5 Tips for knowledge entrepreneurs on creating compelling headlines
It takes quite some time and effort to write quality blog articles to promote your online course or e-learning products, but the fact that they are good will not guarantee that readers open them. On average, eight out of ten people will read the headline’s text, but only two out of ten will read the rest. This is why writing compelling headlines is so important.
Read more: 5 Blogging hacks for online course creators
In this article, I will give you some useful tips on how to proceed, but I must say right from the beginning that these techniques are viable for now. With the rapid change in everything having to do with traditional and social media, you’ll need to be constantly looking for the trends and audience preferences.
1. Odd numbers are golden
According to a study done by Conductor, headlines that are specific hold a lot more appeal than their general counterparts. And as we all know, there are few things as unambiguous as numbers.
Instead of using “How to write better headlines for your blog posts”, “5 Tips for writing headlines that will increase read rates by at least 15%” has a much better ring and promises not to waste your time.
The other useful tip for using numbers in your headlines is to go for odd numbers, as they get 20% more clicks than those with even numbers. If what you are writing about ends up with an even number of items, you can either drop the least relevant or add the last one as a “bonus” point without numbering it.
2. Brackets and parentheses are effective compellers
Brackets and parentheses are generally used for clarifications and, as is the case with the numbers, they give readers a more precise idea about what they will get out of your article.
The number one rule of titles is to be mindful of the reader’s experience. If you set high expectations in your headline that you can’t fulfill in the content, you’ll end up disappointing, and readers will no longer trust you.
Apart from their precision purpose, brackets can also be used to boost the credibility of the headline if you add one piece of personal information or verifiable stats – in the lines of (using these tips helped me save over 50%), or to generate curiosity – like (tip number four will surely shock you).
Parentheses can act as really short subtitles embedded in the article title. Adding only a few extra words in parentheses can make your headline more clickable by increasing its clarity and credibility.
3. Negative headlines get more clicks
This may sound counterintuitive to you but a study done on over 65,000 paid link titles found that:
- Headlines containing positive superlatives (“always” or “best”) performed 29% worse than headlines with negative superlatives;
- Headlines containing negative superlatives (“never” or “worst”) performed 30%better than headlines with positive superlatives;
- The average click-through rate on headlines with negative superlatives was a staggering 63% higher than that of their positive counterparts.
So, when you think you have a great headline, try to phrase it negatively – instead of saying “Seven ways to make sure your e-mails are opened”, go for “Seven ways to ensure your e-mails are not deleted on arrival”.
4. Questions are good attention holders
Whenever we hear a question, our first instinct is to try to answer it, whether we do that out loud or only for ourselves. As a result, if you phrase your headline as a question, the reader will naturally take some time to ponder upon it, which can easily generate curiosity.
The key is to make the question one that needs a bit of thought, not something that can be answered in a split second. One example is, “Are you making these five mistakes when you write your blog article headlines? (most bloggers make at least three)”. Any blogger in your audience will be at least intrigued and want to see the list to figure out where they stand.
5. Hyphens and colons increase click rates
Just as in the case of the negative formulations, hyphens and colons may not be the first things to pop in your mind when thinking about improving your headlines. Yet as it turns out, they add visual variety and make for more compelling titles.
The best way to use them is to start with an SEO-friendly word or phrase and then use either a hyphen or colon before typing in an interesting title. You have to remember that readers can’t find your pieces interesting if they don’t find them in the first place, so being aware and mindful of search engine hacks is very important.
Headlines are crucial to getting your posts into the public eye. And your posts are crucial to getting a larger audience and building your personal brand, so those titles have to pop. Applying these five tips will give you that extra edge.
Raluca Cristescu has over ten years of experience in corporate training, focused mainly on soft skills for customer service and direct sales.