It is hard to express the significance of headlines in a matter of words. Headline is equally important as the body of the whole content. A decent headline can persuade and draw in audience to click and share your content. If your audience isn’t attracted to your headline, chances are they won’t even take a look at the whole content. That is why in the world of content marketing, headlines is the heart of it.
Be that as it may, are you familiar with the tips and tricks to create just the perfect headline? More importantly, do you know what makes a good and attractive headline? In this article, we’ll be having an elaborate discussion on good and bad headlines.
1.Formation of a Headline
A headline can be a phrase or a sentence with a common trigram (3 word combination) or bigram (2 word combination) incorporated in the phrase or sentence. Some of the trigram or bigram are so much common that you probably see them everywhere in every social media platform! The reason you see them everywhere must be because they are quite popular or catchy among the targeted audience.
According to a recent research, it was found that three word phrase or trigrams that gained the most Facebook engagements is “will make you”. This trigram is usually associated with a full length phrase and is usually given as a headline. For example, “10 Pictures that will make you feel better about yourself”. Here, the trigram “will make you” is what does the job to attract audience. The research also included why this 3 word phrase was so engaging among the public, it was stated that this particular trigram sort of worked as linking or connecting words between the beginning of the phrase and the end. It connects the content with the likely impact on the reader.
The headline portrays why the reader should read through the content but the trigram or 3 word phrases explains in short how the reader could benefit from the content.
Aside from trigrams there are also 2 word phrases called bigrams. They also make up a full sentence or phrase. They give meaning or show connection with the headline and content. The most engaging bigrams are part of trigrams as well, for example, “Make you” or “Is why”. There were some exceptional two word phrases that gained a high level of average engagements; ‘goes viral’ and ‘most beautiful’ received some high level engagement from various social media platforms.
2.Length of a Headline
Taking in account of reader’s perspective and SEO, headline containing an average of 12 to 16 words is optimal for driving positive engagement in any platform. Shorter or longer headlines may receive engagement from readers but the success rate is higher when headlines contain 12 to 16 words. For example, “E-Cigarettes Found to Have 10 times More Cancer Causing Ingredients than Regular Cigarettes”.
Here in this headline, the number of words is optimal because the headline provides sufficient details about the content. Short headlines fail to clear the topic or format of the whole content and long headlines usually tend to bore the readers, which is why an optimal use of words in a headline is recommended.
3.Types of Headline
So, what exactly are the types of headlines that attract the readers? There are some specific types that catches the attention of the readers.
Emotional Headlines - Headlines that tend to be emotional generally hit the readers hard. Human beings are very emotional beings, which is why marketers tend to take advantage of that and hit them where it impacts the most. Emotional headlines contain content that includes image, video or story. It was recorded that emotional headlines had more impact on readers than any other type of headlines out there. Some of the example of emotional headlines contains –
- Tears of joy
- Make you cry
- Give you Goosebumps
- Is too cute
- Shocked to see
- Melt your heart
- Can’t stop laughing
Headlines that provoke curiosity - Readers are often curious about what is being talked about by people or what is trendy at the moment. They generally keep a tab on what is being shared more on Facebook or which tweet is being re-tweeted the most or which topic is being talked about the most currently. Everyone likes to stay up-to-date with current affairs. That’s why content marketers tend to give headlines that provoke curiosity about the content. For example,
- What happened next
- Talking about it
- Twitter reacts to
- Are freaking out
- Top x songs
Explanatory Headlines – There are many blogs and articles that provide genuine information about something, these blogs usually help you too gain knowledge. Content marketers make sure you read the article or blog by giving an attractive or catchy headline. Explanatory articles provide you extra insight about something specific, which is why the headlines are extremely important for the readers to catch. Explanatory headlines are strongly linked to curiosity as well.
Some good examples of explanatory headlines -
- This is why
- The reason is
- And this is why women live longer than men…
- This is why you should be sleeping on your left side
Questionnaire Headlines – Quizzes are one of the most popular engagement medium in Facebook which attract many types of audience. The way it works is it challenges you to a series of questions and you have to answer it to complete the quiz.
I’m pretty sure many of us have played “Guess which Celebrity you look like” or “which Harry Potter Character are you”. These quizzes appeal to our desire to know more about ourselves or what we would’ve been if we were someone or something else. Other forms of headlines in here contains –
- Can We Guess Your Real Age?
- Only 1 In 50 People Can Identify These 16 Grammar Mistakes. Can You?
4.Worst Headlines Ever!
Since we know which the best forms of headlines are, now let’s take a look at the worst kind of headlines. Some of the headlines mentioned below have performed worst in terms of engagement in social media and audience perspective.
- Control of your
- Your own business
- Work for you
- The introduction of
- What’s new in
- Could you be
- The effect of
- How to move
These headlines have failed in every way to capture the attention of their audience. The reason of failure could be many things including using the wrong headline for wrong platform.
Never use the headlines to make the story seem like a bigger deal than it really is, the audience catches the trick very easily. This is a form of click bait content though. Click bait contents are made to deceive audiences into clicking something which doesn’t quite exist. For example, “how to be a millionaire in 10 easy steps”, you see this title in your Facebook news feed and click on it, but instead of showing you 10 easy steps to be a millionaire, it redirects you to a whole different site which might contain inappropriate advertisements or virus.
But users or audience are more caution these days so click bait is not as efficient as it used to be so it’s best to avoid such headlines which might deceive your audience. Facebook now categorizes headlines that withhold information as click bait and demotes them.