We live in a highly stimulating and digital age. With access to so much information, people have to sift through a huge volume of online content in order to find anything they’re interested in reading. Studies have shown that 8 out of 10 readers will read an article’s headline; however, only 2 out of 10 people will actually stop to read the content. Because of this, authors have the unique task of creating catchy headlines that will grab – and keep – their readers’ attention.
But what makes one headline catchier than another, and how can you, as an author, increase the likelihood that your readers will click through to an article?
Here are 5 ways that you can create more enticing headlines for your readers, which will in turn improve your click through rate and readership:
There’s a reason that the majority of articles you see shared on social media or on the front of magazines include numbers—they attract readers! People who view headlines that begin with a number are more likely to click through because they know exactly how long of an article they are committing to. There is no question as to how long an article titled “5 Reasons that Beyoncé Should be President in 2016” will be. Once those five reasons are over, you can move on.
2. Interesting Adjectives
Using adjectives like simple, easy, fun or effortless will draw your readers in quicker and create an initial mood for your article. As an author, it’s important to explicitly state the tone your article is going to take, and adjectives will help you do that. For example, you know exactly what to expect from an article with the headline, “6 Obvious Ways to Bring Beyoncé into Everyday Conversation.”
No one wants the headline to be as long as the article itself. When looking at headlines, your audience is much more likely to scan than read critically. Finding the right length depends on your subject, but approximately 10-12 words are ideal. Obviously this can’t always be achieved, but editing down to shorter headlines will pique your readers’ interest and give them a basic understanding of the article. For example, “10 Reasons a Beyoncé Talk Show Would Improve Society” will convey the overall subject of your post without wasting your readers’ time.
4. Invite, Don’t Demand
Studies have shown that readers will respond better to an inviting headline as opposed to some sort of imperative. Words like “Stop” and “Must” tell your readers what they should do and think about your content, and they often make you seem spammy and untrustworthy. Use more open-ended words that will allow your readers to feel as if they can have an opinion on the content.
5. Include a Promise
If your article includes groundbreaking information or advice, include the promise that you’re making in the headline. By making bold promises, you will dare potential readers to learn whatever secrets you may be sharing in your article. You would almost be required to read an article with the title, “15 Important Tips to Guarantee a Response from Beyoncé on Social Media.”
There are many ways to improve your headlines and grab your readers’ attention. However, a good headline will only take you so far – make sure that your headline leads to enticing content. Quality content will keep your readers coming back for more.
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Updated: Apr 13, 2022