Latest Headline Kills Profits

When it comes to conversation builders for your website, great articles (around your area of business) are pretty well unbeatable both for building trust and credibility with potential new customers and also search engine optimization (SEO). Unfortunately, many otherwise brilliant articles never see the light of day because they lack a well-constructed headline and thus fail to connect with an audience. As the headline quality of your article (or press release, e-newsletter, etc.) is directly connected to the number of people who will read your work, crafting the perfect headline is at least important as crafting the article itself.

We have been trained to pay attention to headlines. Headlines help us to know what we should pay attention to and what we can safely ignore. They offer us a way to quickly scan webpages, email, RSS feeds, and social media posts to find articles with information that we are interested in. All this puts a lot of pressure on those headlines and they need to relate closely to the copy that follows.

Of course there is more to a good headline than paraphrasing. This article could have been called ‘The Importance of Good Headlines’ but it is doubtful that this would have attracted your attention sufficiently to read it. A headline must be factual but it also must contain enough spice as to pique the interest of the reader.

According to Columbia University, an effective headline should:

  1. Be correct (in fact and implication),
  2. Connect to ordinary readers (and be easy to understand),
  3. Attract attention (using active, interesting words) and
  4. Must set (or match) the tone of the article.

The fact that a university has a series of guidelines for how to craft a good headline is a little clue that constructing these micro snippets of text might be harder than the average person would credit, however there is good news. If you are writing in the hope of connecting an audience of potential customers to your business, the process of writing headlines is dramatically simplified.

Brian Clark from copyblogger suggests a 50/50 approach that gives equal weighting to the time given to crafting the headline as that given to writing the article. I would suggest that very few business articles would get written if this practice were adopted or else there would be a sudden trend for writing very short articles (possibly not a bad thing).

As a business writer, your advantage is that you can write articles and the corresponding headlines around the pain points of your customers. For example, this article addresses the common problem where businesses will send a newsletter out to their customer database and then experience a very low engagement and negligible sales and profits.

If you are a business sending out an unsolicited email to your customers, your headlines and articles need to be pretty amazing. A flashy deal and a ‘hot’ price won’t cut it. Your communications need to sell the sizzle of your products and services. They need to create desire in your audience first and then entice them to action secondly. Choose a point of difference between you and your competitor. If you are selling a commodity, create a point of difference based on after sales service the quality of the relationship between you and your customers.

Just as headlines are an integral part of a larger story, your online marketing messages should somewhat mirror the approach of your off-line business practices. It would be foolhardy to blurt prices out at customers as they walk into your showroom without first engaging them in conversation to learn a little about their needs.

If you take the time to craft effective headlines for your online (and offline) marketing messages, your customers will start to talk with you. Not just comment here or there but an actual two way dialogue that will allow you to get to know them and increased sales will be an inevitable result of this interaction.

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If you want to grow new customers through the power of search –  call Paddy and the Webhead team today! 1800 264 429