How to Write Headlines That Turn Heads

I’m sure I don’t have to tell you that headlines are the single most important part of any article, blog post or, really, any piece of content. It’s the first thing any potentially interested readers will see, and probably one of the last things they will remember. Think back to all of the articles, books and web-based content you’ve read and try to remember one thing about your favorite pieces. Chances are pretty high that the first thing you’ll remember is the title, or at least how witty or spot-on it was.

Sure, you want great content underneath the headline, but most of all you want the title to grab the attention of passerby. You also want them to remember it for a while after, so they refer friends and share related links, and so those links in turn get clicked on.

According to a recent post published by Copyblogger, eight out of ten people read the full headline after seeing it. That can be narrowed down to two out of ten people that continue to read the rest of the content. Those are pretty dim odds when you take a look at them from an outside standpoint. For every ten people who notice a headline, only eight of them are bothering to read the entire title, and two of those total ten are actually taking time to read the content. These numbers are merely the average too, which means most blogs are probably seeing less than that in terms of statistics.

What you can gather from all this is that the headline is one of the only weapons you really have in your arsenal when it comes to attracting readers to your content. It needs to be clear, captivating and memorable.

So, how exactly do you create a catchy yet memorable headline?

Call to Action

I’m sure you’ve heard this from editors before, but it rings true: use an appropriate call to action. Those same editors probably mean something completely different from what I’m about to say, but that’s alright. Don’t be afraid to use catchy adjectives in your title!

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Adjectives and action words

are fantastic eye catchers, and sometimes they can even explain a piece well.

Make it painstakingly clear (see what I did there!) that your content is interesting and unique. If you use your vocabulary properly, you won’t actually have to go out of your way to make a headline captivating.

Pull the Trigger

Remember way back in school when your teachers were preaching the basic principles of writing? You know what I’m talking about, the infamous five Ws of writing. Who, what, when, where, and why? Don’t forget that lonely H either, the how.

Please include those in your titles as much as possible! Of course, don’t overdo it, by including all them. Narrow it down to one or two, which provide the most important details about your content. By default, I like to include at least a “why,” in addition to a “how” or “what.” Depending on title length, sometimes you have to take out one of the trigger words, but that’s okay. Before you know

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it, they’ll be asking the other Ws.

Offer Your Readers Something

Don’t just assume your reader is going to know what they will get out of your content. Instead, offer them a promise or return with your headline.

In our day to day lives we tend to exclude the filler and only take in the basic needs. Sure, some people splurge and take in more than necessary, but most often readers will dismiss anything that doesn’t hold value to them. Why would you read an article about alcohol rehab centers in Florida if you don’t know anyone who might need one? Why would you want to know about the latest smartphone if you have absolutely no affinity for modern technology?

Make your readers want to absorb the content. Appeal to them and promise them wondrous things! Will they learn how to do something? Will they discover riches beyond imagination? Will a long pondered mystery finally be revealed?

Of course, it goes without saying that you shouldn’t make promises you can’t keep – you better follow up that zinger with great content.

Revise, Revise, Revise

Believe it or not, all of this and more can be hinted at in a title. In theory, you should spend just as much time with the title as you do with your content, if not more so. If the title doesn’t seem to jump off the page to you, then it’s probably not going to do it for any of your readers, either.

Continue to revise your title as necessary until you come up with something captivating. If you have to, brainstorm about your title. Most people use brainstorming to draw up enough about their topic or subject, but it’s a great application for the headline too.

If all else fails, you can always turn to numbers or rhetorical questions. I think they’re perhaps the easiest way to draw in an audience just because they’re so tried and true.

Adrienne Erin is a freelance writer who covers trends in social media and social marketing. She has written for Content Marketing Institute, MarketingProfs, and Search Engine People, and is always looking for new opportunities. To see more of her work, follow her on Twitter at @adrienneerin.

How To Promote Your Business On Facebook

Using Facebook to promote your business these days is more fun than ever! Companies can promote their brands and products in completely new ways thanks to the number of options that technology offers to the world of marketing. Expensive marketing campaigns are a thing of the past – now you can advertise, often entirely for free, right on your Facebook page.

Keep in mind that your customers will want to see constantly shifting content. You want to keep your Facebook page fresh and exciting so that your clients will stay engaged. So what should you be doing to keep your online persona timely and interesting?

If your business does e-commerce, you probably have a good idea of how much Facebook can help you promote your business and increase sales. But even the masters of social media activity run out of ideas once in a while. Here are six tips to keep your Facebook posts exciting and click-worthy and your engagement high.

Engage your Followers with Questions

Try to start a conversation and keep your customers engaged in your brand and services. If you are in the clothing industry, you can offer links to information and articles about design trends and ask your audience about their opinions. Put up photos of different outfits and ask people how much they would pay for them or which ones they like better. There’s no real science to getting people engaged so bring your own personality into it. Consumers love to feel like there is a real human behind all the messaging.

Offer Discounts and Giveaways

This is one of the oldest rules of marketing and it still holds true today – people love to feel like they are getting a deal. Try offering “limited time only” specials one day a week, or “first twenty buyers for product A get product B free.”  You’ll be amazed at how much traffic this can drive to your site.

Host Contests

In addition to freebies, you can run contests that get your customers more engaged. These can be anything from games like “caption this photo” to having followers submit pictures of people using your product. You could even hold a Fan of the Week contest for the person who has bought the most products or posted/shared the most on your page.  One example of this strategy in action is Victor Electronic Mouse Traps. They hold a trivia contest every other month on their Facebook and give away gift cards to their winners. If they can get their fans excited about mousetraps, imagine how excited you can get fans about your business!

Advertise

It isn’t free, but it is effective: Facebook offers some of the most targeted advertising money can buy. Promote your page either to your existing audience, their friends, or an entirely new group of people to build engagement and your number of likes. You can promote your wedding service to single (or even engaged!) women in their early to mid 20s, for example, or target your line of pet products to people who name “dogs” or “cats” as interests. This is especially useful in combination with some of these other tips – promote your contest or specials to exactly the right audience.

Offer Advice

Everyone loves free advice from experts. If your company specializes in a certain field (i.e. sports equipment, massage therapy, housecleaning supplies, etc.), post some helpful tips or information that’s relevant to what you do. It will start conversations and also make your customers think of you as a go-to source for info on the topic.

Link your Instagram to Facebook

You may want to consider getting an Instagram account if you don’t already have one. It’s a great way to share photos with customers and strengthen your brand identity. Take photos of people using your products or of your office space and employees. Upload them using Instagram and publish them straight to your Facebook. Photos are always an eye-catching way to engage your followers and get them excited about your company.

 

Facebook is a great way to promote your business. Using these tips, you can start working on new and exciting content today.

 

Adrienne Erin is a freelance writer who covers trends in social media and social marketing. She has written for Content Marketing Institute, MarketingProfs, and Search Engine People, and is always looking for new opportunities. To see more of her work, follow her on Twitter at @adrienneerin.

How to Get Your Small Business Started on Pinterest

By now you have probably figured out that social media is not just here to stay, but is the way of the future. People of all ages can now be found clicking and scrolling all day long through their Facebook and Twitter feeds. But this isn’t just good

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news for the high school socialite – it’s also an incredible opportunity for small business owners, who have access to an increasingly wide-ranging audience.

Pinterest

is one of the most rapidly growing social networks out there, with over 70 million users. It is entirely based around visual imagery – users collect and share images of food, art, products, and any number of things; the common thread is that everything that grows “viral” on the site is pleasing to the eye.

How to get started

Because you cannot change your username once you have set up your account, be sure to use the name you have used across all over social networking sites, if it’s available, for consistency’s sake. Next, add a short profile of your business and a URL to point users towards your products.

Now, you should verify your website to have access to Pinterest’s free analytics tools to track the success and reach of your pins. Make sure to add the “Pin It” button to the products on your website, which will allow users to share your items and increase your visibility.

Be sure to find the audience that most pertains to what you are trying to sell. If your audience consists of twenty-something fashionistas, target them with boards and pins about trends, seasonal colors, and your statement products. Remember that not every item you pin should be one of your products; on social media, people can smell when you’re trying to sell them something, and they’ll be quick to run the other direction! Instead, curate the resources, images, and videos (yes, you can pin videos!) that best suit their interests, and sprinkle in your products organically.

As you might expect, on the other hand broadening your audience too far will disrupt your focus. Pin too randomly, and anyone who finds you won’t know whether you’ll be pinning things they consistently enjoy or not. Don’t pin a picture of a puppy to a board about cookies, unless it’s about homemade dog biscuits. Don’t pin something about heavy equipment to a board about wedding cakes, unless it’s a construction-themed cake. You get the idea.

Pinterest is a network devoted to compelling imagery, and your business will thrive there if you have stunning product shots or images of what you sell in use. However, if you don’t have beautiful images or your business isn’t the most photogenic, there are still ways to attract an audience. If you have a blog, you probably are already aware that you should be using compelling imagery; encourage your readers to pin these. You can also use online tools like Pinstamatic to create pinnable and repinnable quotes, memes, and sayings, or stitch together photographs to create a simple infographic-like tutorial. When it comes to pinning, you will need to be creative – again, this is when you need to best know your audience and what kinds of posts they would find compelling.

Some Dos

  • It’s important to remember that, during the day, most people are busy and not checking Pinterest religiously. Internet traffic is highest on weeknights and on weekend mornings. Shoot to post during those peak hours.

  • If you’re selling a product, be sure to put the price, marked by a “$” (or whatever currency you use) in the description. That will ensure that it is listed in the Gifts section, for free, and will certainly ensure it reaches the proper audience.

  • Pinterest doesn’t feel like a social network per-se, but remember that it is. You can comment, favorite, and re-pin, allowing you to interact with other users and further increase your visibility.

Some Don’ts

  • If you tend to pin a million things at once, break the habit for your business’ Pinterest. Don’t spam your followers with pins – spread it out by pinning two or three things at a time, and make an effort to log in more frequently.

  • Many marketers make the mistake of posting too many of their own products, and not enough other images. In order to ensure you are reaching a wide audience, and maintaining their interest, it might be good to adhere to the 25% rule: 1 out of every 4 posts should be something of yours.

  • Pinterest’s web analytics allows you to analyze the success of your pins and re-pins, but too often people ignore them. You have the data in front of you, so it wouldn’t hurt to use it to your advantage.

 

Adrienne Erin is a freelance writer who covers trends in social media and social marketing. She has written for Content Marketing Institute, MarketingProfs, and Search Engine People, and is always looking for new opportunities. To see more of her work, follow her on Twitter at @adrienneerin.