Catch them on the headline, ease them into the click, and half the battle is over (or so how we’d like for it to go). The content you’re creating (or the product being promoted) could be exactly what a person wants, but if that headline doesn’t draw their attention, then a lot has gone to waste.
Crafting a great headline for your ads can be frustrating at times, but if you take this three step approach you should be able to cut down on the mistakes, headaches, and missed opportunities.
Step 1: Cover the Basics
Three things your headline needs to be:
- Descriptive of your article
- Convey some form of value
- Interesting but specific
Headlines need to be descriptive to create continuity between what they expect and what they will find once they have landed on the article/landing page. A headline such as “How to make money” can be descriptive in a way, but it leaves too many questions versus one such as “How to make money using your accounting skills.” The point is to drive quality traffic to the content rather than appealing to the masses; targeting through descriptive headlines will aid in converting the qualified leads.
A secondary element of the headline is that it needs to convey some form of value so the person knows they have something to gain in exchange for their time. Whenever you form a headline think of the person saying “What’s in it for me?” and then answer that question with the appropriate copy.
The third is about finding a balance between it being interesting and specific in the sense that it should pique interest, but also have the person ready for what they are about to experience. Our example headline of “Make more money” is naturally interesting, but the reader doesn’t know what to expect – whereas “The three tools I use to make more money online” is interesting and gives the reader specific ideas as to what the content will cover.
Your task: Find a balance between these three points. Work with your keywords but don’t settle on the first one that comes to mind. Continue to play off your best attempt and find ways to keep it interesting, specific, detailed, and conveying value.
Step 2: Have a Unique Selling Point
Take a look at the following screen grab for Google results for the phrase “How to make money” and see if any of them really stand out:
In all honesty the whole batch are fairly generic – you could click on any of them and find good information, but they could be jumbled around in the listings and you could feel the same way. They don’t really have any unique selling point that differentiates them from the others (besides maybe the brand name and the site of which they are published).
The USP of writing your headline usually includes the very same USP as the product, service, or content you’re promoting, so keep the end goal in mind when you are crafting these headlines and you should be able to create ones that convey this sense of uniqueness to the audience.
Your task: Take a look at the competition and see how they word their headlines. Eliminate the ones that are generic. Focus on those that really stand out through branding and taking a unique angle or position on what they are promoting. Use these as a baseline for your headline creation.
Step 3: Consider the Timing and Audience
Timing is a major factor in increasing conversions.
Let us take a hypothetical example in which Apple releases a new flagship product; which one of these headlines do you believe would have greater impact:
- 10 things you can do with Apple’s new X
- We got our hands on Apple’s new X – here’s what we think
While the first would be an interesting read the content would be broad; some of those “things” may never be what anyone does with the product and others may only appeal to a specific type of users.
The other headline, when timed right, can immediately pique interest especially when it’s right around the time of the announcement. It conveys that they have an inside scoop on the new product while also being able to appeal to a specific audience (in this case early adopters) so there is balance.
Your task: Hold off on publishing your work until it needs to go out so you don’t miss opportunities to pair it with recent news, trends, or events. In the case it does align with one of these you should modify part of the headline and copy to reflect these changes so it becomes highly-relevant, on-time, and laser focused on specific types of your audience.
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