I love headlines. It’s really that simple. I love reading them, love creating them, and I love to edit them. I have to say coming up with an engaging headline is one of my favorite things to do. I see headline writing as a very calculated puzzle of words that, when done right, can double your readership. Not in the way that those trashy supermarket rags do so well, but in a way to connect businesses with their target audience.
While the process of writing headlines for your B2B marketing materials is both fun and challenging, writing an effective one is not as easy as you would think.
The goal of every headline, of course, is to grab the reader’s attention. If your headline doesn’t make a good first impression that motivates your readers to want to read more, don’t get me wrong your article will still be read, but not by as many readers as you had hoped for. But a well-written headline that strikes a chord with readers can significantly increase the amount of readers that are compelled to read on. And for your B2B marketing and lead generation programs, that’s a beautiful thing.
For B2B headlines, there are a few things that are critical in capturing the attention of your audience, and they primarily revolve around benefits. Capturing the value or how the reader will benefit from the article, whitepaper, blog, etc. can greatly improve your ability to expand your readership. When writing your next headline, here are a few things to think about:
Readers eat up numbers: Nothing excites people researching products or services like reading about the financial benefits they can receive from your products. Including hard numbers, percentages or any statistic that instantly shows how your readers can improve their bottom line will make a great first impression on any readers.
Highlight pain points: Businesses trying to solve problems are always looking for experts that understand their space, their top concerns and pain points. If you’re able to squeeze in your headline specific terms that keep them up at night, they will most certainly read on.
Be straightforward: Trying to be too clever with your headlines can sometimes work against you. If readers don’t understand your wit or dry sense of humor you can lose them, or not make a connection at all. Also, don’t create misleading headlines that promise one thing, but deliver another. With the limited amount of time people have to research materials, being straightforward with what they can expect is always the best way to go.
Keep it punchy: While great headlines can vary in length, keeping it short makes it both easier to read and gets straight to the point. There’s a funny term I learned in journalism called energy leaks, which basically describes unnecessary conjunctions such as “that”, “but” or “so” that deflate the energy or power of your stronger adjectives. In other words, if any word in your headline doesn’t strengthen your point, get rid of it. Your headlines should only include words that excite and influence your audience to read on.
Feel free to share any of your favorite B2B marketing headlines or stories about how a specific headline eventually led to new business. I would love to hear them.