Today, content writers face a big challenge–a host of distractions to contend with in terms of capturing and keeping a reader’s attention. Smartphones and constant internet connectivity may have come with a slew of benefits, but they also bring a couple of drawbacks. Case in point, turning people’s attention spans shorter and their patience thinner.
What can stop people in their tracks and read what you have to say?
You need words that not only trigger emotions but ones that jump out and tell them to click on your link and read through the end. This is what a great headline does.
Here are the top 10 powerful headline words that you can use today:
New is definite: either something is new or it isn’t. Consumers queue outside an Apple store when the newest iPhone comes out and readers line up to grab a copy of the sequel to their favorite series when it hits the bookstores. People can’t resist getting a slice of the hottest dish served. When people see the word New on your headline, they’d want to be one of the first ones to know what’s up.
Example: New Spring Vacation Must-Do’s to Try This Year
Companies establish membership programs because they are effective in making people come back. Aside from product quality, what makes consumers shell out their money to hit a certain number of purchase or transaction?
The answer: a chance to be in the exclusive inner circle. People who are in it enjoy perks and special treatment. This is what exclusivity entails. When something is exclusive, it is hard-won and rare. This gives people the urge and the thrill to chase after it.
Example: Exclusive Scoop from YouTubers: How to Make a Viral Channel
What better way to grab someone’s attention than by directly addressing them? Using the words You or Your makes an otherwise generic article personal. It transforms a random write-up into a private message to the one reading it.
If you are aiming to produce targeted content, directly addressing your readers is the way to go. Not only does it denote authority, using You or Your also says that you know and care about their concerns.
Example: Dreading the Holiday Crowd? Here’s Your Ultimate Christmas Shopping List
4. How To
Google earned its vast influence on everyday life because it delivers answers when people ask help. Most of the time, people ask the search engine giant how to do stuff: how to lose weight, how to cook lasagna, how to tell if someone is lying. The queries may vary from everyday errands to unique curiosities but Google doesn’t discriminate and delay in giving answers.
Incorporating How To into your headline makes sure that you are on top of the list when users ask how to do things. It is direct, specific, and gives people the idea that they will find instructions and helpful information from your content.
Example: Looking for Your Virtual Secretary? Here’s How to Hire a Virtual Assistant
People are online most of the time. This means before your message crosses their newsfeed or hits their Inbox, it’s highly likely that they’ve already been flooded with others. Because you cannot guarantee that yours is the first message they will receive, you must make up through the level of significance.
Most is one short word but its impact is absolute, authoritative, and hard to miss. It tells readers: This may not be the first on your Inbox but it is the most important one.
Example: Exclusive for Fresh Graduates: The Most Effective Job Interview Technique Revealed
Shady businesses, phony stories, and ad-laden articles – these are just a few things that have turned internet users into a skeptic, elusive audience.
The antidote? Feed them with facts. Not only is using the word Facts attention-grabbing, it also builds credibility and authority when you infuse hard, concrete proof into your message.
Example: Investing Facts You Need to Know Before Starting Your Business
Because people go online to research, you need a headline that not only shows (as in the How To type of content) but also elaborates. This is what headlines containing the word Why will do. They dig deeper, provide explanation, and promise clarity.
Remember that you are dealing with an audience that has become critical of what they read. Providing them with content that explains and provides details lets them know you are ahead of the curve. Besides, the word Why stirs up curiosity which is a plus factor in turning passive audience into readers.
Example: Can’t Sell Anything on E-bay? Here’s Why Your Strategies Don’t Work
To be effective in content marketing, you need to rouse people into taking action. You need to tell them that they are not just passive readers who can put off your offer for another day. They either take it up now or lose it for good.
Now is the word that stirs this kind of message. If using the word Most hitches the level of significance in a message up a notch, the word Now increases its urgency.
Example: Budgeting 101 for Moms: Increase Your Savings by Following These Tips Now
Rouse up curiosity and exude authority – these are the things you need to do if you want people to pay attention to what you want to share. Many times, writers only have to choose one route to take.
Fortunately, there is a way that will allow you to play with a reader’s fancy and showcase expertise at the same time. Using the word Secret in a headline tells readers you have exclusive information to offer without acually giving it away.
Example: Biggest Brands on Twitter Reveal Their Best-Kept Secrets in This Interview
If you are scouring the internet for fast, straightforward information, you want answers to be handed to you in the simplest, clearest manner.
Incorporating numbers to your headline tells readers you can answer them quickly and clearly.
Organizing information into numbered lists make for easy-to-digest content.
Example: Top 10 Most Common Mistakes Small Business Owners Make
Writing is tricky and if your business is added to the equation, you need all the help you can get to turn this challenge into a solution. Knowing the top 10 powerful headline words that you can use today is a giant leap towards that direction.