Headlines Are Magical
At least that’s what aspiring writers are led to believe. Journalists and hobby bloggers alike are being pushed to write catchier hooks every day in order to draw more readers in. Meanwhile, the shady league of online copywriting professionals continues to hone in on the perfect headline.
They’ve come up with some great methods for writing consistently catchy hooks.
- Make it a list
- Namedrop a celeb
- Appeal to people’s fear
- Appeal to people’s greed
- Make it sensational
- Promise to make everyone’s life easier
Headlines take a lot of the spotlight these days. If you can write a catchy headline, you can get a lot more readers on your website. If those readers like your content, they will come back to read more. The more people that return, the wider your audience, and the more likely it is that your content is achieving something.
The Issue With Headlines
Since headlines have such a weighty responsibility, the content creators of the web have started to lean on the methods that work best. Blogs and editorials are now flooded with top 10 lists, celebrity name drops, and impossible promises. This is nothing new.
Have a look at the magazines as you walk through the aisle of the grocery store. When was the last time Cosmo or RedBook weren’t promising the greatest orgasm of our lifetime? Fitness magazines are always promising to teach us that 1 easy workout that will shed pounds and give us at least 4 recognizable ab muscles. The Weekly World News is consistently finding evidence of dead celebrities working for the government. These headlines definitely influence snap buying decisions, but they are unlikely to influence a steady subscription rate.National Geographic is currently Amazon.com’s most popular magazine subscription. The long lived journal has some great headlines, it’s true, but they back up their headlines by providing some of the most breathtaking photography, with interesting, and informative substance material. Cosmopolitan is another popular subscription, but they too will regularly back up their headlines with material that subscribers love reading. Those quizzes are awesome!
Sex Sells, But It (Usually) Doesn’t Build Relationships
A killer headline can attract readers like flies to honey, but once you have their attention, you have to be able to keep it. Never rely on tips and tricks for building a reader base. There’s no magic formula besides honest work, and a desire to provide real, useful information that is easy and enjoyable to read.