If you’re reading this now, you appreciate the importance of crafting an effective headline. You probably also know that an individual and company only has seven seconds to make or break a first impression.

A strong headline is the initial experience a reader will have with your website or written materials. It’s crucial to craft a compelling headline that creates curiosity, enticing and encouraging your reader to linger and ,ultimately, share your story with their friends and followers. This should be accomplished while conveying your message in a pithy manner.

Here’s how to achieve this:

Keep your headlines honest, intellectual and captivating.

By attaining this, you’ll attract a fan base that is loyal and favorable for your growth. Overkill should be avoided. It’s likely you’ve seen certain headlines along the lines of “_____ did something to _____”, and “you’re never going to believe what happened next” or “what happened next will amaze you”. While these bait-y, curiosity driven lures have a place at tabloid-esque companies, they shouldn’t have a place in your marketing strategy.

An audience that feels duped is not going to return, or at least will see your ongoing posts in a different light. If I titled this post “What You Read Here Will Change Your Life”, you will have already realized that’s far from true, and will steer clear next time.

However, you want your audience to feel a necessity to read your post after seeing the headline. Notice how I said in my title these are things you “need” to know? Maybe true, maybe not, but if you’ve gotten this far it’s doing something right.

“Don’t serve your dessert as an appetizer”

Curiosity is a useful and valuable way to gather an audience. Although it’s tempting, resist the urge to give up your sweetest, most enjoyable information upfront. Content marketing leads and encourages the audience to go on a journey.

Like an esteemed dinner guest at your home, the guest should be persuasively invited to the party that is your post, then wined, dined, and left feeling like they’ve learned something worthwhile and enjoyable along the way. If you give away too much juicy info upfront, people are less likely to stick around to see what else you have to say. If the title of “The Sixth Sense” was actually “Bruce Willis is Dead The Whole Time!“, I would have felt significantly robbed of my viewing experience.

In short, your headline is incredibly important to the audience you’re going to attract for your posts and should enticingly, yet accurately, introduce your content. Your headline is the first of many steps in your content marketing, so don’t pack it with too much information causing your audience to skip many of the following steps necessary for a fulfilling experience.

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