When it comes to making headlines, most companies try their best to keep their good name out of the news. However, from a digital marketing standpoint, your headlines need to stick out, so people choose to go to your website over your competitors.
According to Copyblogger, eight out of 10 people will read a headline, but only two out of 10 will read what follows. Any old headline isn't going to cut it for a blog post, guest article, email campaign, or any other type of content. An effective headline will have the four U’s:
- Urgent: Gives a reason to act now.
- Unique: Says something in a new or different way.
- Ultra-Specific: Tells exactly what they’ll find in the content.
- Useful: Appeals to reader’s needs.
Of course, this can be a difficult writing task when you're trying to balance intrigue with the inclusion of keywords that can help your business rank high in the search engine results pages (SERPs). Fortunately, there are different types of headlines that can help you marry sizzle factor and search value. Let’s use a normal headline like “Types of Headlines to Attract Leads” as an example to see how it can be reformatted in different ways.
Customer questions are a goldmine for generating blog topics and other content ideas. Your target audience has questions that relate to your business. You have answers. Use these FAQs as the basis for thorough, well-written articles that position you as an expert.
Not only are these questions great for inspiring ideas for content, they can also serve as an effective headline. First, a good question can attract an intrigued reader. People are inquisitive creatures, so a well-phrased question can drive your audience to read an article to find out the answer. Second, the right query can be a quality keyword. Users will frequently type out entire questions in search engines instead of short keyword phrases, turning that question into a valuable keyword of its own.
While a question may have some search volume, there can be issues with using them as a headline. Question headlines, typically those starting with “Do” that end in a "yes" or "no" answer can lead users to ignoring them because they think they already know the answer to the question. "Why,” “how,” and “what” questions are good because they don't obviously answer a question and allow you to position yourself as an expert. Also, avoid using a question headline if you don't actually have an answer to the question. No reader wants to feel like they got suckered into a clickbait a post with no real conclusion or insight.
Example Headline: What Types of Headlines Attract Leads?
Lists provide readers with an easy reading experience that doesn't have to skimp on quality content. As The New York Times wrote, a well-made listicle with good insights "spatially organizes the information; and it promises a story that’s finite, whose length has been quantified upfront." The number headline, then, serves as a promise for quality content, albeit one that uses our brain's natural preferences as a trigger for action. A Conductor study even found that people prefer headlines with numbers to those without.
What number should you use in your headline? Yes, it’s been proven that readers prefer certain numbers over others. The magic numbers you should aim for are three, five, or really any odd number. Instruction specialist Abreena Tompkins found that grouping information in groups of three or five can help people absorb information better. Just keep in mind that there is a limit—her research also showed that readers struggle to process more than nine items in a row.
It's important to note that while lists are useful, you can't—and shouldn't—convert every piece of content into a list. Some stories are best suited for an in-depth, long-form reading experience. There's no need to rework Moby Dick into "7 Reasons Why Ahab Just Had to Kill That Whale." The headline is a key way to entice readers, but the article itself needs to be worthwhile for readers to take any sort of action.
Example Headline: 5 Types of Headlines to Attract Leads (Look familiar?)
How To Headlines
You don't always have to get cute with your headline writing. A good "how to" headline offers a straightforward way to tell your audience exactly what your post is about and entice the readers who are looking to learn how to do something specific. In fact, you can assemble your very own "how to" headline using this formula:
Headline = "How to" + Verb + Thing + Benefit
Example Headline: How to Write Headlines to Attract Leads
We’re not saying this is the best type of headline, but it is a good headline that can attract visitors. Your customers and readers want the best. Do they want to know the different types of headlines to attract leads or the best types of headlines to attract leads? When faced with a decision on which headline to click on, the “best” is simply more compelling.
Not only is this type of headline more compelling, it’s also how people naturally search. People often begin searches with “best way to…” or “best type of…” This type of headline is a great way to plug in keywords and improve SEO.
Headline Example: Best Types of Headlines to Attract Leads
Do you ever feel like you have two ideas for a headline, but wish you could combine into one mega headline? The two-part, or double whammy headline marries two headlines that could stand alone but are more powerful together. It’s like milk and cookies. Cookies are great on their own but are even better with milk.
To construct a two-part headline, you can use a colon, question mark, parentheses, em dash, or other types of punctuation to bridge the headlines together. This type of headline is great for plugging in keywords and making dull topics sound more exciting.
Example Headline: Writing Headlines: How to Attract Leads
Good Headlines Need Great Content
Regardless of what type of headline you choose for your content, it's important to remember that you're making a promise to your readers with every title you write. Misleading or inaccurate headlines will just result in readers leaving your site as soon as they realize you won't address their needs.
In the end, you need your content to be as good as your headlines. If you can entice readers with a good headline and keep them engaged from beginning to end, you’ll increase your chances of generating and converting leads.
Need help developing a strategic game plan or creating quality content for your site? Aztek’s content marketing team can help. Our content strategists, writers, and editors have the experience to leverage copy to attract visitors and generate leads. Contact us today to learn more about our digital marketing services and how we can help you grow your business online.