4 Effective Strategies to Writing Compelling Headlines

Writing Compelling Headlines

When someone visits your website, on average, you have 7 seconds to grab their attention.  If you don’t hit a touch-point in that short time frame then they will most likely turn around and possibly never come back.  Your web design can be sleek and impressive, but if the inside content isn’t interesting and compelling, then you’ve lost the battle.

Compelling content starts with compelling headlines.  Headlines that are blah and tasteless don’t draw your customers in. Your customers are looking for tasty web content that fills them to the brim and satisfies their need for relevant, interesting, and helpful information.  So, why not give it to them?

Here are 4 effective strategies to write compelling headlines that people will stop and read:       

  1. Use a number in your headline. Notice how my title starts with “4 Effective Strategies”?  People are drawn to numbers.  Including a number in the headline creates manageable boundaries for your audience so they can get a glimpse of what’s coming next.  Numbers are organized and scannable.  They break the information down into bite-sized chewable pieces instead of a wide-open buffet that doesn’t have a starting or ending point.
  1. Lure people in with descriptive adjectives: In my blog title I used “Effective” as one of the adjectives to stir up interest. I also used the word “Compelling” so my audience understands that those headlines need to make an impact.  What if I took out the adjectives from my title and replaced it with, “4 Ways to Write Headlines”?  Most likely, my audience would have abandoned the article, because the title didn’t build enough momentum to inspire any action.
  1. Relatable topics. People need to be interested in what you’re talking about.  Choose topics that you know your clients are dealing with on a day-to-day basis.  Don’t miss your target audience by being too lofty or too professional.  Keep in mind that your target audience is the everyday person who’s gleaning information from your website.  Use the same terminology your audience uses, and not professional guru talk that flies over their head.   For example, which title sounds more interesting to you, “Responsive Web Design Techniques for Today’s Tech Savvy Culture”, or “5 Tips to Ensure Your Website Works on All Devices”?
  1. Beef up your headline with a strong reason. Your headline needs to contain a strong enough reason for people to read past the headline and engage in the content.  Give them a promise or a benefit for reading your article.  In my title I promise to show you how to write a compelling headline.  Your headline needs to clearly spell out what that benefit is.  Give your customers a good enough reason and they are sure to jump in with both feet!  (Oh, and then deliver on that promise!)

Of course, your headline is only the starting point.  But, it’s the jumpstart you need to pull your visitors in so they actually begin engaging in your website.  Compelling headlines make your website sticky and interesting.  Then, follow up those headlines with interesting and relevant content and your website is sure to hit a homerun so your customers keep coming back for more!

Written by Kally Stehouwer, a Web Developer with our Creative Division.