“Everyone’s a salesman,” or so the old adage goes. It doesn’t matter what line of work you are in, in the end it all comes down to selling something; a doctor selling medical expertise; a fitness instructor selling weight loss; a writer selling beautifully written words or a recruiter selling the benefits of working for their company. Our primary goal in the world of business is selling either ourselves or something else to someone. So it is no surprise that when writing an article the primary goal of the headline should be to sell the reader something. Today’s web reader needs a reason to click through, and in order to write a headline that hooks, you have to stand out from the crowd. Why should the reader read your article and the not millions of others posted somewhere in the depths of the internet? Just a few simple techniques can help you turn someone surfing the web into a regular reader; in essence, a customer.
Promise the Reader Something They Can Use
It is essential that you give the reader a reason to keep reading, and what better way than promising to give them something of value? If a person can see that reading your article will improve either their lives or their craft, then you can be sure that they are going to want to click through and keep going. These days, spelling things out in steps or offering a method for achieving something are all the rage, so you can’t go wrong by using the age-old “how to” or “3 ways to” kind of headlines, but don’t rule out going a little more unique either. Why not try words that are richer in depth and meaning? The possibilities are functionally limitless; for example you could try essential instead of necessary, Eye-opening instead of informative, or invaluable instead of great. Words can make a language come to life, and inspire the brain to work harder. So make sure that you use rich language to promise the reader something useful.
Get Right to the Point
Sounds obvious, doesn’t it? Even though we only get a few characters to convince a person to read what we’ve written, we still see people making the mistake of being too vague, wordy, or cloudy when writing headlines. People are naturally attracted to powerful language. Pick up any newspaper and you will see headlines that grab people’s attention with as little as 4 or 5 words. Compare the following headlines:
Wordy – Quit the job you hate, and start living the life you’ve always dreamed of.
To the point – How to quit your job and live your dreams.
See the difference? Go to any blog and you will see an entry titled “how to be a good blogger” or something to that tune, but it is much harder to find something as eloquently put as “How to write unforgettably.” Sometimes less is more. Get to the point, and you will see the difference.
Throw a curveball
Anyone who has stood in the batter’s box knows how hard it is to hit a well thrown curveball. It comes at you from out of nowhere, and you’ve likely never seen something like it before. In a world where people are over-saturated with content from every angle, you need to be different to really attract valuable readers. When we had to write a marketing headline for a company that managed social media campaigns, we could have just written a run-of-the-mill headline like “get more followers and grow your business,” and it would have been a fine, normal, efficient headline; a fastball if you will. But instead we threw a curve, and went with the quirky “Don’t you wish you had more friends?” and the company loved it. See what others are doing, and try to put a new spin on it. A perfect example is an article we found on boostblogtraffic.com. Out of all of the blog posts that we could have clicked on, we saw one titled “20 ways to be just another mediocre blogger,” and were immediately drawn to it because it was the exact opposite of what you see everywhere else. So don’t be afraid to mix it up a bit and throw the batter a curve.
Out of all of this, we want you to know that business, as well as life in general are about selling. In order to get ahead, you have to be able to sell. Use these tips to craft better headlines, because when push comes to shove, it’s the headline that sells your article to the reader. So don’t forget to make a valuable promise, avoid being too wordy, and to throw something unexpected because in the end it’s all about being a salesman.