David Ogilvy, aka “The Father of Advertising,” famously said:
On the average, five times as many people read the headline as read the body copy.
That means a couple of things. First, a headline is incredibly important. Second, people are pretty bad at writing them, as a good headline spurs people to continue reading.
How do we write a good medical blog headline? A headline that grabs attention, pulls people in, makes them want to know more?
Simply remember that your headline has one job and one job only: get the reader to read the first sentence. How?
There are a few ways to approach it.
Method 1: Be different.
Let your headline stand out. You can go about this by being funny, irreverent, or in your face. However you approach it, this method separates your headline from all the others. It shows personality and it catches attention.
Method 2: Make a promise.
Tell me how I will benefit if I continue to read. I am bombarded with articles all day long. Make it worth my while to continue reading. If you don’t, someone else will. Will I learn something? Will I save money? Will I be healthier? Tell me this in the headline.
Method 3: Be specific.
Think of the individual you are writing for and give them as much detail as you can about what they are about to read. If you are writing for a crowd you are really writing for nobody. If you write for one person, you can tailor your headline to meet her needs.
Method 4: Make it urgent.
How many times have you made a plan to “read this later?” We all do that and we almost never get back to it. There is always something new to focus on. So if you don’t capitalize on the moment with a great headline, you will likely lose your reader forever.
These methods can obviously be mixed and matched to create headlines, and there are some fun little headline techniques that will help you accomplish these goals. This article at Convince and Convert shares lots of statistics about headlines that you can incorporate to improve effectiveness. For example, violent words encourage readers to continue reading, and odd numbers are more interesting than even. Use these techniques within the four methods above to build headlines that work extra hard for you.
Another really fun article about headlines is by Brian Clark at Copyblogger. He shows you how to use the ridiculously successful Cosmo Magazine headlines to create headlines for your own site. This is a fun and clever way to capture your readers’ attention.
In addition to these methods, there is a cardinal rule to headline writing:
Always Tell the Truth.
It is never worth it to stretch the truth about what’s in the article to get someone to read it. This is true everywhere, but it is even more important if you are writing a medical blog headline. You are representing your medical practice in that headline. If you promise something in your headline, you must deliver.
Otherwise you lose all credibility.
Photo Credit: © Matt Popovich via Unsplash