Don’t Fall Into the “Ultimate Guide” Trap – How to Create Headlines that Aren’t Cliché

5_small-300x202  There’s a fine line between a great headline and the maligned click-bait headlines that are especially prevalent on social media and blogs. Think of a headline as a promise to your reader. A headline should tell your reader the basics of what to expect in your article or blog post. There shouldn’t be any sensationalism or misleading text. If you consistently deliver content that is promised in your headlines, you’ll build a loyal readership base that not only clicks but engages and shares your posts, rather than click-and-go visitors.

Why Click-Bait is a Bad Idea
By now you’ve seen headlines such as, “You Won’t Believe What He Did Next” or “You’ll Never Look at This the Same Way Again.” Viewers don’t know what he did next and they aren’t sure what they may have changed views about forever-so they click. Almost immediately they find out the piece was not even close to being as compelling as they thought. This leads to visitors getting the idea that your site is all fluff, no substance. No one wants that reputation.

Unless It’s Literally the “Ultimate Guide” Don’t Use that Headline-Ever
Web site visitors are so bombarded with the newest, best ever, and ultimate everything those words are as meaningless as the word “natural” in the healthy foods niche market. Instead of claiming you have the ultimate guide to avoid start-up problems, go for the true nature of the article and you see you have 9 helpful tips, tell your readers in your headline that you have 9 tips for avoiding issues that can stall a start-up. Another idea for a title would be to focus on the main intent of the piece and simply use that as your title. A title should never be a synopsis, just a taste of what’s in store for readers. Because of the fluid, evolving nature online, what’s awesome for boosting a site today, won’t work in the future, so steer clear of “ultimate” and “last xxx you’ll ever need” types of headlines.

Creating a Compelling Headline
An interesting stat shows on average, 8 out of 10 viewers will scan your headline, however only 2 out fo the 10 will go on to read the article.  Getting more than 20% interaction is crucial to growth if you’re using content to promote your product or service. The way to do that is to create headlines that promise information then deliver on that promise to your readers. Professional copywriters sometimes spend up to 50% of their time crafting a compelling headline to adequately describe the article.

The Fine Line with Keywords
We all know keywords are powerful, that’s old news. They are one of the ways used to index the Internet for searches, and consequently there are niche and industry specific keywords people follow. When you’re creating a headline, think carefully who your audience is. Who are the people most likely to click and benefit from the article? For an article like this one to reach people who might be struggling with getting more engagement with their content and searching for headline tips, our headline promises to show how to create headlines that aren’t cheap click-bait. Make sure one of the main focus keywords for your target audience is in your headline.

Obviously you don’t want your headline to give away everything that is in your article. That’s like a movie trailer where all the best parts are shown and you finally buy a ticket and see the film only to realize you already basically saw the best parts for free in the trailer. In conclusion, think about the main idea of your content, consider the value in the piece, and last but not least – consider who your audience is and watch your clicks improve dramatically.

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