How to skyrocket engagement with your headlines

On May 25, 2018

"Maximising headline engagement" or "How to skyrocket engagement with your headlines"? 

Which headline, or email subject, would you rather click on? Odds are you'd choose the latter – after all, you're here.

Content titles – whether those are article headlines, email subjects or titles of your direct marketing pieces – are the first point of contact a prospect has with your content and possibly even your brand. That's why it's so important to ensure that your headline makes an impact on readers.

In this article, we'll discuss the most engaging headline trends of 2018 and how you can make your headlines count.

It's time to start thinking critically about your headlines and email subjects.
It's time to start thinking critically about your headlines and email subjects.

Headline length

The length of your headline can play a massive part in its success. Too long and the reader will lose interest, too short and you've probably not given enough information.

Ideal headline lengths vary depending on the platform and audience you're writing for. Research from BuzzSumo assessed the engagement metrics of B2C headlines shared on Facebook, as well as B2B headlines found on LinkedIn to gain insight into the different audiences on social media.

Unsurprisingly, B2B audiences have less time for long headlines than consumers. After all, they're generally busy professionals on a mission, rather than relaxed consumers browsing for entertainment. The best headline lengths were:

  • B2C: Engagement peaks at 10 words. Seven would the minimum, while anything more than 12 starts to decline significantly.
  • B2B: Sharing steadily increases with word count up to 15 words. Beyond 17 words, you'll likely find engagement rapidly drops.

As for emails? Brevity is even more important. Regardless of your audience, you should aim to keep email subject lines around seven words long. Subject lines of this length receive the highest number of clicks, according to Marketo. Be careful of going beyond this, however, as clicks dropped by more than half with the addition of an eighth word. This could be due to the rise of mobile email apps, where the smaller screen dictates the space you have to get your message across.

With clever headlines, you're bound to enjoy more clicks and better engagement.
With clever headlines, you're bound to enjoy more clicks and better engagement.

Managing your tone and style

Even if your headline is a neat seven words long, should the language miss the mark your audience won't be interested. What appeals to your demographic will be unique to the user personas you've developed, but there are some general rules to follow that could boost engagement.

There are four "U"s designed by Neil Patel that you should consider in your subject and headlines:

  • Unique: You'll be familiar with the concept of unique selling points (USPs) from designing your marketing scheme – now consider what the USPs for your specific piece of content are and communicate those in your headline.
  • Ultra-specific: Be clear about what your reader will gain from your headline. Carefully select your keywords to communicate as much as possible about the content.
  • Urgent: A passive title will struggle to capture the attention of a reader. Use strong, emotive language to add a sense of urgency.
  • Useful: Make sure your headline actually presents something your target audience will care about.

Question phrases are an easy way to utilise these four ideas. Think about the value of your content for the reader, then phrase that as a question. For example, this article is about "how" to increase headline engagement. So, the starting phrase "How to" immediately tells the reader the article will be instructional.

Next, choose a powerful verb that can make your headline both unique and urgent. Here, we've used "skyrocket" to suggest that your headlines may not be living up to their full potential and excite you to learn about how that can change. 

Finally, we've been specific about what area of engagement we're focussing on: headlines!

Remember that your unique target audience will have its own preferences, so A/B testing your headlines and subject lines is a great way to gather data about what works best for you.

In order to reach your target audience by email, you need curated mailing lists from The Prospect Shop. Get in touch to find out more today.

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