Lawyers know just how powerful summaries are — they’re the one chance you get to really feed the judge or jury the essence of your case all in one memorable moment. Well, when you’re creating a press release, a blog post, or any other form of online content, it’s a little different. Your summary comes first; it’s the headline, and if your headline doesn’t hit hard, the rest of your content isn’t going anywhere. So here’s 5 quick ways to improve that impact:
Numbers Mean Something
Headlines that start with a number, even if it’s just “X things about Y”, have a strong appeal — more than a third of Internet readers love them most. Moreover, women are actually even more strongly drawn in by this kind of headline than men are.
Don’t Go Nuts
If you start throwing the superlatives and redundant descriptors (“crunchy cereal”) around, you’ll turn a lot of people off. It’s best to use a single, striking superlative and leave it there. Zero superlatives is actually better than two or more, but one is distinctly better than zero.
Use Sentence Case
One of the psychological symbols that we seem to have all picked up on is that sentence case — the practice of capitalizing every word except for conjunctions and very short prepositions — means authority. Take Advantage of That and Use Sentence Case in Your Headlines Every Time.
No, not like Parental Advisory kind of explicit — just be very clear and unambiguous about what your content is about to teach people. The last thing you want is for someone to click your link expecting to learn about the Women, Infants, and Children program in their state and find content all about the Welfare and Institutions Code.
Don’t always follow all of the rules. If every single headline you create adheres to every single one of these rules, you’re going to seem like a content-creating robot rather than like an expert who knows their subject. Sometimes a row of silly superlatives strikes the sweet spot in terms of telling your audience that you’re not necessarily serious in this post. Sometimes you want to create a ‘meek’ feeling that Sentence Case Can’t Really Provide. On rare occasion, a clever wordplay, even though it creates some potential ambiguity, can give your content the ‘polish’ it deserves.
There are no absolute rules in the game of writing content people love — but these tips will help you get more reads and more people following what you publish.