 10 people will read your headline copy, but only 2 out of 10 will read the rest.
That means your headline may be all that people see. Don’t you want to entice them to click in and engage with you? An engaging headline is key to getting your target audiences to dig deeper and read the content you work so hard to deliver. Here are a few ways to be more strategic with your headlines so they convert.
1) Be accurate
Bait-and-switch is never good. Make sure your headline aligns with what your readers will find in the article you’re sharing. Accuracy means users are less likely to bounce, too, which is always good for your SEO efforts.
When headlines accurately represent your posts’ content, users will be more satisfied with their decision to click. That goodwill means they might even go deeper into your website to find more information about their interests.
Pro-tip: Make a draft headline to get you started on the article, and then jot down additional options as you write. That way the final article and the headline are in alignment.
2) Speak directly to your reader
Personable and engaging headlines don’t talk about “patients,” they talk to them. They’re a great way to engage users right off the bat.
For example, North Mississippi Health Services asks “Are Your Kids Ready for School?” in one of their recent articles. This engages the reader because it’s personal, it’s about their kids and provides helpful advice for making sure the reader is ready for back-to-school season.
Headlines like this address your users’ concerns or echo their questions. That creates a stronger bond with your brand and lets your users know that you’re putting their needs first.
Try experimenting with different words to make sure that you’re speaking directly and engaging your readers. For example, try using verbs and other evocative words to engage your reader right away. When you use different words in your various headlines you can see what words speak to your users and make sure you’re speaking in a way that’s meaningful to them.
3) Ask a question
Learn what questions your patients ask their care providers — or consult good old Dr. Google via Google Trends. Then, repeat those questions back to your users in your headline. This also helps with SEO – people sometimes search in question format, so you could match their search query better if you plan for it!
This engages your reader right away. They want to answer the question for themselves or find the answer in your resource. Still, the old adage stands – don’t ask questions where your users could say “no.”
Be thoughtful, and make sure the question leaves them wanting to dig deeper. Leading with empathy for your users is an important part of this.
And remember, this isn’t a one-size-fits-all answer. Not every article calls for a question in the headline, so use this tactic strategically. Otherwise your audiences may get burned out with the format.
4) Use numbers
Numbered lists, intriguing statistics, and headlines with numbers are a great way to catch your audience’s eye and entice them to click. They promise details, content that will deliver on answers they want.
The other benefit is that numbered lists, or “listicles,” promise an easy-to-skim article structure. Readers know they won’t have to engage with details that aren’t meaningful to them or don’t address their concerns. Time is money, and listicles promise a quick overview to find out if their answers are inside.
Using engaging, intriguing statistics is also a way to get buy in from your audiences. Put your most click-worthy stat in a headline with helpful details, and you might catch attention enough to get a click. Whether you keep their interest is up to your article.
Pro Tip: Nielsen Norman Group recommends writing numbers as numerals when writing for online readers. That’s because numerals are better at drawing your reader’s eye. So if you follow Chicago style, don’t be afraid to modify it for your headlines.
5) Give readers a reason to click
Traditional headlines highlight an article’s most important message. They might summarize a story or direct attention to a specific fact. This headline style works well when you’re reporting news and your goal is to give readers a succinct synopsis of your content.
As a content marketer writing headlines, though, your goal is to drive clicks. So, you need a different writing style. Pique readers’ curiosity by serving up a headline that promises to deliver information they care about if they engage with your content.
Want to dive deeper?
Watch Behind the Scenes of Successful Healthcare Content Marketing to get more tips from experts. It includes even more ways that your headlines can be written to intrigue and engage your audiences.
Ready to get started? Test these strategies on your content marketing hub to see what tactics are most meaningful for your users.