Every great read starts with an even greater headline. Whether it’s for a news release, blog post, e-newsletter or social post, the headline is your first opportunity to catch the attention of your audience and entice them to click in and read on.
If you think about it, your potential reader has complete control – they either choose to click and engage with your content or they don’t. If the headline doesn’t demonstrate value or answer their question, they will move on to the next article, without ever opening yours.
Using data analysis collected by Outbrain and Hubspot, the graphic below illustrates which words in a headline will increase or decrease your clickthrough rate (CTR).
The study suggests that certain words trigger our human “spam filter” to kick in and advise us to trust or ignore the article. Readers have become savvier at gauging the quality of content they are receiving.
Our friends at Cision suggest avoiding these headline types at all costs:
1. The “why should I care” headline
Your headline needs to show how clicking on this article will actually benefit your reader. A generic headline will appear meaningless.
Don’t write: John Smith Inc. Receives $100 Million in First Round Funding
Instead, write: $100 Million Funding Round Will Help John Smith Inc. Give Back to Small Businesses
2. The “loooooong, drawn out” headline
In today’s social media driven world, you need to ensure your headline is tweetable, social-ready and optimized for search engines. Keeping your headline under 100 characters can help you achieve this. Build out any necessary context in your subhead.
Don’t write: John Smith Inc. Launches New Product Line of Headphones Designed with Patent-Pending Eco-Friendly Material
Instead, write: John Smith Inc. Launches New Eco-Friendly Headphones
3. The “vague” headline
Does your headline detail what the article is about? It should. Be specific with your information for a higher engagement level; people want to know what they are reading.
Don’t write: John Smith Inc. Launches Industry Forum
Instead, write: John Smith Inc. Launches E-Tech Forum to Foster Communication
So if you are truly terrible at creating engaging, catchy, must-click-on headlines, using an automated tool may be the answer. There are a number of online tools out there and Entrepreneur has tried many of them. Here are our five favourites that can help you write the best headline for your content.
Taboola is best known for its native advertising network, but it also has a great tool to help you optimize your content for engagement and it allows you to test your content and headlines.
Headlines, an app from Kingsumo, offers Wordpress users the ability to write as many headlines as they like for a possible post and the app will use each of them and monitor how well each perform.
This tool enables you to gain insight into how your audience is responding to your headlines by highlighting which of your headlines are performing and which are not.
4. CoSchedule’s Headline Analyzer
This web app gives your headline a strength score between one and 100, according to the success of past headlines on the web. It will indicate whether your headline is too long or short and allows you to make edits so you can achieve the highest score possible.
This tool allows you to perform A/B testing for a combination of various headlines and images. It’s also used by big brand names such as Microsoft and NBE Universal.
Each of these tools can offer you some unique features that can help you write headlines that will actually increase your CTR, driving engaging and your content marketing plan overall.
How do you write your headlines? Do you use these tools? Comment below or tweet us @CNWGroup.