In the medieval world a man could choose a variety of ways to attain notoriety. A small flick of the head in a circular motion might have been seen as an attempt to summon a multitude of incubi, whilst any knowledge of the reproductive systems of a woman beyond the strictly rudimentary an insight into a life of carnal depravity. The drama, was, however, likely to remain a local affair so long as the county authorities, the church, or the King’s men were none the wiser.
These days, courting a public profile is a rather more straightforward affair. With the internet revolutionising the way we interact with one another, a single, false key stroke can alter perceptions of your brand on a global scale. There may not be the promise of the iron maiden’s embrace if the content marketing strategy fails to fire, but getting your first-up engagement wrong can be very costly when you’re trying to create interest amongst potential customers.
It starts at the top – right at the top in fact. People respond to words, but they won’t get to the words unless the headlines you write make them want to read what you’ve got to say.
Know your audience
It might seem like a piece from the “Junior Guide to Marketing”, but establishing exactly what business you are in is a crucial part of the process. If you’re selling books and lead off with a clarion call “to all bookworms”, you’d be silly not to offer something compelling to your bookworm audience. Check the market and see what your competitors are doing. If all the indications are that customers want free delivery as much as they want a good read, then try and think of interesting ways to work that into your online content headlines and your web marketing shots. For instance, “Calling all bookworms” could easily become “Bookworms rejoice – we’re delivering great reads for free this winter.”
What excites you about your product?
If you know what it is, there’s a very good chance you can communicate that to your customers. Excitement and enthusiasm may read like words weary with familiarity, but they really are key. Think about what makes you so good at what you do and try and weave that into your headlines. If you get it right, it’s a powerful way of making a brand statement without lapsing into tired clichés.
Unleash your creativity
Unleashing your creativity does not mean daring your audience to click through to your article or open that email. It means finding intelligent ways to press the right buttons in the reader. Remember that it’s very easy for folk to be cynical in this multi-channel world. You’ve got to give them a reason to ride that bar and get to the other side. There’s a technical point worth discussing here too: Google’s Hummingbird search algorithm means that everyone’s favourite search engine is now able to handle more conversational search terms. Arm yourself with this knowledge and experiment with creating interesting headlines that focus more on inspiring a feeling of warmth and ‘buy in’ in the customer than the usual stark value proposition.
Some techniques to consider…
The news approach
News headlines either get in and get out with a summary of the main feature of the story, or they use punning techniques to highlight a particularly pertinent aspect. If you go down the pun route, you might find that some of your audience develops a degree of resistance to your objectives. Again, the trick is to know your customers and know what you can offer that differentiates your product. Think of it this way: sometimes, “Acmesoft launches revolutionary new operating system,” says everything that needs to be said without the need for self-conscious cleverness.
The call to action
Presenting customers with the chance to benefit through a question or proposition is a time-honoured technique. Headlines that offer savings or develop a sense that the product is something that the customer needed all along but didn’t quite know it can work well. Don’t be afraid to try the “how would you like to save…” approach once in a while!
If you’re still wondering how you’re going to develop killer headlines, then please feel free to give us a call. Our copywriters have an enviable record of delivering razor-sharp articles that will carry your customers through from click to conversion. For an informal chat, call us on UK. +44 (0) 1263 519749 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.