A few years ago, popular American-based news network, CNN, drew international controversy when one of its headlines titled “Kenya: A Hotbed of Terror,” went viral.
The international community, led by Kenyan’s themselves, went berserk demanding an apology from the media house for such an outrageous headline.
Whether intentional or not, the headline commanded the attention of masses that made the media house a source of envy to most competitors.
The question of how to write killer headlines that gets the reader’s attention and compels them to read on is one that lacks a definite answer.
The truth is, you are never 100% sure about which headlines will grasp the reader’s attention and which ones will
flop. However, there are steps that you can employ to maximize chances of writing that killer headline. They include:
1. Create a sense of urgency
It doesn’t matter how casual the topic is, make the headline appear as though the reader needs to read it promptly. If for instance, you wrote a headline like “Global Warming on the Rise,” few people would be compelled to read through.
I mean, chances are that it’s the usual global warming talk like he earth is heating up … blah! Blah! Greenhouse gases.’
However, if you tailor it to something like “Global warming set to increase the frequency of hurricanes,” everything else will, figuratively, stop for a minute as people would be scrutinizing every word you’ve written with questions like how soon? Where? What can we do to avoid it?
2. The headline should have some form of value
This is self-explanatory. Just make sure that your headline is of relevance to your readers. Don’t be a let down to the bloggers and writer’s community by writing vague headlines like “Do not waste water.”
It leaves the reader with tones of questions. Instead, employ captivating yet valuable headlines like “5 ways in which you can save and recycle household water to avoid high bills.”
You have already asked them not to waste water, why not to waste it and what to do not to waste it.
3. The headline should be easy to comprehend
Clarity! Clarity! Clarity! You cannot write a headline like “Climatic oscillations found to trigger global warming” and expect the reader to be interested.
First of all, what are oscillations? Some form of respiratory condition? (Just kidding).
Secondly, even for those who understand the meaning, and I task those who don’t know to research on it, climatic oscillations are something that you cannot control. So, why bother us with such complex terms?
4. Employ the Flagging Technique
Popularized by renowned author Dan Kennedy, This technique, basically, entails crafting a headline by use of a lag’ to capture a reader’s attention and trigger the assumption that the content is specifically tailored for them.
Take the example of a slim tea product. We all know the benefits of slim tea include detoxification, mental relief and, if at all true, weight loss.
But as the name suggests, the user simply wants to lose weight and loss it fast. Therefore flagging them with a headline like “No exercise needed: Lose over 5 pounds a week using this slim tea product,” would definitely attract them.
Ask any person who needs to lose weight and they’ll tell you that they need to do it with minimum effort possible. What better to help in this than slim tea with no fitness requirements attached?
The most important technique in sustaining killer headlines is to always stay up to date with modern digital
Blogging and article writing being part of a dynamic industry, techniques become obsolete quite easily. It is therefore important to always know what strategies are trending and which ones have worked for other content writers.