Developing content for the Internet is a difficult task and there are a number of things to consider. From search engine optimization to clickable headlines, there’s a lot to keep in mind.
Clickable headlines however, are an area that many businesses (and writers) fail to fully utilize. It doesn’t matter how great your content is, if it’s not packaged well no one’s going to read it. It’s true that the content is the most important part of the writing, the research, the high quality writing, but without a clever headline it all becomes a little less meaningful.
A good place to start then when it comes to writing content for the web is the headline. But how do you make it clickable and more desirable? Let’s have a look at some ways that you can sell your content better and increase your brand exposure.
Remember that if people aren’t sold on your headline they’re never going to follow up on your content. First impressions are always important and the online world is no exception – perhaps it’s even more important due to the sheer amount of content that’s distributed online.
You’re not the only one
The first thing to consider is where your content ends up. No one writes in a vacuum and when your content is posted and shared it’ll appear in amongst loads of other headlines. Yours must stand out regardless of where it ends up. Online readers have a vast library at their fingertips, so ensure that your headline is convincing and pulls them in.
Make readers pick you
That seems like an easy enough idea but it’s an important one. Online readers don’t have patience; in fact they have very short attention spans. You need to grab them immediately and invite them to read your work. To do this you need to make sure that your writing is good, clear, and above all succinct.
No one has time to kill anymore and if your work isn’t good enough they’ll find something that is. Remember, online readers scan text very quickly so your headline needs to define the thrust of the article immediately.
Start with your headline and then use it to inform the rest of your piece. If something doesn’t further your point, cut it out. If it’s unnecessary, don’t write it. Ensure that your headline states your purpose and give readers the ability to immediately know what it is that you’re discussing.
This is obviously subjective but if you’re honest with your writing you’ll find that you have a unique voice. Use it and devise headlines that stand out and make online denizens want to read more. Make sure that your piece has a clear goal and relate everything to that. Add your article keyword (usually frontloaded) to your headline and you’ll make it more easily searchable.
Whatever subject you’re writing about you’ll find that many other writers have been there before. This is why the headline is so important. Everyone writes lists online and regardless of the niche the format often remains the same.
You want to stand out from the crowded online space and show that you have a unique voice simply through the way that your write the headline. Ensure that you’re adding something fresh and different to the mix and you’ll make readers desire to know more. Not just about the subject in hand, you’ll make them want to read your specific article based on the way that you’ve constructed the headline.
Should you pose a question?
Any easy way (if slightly unimaginative) to grab a reader’s attention is by turning the article title into a question. In a psychological sense it makes readers want to know the answer and piquing someone’s interest can only aid you in directing readers to your blog. Make them wonder and suggest (implicitly) that you have the answer.
Another good way to generate clicks on your content is by providing an actionable item. Give the reader something to do once they’ve read the story and you’ll likely find that the reader has a much better engagement with your work and the information provided.
Consider the best adjective
Online headlines are often saturated with grandiose claims and promises. Ensure that your headline is an accurate one and avoid unnecessary hyperbole. Most online writers use very similar words to describe their content. Try to be more imaginative and think outside of the usual internet box.
Finally, remember that you’re writing for a human audience so emphasise that connection. Make your tone of voice one that’s conversational and one that establishes a form of human connection – whatever makes it sound like a real person with their own subjective opinion wrote it. Internet users are very aware of the proliferation of spam and questionable content so avoid even providing a slight inkling that your content is written by a robot.
There are some good considerations to think about when attempting to add a human element to your content:
- Tell a story
- Talk about general shared human experiences
- Emotional content and its impact on you
- Use humour, but go easy on this one
- Solve a problem – how to articles and numbered headlines work well as they immediately suggest that there’s a take-away for the reader
Use some of the above advice to make your headlines more clickable. By doing this you’ll find a marked increase in user engagement and your content will be read more often. That’s what it’s there for. Use clickable headlines to pull people in and keep them there with the great content you’ve written.