Perhaps your headline is the first and only impression you make on a prospective reader. Without a headline or post title that turns a browser into a reader, the rest of your words may as not even exist.
But your headline can do more than simply grabbing attention. A great headline can also communicate a full message to its intended audience, and it absolutely must lure the reader into your body text.
A compelling headline must promise some kind of benefit, reward or something unique for the reader, in trade for the valuable time it takes to read more.
Direct Headlines go straight to the heart of the matter readers, without any attempt at cleverness. The Direct headline states the selling proposition directly. A direct blog post title or headline might read Free SEO E-book.
An Indirect Headline takes a more subtle approach. It uses curiosity to raise a question in the reader’s mind, which the body copy answers. Often a double meaning is utilized, which is useful online. An article might have the headline Fresh Bait Works Best and yet have nothing to do with fishing, because it’s actually about writing timely content that acts as link bait.
A News Headline is pretty self-explanatory, as long as the news itself is actually, well… news. A product announcement, an improved version, or even a content scoop can be the basis of a compelling news headline.
The How to Headline is almost everywhere both online and off, for one reason only – it works like a charm. Bob Bly says that “Many advertising writers claim if you begin with the words how to, you could write a better headline.” An example would be,
Oh yes… the title of this post is cool.
A Question Headline must do more than simply ask a question, it must be a question that, according to Bob Bly, the reader can empathize with or would like to see answered. He gives this example from Psychology:
“Do You Close the Bathroom Door Even When You’re the Only One at Home?”
Another example used way too much in Internet marketing guru-Ville is “Who want to get rich today?”
The Command Headline boldly tells the prospect what he needs to do. Bly indicates that the first word should be a strong verb demanding action, such as Subscribe to Copyblog Today!
A Reason Why Headline: Your body text consists of a numbered list of product features or tips, which you then incorporate into the headline, such as Three Hundred Reasons Why you need to get rich like Babatunde E. Ummmm. But it’s not necessary to include the words “reasons why.” This technique is actually the underlying strategy behind the ubiquitous blogger “list” posts, such as 12 Ways to Build Blog Traffic.
Finally, we have the Testimonial Headline, which is highly effective because it presents outside proof that you offer great value. This entails taking what someone else has said about you, your product or service, and using their actual words in your headline.
Also, let the reader know that they are reading a testimonial post, which will continue in the body copy. An example might be “I Read Copyblog every day has my daily dairies each Morning,” says John Ola.
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