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3 foolproof headline approaches to win over the impatient reader

Sanjana Ray
3rd Feb 2017
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While you may think that after writing a 1,500-word article the last thing you need to worry about is a five-word headline, then you’re dreadfully wrong. Why? It’s because the headline to any article, email, or advertisement is the most important part of your content – the playmaker – because it has the power to make or break your case to the audience.

While the first rule to writing the best kind of headline is to keep it short and snappy, it isn’t always that simple to relay the extent of the content you’re offering through four short words. But it is also the greatest known fact that the human mind is fickle and no person is going to spend more than a few minutes of their time judging whether an article is worth reading, after looking at the headline alone.

In fact, research proves that the average reader spends 15 seconds or less on any given article, and hence you need to make sure that your headline calls out to the wayward reader to spend those precious 15 seconds on what you may have even taken hours to write. Any marketing guru will tell you that even when it comes to drafting mails to reach out to prospective clients, it is imperative to give unwavering attention to the subject line.

The headline is the most important part of any message and what the most amount of time should be spent on. Unless it’s strong enough to sell your product or story, then the body of your text is just a waste of space.

On that note, here are a list of things that your headline should be able to tell the reader at first glance, and consequently attract them to the content you are offering to them.

Guarantee your readers a win

The first and foremost rule for penning down a good headline is making sure that you are offering your readers the chance to win something – be it a good package or even unique information. To ensure this, it is advisable to think of a few keywords like ‘gift’, ‘launch’, ‘offers’, ‘celebrate’, ‘revolutionise’, and other words along the same themes to help make the process faster. The usage of these words that can work in almost every context is a sure-shot win to scoring the reader’s interest because it helps suggest that there is something in it for them and that by reading on, they will benefit. In either case, it will help catch their interest enough to continue reading and get you the clicks and numbers you’ve been hoping for.

For instance: “You can now win a trip to Goa by signing these 3 petitions” or “Myntra slashes its offers to half the original price”

Make it interactive

Another great way to create a strong headline is to pose it as a question. Readers like interacting with each other and the organisations in question because it makes the process of ‘taking and receiving’ more familiar. A headline which asks a question to the reader will more often than not attract more clicks than its counterparts because people will always follow up on the answers. It’s ingrained in us since school and is thus a natural instinct.

For instance: “How much time should you be spending on the internet in a day?” or “Why do women experience PMS?” are some examples of the crowd-puller headlines that pose as a question.

Guide your readers

People love reading content that ‘guides’ or ‘directs’ them in their day-to-day lives, be it on the professional front or even personal. A whole branch of writing is now dedicated to ‘survival strategies’ that offer advice on things like on how to impress in your first job interview or tried and tested ways to counter insomnia. Be it an advertisement for a healthcare company on ways to reduce belly fat in 10 days or a fashion rental on DIY styles for the perfect summer outfit, ‘how to’ headlines will always bring in the numbers.

For instance: “5 ways to get that promotion” or “6 reasons to not date your colleague” are along the lines of what you should be offering in your headlines to get the clicks!

Whichever method you wish to adapt while creating a headline for any message, it is necessary to ensure that it is ripe enough to pique the curiosity of the reader and make them click on it. After all, it is the playmaker of its whole body.

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