Your headline (whether you know or like it) is THE most important piece to your content you produce for yourself or for your clients for driving traffic.
They write some damn catchy headlines. Suddenly, you care about what Justin Bieber did over the weekend. You feel ashamed, but it’s because they did something with their headline that sucked you in.
Writing a great headline is a dangerous weapon…use it well.
But also smart.
If you write great headlines with horrible content, your SEO will take a MAJOR hit. How does Google know?
Usually, by your bounce rate and time on the site. If they find your content and are on the site for 5 seconds and thousands of people do this, then Google says:
Damn, that headline is catchy, but the content is crummy. Flag it!
Awesome Sauce Headline Attract Traffic, but Awesome Sauce Content Keeps them Interested. Raise your Traffic and SEO with Sweet Headlines + Catchy Content.
Let’s dig in:
5 Templates that Produce the Best Headlines:
1) How-To ________: By far, the best headline that you can never go wrong with: How to do something. As humans, we are naturally curious and want to discover.
We don’t like being told what to do, we like to discover.
A How-to article captures that. With your piece of content, pull out the main benefits of that piece. If a plumber has a 500 word post on the correct way to plunge your toilet.
“How to Plunge your Toilet Properly and Quickly (before your Date wonders where you went)”.
Easy, provides a benefit, and even people who don’t have a clogged toilet will be interested as they’ve been in that situation.
2) The Curiosity Play: You’ll see this most often on Buzzfeed. You aren’t necessarily receiving valuable know-how, but perhaps something that would be good to show off to friends later.
“A Bear attacked a campsite today, you won’t believe what a little baby did to make the bear run away scared. (He saved Everyone).
You’re not going to pull any special knowledge from a post like this, but you just GOTTA know what the baby did! Make sure it is worthwhile and use this tool for only great ploys or else you become the ‘Boy who Cried Wolf’ and no one will believe your headlines.
3) Help the Reader Achieve a Goal: You’ve seen the ads: Lose 25 lbs in 25 minutes!
Everyone has goals in the conscious and subconscious mind they hope to hit (someday). We are always looking for shortcuts, unfortunately, and thus when someone is overweight and they see the above headline, they go for it.
Even if it feels impossible. There’s hope that springs eternal.
You provide that hope. What does your piece of content provide that may help someone achieve a goal?
For a roofer:
“Your house will sell for 30% more if you make these changes to your roof.”
Not a great headline for apartment dwellers or non-homeowners, but someone like me, who does own a home, I OF COURSE want to know how to make my house more valuable so I get more when I sell it. (Your house is a money pit anywhere, right?…Another time…)
4) Ask a Question going on in a Customer’s Mind: There are some headlines (like 1 + 2 above) that could seemingly not be targeted to a certain group, but this one requires a bit more psychology to pull off.
Think about any of your customers. Think about the questions you get on a daily basis or the worries of your customers and craft a headline based on that.
For a small business owner who uses Quickbooks:
“What did Jim from TX do to cut his time using Quickbooks by 50% this year and now his CPA loves him? (Hint: He didn’t hire a bookkeeper)”
This is a mix of a couple of the 5 Bullets here. You put in the question and add a touch of curiosity. For someone who doesn’t use Quickbooks, you may not care, but a productivity expert might be interested. A small business owner using Quickbooks (even better, HATES spending Sunday’s doing the bookkeeping) would jump on this article.
5) Let the Reader “Discover” a New Concept or Idea: Look back to point #1. As humans, we like to generally figure things out ourselves and not have to be told something (guys asking for directions). In your headline, highlight what the reader will know AT THE END of the content piece. It’s a hybrid of “how-to” and more a “fun surprise.”
Discover the Secrets 10 Millionaires used to make their First Million.
Usually, you are providing some sort of informational facts or figures (or a topical event if it’s more a gossip site).
What do pretty much all these headlines have in common?
They involve opening up a “curiosity” in the reader’s mind. We don’t like NOT knowing what is going to happen or what is something. Again, even if it’s a dumb fact about Justin Bieber, we HAVE to know.
You simply need to make them feel the NEED to have to know the answer.
Just 5 minutes ago, my wife and I were talking about books and we both used to feel : If we open up a book and read, we have to finish the book.
However, we realized….Life’s too short to do that, just put the book down and find another one. But my wife, Sam, made an interesting comment. It relates to what we’re talking about: Opening up a curiosity element.
“If it’s a mystery, I have to turn to end and see whodunit.”
The Curiosity Element at play!!
Go out and do the same!