What do you do first when you think of a good idea clear content marketing strategy, such as an idea for a new eBook or whitepaper? If you’re like most content creators, you immediately plunge yourself into research or start outlining the piece with an idea of what you want to present to your audience. You have a vision of the body of the article, what you believe to be the fundamental core of the piece, because that’s obviously the most essential part of the piece, right?
It’s not wrong to dive into the research for your article, but the reality is that the piece’s headline is probably even more important than the body content. And you will write better and freer with a great title to keep you on topic.
This may seem silly, especially considering a 10,000-word essay can be reduced to only six or seven words in a vague headline. But even in this case, your essay may be useless without a good headline to ground it.
So what is it that makes headlines so essential, and what steps can you take to make your headlines good enough to support your content strategy?
First, let’s talk about why headlines are so important for your content strategy.
A few years ago, a popularly shared and distributed study showed that 70 percent of people frequently shared articles without actually reading them, only glancing at the headline before sharing with their friends and family members on their social platform of choice. The irony of this is that there was no actual study; the headline was generated as a self-aware way to demonstrate just how many people were willing to share an article without reading beyond the headline.
Research institutions then tried to formally measure this propensity and found that somewhere between 50 and 70 percent of people actually engage in this behavior. Because some members of your audience are only going to read the headline and never consider the body content, the importance of your headline becomes even more critical.
If a tree falls in the forest and there’s no one around to hear it, does it make a sound? That’s an important philosophical question without a firm answer. But here’s a similar question with a firm answer; if nobody reads your article, does it matter how good it is? The answer is no.
Content quality only matters to your content marketing strategy if people are actually seeing in reading your content. If your headline is not compelling, it will not generate traffic. If you don’t have traffic, you won’t have visibility. Therefore, the quality of your body content is not as important as the quality of your headline.
Good headlines should attract more traffic to your content, but even if they don’t, they may still have an impact. Whether you like it or not, all the headlines you see daily affect you, at least slightly. Even if you never read the article, the flash of information you get from the headline may stick with you and shape your opinion for years to come.
On top of that, a stronger piece can be created if you have a headline that directs that piece. For example, if you make a bold claim in your headline, you’ll spend the entire article trying to defend that claim. On the other hand, if you have a creative and unique title for the piece, it could lend itself to a more dynamic, exciting voice for your work.
Headlines aren’t just about temporarily advertising the body content of your article. They’re also helpful for other platforms and mediums in the marketing space. For example, you can use a headline as part of a social media post or as part of an advertisement do you generate even more interest in your best work.
Finally, all of these effects are amplified because of how competitive it is in the world of headlines. Even if you want to spend more time perfecting your body content than your headline, you’re still going to be competing with thousands of institutions that have perfected the art of the headline. So spending more time optimizing your headlines is practically required if you want to stay afloat.
With that in mind, what makes a better headline? If headlines are so important, how can you make sure you get yours perfected?
These additional tips can help you create better headlines and write them more efficiently.
Headline writing is a demanding field. Even if you have a writing background, creating compelling and persuasive headlines is a totally different art than writing in-depth body content.
Still, if you want your content to be captivating and successful — headline polishing is a prerequisite.
Image Credit: Suzy Hazelwood; Pexels; Thank you!
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