Art??? Do you think writing an interesting headline or topic is a form of art? Keep thinking while we explain you what it is. Do you come across headlines which you cannot resist clicking on. Ofcourse, you do and you know on what sites, you find such amazing and attracting headlines —Buzzfeed, ViralNova, Wimp, which one is it? All of them! Some may call it linkbaiting, but I call it smart writing. Now let’s acquaint you with the fine art of an irresistible headline:
They use sense of humor
I cannot recall anyone who doesn’t like to laugh or atleast smile. Buzzfeed is a total pro at helping people find humor in every aspect of daily life. But tapping into the funny things when someone has asked you to have a blog that talk 100% business, is almost impossible.
You know why BuzzFeed headlines get clicked every time? It is because people know they’re guaranteed a bit of relief on the other side of that click. And when you are not doing it, your return visits may rise.
How to bring it in your titles: List 10 funny things about your business or industry. Update a FB status on your business page and ask colleagues for their best pet peeves about working in your industry. See, now you have enough humor to create a BuzzFeed-style headline. Filter and repeat this process and you’ll get your tickling headlines.
They induce pop culture
They are always ready with a well-timed headlines. Inducing pop culture means they relate their headlines to a current event from something to pop culture. For instance — “Downtown Abbey Guide to business Manners.” If you are successful in relating the burning topic you want to talk about, to something that’s also burning up the airwaves, like “Fifty shades of Valentine: Head to toe Guide.” You can build in curiosity by using a hot TV show, movie or political controversy.
How you go about it: Keep a record of all the Hollywood buzz going on — New TV Shows, current movie releases or any political news that broke the ground for citizens. Rest I guess, you can make out by experimenting with your creativity. Now, you not only have a snappy headline, but you also have a cool blog post idea that would make readers feel lighter on the other side of the click.
Make your Audience learn new things.
I am not sure about you guys, but I’m always up for learning a thing or two I didn’t know. BuzzFeed knows how to make people learn by taking a twisted approach to answering three common questions: Who, What and Why. Such headlines draw readers in by ensuring them that there is definitely something inside it that delivers a bit of information.
How to do it: I hope those questions that your boss frequently asks you, may ring a bell in your head. Then, there are customers and prospects and their list of questions you need to recall and turn it into a long list of questions. FAQs are a fantastic list of the “Who, What and Why” blog posts.
Most common words used in top Headlines
The next big thing in writing a headline is to use frequently used words in topmost headlines or topics. Four of the most click worthy sites — BuzzFeed, ViralNova, UpWorthy and Wimp receives more than 400,00,00 unique visitors every month and the biggest reason is their Headlines.
And in an analysis on the top headlines of these sites, the following words stand out among the most used words in the top headlines.
You and Your
“You” was the No.5 most used popular word and ‘your’ was also in the top 20 list. It has been found at these two words or pronouns, appeared in 16% of all the headlines in the study.
P.S. — APPEARED MAXIMUM WHEN THE TWO WERE COMBINED TOGETHER.
A few examples:
- What Would You Buy With an Extra $12,000?
- A Chart About Silence That Will Leave You Speechless
- 6 Things You Need to Know Today
Among these headline structures, the question headlines that refered to the reader were most effective.
The word ‘this’ is specific and it is the power of this word. When this word is used in a headline, a reader’s mind switches to a tangible view of whatever you are talking about. There is an immediacy to the word.
Examples of headlines:
- This Guy Sticks Household Objects in His Beard and It’s Weirdly Mesmerizing
- This Woman’s Massive Instagram Following Helped Her Launch a Business
What, Which and When
Why so much hype about these three words everywhere. Okay let me answer, they are all about questions.
Here are some examples of question headlines :
- Which Countries Pay Its Teachers What They’re Worth?
- Which Old-School Pro Wrestling Legend Are You?
- What Happens When a Dump Truck Going 50mph Hits a Military-Grade Concrete Barrier?
Every popular and successful blogger knows the value of question headlines.
This one is also about questioning the reader but it digs deeper into the individual instance of “Why”– means there is more here.
- Why So Many Creatives Love Working on Trains
- Why the Best Social Media Education Might Be Right Under Your Nose
Why “WHY” is satisfying to us. Because of a phenomenon called the curiosity gap — the gap between what we know and what we want to know. This gap “itches” your brain, and it can only be “scratched” by learning more (and thus, clicking on the post).
This is the number one uncommon word in the study of headlines, it came up a lot and very often in a similar fashion:
- The most successful people
- The happiest people
- The most interesting people
The superlatives in these headlines make promises that a reader finds interesting. Almost all of us are interested in what most successful people do, how happiest people live and what traits do interesting people possess.
The most common Viral Headline phrases
There is a certain level of authority in phrase “the most.” It makes the readers a bit argumentative, giving them opportunity to challenge you about whether or not it is true.
It is effective, so it is popular. Yo use it and see most often. These how-to posts promise a certain level of education, and the subject matter adds value to the reader, you can expect lot of clicks.
Other uses three word phrases or stats to make their headlines Viral. If you use numbers in your headlines, it gives credibility to the post and brings in more clicks.
- The average length of a viral headline is 62 characters.
- The percentage of headlines with a number in it was 19%.
Now, you have all the ingredients to cook a clickable and VIRAL HEADLINES.