Eight out of 10 people will read your headline, but only two will read the rest of your text ... it's a daunting statistic for website owners and blog writers, but here are five ways to beat the odds.
1. Make a promise in the headline and deliver on that promise in the text. The best way to do this is to write the headline first.
2. Consider using a 'how to ...' or a 'five ways to...' type of heading. Headline readers will know what they're getting so are more likely to read on.
3. Focus on the benefits of reading your article, rather than just stating the type of information provided.
4. Download the free Copyblogger ebook 'How to Write Magnetic Headlines' at http://my.copyblogger.com/login/. This 55 page document is an excellent resource - I now skim through it every time I write a headline.
You do need to register on the Copyblogger website to access this book, but you can unsubscribe if you become overwhelmed with the follow up emails. However, there are many other excellent resources available on this site for anyone interested in improving their copywriting skills.
5. Use http://coschedule.com/headline-analyzer. This is a fantastic online resource. You write in your headline and receive a score, as well as guidance on how to improve your headline. This is based on a number of factors including the type of words, the sentence type and the headline length.
It's a very quick way to see how your headline stacks up. For example, here are the headlines I tried for this blog, and the scores:
62 - Five ways to write headlines that shine
70 - Five excellent ways to improve headlines
72 - Five excellent ways to write successful headlines
70 - How to write successful headlines
74 - How to write great headlines and increase readership.
This last headline is likely to have scored highest because it includes two benefits - great headlines and increased readership. For more on this, see page 14 of 'How to Write Magnetic Headlines'.
I don't recommend slavishly sticking with the highest scoring headline, but it's a useful way to gauge whether you're on the right track. The best tests will be your blog readership numbers and the 'average session duration' statistics for your website.