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Copywriters and content marketers: You’re gonna want to bookmark, print, or otherwise take note of this post… We’re here to make your next writing assignment a HIT by helping you with the hardest part of your job — Writing the headline.

Seriously… Why are the 600 words in your blog post so much easier to write than the handful of words in your title?

Read on to see 7 steps involved in writing a truly ROCKIN’ headline.

7 Tips for Writing Headlines That ROCK

1. Spend half — yes, HALF — of the time you spend writing a marketing piece (an ad, blog post, eBook, etc.) on the headline or title alone. If that figure seems disproportionate to you, consider that most people will read your headline, but very few will actually take the mere half-second it takes to click on your title if it doesn’t interest them IMMEDIATELY. What good is all that great content you wrote if no one clicks on the title to read it?

2. Determine your specific purpose for the marketing piece so you can improve your conversion rate. Before you write your next headline, make sure it promises to do one of the following:

3. Make sure your headline has a hook. You can be coy, bold, punny, questioning, shocking, instructive, alliterative, blunt, artsy — it all depends on what your company’s tone is, what you’re trying to promote, and what buyer personas you’re writing for.

HINT: Two sure-fire ways to start any blog post…

  • “How to…” and
  • “X Tips for doing Y” {Yup — That’s how we titled this very blog post about writing GREAT headlines!}

4. Optimize your headline for SEO if possible. When you need a hot topic to write about or you wanna link your content to a subject that’s trending, check out google.com/trends/explore to see what people are searching for right now. You can quickly see what keywords people might use to find (or stumble upon!) your content.

5. Keep it short. Most people only read (er… make that scan) the first 3 words and the last 3 words of a headline. So why not shoot for 6 words so you know they’re gonna read them ALL?! If you do go longer, make sure the first and last words of your headline pack the most punch. It’s also smart to keep headlines under 70 characters to ensure they don’t get cut off in email subject-line displays or in search engine results. {Look how smart you are now.}

6. Use second-person pronouns. Yes, you learned this back in grammar school, but in case what you heard that day in class sounded like Charlie Brown’s teacher saying, “Wah, wah, wah, wah, wah,” we’ll give you a quick refresher of what this means… Use the words you or your in your headline, like:

Using you and your in your headline helps you sound as though you’re addressing your readers directly — making a much more personal connection with your content.

7. Use caps and punctuation to grab attention. Write your headline draft. Then go back and see how you can jazz it up by playing with word order, caps, punctuation, abbreviations, and special characters — which all help your headlines to POP! Check out these examples:

Our team of experts are here to help you enhance and coordinate your marketing pieces to ensure they really resonate with your customers. For more content marketing tips and tricks, be sure to:

The innovative thinkers at Cultivate are here to creatively lead the way in marketing by sharing their secrets and strategies to help you SUCCEED! Connect with our team on LinkedIn, Facebook, or Twitter to stay “in the know” on today’s current topics in marketing.

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