Why does this headline nail it?
A few days ago, this headline splashed across many news feeds. It was early in the day – too early to want to see black widow spiders’ twerking for any reason, much less to dodge death. But the headline had caught my attention, apparently a luckier outcome than those unwitting males trying desperately to not get caught by the tricky female. Mostly, the catchy title got me thinking about headlines: what makes a great headline? What gives readers the urge to click on your blog or social media post?
- Action words and an active voice. In this case, twerk and avoid. Effective headlines usually involve an active voice and strong present-tense verbs. This black widow spider headline is short, impactful and makes great use of colorful action words. I want to know more about this wily spider’s action plan.
- Use numbers, the bigger the better. A Fast Company article says use numbers, the bigger the better. Think 5 Tips to Writing a Killer headline. 8 Social Media Trends to watch in 2014. And be sure to use the numerical number, not the spelled out version. Fast Company’s research shows the actual number will generate more clicks.
- Target your audience. Consider your specific audience. If you attempt to reach everyone, your outreach may not resonate with anyone. Reference a specific audience and increase the likelihood of clicks and marketing success. Create the benefit: 5 top tips to improving your memory. Travel with kids made easy.
- Connect to your reader’s self-interest or emotion. Back to the death-defying spider. If your headline inspires a response to curiosity, desire, a need, a fear, or a statistical answer, readers will be inclined to click. And find out. Or twerk.