16 Headlines Guaranteed To Explode Your Content Traffic in 2017

Write a blog, any blog, and post it on LinkedIn.  The first thing LinkedIn will tell you is how many views you've had on your post. 

583 views on my post in 3 days, must be good stuff, right?  

NOPE

'LinkedIn Views' is simply the number of times your post appeared on someone's screen.  The first real indicator of success is how many people actually clicked through and read your content.  At the end of the day, the quality of your content doesn't matter unless people actually click through and read it!

What to consider when creating a headline?

It's important to ask a few specific questions when drafting a headline:

  • Is the topic relevant to my target audience?
  • Does it address a pain point or interest that my target audience may have?
  • Does the tone resonate with my target audience and how I want to be perceived?
  • Does it let the audience know what value they'll gained from reading the article?
  • Is it catchy enough to grab my audience's attention?

Although the headline "Why People Who Love Cats Are Actually Less Intelligent" may be controversial enough to get clicks, it'll provide zero SEO value for our site, it'll provide zero value to our target audience, and it'll ultimately damage our brand.

Stay on track, focus on generating value for your audience, and use the following strategies to write kick-ass headlines for your next article.

16 Headlines That'll Make You a Traffic Magnet 

1.  'How To' & 'How NOT To'

How To's have been in the game forever.  The problem is, they are usually very similar to each other - save a few verbiage changes.  

Generally, people are motivated to take action by 2 things:  The desire for something pleasant, or the avoidance of something unpleasant - with 'avoidance of pain' being a much stronger motivator than 'seeking of pleasure'.  This is where the 'How to Not' headlines come in handy. 

'How to Not' headlines remind us that there is a potentially negative effect that comes from NOT reading this article.  Better hurry up and read before inevitable doom occurs!

For example:

2.  'What I learned'

When I was selling Financial Services in the US, I had a National Sales Director that would laugh at the common expressions that encouraging coaches tell their pupils:

  • Coaches:  "Failure is the best teacher."
  • My Director:  "Well, I'd prefer to learn from your failures as opposed to my own."
  • Coaches:  "Losing builds character."
  • My Director:  "Okay, how about I beat you and help build your character."

The point is, we all want to learn from other's mistakes and successes to save us the time, energy, and expenses of trying to figure it out on our own.  

Here's a few examples:

3.  'the best, #1, Top 10'

Why continue looking for any other article ever?  This title clearly states that the contents inside of THIS article is the BEST.... PERIOD. 

And we all trust titles, right?

Think about it... Why would anybody ever want to read an article about "A Pretty Good Method to Increasing SEO in 2017" if they could read "THE BEST Method to Increasing SEO in 2017"?!

For your reference, I've scoured the internet in search of THE BEST.  Surprisingly, it wasn't difficult to find:

4.  'Easiest, simplest, beginners guide, for dummies'

Ah, our guilty pleasures.  

Let's face it, we don't actually believe that our target audience is dumb, but if I had to choose between the easiest way to learn Arabic and the most complicated way to learn, I'll sign up to the dummy class every time!

As Albert Einstein has famously been quoted, "If you can't explain it to a six year-old, you don't understand it yourself." 

Some examples of what can even be taught to dummies are:

5.  'it's free!'

Studies have shown that consumers are willing to purchase luxury chocolate for 1 dollar as opposed to cheap candy for 10 cents.  However, when the prices of the chocolate and candy are reduced to 90 cents and FREE respectively, consumers generally choose the free option - even though the price difference is the same 90 cents.

That's the power of free!

You created good content, didn't you?  It's valuable stuff, isn't it?  It's free information, right?  

Then say it's free!

These guys know what I'm talking about:

6.  'what x, y, z have in common'

These are great if you actually have something interesting to write about such as "What All Your Favorite People Have In Common."

It can also be used as obscure click bait if you don't have anything interesting to write about such as "What Boomboxes, Chicken Nuggets, and Salespeople Have in Common" - which is an actual article that YesWare sent in an emailer. 

If you'd like to maintain integrity with your audience, though, I'd suggest you actually make an attempt to find a credible linkage in the latter example. 

Some examples are:

7.  'What you don't know'

We know what we know, but we don't know what we don't know.  That's why these articles were invented - to tell us what we don't know!

Here are some people who are more than happy to remind us how "in the dark" we've been:

8.  'things people-who-are-better-than-us do'

How can it be that you've graduated with a top MBA and you're still not rich?

Probably because you never read the article that explains the things that all rich people do when they wake up in the morning. 

Yep, you got it wrong before you even left the house!

If you're attempting to engage an audience that may want to know what all the "cool kids" are doing, this is the headline for you. 

Let's take a look at some rituals of people-who-are-better-than-us:

9.  'the fastest'

Ain't nobody got time for learnin' how to be successful!  We want the fastest route to the top.

Who cares that we've been overweight for 15 years?  We don't have time to lose weight!  We have deadlines and that belly-fat needs to go... NOW.  

Some audiences prefer the best methods, but not yours.  Your audience needs speed and they intend to unlock the secrets of life in time to pick the kids up from school.  Luckily, you know your audience and you've provided advice for the fastest way to get results. 

Once, I saw an article titled "Best AND Fastest..."  

Mind = Blown

Who else wants fast results:

10.  'adjective overload'

Believe it or not, studies have shown that when someone says something is 'shocking', people tend to believe them. 

Of course, the content you're creating is extremely valuable.  Use your headline to describe just how shocking, explosive, ridiculous, or terrifying your insights are. 

After all, who would our favorite superheroes be without their adjectives?

Superman = Man? ... gross

Fantastic Four = Four? ... whatever

Wonder Woman = Woman? ... tear

Need more incredible proof:

11.  'specific benefits'

Round numbers sound fake and anybody can make a vague promise.

You, however, have done the math, crunched the numbers (with an actual calculator) and you know exactly what the results will be for someone who reads this article.  

That's why you're able to confidently boast that after reading your 7 minute article, your audience will be able to earn up to $1826.87 per week if they commit to only 26 minutes a day for a total of 121 days.

Those numbers seem very specific... they MUST be true.

12.  'secrets'

Do you know who shares secrets?  

Friends!

BEST Friends!

What better way to bond with your audience than by telling them a secret?  

It may be the fastest way to build trust between you and your audience, while at the same time, destroying the trust between your competition and your audience.  I mean, if your competitor isn't sharing secrets, they're probably keeping secrets, right?  GASP!

Although we're all very ethical, I've never seen an article titled "Secrets They Don't Want You To Know" greeted with "well, if they don't want me to know, then I shouldn't read it!"

So if you're looking for friends, here's some folks that don't mind spilling the beans:

13.  'List 'em'

Incase you haven't noticed a trend, almost every article mentioned in this post is a list of some sort.  

This isn't an accident. 

Lists are easy to reference, easy to memorize, and including the number of items listed in the article gives the audience an insight into how much work is needed to digest your material. 

It's important, though, not to go overboard on the length of your list - especially with instructions. 

Nobody wants to read about how to properly clean their toilet - in 63 easy steps.

14. 'all encompassing'

Oh Yeah!  These articles are worth archiving.  After all, they tell me everything I need to know about the subject I'm interested in!

Who would choose to click on an article that says "12 Steps to Achieve XYZ", if you have the option of clicking on "Everything You Need To Know To Achieve XYZ"?!

Incase you were wondering where to find all the information, just use these articles:

15.  'Eerily relevant'

My buddy from college had taken up a job selling Toyota cars at a dealership in Baton Rouge, Louisiana when he taught me a trick of the trade.  

When describing features of a car, always make it relevant to the car you're selling - even if the features are universal in most cars.  For example, he'd mention the fact that Toyotas have power windows that are raised and lowered with a simply flick of a button.  Although this is something that most cars have, he would always say specifically that Toyotas are equipped with this feature.  Cheeky, right?

You can use this same idea to make content eerily relevant to your audience by simply adding a date and location to your headline such as 'How Dubai businesses do XYZ in 2017'.  It doesn't matter that the same advice is relevant universally and at any time. 

Some more examples of "relevant content" include:

16.  'Because it's science'

Have you ever wanted to do something, so you mention that the request is not coming from you, but rather, coming from an authority figure?  

In writing headlines, the word 'science' is your reminder to your audience that this advice is not coming from you, but from up above.  From scientists!

How to Decide 

First, it is always important to remember 5 fundamental questions of content marketing when choosing your headline:

  1. What is the objective of this content?
  2. Who am I targeting?
  3. Why am I targeting them?
  4. What action do I want them to take?
  5. What channel am I using to distribute this content?

Second, identify your audience's personas and cater your headline to appeal to them.  For example, think about how a legal agency's content would different from an urban clothing line.

And lastly, try practicing all the different headline styles on each piece of content you write.  This should be a fun exercise, so don't be afraid to experiment - it could spark a great idea for your next masterpiece! 

 

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