How about that for a headline?! What would a world be without Google? For the likes of Steve Ballmer and Carol Bartz it might well be a much brighter and happier place; for others the reality would be far more confusing, particularly with the transposition of Bing as the generic term for search.
Of course, the title itself is ludicrously inaccurate. There are very few companies who would decide to surrender a 90% world share of a hugely lucrative market and, needless to say, Google certainly aren’t one of them.
What this does serve to highlight though is the power of a headline. If your an habitual RSS feed reader or frequent news site skimmer; it is the headline above all that you are looking out for. It should be noted that this strap line benefits hugely from unabridged sensationalism of the worst kind, but it grabs attention – whether you like it or not.
People don’t have the time or the patience to go through pages of news sources, all of which are reporting the same general . Your sales pitch is wholly reliant on your headline. But the same can also be said of website copy.
Internet users can be very fickle when it comes to how they allot time. If they arrive on any page of your site you need to be able to tell them exactly what it is that you’re offering and, preferably, why they want/need it.
There’s no finite formula to creating a successful headline; but there are a few guidelines that you might want to follow:
1) Keep it short and sweet – get your message across without going into too much depth.
2) Get key terms in early – Just as above with the term ‘Google’ you want readers to know exactly what it is they’re looking at.
3) Use straightforward language – don’t try to overcomplicate things; you want to engage with the widest possible audience so avoid jargon and technical terms.
4) Leave readers wanting to know more – the perfect headline will entice readers to move on to read the main bulk of your copy, which is ultimately why it is there.
Of course a good headline followed by poor copy is going to struggle. It’s only one part of the process, the information and sales pitch should always be embedded far deeper; whether you’re writing copy for a website or creating a news article, the headline is only an introduction, you have to put in the extra work elsewhere to seal the deal.
But get a good headline and you’ve already got that first hook; just don’t let it go to waste.
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