Why it’s important to make your headlines count
Think about the last headline that gripped you. Whether it was online, on the TV, in your social media feed or on the front page of your local newspaper, it’ll have gripped you for a reason.
It’s precisely what good, strong headlines do, grab people’s attention, stop them in their tracks (if they’re particularly good) and compel them to want to read the rest of the content.
However, good headlines don’t just happen by accident. They take considerable time and skill to produce and should never be simply treated as an afterthought. And here’s why:
Regardless of whether you’re writing a blog, news article or detailed feature, your headline is the first thing your reader sees. Your headline should tell the reader what they can expect from the content and set the tone for the overall piece. If the headline engages them, then chances are they’ll want to click through or read on, but if it doesn’t, then it’s game over.
But it’s not just hearsay. There are actually lots of reports out there that illustrate the fact people these days are less inclined to read full articles. For instance, research by The Washington Post revealed that fewer Americans are investing additional time into following the news more in-depth. In fact, according to their headline, ‘Americans read headlines. And not much else.’
Perhaps it’s because of the type of society we live in nowadays, where people are constantly on the go and not just accessing the internet via their desktop computer, but on the move via multiple devices. People simply just don’t have the time or aren’t in the right type of environment to have the luxury of focusing on reading a piece of content from start to finish. In fact, a report by HubSpot revealed that 55% of visitors spend less than 15 seconds on websites, which further illustrates how we’re evolving into a nation of skim readers.
Headlines get you noticed and they don’t have to be scandalous either. They’re incredibly valuable for getting the attention of search engines such as Google.
There are many factors that contribute to how well you rank in search engine results, your headline being one of them. Creating a strong, relevant headline that incorporates the right keywords or key phrases goes a long way in boosting your overall rankings.
Last, but by no means least, good headlines can help generate new business by converting readers into buyers. According to Quicksprout, changing just one word within an email subject line can increase click-through rates by as much as 46%.
Despite the fact they only take up a sentence at most, headlines are one of the most important elements of your content and should never be overlooked no matter who you’re writing for or what you’re writing about.
Discover my best practice tips for writing successful headlines, read ‘The dos and don’ts of writing headlines.‘