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How your headline can make or break engagement

How often have you stopped scrolling because a website, page, or email headline grabbed your attention? Whoever wrote that headline did a fantastic job!


There's no point in writing great B2B content if people don't read it. And they often don't read it because the headline is weak. It doesn’t jump off the page and grab their attention.


the word wow written in red bursting out of a yellow background

The headline is the most critical part of your copy. A great headline can hook the reader and make them more likely to engage with your content. The headline is the first thing readers see, making them decide whether to read further. So it makes sense to spend time on getting it right.


Why an eye-catching B2B headline matters


A strong headline should grab readers' attention and encourage them to continue reading.


Great headlines use compelling language, ask questions, make bold statements, or challenge something. Or they may highlight a benefit or solution.


But whatever the intention, they must be clear and concise and reflect the content of the article or page. They must also be relevant to your target audience.


So how can you write headlines that make people want to click for more information?


Here are a few tips to help you write captivating headlines and some pointers on what NOT to do.


words have power written in white chalk on a blackboard


Words matter – so choose them wisely


Language is a powerful tool. Emotive words help you engage with your audience and appeal to their desires, needs, and fears.


If you want to excite the reader, use words such as 'fascinating' and . 'intriguing.' If you're offering efficiency and a solution to a problem or need, then 'tips,' 'step-by-step,' or 'painless' work well.


Using the right words will show that you empathise with the reader and understand their problems. If you can paint a picture to help them imagine the benefit of your product or service, they will want to click and read more about what you’re offering.


For example:

  • Save time on concrete floor repairs with our easy-to-pour mortar solution.

  • 10 guaranteed ways to increase your sales pipeline.

  • Don't miss out on our limited free delivery offer.

Using words and phrases such as 'save time' and 'easy-to-pour' implies a quick and simple solution to a problem. 'Guaranteed' builds a feeling of trust. 'Don't miss out' and 'limited' evoke a sense of urgency heightened by that good old greed word – free.


Emotion helps to create a strong connection between the reader and the content. So next time you write a heading, think about the feeling you want to stir up, then include one or two power words to trigger that emotion.


Formulas can help you write killer headlines


Writing the perfect headline is tricky; there's no magic formula. What works for one type of copy may not suit another format or different audiences. But these two approaches are a good starting point if you need help developing a catchy headline.


SHINE

Specific – be specific and clearly convey the main idea or benefit of the content. This will help you to grab the reader's attention and encourage them to read further.


Helpfulness – offer a clear value proposition or promise to the reader. Answer the question 'What's in it for me?' and communicate how the content can help the reader.


Immediacy – create a sense of urgency that encourages the reader to engage with the content or take action.


Newsworthiness – be relevant and timely, and offer something newsworthy or fresh to the reader.


Entertainment value – tap into the reader's emotions. Use power words that evoke strong feelings of curiosity, excitement, or urgency.


You don't have to use all these elements in your headline; pick one or two that fit your content. For example:


  • 10 simple ways to boost your productivity when working from home (helpfulness)

  • Limited time offer of free delivery on all orders over £50. Don't miss out (Immediacy)

person drawing a lightbulb with the word solution above it.

Problem Solution Promise

This does what it says on the tin.


Problem - identify the problem or pain point. This could be a common challenge, frustration, or concern your target audience has.


Solution - you then offer them a solution or benefit your content provides. This might be a tool, strategy, or resource to help your target audience overcome the problem or achieve the desired result.


Promise - lastly, you make a promise or guarantee that your content delivers the solution or benefit. This could be a specific outcome or result that your audience can expect by engaging with your content.


Examples of this type of headline framework are:

  • Dipping leads? Triple your sales leads in 30 days with our proven strategy.

  • Improve your supply chain management with our innovative AI solutions.


magnifying glass highlighting newspaper headline saying OMG Shocking News!


What to avoid when writing your headlines


Too wordy - a long or complex headline can overwhelm and confuse the reader. Keep your headline concise and to the point. It should be no more than 18 words and between 50 – 70 characters. Google will shorten your headline if it's over 70 characters, so be careful.


Clickbait - avoid sensationalism. Don't promise something in the headline you don't deliver in your content. You will lose credibility. People may click to read more but won't become customers.


Hyperbole – exaggerating facts or benefits doesn't work in headlines. It destroys authority and trust and leaves readers disappointed.


Being clever – puns or jokes in a B2B headline rarely work. They may make people laugh, but they don't work for Google. Google won't have a clue about what your content's about. So while people might find your headline funny or clever. It will kill your SEO strategy.


Jargon – avoid using jargon or technical language that might confuse or alienate your audience. Use language that's clear and easy to understand.


Don't ignore your audience – headlines that ignore the reader's pain points, interests, or goals won't resonate with them.


6 white lightbulbs drawn in chalk on a black board with one large yellow lightbulb shining and 80/20 written next to it.

Spend time writing your headline


Finally, try using the 80/20 rule.


This comes from the Pareto Principle, which says 80% of your results come from 20% of your activities or efforts. So, if you want to write a great headline, you need to spend time writing different versions.


Test your options, and experiment with power words and lengths to find the one that works best for your target audience.


You can write headlines that get results


We're all busy people, and first impressions count. If you can engage with your audience through your headline, they will read further. But if they don't notice the headline or understand your content, they'll scroll past it. You've just lost a potential customer.


Taking your time and applying some tips I’ve outlined here will help you write compelling headlines that jump off the page. Ones that communicate what the content is about and make your audience want to read more.



Need help to turn browsers into readers or produce engaging copy for your audience? I understand how to write persuasive headlines and copy that draws the reader in and turns them into customers. So why not. Get in touch, and let's have a chat.



 





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