There is an 80:20 rule when it comes to writing online, and David Ogilvy put it so well when he said you should spend 80% of your time focusing on the headline.
“On the average, five times as many people read the headline as read the body copy. When you have written your headline, you have spent eighty cents out of your dollar.”
The five most important headlines you should consider are:
- Blog titles
- Social status updates
- Email subject lines
- Website page titles
- LinkedIn headlines
For each of these there are some rules and formulas which are universal.
Tip One: Relevancy
Make sure your headline is relevant to your audience and feels like it has been written for them. Consider using words that are specific to them like “The 3 mistakes hiring managers make when dealing with recruiters”. (By the way, negative headlines really capture people’s attention.) This will potentially reduce the volume of people interacting, but increase the relevancy of those interacting. And what matters more : volume or quality?
Tip Two: Solve problems
Try answering questions you are being asked regularly. “How to …” is the most powerful term in digital marketing. Leading with this allows you to start solving business problems your targets may have.
Tip Three: Timeliness
How timely is your content? Tie your headlines to something that is happening right now. This drives up the urgency in the reader. The downside is that the content won’t be evergreen so you may not be able to keep coming back to it.
Tip Four: Tool Up
Use tools! Check out Adestra and their subject line analysis tool. It allows you to see if the key words you are using are likely to boost or drop your open rates. Using this I can see that the key word “danger” in a subject line should increase clicks in my email.
Tip Five: Short
Short and sweet. It works for blogs, social media, emails. With email marketing it is crucial you have a short email subject line especially as nearly half of all emails are now read on mobiles.
Tip Six: ACTION!
Drive action by using verbs. These doing words will help your audience start to take action themselves.
Tip Seven: Question?
Ask questions of your audience. They will be more likely to read and respond. Wouldn’t you?
Tip Eight: Use numbers
People click on titles, updates and emails with numbers In. Use them sparingly though as some people have become bored or listicles (articles made entirely of lists). That said they still have some of highest click through rates.
So I should write a post called “5 mistakes recruitment marketers make with headlines” next week and use “How to write headlines: 8 tips for recruitment marketers” for this post. Lets see how it works…