In content marketing, we spend so much time and effort deciding on the perfect headline. We want you to click it, but we don’t want to be click-baity. We want to promote our product, but we don’t want to be salesy. They’re sometimes the most important: on average, 8 out of 10 people will read your headline, but only 2 out of 10 will read your entire piece.

The problem is, the more headlines you write, the more difficult it is to be original. And the longer you work in content marketing, the easier it is to see what a headline is actually saying.

So be honest: are you guilty of any of these?

1. The Stroking The Ego Headline

social-influencer-headline

Sure, we love interviewing thought leaders for their knowledge — they are thought leaders for a reason. But it doesn’t hurt to have an extra social community of 100K quality Twitter followers…

 

2. The Click-Bait Email Subject Line

 email subject comparison-3

You might not get exactly what you think you’re getting, but it’s provocative. It gets the people going!

And… increases our click-through rates.

 

3. The Ultimate Guide Headline

ultimate-guide-headlines

The “Ultimate Guide” is the new “For Dummies” for marketers. We use this because a) our resource is so comprehensive and amazing that it actually is the ultimate guide to [insert marketing topic here] or… b) this might have been the best we could think up.

 

4. The “I’ll Scratch Your Back, If You’ll Scratch Mine” Headline

marketing-conferences-comparison-headlines

We’re not lying — you should attend these conferences in the fall. Especially because their PR people told us to.

 

5. The Listicle Headline

listicle-headline-comparison

Hey, there’s nothing wrong with a listicle — we even did a study where numbers in headlines performed better.

But come on (we’re all friends here): we’re just putting together a bunch of things we found off the Internet. And it’s just a tiny bit better than your competitor’s “34 Stats About Content Marketing.”

6. The Stroke-The-Ego + Get-Content-From-Smarter-People-To-Give-Us-More-Authority Headline

industry-leaders-headline

All content marketers have done this at one point: contact every single influencer (at least, the ones they can get emails for), wait patiently for replies (crossing fingers), and get lucky to have enough content and quotes to fill an entire blog post.

 

7. The Talking-About-Your-Product-Without-Talking-About-Your-Product Headline

product-headline-comparison

Can you tell until you scroll down and see a “Request a Demo” button at the bottom?

Well, that was fun. Sign up for our blog newsletter for more:

  • notsofastnow

    I’ve always argued that ideal product copy would simply say, “Please buy our stuff,” and list a price.

  • Hal Werner

    I’m dying here. Classic. I can practically hear the honest headlines when I’m reading headlines line these. In fact, sometimes when I read ones like “35 Amazing Castle Pictures – Don’t You Want to Live in #13?” I also hear “Get ready to click through 56 individual pages to see the 35 amazing pictures, which will be interspersed with ads every few clicks and have pages so packed with spam ads, you’ll never find the ‘next’ button and accidentally end up on a lap band site.”

    P.S. I got so tired of those (Popular Tactic) is Dead FUD posts, I wrote something about it myself here: http://www.halwerner.com/declaring-things-dead-is-dead/

    • Esther Chung

      I always accidentally click on: “This Miracle Fruit is Making People Look Younger — You Won’t Believe it!”

      • Arunkumar

        LOL! It happens 🙂

  • Esther Chung,

    How will you re-write your own headline if you wanna be Honest 😛

    • The same question comes in to my mind too .. LOL

      • Esther Chung

        “Damn, We Should’ve A/B Tested This…”

  • Paul Caudell

    Made my Friday, you hero.

  • Arunkumar

    LOL! That’s amazing 🙂

  • LOL! Made my day!

  • Bloody brilliant

  • Hollie

    Hilarious! Fun Friday read, thanks!

  • Honest headline of this article “We were looking for few clicks/shares over weekend” 🙂

  • BiggsMontana87

    Haha, I did sign up for the blog because that was really funny. Well done. If the 20 emails I got a day from all the industry lists people bought had lines like these I might actually read them.

  • Nelson Tan

    Your active-voice headlines truly give me some food for thought. Thanks Esther.

  • Forrest Wheatey

    Ahem ..

    • Esther Chung

      “Can you tell until you scroll down and see a “Request a Demo” button at the bottom?” Where do you think we got this inspiration from?

      • Self-burning is the best kind of burning 😀 What I missed to say was “Great article”. Just found your banner immediately after and had a laugh 🙂

  • Haha this is amazing.

  • hilarious!!!!

  • Brilliant! Love how you quoted Ni**as in Paris by Kanye & Jay-Z in #2 😀

    • Esther Chung

      Whew – so glad someone got that reference 😉

  • Great stuff. My favourite is The “I’ll Scratch Your Back, If You’ll Scratch Mine” Headline. Visit my website to see more Harrow Escorts

  • Great stuff. That is my favourite: The “I’ll Scratch Your Back, If You’ll Scratch Mine” Headline. To se what I write about please visit my blog – Harrow Escorts

  • Great stuff. That is my favourite: The “I’ll Scratch Your Back, If You’ll Scratch Mine” Headline. To se what I write about please visit my blog – Harrow Models

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