4 Things Your Blog Headlines Must Do
“On the average, five times as many people read the headline as read the body copy. When you have written your headline, you have spent eighty cents out of your dollar.” – David Ogilvy, “Father of Advertising”
In the era of social media, it’s not five times as many people read the headline as read the actual content. As a 1% click-through rate is respectable, this number is probably closer to a hundred times. This fact is why the most successful copywriters recommend spending at least half your time writing headlines. And why they recommend writing your headline first. Read on to learn the 4 things your blog headlines must do.
This is one of the most-famous advertising headlines of all time. Written in 1926 by John Caples, it contains every aspect of The Four U’s approach that the copywriting trainers at American Writers & Artists teach and which we’ll go over – with some added tips and examples.
The easiest way to make a headline useful is to pinpoint a problem and provide a solution to the problem. Your headlines should give ideas, answer a question, or help your readers. In tourism we want to inspire, which makes it difficult to be useful – this is why identifying a problem is paramount.
For example, in the headline from Discover Kalamazoo pictured above, the issue at hand is “Where you should celebrate National Beer Day?”, and the answer is “Kalamazoo”.
When a sense of urgency is created, readers will want to click right away to get the information. You don’t want to overlook information that they’ll find interesting, moving or valuable that would require them to look right away.
For example, check out the post above from Visit Livingston County. The urgency is created by the expiration date – these events are coming up and only in the summer. This creates urgency and fear-of-missing-out.
A unique headline is all about surprise and using distinctiveness to pique curiosity. It attracts attention with unusual information, distinctive pitch, or an unforeseen statement. This can be categorized as anything that will make your headline stand out in the busy newsfeeds!
In our example above from Sault Ste. Marie, most non-Yoopers (those not living in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula), don’t even know what a “Pasty” is, let alone how ketchup or gravy comes into the picture. This makes it an instant curiosity for those not familiar with the topic.
4. Ultra – Specific
Finally, users want a reason to click your link and want to know exactly what to expect after they do so. The more specific, the more readers will trust you and your brand, and the more likely you are to create a useful, urgent, or unique headline. A great easy way to be specific is to use numbers to craft your headline.
This example from Shipshewana demonstrates this idea perfectly. When you read the headline, you know exactly what to expect, but the specificity sparks curiosity and encourages you to click.
At the end of the day, don’t be afraid to alienate some users in order to attract others. With so much content out there, a general “Fall Events” headline isn’t going to get as many clicks as a specific “7 Events that Single Parents Will Love this Fall” will. It’s all about sparking curiosity and building up enough interest to convert a quick glance of a headline on a newsfeed into a captivated click. Check out “10 Headlines That The Tourism Industry Uses To Get Noticed” for even more inspiration.
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