Are Your Headlines Turning Away Readers?

April 04, 2016

Everyone knows how important first impressions are for first dates and job interviews. Similarly as readers, when it comes to email subject lines or article headlines we tend to be just as judgmental. Do those few words grab my attention enough to continue reading? Am I interested in your promotion? Will reading this be a waste of time? These are all typical questions that race through our minds as we scroll through online content and ads on a daily basis.

So, as a marketer or blogger, how do you know which tactics work best? Should we instill fear in the reader with subject lines such as: “you’re missing out,” “you’re wasting your time,” and “don’t miss out on this opportunity.” Or is it best to welcome them with traditional approaches and tantalizing offers? Here at Keenability, we’ve looked into what really makes consumers click.


What draws readers in?

There is a time and place for fear-based headlines. Negativity, or reverse psychology if you will, works only if it is done correctly. Be mindful of your approach and steer clear of subtle jabs that might be insulting to the reader. Subject lines that imply that you know best or that sound like you are lecturing the reader may be unappealing to some. There is a fine line between looking out for the consumer and being bossy. Although it is good in some instances to pressure the reader, be sure that your intentions are genuine and aimed at providing your reader with useful information.

A Better Alternative

Focusing on the benefits is a traditional and practically foolproof approach to subject lines. For example, “5 Ways to Brighten Up a Room” is simple and to the point, letting the reader know exactly what he’s in for. On the other hand, the same article could be titled, “Does Your Room Need Brightening Up?” Both of these headlines give out just enough information to intrigue the consumer, while also hinting at the insight the article offers.

The effectiveness of pushy headlines ultimately depends on the reader’s personal preference. This is why it’s crucial to know your audience when crafting content. If you feel that the customer will resonate better with a competitive approach, then go for it— but if you have doubts, the risk may not be worth it.

When you are unsure about the tactics that would be the best fit for your audience, it is best to play it safe. A risky headline should never cost you your audience. If your content is consistently high quality, the readers will come back. However, needing help with your content strategy is not admitting defeat. Our team of copywriting wizards and expert marketers can ensure that your posts are the ones being clicked on. Reach out today to learn more about how we can help you to stand out from the crowd.

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