Hook the Reader with a Great Headline

The headline or title is the most important part of your content. In the case of email, make that the subject line. It is the first thing people read and it is what they use to decide if they will read further.

Write the headline last, after you know exactly what content it will represent. Consider these important elements as you craft the right one:

  • Target audience
  • Purpose of the content
  • Importance to the reader
  • Accuracy
  • Right Language

Who Is the Content for?

Who do you really want to see the content? In other words, who is your target audience?

The target reader for each piece of content is generally a subset of your overall target audience. Not everything you offer is interesting to everyone, and that’s OK. Think about who this content is really for and write the headline to speak to that person.

What Is the Purpose of the Content?

Every piece of content must serve a purpose for your company.  You need to know the purpose to make the content effective. Common purposes include:

  • Entice someone to open an email
  • Share information on a website or social media channel
  • Increase brand visibility on search engine results pages

Write a headline that reflects the purpose as well as the key point of the content.

Why Would Someone Read This?

Your content has a purpose for you and a purpose for the reader. Understand why someone would be interested in the content from their perspective. Write a headline that clearly lets them know what’s in it for them.

A great headline will tease the unique attributes of the content. Give the reader a reason to read on.

Don’t Be Tricky

Clever headlines catch attention, but they must be related to the content. Don’t annoy readers by making them think they have been duped by a headline that does not match the content. That approach can do long-term damage to your online marketing efforts.

Keep Language Rules in Mind

There are some language rules that will lead to effective headlines, no matter the topic or the audience. Always use:

  • Active verbs
  • Concise language
  • Clear wording

Shorter is always better: few words with few syllables and few letters.

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