Why Headline Writing Rules Matter
Content is king. But much of the content you build is first viewed ONLY as a headline and featured image, as in a social post, e-mail newsletter link, or even organic search results. So headline writing rules matter because 8 out of 10 people will read our headline, but only 2 of those 8 will actually click. And that’s the average…
Better Headlines Translate Into More Readers & Better ROI
Let’s face it. Creating quality content consumes a lot of time, money, and expertise within your marketing plan. So why waste that by throwing a lame headline on it at the last minute?
Prioritizing headlines, and following some basic headline writing rules can help get your content viewed by more readers and improve the ROI.
In fact, it’s estimated that a high-performing headline can increase readership by as much as 5 times over a lesser one.
Follow A Few Basic Headline Guidelines
Headlines are getting longer. For a while, the trend was to keep them within 68 characters because that’s as far as Google was reading. There were other reasons to make that the lowest common denominator, too.
But now, the pendulum is swinging back the other direction. How long is too long? Experiment. You’ll find the limits that are acceptable to you.
One common theme we find universally applies is FOMO. Fear Of Missing Out.
Test Your Copy
As you consider headline options for your content, just start testing them. My favorite headline testing tool is a free product called sharethrough. Just type in your headline. It gives you a score. It also gives you recommended improvements.
When your score is above 70, you’ve got a headline that should out-perform others. How hard should you work? How much time should you spend? Generally, the more evergreen the content, the more time we spend. The more perishable the content, the less time we invest.
The Modern Approach May Seem Unconventional
It’s amazing what people will click. Just look at any viral video or other viral content!
If you’re classically trained in a journalism style, a lot of modern headline best practices may seem unorthodox. It’s OK. Just realize that content marketing isn’t intended to be, nor is it fair to compare it to journalism, per se.
Different goals Different disciplines.
The Combination of Headline and Featured Image Deserves as Much Time in Your Content Marketing Strategy as the Content Itself
We talk more about choosing featured images in another post, which makes a great companion read to this one.
Many readers of your content will arrive via organic search results, a social post, or even an image/headline summary in a content grid or e-mail newsletter you send out. In fact, for most of us at least 2/3 of the audience arrive via these channels.
So why wouldn’t you put as much effort into headline and featured image choices as the content itself. Otherwise, you’ve built a beautiful car and you haven’t given anyone the keys…