the headline

 
 

For today's challenge, watch the video above from 1:50 - 4:30

the breakdown

Headlines should be between 8 - 14 words and no more than 60 characters (spaces included). The optimal headline is 10 words and 55 characters.

Readers skim headlines. The most important words are the first three and the last three.

Headlines should not read as complete sentences. If you feel the need to put punctuation such as commas and periods in your title, try reworking it to be more of a phrase 


the why

We all want to make sure the efforts we put into marketing are worth it. Especially when the number one resource we are invest is one that we can never get back, our time.

I mean, think about it, all of us have our reasons for venturing into private practice, but I'm willing to bet that for the most part those reasons boil down to more freedom, more flexibility, and more control over the way we live our lives - MORE TIME.

And, when our livelihoods are on the line, there's nothing worse that thinking we are wasting our time on investments that aren't going to get us the results we hope for. This is exactly why, we're devoting an entire day of our challenge to the shortest part of your blog post. 10 words to be exact.

Your headline is by far the most essential element to writing a blog post that converts readers to clients. In fact, without a title that inspires "clicks" rather than "skips," the content you write might as well be gibberish.

Clients today live in a digital world. Statistics show that adults today touch their phones over 2,000 times per day (dscount, 2016) and Facebook reports users click the like button on over 4,000,000 post per minute (microfocus, 2017). So, other than narrowing the field of viewers (niching), how do we ensure that our posts are viewed by the right people? 

We write a headline that makes them stop what they're doing and read our post.

And that's what we're investing our time in today.


the how-to

So, now that we know what we're aiming for, and why it's important, let's get down to learning how to do it!

The first thing to think about when writing a headline is the fact that it is a persuasion and an interruption tool. The purpose is to catch the reader's attention and persuade him/her to stop what they are doing and pay attention. This might mean reading the post immediately or bookmarking it for later, but ultimately we are interrupting them from what they are doing in the moment.

You want your headlines to be:

  • Intriguing (catches your ideal client attention & sparks their curiosity)

  • Compelling (need-to-know, fascinating, creates anticipation, makes them click)

  • Accurate (makes sense, factual, tangible, clear)

  • Useful (helpful, deals with a pain point)

  • Emotive (strong, emotional language)

  • Specific (distinguishing word/phrase)

For education posts like the one we will be writing this week, we can take advantage of a simple formula:

[# of education points] + [target audience] + [promised emotional result] + [qualifier]

  1. The best practice when it comes to the number of education points is to keep them between 3 - 10. Less than three and readers don't see the value. More than 10 and readers become intimidated.
    A caveat to this is when you are writing about The Number One Reason, or The Ultimate Thing Holding You Back etc...
    These titles fit the criteria above, but you have to be more careful about being credible and not over-promising.

  2. You should always identify your niche in the headline of your post. This not only makes your blog post more obvious and clickable, it is an important part of your keyword strategy/SEO and getting your blog post to rank on google.

  3. The promised emotional result is the most important aspect for a therapy blog headline since readers are looking for help with their emotional problems. This is the phrase they identify with most and what makes them believe they will find value from the post.

  4. Qualifiers are what put your headline over the top and add extra pizzazz to be intriguing and compelling.
    Two examples of effective qualifiers are a "hint at how" and "a certain time frame"

Here are two examples:

3 Ways to Help Your Teen Conquer Test Anxiety Without Hiring an Expensive Tutor

– AND –

5 Fears That Are Holding You Back from Marriage and How to Overcome Them by Your Wedding Date

Once you have the basic formula down, you can start to add enticing language to engage readers even more. Things like:

  1. shock (you’ll never guess the three tips…)

  2. ease (easier, guilt-free, painless)

  3. storytelling (three tips that helped my favorite client…)

  4. promises (three tips to ensure…)

  5. cautionary (avoid, lies, mistakes)

  6. power words (crush, master, supercharge, breathtaking, proven, badass)

The above titles can transform into:

3 Unexpected Ways to Ensure Your Teen Conquers Test Anxiety Without Hiring an Expensive Tutor

-AND-

5 Fears That Are Holding You Back from Marriage and How to Easily Master Them by Your Wedding Date

 

** A Warning ** while you need prospects to read your posts, you don’t want to write a headline that is considered “click bait.” Bait-y titles over-promise and under-deliver. At best, they make clients feel like the post was useless. At worst, the reader feels used. So, make sure your headline is engaging but your post also delivers the content you promise.


Your Next Steps

Spend the next few minutes brainstorming a title for the blog post we will flush out over the next 5 days. Remember this is a working headline, so don't worry about it being perfect. As you interact with me and your colleagues in the challenge you can refine it.

Once you've got a good rough draft, head over to the challenge group and post it on today's thread for accountability and to see what others have come up with.

Also, be sure to tune in to the live Q&A at 4PM PT | 7PM ET so we can chat about it together.

Lastly, click here to save your seat for the LIVE 1-hr training next Monday September 24th.