How to Write Emotional Headlines Readers Will Love

Your new blog article may be a masterpiece, but without a good headline, your post is basically dead in the water. There is a lot of competition for your reader’s attention – so you need to grab readers and compel them to click. For copywriters and marketers, that makes writing great headlines a must-have skill.

Luckily, there are some proven formulas for hooking your readers and getting them excited about your content. In this post I’m going to teach you how to write a powerful headline that your readers will love (and click).

Here’s What Makes a Great Headline

Your blog article title or headline is just one ingredient of a great piece of content – but it’s a pretty important one, as it’s the first thing your readers see.

There have been all kinds of studies done on the ideal length of a headline, words most likely to be clicked, words least likely to be clicked, and even capitalization styles. While these structural guidelines are important, capturing the “so-what” in your headline is critical.

A great article headline:

  • Appeals to a specific target persona
  • Demonstrates value – what’s in it for the reader?
  • Is emotional – headlines with positive sentiment perform best
  • Sparks curiosity in the reader – also known as the “curiosity gap”

A number of copywriters also rely on the “four U’s” as rules of thumb for writing great blog and article headlines.

Your headline should be:

  • Unique
  • Useful
  • Urgent
  • Ultra-specific

Did you know that headlines with numbers perform extremely well?

Numbers are scannable, specific, and offer a preview of what’s to come. Headlines like 7 Ways to Groom Your Dog are some of the most-clicked titles on the web.

One more thing – never, ever be click-baity. Don’t promise something your content doesn’t deliver. It’s frowned upon and no one likes to feel duped.

2 Free Tools for Writing Great Headlines

When writing, spend some time with your headline. Rewrite it. Tweak it. Change one word and then maybe change it back. Spend a lot more time than you think you should on writing the best freaking headline you can write.

There are some tools to help you test and make improvements. But the final decision is yours.

CoSchedule’s Headline Analyzer

CoSchedule’s free Headline Analyzer is one tool I swear by for testing out different blog post headlines. Paste your headline in the box and you’ll get an instant score, plus a quick assessment of what’s working and what’s not.

Use the suggestions provided to test and retest your headline until you’ve got a score of at least 70 or above.  If your score is above 70, you’ll see a green circle. For lower scores, the circle is yellow or red.

The tool breaks your headline down into types of words contained in your headline:

  • Common
  • Uncommon
  • Emotional
  • Power words

Shoot for a high ratio of emotional and power words to improve your headline.

Results also evaluate the headline’s:

  • Number of characters
  • Number of words
  • Headline type – list, how to, generic
  • Sentiment

Let’s look at the title for the post you’re reading right now.  While testing out headlines, my score jumped 4 points simply by adding the word “powerful”.

Headline Analyzer tells you when your headline is “too wordy”.  According to this tool, headlines between 6 – 8 words get the most clicks.

This headline was a bit too long.

You can also optimize for characters used:

headline analyzer tool for writing great blog headlines

I like to use this tool and then compare against a second free tool.

Writing an email campaign instead of a blog? Check out this email subject line tester. 

Emotional Marketing Value Headline Analyzer

Advanced Marketing Institute’s Emotional Marketing Value Headline Analyzer is not the prettiest. But what it lacks in style it makes up for in insight.

You’ll receive an Emotional Marketing Value  (EMV) score in terms of a percentage, and a breakdown of which types of emotions your headline sparks within your customer.

Here are AMA’s results for one of my headlines:

AMA emotional marketing value score how to write great headlines

Like with the other tool, you can test and test again with different variations. If you’re trying to target a specific phrase, I recommend trying to use the keyword phrase in the title.

Whether you’re a freelancer, SMB, marketing agency, or in-house marketer, content marketing can seem overwhelming or even mysterious at times. But know that you have access to expert support, plus a wealth of knowledge & tools out there. I promise – you’ve got this.

If you have any more questions about writing headlines or content strategy in general, let me know in the comments below, or message me here. And when in doubt, always bring it back to the basics – your customer and your why.

tips for better website and content marketing

8 Things That Will Instantly Make Your Website Better

In today’s marketing world, your website is the North Star of your marketing strategy. All other efforts should orbit around and lead people back to your site.

When someone does land on your company’s website, you have about 5 seconds to capture their attention. In this time, you need to clearly communicate what you do, why you do it, and for who. The best websites are well rounded – visually beautiful, easy to use and with a clear, compelling message.

Essential Website Design Tips for 2019 and Beyond

If your site isn’t there yet, don’t worry!  These tips will help you optimize your website content and design for user experience, SEO, driving traffic to your site, and more…

tips for better website and content marketing
Make your website do more for your business.

Mobile Responsive Design

You probably already know that optimizing for mobile is extremely important. You might even be reading this on a mobile device?

At least 80% of internet users own a smartphone, and users spend an average of 69% of their media time on mobile devices. No joke! Google has even started penalizing sites that aren’t optimized for mobile devices. So, the need for responsive design is more critical than ever.

Together with web development partners at Carolina SEO Consultants, I help companies create mobile responsive sites that look great and communicate value.

Focus on Benefits, Not Features

Have you ever heard the saying “Features tell, benefits sell”? It’s true!

While customers might use features to compare two similar products, what they really care about is how your product (or service) makes their life easier.

Your website copy should focus on what problems you solve for your customers, what tasks you help them accomplish, and how they will feel after using your product or service.

Customers care less about “Advanced safety restraint systems” and more about “Keeping your family safe”. They care less about a “Dual-core 1.4 GHz ARM v8 Typhoon processor” and more about “Surfing the web, faster”!

Learn how I use the Hero’s Journey and StoryBrand frameworks to tell a story of success on your website – a customer-center that focuses on the positive results of your product or service.

Speak Directly to your Audience

You probably know all about creating detailed customer personas. You’ve spent a lot of time nailing down exactly who your target customer is. You know their age, gender, geographic location, income, interests, where they hang out online – all of it. Now that you’ve figured that out, you can speak directly to your target audience.

Replace “we” and “our” with “you” and “your”.

Instead of “Our clients see great results” try “You’ll love the results!

By using second person, or “you”, you’re speaking to the customer one-on-one and allowing them to see themselves at the center of your success story. At the end of the day, customers care less about how great your brand is, and more about what’s in it for them.

Another thing – leave the industry jargon out. They don’t get it and they don’t care. (Remember that thing about benefits, not features?)

Reduce Loading Time

Slow page loading drives users nuts. It may even cause them to jump ship. Section.io reports that just 5 seconds of page load time can cause more than 20% of users to bounce. Whoa. The good news is, having faster pages can increase your website’s conversions by as much as 16.5%.

So how do you achieve a faster site? Google’s free PageSpeed tools will analyze your site, give it a score, and then offer suggestions for improving your load time on both mobile and desktop.

One quick fix is to compress all images using a tool like compressor.io before uploading them to your site. You can also set all external links to open in new browser windows or tabs. And if you’re redoing your site completely, a good web development team will make site speed a top priority.

Create Clear Calls to Action

Sign up now. Get started. Let’s chat. Calls to action like this are a critical part of driving and measuring conversions online. We’re so used to seeing call-to-action buttons, we many not even think about it. But make no mistake, they are super important!

There’s no point in capturing your audience’s attention, getting them all excited about your product, or building trust if they’re not sure what to do next. Make it easy for them to call you, schedule an appointment, or BUY your product.

Calls to actions should contain simple action phrases, and they need to stand out from the rest of the design. If your call to action is “Contact us” or “Get in Touch” it’s best to embed a contact form directly on the page, rather than forcing the user to open an email program in order to send you a message.

Include Social Proof

More and more business takes place directly on the web, without ever meeting your customer face-to-face. But that doesn’t mean people don’t need to vet you or build trust in your brand.

Social proof shows off the great things others have said about you before they book a call, sign up for your email list or click the ‘Buy Now’ button. Social proof in the form of testimonials, client or partner logos, case studies, and more work to reassure potential customers that you actually do what you say you do.

Some experts suggest sprinkling testimonials throughout your site rather than assigning them a specific location. You can add them to the bottom of the home page in a carousel feature, tuck them in around product pages, or put them on your Team page (you do have a Team page, don’t you?). People may not have time to click on a testimonials page, but they will notice testimonials as they cruise through your site.

Blog Consistently

If you want to develop a strong online presence, you need more than just a cool website – you need a website that can be found. Blogs are one of the top ways that new users find their way to a website, if they include the type of content that your potential customers might be searching for.

SEO keyword research can help you figure out what keyword phrases to focus on, and a site like Answer the Public is great for coming up with topics of interest. I’m a big fan of blogs not only for their SEO potential, but their ability to “connect us with our tribe” (thanks Jeff Bullas) and build a loyal following.

Regarding blogs, HubSpot says:

Companies that published 16+ blog posts per month got about 4.5 times more leads than companies that published zero to four monthly posts.

and

Content marketing gets 3X more leads than paid search advertising.

How often are you currently publishing to your company blog?

AnswerthePublic.com – This grumpy old man will help you come up with great topics for your blog.

Make it Easy to Read

Keep readers on your site and engaged with beautiful design – remember that 5 second rule? Along with your clear, compelling message, your site should be easy on the eyes.

Make sure your site is easy to read by including plenty of white space. Whatever you do, avoid huge blocks of text. Long, unbroken chunks of text make people glaze over and zone out faster than you can say “website bounce rate”.

Break your text up with strong headlines and sub-headers. Sub-headers (known in webspeak as “H2s”) are important tools for SEO. They also make your site easy to read or skim and find information quickly. Headlines grab the reader’s attention and tell readers – “Hey! This is important!

Other tools for great web writing and design include:

  • Bullets and numbered lists
  • Short sentences
  • Short paragraphs
  • Color and text variation for keywords, headlines and buttons

If you’re ready to improve your website’s design, readability and sales driving power (or if you still have questions), I’d love to chat!