The difficulty of generating good headlines—and from there, more clicks and more conversions—is a reality that all marketing and copy writers face. There are easy ways out, of course, and often utilized. You only need to jump over to Twitter or Facebook (even with their recent crackdown on clickbait) to see swarms of headlines teasing lists of “things you didn’t know” or “things you need to know”. The number of “you wouldn’t believe who did ____” headlines I see pop up is absurd.
The thing is, even these easy-out, clickbait headlines don’t serve the same purpose as a solid, attractive sales headline. They don’t draw in customers, or convince the audience to want a product or to invest their interest. All those headlines do is pluck at the strings of curiosity—an important aspect of a good headline, to be sure, but not the whole picture.
A more complete and effective headline needs to not only establish curiosity, but promise something that compels the audience to set it apart. When there are twelve Buzzfeed lists on your news feed, it’s easy to just keep scrolling. When a compelling headline about a snazzy new product on sale catches your eye, you’re a lot more likely to give it credence, especially online, where we are inundated with a never-ending stream of advertising.