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Creating Ringing Online Headlines

Jun 19, 2008
A ringing phone may startle if unexpected and is irritating when unwanted. However if you expect to receive a call, your ring tone is the most anticipated for noise. It is most gratifying when it rings and you finally get to hear from the person you were expecting.

Similarly you can create online headlines that have an anticipated ring or resonance with your visitors; headlines that they are glad to find. When a surfer types in a query into a Search Engine (SE), they scan the resulting page to find a headline that identifies with their needs. A ringing headline would be one that would somewhat engage them.

There are a number of techniques you can use to create this resonance. Here we look at three.

Question Based Headlines: Online, the headline "Are you creating effective headlines?"
would tend to out do a statement-based headline like "Creating effective headlines". The human brain is designed to seek for solutions. Immediately it sees a problem, in this case a question, it tries to determine if it has a solution. The process of determining if you have a solution to the posed problem, results to an engagement. On the other hand statements either interest you or they don't- little engagement if any.

Problem Based Headlines: In an environment where everyone is trying to offer a solution, it pays to standout. Solution based headlines and titles have been oversold and are now common place. Use of a headline that identifies you visitors' problems may standout from a list of headlines trying to sell them a solution. For example the headline "My site didn't make any money either" has a pull to it not found in "How to make money from your website". The stating of a problem tends to identify with the visitors current state. It makes a visitor feel as if you could be having a perfect solution because you identify with them.

Curiosity Based Headlines: Curiosity is one of humans' strongest incentives. When you see a sign "Do Not Open", on a door, all of a sudden you are interested in what's inside. Humans have this nagging sense to want to know. That's why gossip and tabloids do well. Online, the use of the words "How" and "Why" in the beginning of a headline tend to create curiosity. So is the use of the word "these". For example, the headline "Are your headlines missing these psychological triggers" creates curiosity by using the word "these". The word implies several psychological triggers that are not mentioned. To know them you will have to click on the title.
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