The following is a sponsored post by Commune / The Content Optimization Company™.
That old chestnut about never getting a second chance to make a first
impression might as well be describing headlines.
Because a bad headline can be as disastrous to your business as showing up at
your office Christmas party wearing pasties and a G-string.
For many of us, though, writing headlines is little more than ego-busting,
So this month we've written four posts about crafting compelling headlines,
with tips and tricks drawn, as always, from our own experiences and other
experts in the field.
By the end of the month, headline writing may not be a walk in the park. But
at least it won't be a journey to hell and back.
First things first, though. Here are three things not to do.
Expecting Your Headline to Do Your Selling for You
Evidence shows that prospects are unequivocally turned off by aggressive,
Headlines should spark curiosity, appeal to your reader's
self-interest and start establishing a relationship with your
prospects—not whap them on the head with hype.
Writing Your Headlines Too Long—or Too Short
Keeping your headlines concise—four to six words—is often the way to a
But many top-performing sites feature headlines that are at least 14 words
It turns out it's not the length, exactly, that makes your headline
effective—it's making sure absolutely every word in your headline needs to
So (as copywriting god John Carlton advises) write and rewrite your headline
until you can't remove a single word without changing the meaning.
Showing Off Your Devastatingly Clever Wit
Magazine editors draw a reader into an article by writing headlines with
puns, literary references and clever wording—but they don't necessarily
explain exactly what the article's about.
In print, a vague headline won't cause hair-tearing frustration because a
reader can simply go to the article to ferret out its meaning.
But online, headlines often appear on their own—in search engine results, in
links and in social media. They have to make sense without context—or
your potential readers won't click through.
To keep them clicking, abandon the puns and references to Ulysses in
favour of literal, straightforward language.
So that's what not to do.
Next week, we'll take you through the basic elements of stunningly
successful headlines—including how to write clear, literal headlines that
aren't dry as toast and boring as mud (or overloaded with clichés).
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