The power of a great headline applies to all forms of content. Whether you’re writing for infographics or promoting webinars, your headline is what will make the difference to open rates and click-throughs. It will make, or break, a campaign.

One of the most compelling ways to up your open rates is to use proven high performance words and follow a basic formula. It may sound simple, but it works. Many make the mistake of trying to make headlines too clever or obscure, but what you should be doing is making it immediately clear what your article will deliver.

As experts in creating digital adverts for financial brands which achieve cut-through, we’ve found the following are the 49 words found in best performing headlines:

 

Number or Year: 5, 7, 9, 10, YYYY, The No. 1

Question: How, to, What, Why, When, Which, Will, Compare

Adjective: Top, Exclusive, Special, Essential, Critical, Key, Best, Worst, You(r)

Benefit: Ways, Rules, Tips, Facts, Lessons, Reasons, Principles, Secrets, Mistakes, Steps

Opportunity: Free, New, Easy, Now, Quick, Last, Chance, Save, Discover, Don’t, Miss, (N)ever

Media: Magazine, Report, Guide, Video, DVD, Whitepaper, Download

(The list above includes: Ogilvy List + Jeff Goins List + dianomi List – Compliance headaches)

 

The formula = Number or Question + Adjective + Benefit + Keyword + Opportunity + Media.

 

But it’s not enough just to apply the formula. The key to success is taking the formula and applying it to your own audience, evaluating what works best for them. Changing just one word can make a huge difference. Measuring and tracking results for all campaigns will help build a picture of what works best, as well as carrying out AB testing to optimise the results. Knowing your target audience and identifying what will resonate should be at the heart of all your digital content. Get the right message in the right place at the right time, and you’ll see results.

Essentially, it’s about blending science and art – combining the science of a winning formula, with the art of knowing your audience and what will appeal most to them.

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