Headline Words That Work
Some long-accepted copywriting tricks don't work to gain clickthroughs on headlines via email, mobile, social media or online means.
For example, the often-used "you," "your" or "you're" words actually decrease CTRs, say New York-based Outbrain and Cambridge, Mass.-based HubSpot.
On Feb. 17, the marketing software providers teamed up to publish research titled "Data-Driven Strategies For Writing Effective Titles and Headlines."
That's also the date they used a few of their findings in the tweet announcing the work.
—HubSpot (@HubSpot) February 17, 2015
The report makes quite the declarative statement.
"Content marketing is the new king of the digital marketing world," reads the introductory sentence.
Indeed, a Contently survey announced in December 2014 shows more than 52 percent of marketers will spend up to 25 percent of their budgets on content, with the remaining marketers spending more.
HubSpot and Outbrain suggest marketers first solidify the basics about content marketing before worrying about headlines and titles:
1. Have a Plan. "To make that plan, you have to really understand what drives readers to click on, read, share, or interact with different kinds of content."
2. Create Business Goals. Marketers "need to have clear and explicit business goals for a particular piece of content before creating it."
3. Set Metrics for Success for Each Goal. Marketers often want traffic, engagement and conversions from content, but each goal has its own metric and each does something different for the organization.
Moving on to the finer points, HubSpot and Outbrain say the following words increase CTRs in headlines that are ideally of "moderate" length (81 to 100 characters):
- "Photo" (37 percent higher than headlines without this word)
- "Who" (22 percent higher)
- [Bracketed clarifications] such as "infographic" (38 percent rise)
These words decrease CTR: