With content creation a vital piece of your marketing strategy, the headlines you use on your website’s posts as well as across social media are absolutely critical. You want them to be as searchable as possible through keywords. You want them to convey to your target audience just what your company’s purpose is. You also want them to be eye-catching enough to stop people who are scrolling through social media feeds.

Thankfully, there is a formula that works well: “How To [Achieve X] While [Saving or Also Achieving Y] Without [Sacrificing Z].” An example of this would be:

How to Get a Summer Glow With Cruelty-Free Organic Cream Blush And Without Spending a Fortune On Ethical Makeup

“How to” do anything instantly signals readers there’s information to be found in reading the article, and some value they’ll gain by spending their time with your content.

Another Equation to Consider

Consumers have wants and needs, but usually, something stops them from fulfilling those wants and needs. Your company has the necessary tools to remove that obstacle and resolve the client’s needs. Getting your brand in front of clients looking for your specific problem-solving skills is the trick, and a great headline will do that for you.

Susan is looking for help removing a tree stump from her front yard. She can’t do it herself, so what’s her likely next step? A search online. If your headline is Remove Troublesome Tree Stumps Yourself Without Breaking Your Back, Susan might be very interested. If she’s got a low budget for such a service, she’ll be particularly interested knowing doing the work on her own will save her money. She’ll click on the article.

When she reads the various methods of removing the stump—grinding it down with special equipment, pulling it out with a 4-wheel-drive truck, burning it with chemicals or fire—Susan could decide each method is too dangerous to attempt herself, or she doesn’t have the right equipment. Susan now sees that you:

  • know what you’re talking about
  • can infer that you already have the right equipment
  • are going to help her find a solution that works for her, not just try to sell her a service

Susan then calls you for a quote.

Your article got Susan’s attention because you offered her information to make an educated decision about how to proceed with her tree stump removal. Susan’s Problem + Your Company’s Expertise = Susan’s Problem Solved.

Sales Pitches Are So Passé

The number one rule of content marketing—besides having it at all—is to provide value.

You want people to learn something from your content that will make their lives better.

Do that well, and you build trust with your audience.

By formulating your headlines in this manner, you’re putting the problem you solve for your customers front and center:

  • How To Save Money with Smart Investing on a Budget
  • Learn Spanish Fluently Without Classes or Expensive Computer Programs
  • How to Shop for Organic Groceries on a Small Budget While Also Saving the Planet

You’re telling your target audience you have solutions to the obstacles they have for living the way they want, all while making it easy for them to search their specific problem and find you via the keywords in your headline.

Be Realistic

If you promise the world in your headline, it will come across as impossible, and the target you’re trying to reach won’t waste their time even clicking.

So instead of Big Sweeping Pitches, keep it real. How to Decorate Your House and Make It Magazine Worthy for Less Than $100 doesn’t sound possible. And for such a low figure, even if it’s possible, readers could conclude the advice on home decorations will be tacky and cheap and they’ll go browse Pinterest instead.

How to Transform Your Home Decor from Ho-Hum to Wow on a Shoestring Budget is much more doable.

The more realistic you come across, the less you sound like a carnival barker shouting about the outrageous to get a few people to play a rigged game.

Keep it real.

Keep it interesting.

And keep it from being clickbait.

Everyone has seen those “articles,” (I use the term loosely) about following this “one simple trick” to achieve “enormous goals” such as saving several hundred thousand on a home refinance, or losing over a hundred pounds by eating one magical food.

No one’s fooled by those.

The best part of honing your headlines like this is you practice various ways of condensing the core of your business to a few words, and achieving the ultimate Elevator Pitch.

You have less than 10 words to prove to people you have something valuable to offer.

The better you are at the headlines, the more likely you’ll get the click-throughs, and the more eyes will land on your brand. Win-win-win.

We can overhaul your headlines and elevator pitches. Learn how with our marketing newsletter.