Here are four simple tips you can employ to get more people to read more of your articles more often.
If it moves, shoot it.
This headline is the title for an article about taking action photographs. It’s a good headline because it achieves a number of objectives:
1. It’s short and to the point
Imagine an article about taking better pictures with a title something like this:
101 techniques for taking quality action pictures that are guaranteed to lift your photography skills to the next level!
Funny, you might think. But there are already plenty of articles with headlines like this online. It’s almost as if the writer thought it would be a good idea to put in everything he or she could think of. Whatever the reason behind it, it doesn’t get and hold your attention.
It’s too long. There are too many words. We don’t have time to wade through it all in the hope that the rest of the article will be good in spite of the clumsy and wordy title. Because, deep down, we know it won’t be.
How could it be? It was likely written by the same person, so it will probably be clumsy and wordy, too.
2. It arouses curiosity
An article with the title “If it moves, shoot it” might be about a lot of things. And unless you find it on the front cover of a photography magazine, it’s not necessarily obvious.
It might just as easily be advice for hunting wild boar on safari. The only way to really find out is to read the article.
That’s good news, because if you can make the reader curious about something, he or she will be forced to read on. The need to know will be overwhelming, and your article will have a better chance of being read from start to finish.
3. It’s clever without being corny
There’s nothing wrong with being clever. But titles that rely on word play, puns or similar literary devices can get boring very quickly.
The trick with “being clever” is to balance it out. For example, if you were the cinematographer that filmed a movie starring Omar Sharif, you could write an article with the title “I shot the Sharif”.
That’s a brilliant headline, funny, clever, and true all at the same time. And it references a song title that many people will be familiar with. Top marks.
4. It reuses a phrase that we’re already familiar with
Is this really an important consideration? Yes and no.
It depends on how accessible you want your article to be. If you want the maximum number of people to read it, then you want it to appeal to almost everyone. One way to do that is to lure them into the article with a headline they may have seen before.
For instance, an article about cinematography might have the headline:
Lights, camera, action!
It’s a good headline, because it’s short and to the point. It tells you exactly what the article is going to be about, and it does so with reference to a familiar phrase. It’s clever in that it uses the phrase called out just before the cameras start rolling on set, and it arouses curiosity by not stating exactly which angle it’s going to approach the topic from. To find that out, you have to read it.
If you follow these four simple tips your article headlines will entice more readers to read more of your articles.