medium_10722991875If you’ve started reading my post, my headline has done its job.  If you’re still with me here, that means I’ve succeeded in hooking you into reading far enough to at least find out what this article is all about.  Thanks for your attention!  Now your reward: this article is about the critical importance of headlines in copywriting.  So please, don’t stop reading just yet.

THE Selling Point

Your headline is THE selling point to your article, blog, press release, or website.  If you want to hook audience members into reading your content, you’d better put a lot of thought into your headline.  After all, approximately 8 out of 10 people will read an average headline, but only 2 of them actually go on to read the content.  If you’ve got killer content, don’t let all your research, wisdom, hard work, and money go to waste by leading off with an ineffective headline.

So how do you catch readers?  Well, this is how I caught you…

Catching the Right People

The fact that you are reading this post (kicked off by the headline) tells me a few things about you.  First, you respond well to bold, facetious threats.  There’s a good chance that you also have a dark sense of humor.  You probably also have some kind of motivation to learn more about successful copywriting.  Or, you are simply shocked that I had the arrogance to insinuate that if you didn’t listen to my advice, your chances of successful copywriting would be destroyed (which is not necessarily true, by the way).

I happen to know that many people involved in copywriting enjoy this kind of humor and that others are offended by its overdramatic tackiness.  Both emotions, however, provoke a curiosity to read.  Whether it was, “Ha, ha…alright!” or “What is this idiot so confident about?” either way, my headline did its job.

Disclaimer: Now, normally, I wouldn’t use such a shock-factor headline – but for the very specific purposes of this post, I leaned towards the side of overdramatic to prove a point: headlines are a big deal.

Catching Them the Right Way

Understanding your target audience is the key to pulling them into your writing.  It’s important to realize that different types of people are motivated by different things.  Your goal is to identify your target audience and figure out what will motivate them to read on.

For instance, some people are motivated with numbers.  I could have titled this post “Get 10 out of 10 people to read your blog post.”  Other audiences like inspirational headlines, like “Learn to make your blog as popular as Oprah’s.”  Other people prefer wit, statistics, or strict professionalism.  Get into the minds of your target audience and then ask yourself, “If I read this headline, would I click, or skip?”

Some Things to Remember

First –even if you have a great headline, the content of your first paragraph is almost as vital when it comes to hooking and maintaining readers.  So make sure it’s good!  Second – understanding your audience is just the beginning to writing truly excellent headlines.  Word choice, format, syntax, and emotional appeal are all important elements to writing a good headline.  Finally – you’ll hit and miss all along the way.  Don’t worry about it!  It happens to everyone.

Hopefully this gave you a little insight into the importance of headlines in copywriting.  Now go try it yourself!  What kinds of masterpieces can you create?

photo credit: photopehota via photopin cc

Jamie Bates
Online Marketing Director