To understand the importance of an effective headline for your content, let us consider two interesting facts (1):
On average 80% of respondants will read a headline but only 20% will read the article.
A top notch headline can spike your traffic by 500% by increasing the amount of people who read the headline and then click through to your website.
Nowadays the flow of interesting and available information for readers (online or offline) is increasing significantly in Vietnam, hence if you want your article (or your content in general) to stand-out from the clutter and increase its click-ability (also called click-through-ratio or CTR), building a unique, interesting headline is extremely important.
This article will point out some hints which will help your article become viral in Vietnam’s online and internet context.
Headline building considerations
There are 3 different headline structures that can be used: referential, rhetorical and declarative headlines. In order to build an effective headline you need to clearly understand 3 key points. First, what are your goals? If you currently do SEO in Vietnam for a Vietnamese target audience, your headline should be a reasonable combination of several long tail keywords related to the product or service you are promoting and also be written in an engaging way and obviously in Vietnamese. On the other hand if your goal is to obtain conversions, your headline should use conversion-generating language. Secondly you also need to understand your audience’s characteristics. For example if your target audience is young your headline might need to be fashionable and rhetorical. In contrast a more mature audience might prefer the headline to sound more declarative.
Remember that your article headlines should be aimed to the readers and not the writers, a common mistake in Vietnam. Finally where are you going to share your content? There are so many different platforms to share your content online but always choose the one used by your target audience. Remember to make your content social media friendly: your headline should not be too long or Twitter 140 characters limit will hit you for example.
Common headline styles
There are 5 common styles you can use for your headlines.
The first one is a simple, regular headline with the aim to introduce your article or content.
Example: “Ways to make your vacation in Vietnam unforgettable”.
Example in Vietnamese: “Những cách làm cho kỳ nghỉ của bạn tại Việt Nam không thể nào quên”
This style is applied when you create a question for your headline in which the answer will be the article’s content.
Example: “What will make your vacation in Vietnam unforgettable?”
Example in Vietnamese: “Điều gì làm cho kỳ nghỉ của bạn tại Việt Nam không thể nào quên?”
How to style
This headline is also a question form but include “How to” and implies that you will give the answer in your article.
Example: “How to make your vacation in Vietnam unforgettable?”
Example in Vietnamese: “Làm sao để kỳ nghỉ của bạn tại Việt Nam không thể nào quên?”
This headline style tends to use a number in the title, referring to a list of tips or instructions.
Example: “10 ways to make your vacation in Vietnam unforgettable”.
Example in Vietnamese: “10 cách khiến cho kỳ nghỉ của bạn tại Việt Nam không thể nào quên.”
With this style you focus on the reader by making feel like they must read your article right now.
Example: “Facts you NEED to know to make your vacation in Vietnam unforgettable”.
Example in Vietnamese: “Những sự thật bạn cần phải biết để khiến kỳ nghỉ tại Việt Nam không thể nào quên.”
Components for the perfect headline recipe
Here are some of the most popular words used in headlines:
Re-produced from (2)
Using personal pronoun
There is something special about the words you and your in marketing, it attracts the reader’s eye, it can make your audience feel like your content is made for them.
Example: “Facts you need to know to have an unforgettable vacation in Vietnam” or “5 things you can do to have an unforgettable vacation in Vietnam”.
Example in Vietnamese: 5 điều bạn có thể làm để có kỳ nghỉ không thể nào quên tại Việt Nam.
When you use “this” in your headline the audience is more likely to think about a specific objective and have a concrete image in their imagination of what you are talking about. The result is at hand’s length, it is within immediate reach, all they have to do is click on the title to obtain the information (sense of immediacy).
Example: “This couple had an unforgettable vacation in Vietnam, discover why”.
Example in Vietnamese: “Cặp đôi này đã có kỳ nghỉ không thể nào quên tại Việt Nam, hãy khám phá xem tại sao”.
What, Which, and When
If your title begins with these words you will most certainly be asking a question to your audience. According to Copyblogger’s Jerod Morris, phrasing headlines in the form of a question more than doubles click through rates. In any case, the reader will be automatically engaged when he realizes he is being asked a question and this will make it more probable that he will click through to read your content.
Example: “What would you do to make your vacation in Vietnam unforgettable?”
Example in Vietnamese: “Bạn sẽ làm gì để có kỳ nghỉ không thể nào quên tại Việt Nam?”
Similar to the previous one, when your start the headline with “Why” the audience will expect to receive the answer via your content. The idea is to provoke curiosity and this “itch” in the readers’ mind make them click on to read the content in the hope of alleviating the curiosity.
Example: “Why is Vietnam an attractive place?”
Example in Vietnamese: “Tại sao Việt Nam là một địa điểm thu hút?”
Similar to these single words listed, the audience always love to discover, to learn about what successful and interesting people are doing. By using superlative and positive adjectives related to “people” readers will want to know more through the article.
Example: “The most peaceful people in Vietnam”.
Example in Vietnamese: “Những người thân thiện nhất tại Việt Nam”.
Stick the word “video” in the headline
Obviously seeing a video is more interesting than reading a bloc of text. So if your content is an exciting video, why don’t you put “video” in the headline?
Example: “Why Vietnam should be your destination in the summer vacation? (Video)”
Example in Vietnamese: “Tại sao Việt Nam nên là điểm đến cho kỳ nghỉ mùa hè của ban? (Video)”
Here are the ranking of some two and three-word phrases that can be used in your headlines:
Reproduced from searchenginejournal.com
Ranking of two-word and three-word phrases:
“The most”: using this term makes the reader assume that the author has a certain level of authority, he will be intrigued by such an assertion and his argumentative side will instantly become curious and can drive him to read the content to confirm or to challenge the author’s opinion.
“How to”, the most popular one: by beginning a headline with these words you create an expectation, readers will expect an immediate value after reading your content. You are promising to a certain extent to provide value to your audience.
Reproduced from searchenginejournal.com
“What happen when” and “This is what”: This kind of headline promises to explain and will also create an expectation of receiving value to the reader.
There are many tips to write the perfect headline: what words you should use, how you should phrase your title and so on. While these will definitely help you write better headline and increase your click through rate, remember that you’re writing for people, and your headline, while they should be attractive, should sound human as well.