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5 ways to get your content read with a great headline.

March 12th, 2013  |  Published in Blogging, Content Marketing, Tips, Tools & Techniques

Hook your readers with a great headlineToday, people are overwhelmed with way too much to read and absorb on the web.

And if you’re now continually creating content that your prospects and customers will find valuable or entertaining (what’s now called Content Marketing), your primary responsibility is to get what you write found first and then read.

This makes your content or post title more than an insignificant afterthought. Because if you don’t hook your readers with a great headline, your audience will pass your post over in less than a blink.

What’s more, most readers or prospects will only see your headline in an RSS feed reader, an email, on social media, or in a link on another blog. If the headline doesn’t make a connection with your readers, your content is never going to get seen or read. And your CALL TO ACTION will never be taken.

So what’s it going to take to write a headline that gets people to notice and click? Some of these tips may make the job a bit easier.

1. Lead with the benefit.

Your goal should be to summarize your content in a crisp and succinct headline. And the best way to capture attention and generate interest is to include the primary benefit of what your readers will get after they’ve invested the effort to read it. Evaluate your headline to see if it answers this critical question from the perspective of your reader: “What’s in it for me?”

If your headline doesn’t answer this in a fresh and interesting way, you’ve still got some work to do before you’re ready to publish.

2. Let the numbers do the talking.

People love numbers and data. So if you’re writing a post that details how to spruce up your social profile, be sure to include the number of tips that you’ll be providing right in the title.

And if you’re sharing lots of content in a structured format—like “99 things you never thought about in your facebook privacy settings”— focus on the volume of  information that you’re covering by putting that right up front. You’ll prove that your post is thorough and comprehensive about the subject before anyone gets past the headline.

3. Less is more.

As renowned Bauhaus architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe said, “Less is more”. And it’s never been more true on the web. So get rid of  the unnecessary words and keep it short and sweet.

Remember, your readers are busy. So remove every barrier that you can to get them to click or dive into your content. This includes unessential words—like complicated terms, acronyms or trendy buzz words—that aren’t adding value to your story or key concepts.

4. No better place to start than with How To.

Research has shown that “how-to” posts are some of the most-read types of posts on the web. If your goal is to share a tip, technique or method that will improve the efficiency or quality of outcome for your readers, consider starting your content title with “how-to”.

This simple addition will telegraph to your readers that you’re providing valuable instructions and that they have the potential for providing learning or improvement.

5. Satisfy their curiosity.

If you want to attract reader attention, make them curious about your content. With a headline like, “The one thing you need to be successful with content marketing”, readers and prospects will be intrigued to learn what new insights or secrets you’re going to reveal in your post.

But be forewarned. You better deliver with quality content that satisfies their curiosity. Otherwise, you run the risk of alienating or frustrating them and they’ll pass over content that you publish in the future.

A great outcome starts at the beginning.

Without a great headline, your post may be discarded or lost in the digital weeds where no one will ever read it. Therefore, the importance of your headline cannot be diminished.

If you want to start to see improvement in your readership and reach, why not try some of these tips for your next post title? With a little effort and focus, more than a few great headlines will start to make their way into your site.


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Paul Pruneau, and Teamworks Communications, Inc., develop communications and brand strategy, engineer content to express customer value, and create integrated online and Content Marketing solutions to help businesses succeed. Follow Paul on Twitter, connect on Google+, send an email or just call 415.789.5830.

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