It is often said that we are now living in an attention economy, since we have the ability to publish limitless content online — but each of us has a finite amount of time and attention to spend reading, watching or listening to it.
Copywriting is an important skill for grabbing people’s attention and persuading them to look at your content. Even if you’re writing an educational article instead of a sales page, you should make every effort to write a headline so compelling that it stops people in their tracks and makes them want to read what you have to say.
Here are some examples of effective headlines:
Notice how each headline carries an emotional charge, promising a clear benefit (selling products), helping you avoid a disaster (looking dumb, failing to make money), or prompting you for your opinion (on brainstorming).
Brian Clark is the acknowledged authority on writing headlines to capture people’s attention online. Read his series of articles How to Write Magnetic Headlines and experiment with some of his suggestions.
I was initially a bit sceptical about using formulaic headlines, then I tried it out and wrote a post called 5 Reasons Why Enthusiasm Is Better Than Confidence — it turned out to be my first blogging ‘hit’, attracting links from some very popular design blogs and bringing me thousands of visitors. That was enough to convince me.
Writing effective headlines
Read through the series on Writing Magnetic Headlines, then experiment with using the different headline templates.
If you already have articles or important pages on your website – try rewriting the page headlines using copywriting principles.
Each time you have to write a headline or title for an article, video, image etc – stop and ask yourself how you can make it a magnetic headline.