Remember the movie Ferris Bueller’s Day Off?
One of the most commonly quoted lines in that movie is from Matthew Broderick –
“Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”
Well, that goes double for the internet.
If you’re a blogger trying to get people’s attention you could say “The internet moves pretty fast. If you don’t grab someone’s attention in the first second, you’ve missed them.”
Well… how do you do that?
How do you get someone who’s clicking on a new link every 3 seconds to click on yours? How do you get them to notice you in a fast moving internet full of adorable cats and laughing babies?
Your headline has to stand out! It has to smack people in the head and say “YOU MUST CLICK NOW”.
That’s why I’m giving you 3 things you have to do if you want to create awesome headlines that are total click-magnets.
#1 Make It Emotional
The people who study this kind of stuff say that our decision to buy something is based almost completely on emotion. The same thing is true about clicking on a link – if you want someone to click on your headline, it has to offer a strong emotional benefit or reaction.
Look at Upworthy.com – their headlines are irresistably clickable. They’ve pretty much mastered the art of creating an emotional response with their headlines, so much so that people all over the internet are starting to copy their style.
This one for example: When He Meets His First Child, I Cheer. When He Gets To His Second, I Almost Lose It.
You almost feel compelled to click it, don’t you? You want to know what the cheering is about! You want to find out what’s so touching that someone almost lost it! We want to feel connected by those emotions (and we also want to be the first one to find something really cool to share with our friends, so we can make all of them feel it too…)
Or – look at the title to this very post – Why did you click it? Probably because you want to know those three things – because you want people to click on YOUR headlines, because that makes you feel valued, smart, and worthy – and maybe makes you a little money, right?
There are lots of emotions you can tap into. People want to feel:
1. Attractive or sexy
5. A sense of belonging
6. In control of their own destiny
And don’t forget the strongest emotion of all – Fear. People are afraid of NOT being attractive, sexy, smart and so on. That’s why headlines that say things like “Are you making this mistake?” work so darn well… People are terrified of making mistakes! No one wants to do something stupid and have everyone see it, so if your headline promises that you can protect them from that, well… they’re gonna click.
#2 Make it Active
Your headline should use active language – it should command your prospective reader to click and take action.
For example “3 Tips for Clickable Headlines” would probably be an ok headline for this post. But it doesn’t command action! It doesn’t tell people to do anything – it just says “Hey here’s this, take it or leave it.”
Instead, I went with a headline that says ‘You MUST do this if you want this other thing” – It’s a much more compelling headline, because it’s active. It gives readers the benefit of feeling powerful and in control because THEY will know how to make people click – and it commands action,
#3 Make People Feel Important
The word YOU is a very powerful word. It let’s your reader’s feel as if you’re talking to them specifically and are interested in solving their problems, issues and helping them achieve their desires. Instead of using I, Me or We in your headlines, use You.
I could have said “My 3 Tips to Create Clickable Headlines” but that sucks, because it’s all about me. Instead, I said “Here’s something for YOU! YOU must do this, and YOU will get clicks.”
The time you have to catch someone’s attention is short – the internet moves fast. If you want them to click your link, they gotta know what’s in it for them. When you let them know what they’re going to win right in the headline… they’re much more likely to click.
A few other things that work well as headlines –
* Make a promise – “Get more clicks”
* Make it newsworthy – “New system guarantees more clicks!”
* Ask a question – “Do you want to get more clicks?”
3 Simple Steps to Writing Headlines That Get Clicks
So now that you have some ideas about what types of headlines people click on, how do you start writing them?
Step One – Know Thy Niche.
If you’ve learned anything from me (besides “TAKE ACTION”!) it’s that you need to focus on your niche. You should know what your readers want, what they need – what are their hopes and dreams – what problems do they have? If you want to create a powerful, emotional headline, it has to be aimed right at those people.
Step Two – Know What Your Products/Services Do.
Remember – I’m here to teach you how to create a profitable blog. Whatever you do to monetize your blog, you need to know how that makes your readers lives better or solves their problems. Let’s say you have a food blog and you know that a lot of your readers are moms on budgets. If you want to make affiliate sales of say, a super expensive blender, your headline needs to say how moms on a budget will benefit from that blender.
Step Three – Write Twenty – YES, Twenty – Possible Headlines.
This is something I learned from UpWorthy in this REALLY AWESOME slideshow they’ve shared – How to Make That One Thing Go Viral (seriously, that’s a must read – save it for later if you have to, but if you want to blog, you need to read it).
What happens, is the first 5 or 6 headlines come easy – then it starts getting harder. By the time you get to 16 or 17, you think there’s nothing left.. then 19 or 20 is going to come out of left field and be freaking awesome.
When it comes to getting traffic, your headline is THE most important part of your blog post. The post itself has to be good, of course – but if the headline sucks, no one is ever going to see it. Take the time to create a strong, compelling headline – and your post will bring you traffic for a long time.