How Content Writers Create Clickable Headlines

By: David Tile| Founer @ Article-Writing.co
Posted On: March 26, 2015
“Why did you click this headline?” This is a question that all unique content writers have figured out.

At first glance, the answer to the above question seems like it falls firmly into the “duh” category of answers. You wanted to learn a little more about the art of developing eye-catching headlines, so you gave the link a click; pretty simple stuff. However, if you’re willing to look beyond the obvious motivations for your actions, you’ll see that truly great headlines go a step farther and put to use some insightful and creative methods for capturing the attention of the audience. For those unique content writers out there that are trying to elevate your headlines – or work with unique content writers who know a thing or two about succeeding on this front – here’s a look into everything it takes to build and implement clickable headlines.

What Makes a Clickable Headline?

When it comes to clickable headlines, Jeff Bercovici of Forbes magazine provides a few attributes that help explain why these offerings capture traffic that boring or otherwise bland headlines would let slip through the cracks. First off, strong headlines either evoke emotion, seek to answer a question, or entice the reader into further reading by leaving out information in the headline – this last feature is known as a “curiosity gap.”

Additionally, Bercovici suggests that some of the strongest headlines don’t even bother trying to connect with the members of the targeted audience. Instead, these headlines generate clicks by focusing on the friends of these viewers and going viral via social media. This concept might seem a little confusing at first, but think of it this way: how often do you check out an article or blog post because your friends shared it on Facebook or Twitter? From that perspective, it’s easier to see why some of the best clickable headlines embody a bit of an indirect approach.


The Keys to Winning on This Front
So now that you understand why digital passersby take a moment to check out a piece of content based on the headline alone, it’s time to talk about what actually goes into creating clickable headlines. For this endeavor, there’s no better authority to turn to than the late John Caples.

As one of the most prolific unique content writers of the 20th century, Caples helmed countless successful content and advertising campaigns that succeeded with a wide variety of audiences primarily on the shoulders of strong headline writing. As online marketing expert Lars Lofgren points out, Caples utilized a simple, yet straightforward approach to this practice.

If you want to keep up with the precedent set by Caples, using targeted keywords in the headline is never a bad idea. As the workhorse of a good headline, a strong keyword not only helps capture the attention of the reader and search engine crawlers alike, it also helps guide your content generation if you’re unsure of which direction to take your post.

From here, focusing on offering benefits to the viewer helps streamline a headline. Whether you’re using a user testimonial, challenging the reader with some unknown or controversial fact or figure, or simply pointing out why the reader needs to continue reading, there’s few ways to go wrong when value serves as the centerpiece of the creation process.

The last thing to keep an eye on when creating a powerful headline comes in the form of keeping things short and sweet. Hubspot’s Ginny Soskey suggests that the perfect length of a headline is six words, as this number offers just the right amount of room for the utilization of some of the aforementioned tactics, all without boring or losing the person on the other side of the screen. (Can you guess how many words are in the headline for this article?)

As you can see, crafting a clickable headline isn’t the easiest thing to pull off in the world of content marketing. However, if you’re able to put these tips and tricks to good use, or work with something that’s willing to put in the time and effort necessary, there’s nothing out there that can hold your brand back from joining the ranks of others who understand just what it takes to reel in views via a great headline.

The ultimate goal of content marketing is offering your target audience information and materials that will engage them and motivate them to choose your business. 

Seems easy, right? 

Often, companies will simply share general content to please everyone. But let’s be honest: you can’t win them all. And that’s okay! 

Rather than throwing a line and hoping the fish will bite, create Thought Leadership content strategically catered to your target market. Consider the people who would genuinely need or care about what your business offers, rather than wasting time, effort, and resources on creating general, unfocused content. Successful content marketing involves promoting your products and services to the people interested in the subject matter, who will read the content, click on your company website, and take action. 

As an executive of an organization, you are a valuable piece of the brand. Consumers want to know about the human presence leading companies, in order to understand more about the company’s values and goals. 

Take advantage of your position as an industry expert and share extra content to attract more attention to yourself as an industry leader and your company. Your quality content will build your reputation as a reliable voice to earn your consumer’s trust. However, if it’s not focused on your target audience, you won’t earn many conversions from your content. 

Consider these techniques to guide your Thought Leadership content so it can expand and strengthen your loyal consumer following:

  • Identify your target audience by reviewing your current consumer data and identifying who is investing in your business or reacting to your thought leadership materials so far. Look for trends to find why these people are interested and if others like them haven’t been reached yet. 
  • Conduct customer research to learn how they will respond to your thought leadership content. Request participation in surveys, polls, social media comments, and more to learn about your existing impression on your audience and how you can improve your platform. 
  • Create target audience character profiles. Identify their interests, demographics, pain points, needs, and desires, and write to them.
  • Find where your current and potential audience is active online.  Catch their attention by being active and sharing your content marketing materials on these platforms.
  • Pull inspiration from other Thought Leader examples. Research other executives within your field who implement successful content marketing through their personal platforms. Learn what qualities make their content attractive and why readers respond to it positively. These examples can offer a base for you to visualize what you want to achieve. 
  • Recognize your strengths as a Thought Leader. Often, leaders aren’t necessarily aware of the unique talents that give them an advantage in their industry until asked. Reflect on what topics you know best and how to input your insights to humanize your materials, make them original and more engaging for your audience. 


Case Study: How Strategic Content Marketing Can Broaden Your Audience

In our client strategy calls, our team will interview our expert clients to learn about their industry expertise and find out what’s meaningful to them, their business, and then identify who we believe to be their target audience. We use these insights to inspire our content subject matter and tone to create impactful content for their current and potential consumers.

Dr. Desai’s COVID PreCheck App Content Marketing

For example, our client, Dr. Nitin Desai, approached our strategy team to create content to promote his COVID Pre-Check app. His innovative software is intended to help employers ensure their employees who enter the office are COVID-free, providing a safe environment by eliminating the chance of spread. 

Our team of strategists recognized that with Dr. Desai’s thorough professional knowledge around the COVID-19 virus, he had the potential to become a reliable voice in a culture of people seeking answers. We created content for Dr. Desai that focused on sharing COVID-related insights to reach a wider audience, which has been a successful mission. Our thoroughly planned content reflected his industry expertise, which brought him attention from various media outlets and publications, including Forbes

By reaching out to our professional content marketing team, Dr. Desai achieved his goal of promoting his groundbreaking app, while also positioning himself as an authoritative voice in his field. Our team learned about his voice, discovered what was meaningful to him and his target audience, and optimized this to create focused, engaging content that broadened his consumer scope. 

Ready to Invest In Your Article-Writing.co Thought Leadership Package? 

At Article-Writing.co, we understand that you have a lot on your plate. Let us share your voice on your behalf, so you don’t need to add more time to your busy schedule to write your own content marketing. Our strategists and creators will develop a plan to create engaging materials to represent your Thought Leader brand through your own specialized Thought Leadership Package

Let us help you strengthen and broaden your consumer base for continued professional success. Book a call today.