When I review applications from students in our Certified Content Marketer training program, I get to read some great content.
And giving feedback on headlines to make them more powerful is one of my favorite parts of the process, because no one will ever know how good your content is if your headline doesn’t show why it’s worth someone’s time.
The problem is: specific, benefit-driven, intriguing headlines can be mistakenly associated with clickbait — headlines designed to trick someone into clicking on an article, podcast episode, or video.
Conscientious content marketers want to avoid that stigma. But too often that leaves us with vague headlines that don’t attract the right people and don’t show that you have the exact solutions they need.
I have a remedy for this predicament.
In fact, it’s a simple truth:
If your content delivers on your headline’s promise, it’s not clickbait. Period.
Persuasive headlines started to be viewed as clickbait online when it became common for scummy marketers to exploit copywriting techniques.
You take advantage of people if you publish headlines that make them believe your misleading or unsatisfying content is a match for their interests or needs.
Damn good headlines, on the other hand, don’t disappoint. They deliver.
Let’s look at three headline-writing resources that will help you introduce readers to the thoughtful content you’ve created for them.
Pop in a piece of peppermint gum and get the taste of those sleazy marketing practices out of your mouth.
Incorporating copywriting into your content marketing isn’t cringe-worthy when done correctly, and it begins with the first line on a page: your headline.
In our free Magnetic Headlines ebook, you’ll learn the fundamentals of smart headline writing that can increase the level of engagement people have with your content.
For me, headline writing is all about fine-tuning.
We can draft a long-winded or general idea and chisel it down until readers immediately know:
- Who will benefit from this content
- How you’ll help them
- What makes this content special
To find out how to review the next headline you write from the perspective of an editor who is focused on audience engagement, check out my article: Ask Yourself These 3 Simple Questions to Craft Better Headlines.
Writer and editor Kelly Exeter says:
“We all like to think that the amount of effort we invest in creating a piece of content directly correlates to how deeply it resonates with readers. But, experience has repeatedly shown this is not the case.
“So, what’s the deciding factor if it’s not effort? Luck? Timing? Skill?”
Those factors might play a part, but in her article, Two Vital Elements that Might Be Missing from Your Content (and Precisely Where to Add Them), Kelly breaks down ways to both hook your readers and clearly communicate your idea.
A winning headline is the foundation of a strong message that builds relationships with your audience members.
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