headlinesLet’s cut to the chase. Your latest blog post or article may be great but no one is going to read it if you fail to catch their attention with a powerful headline.

As copywriters, we know that it is our job to get people to read the first sentence. And the next. And the next. And so on.

You have one chance to get it right and it all starts with the headlines. So what can you do?

Be specific

If you fail to be specific, you have lost your hold on your readers. If you aim for clever or obscure, you might as well wave them goodbye at the shoreline. I am sure you have clicked on an article that left you clueless about what the article was actually about until you started reading it. It happens quite a bit these days, especially with click bait headings. They tempt you but don’t give you all of the information. Personally I find them frustrating beyond words.

And it doesn’t get any more specific than adding a number into the mix: 7 ways to; 29 proven methods to…you get the picture. You know what you are getting before you even start. If your goal is to get them to continue reading to the end, then vagueness or obscurity is best left to the tabloid magazines.

Be unique

You want to target your readers but stand out from the crowd, and your uniqueness will allow you to do that. But easier said than done, right? Wrong. If you have something in mind and want to double check whether the heading has been used before then, do a simple Google search. Add double quotation marks (“ “) around your heading of choice to see if it has been tried before. Your aim is to see three simple words: no results found.

Worst case scenario, if it has been used before then change it. Add a specialty or uncommon word into the mix and search again. You just need a little bit of time and a lot of creativity to find the results you seek. And thankfully modern technology can help with that.

Be helpful

There is more to life than being funny or entertaining – we need to be useful as well. What’s in it for me? What can I learn? What’s the benefit if I read this? These are all questions subconsciously going through a reader’s mind when they see that all important heading on the screen. If you don’t offer up a reason for your audience, then you have failed to connect with them on a personal level.

Being able to solve a problem or provide advice is empowering to your audience. Reading your article naturally creates a sense of urgency from their point of view as you are imparting your wisdom and making it worthwhile for them to read on.

Start putting these important tips into practice and create catchy headlines that will work for you. You may find that it only needs a slight tweak to get your desired results.