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How do I write a good subject to increase readership?

Online content, including email, is a study in supply and demand. While there’s no shortage in the supply of articles, the demand is dwindling. The average reader doesn’t have the time or interest to click on every story he sees online. So, how can you increase the demand of your content?

Click bait. It’s a popular practice that has been proven effective: more eye-catching headlines generate more clicks. Websites like Huffington Post, Buzzfeed, Upworthy and The Onion have all mastered the art of click bait – some more effectively than others. Upworthy averages about 75,000 Facebook likes per article, which is 12 times that of its click bait peer, Buzzfeed.

After analyzing what makes a headline “click-worthy,” we compiled a list of best practices:

Ensure quality content. Recently, Facebook announced that the company is cracking down on click bait articles that lead to disappointing stories. So if your headline makes a promise, your article must deliver. This is also true with email subjects, in accordance with the CAN-SPAM Act. If your article also serves as an email, you cannot use misleading headers to generate more clicks.

Convey importance. Think of how many headlines you filter through in a given day. For an article to be well-received, it must seem imperative. Incorporate strong action verbs to grab the reader’s attention.

Question the reader. This relates to the reader’s pride. We all want to believe that we are intelligent people, good parents or and informed citizens. When these qualities are questioned, readers will feel compelled to click.

Make it personal. Online readers often feel anonymous, and they yearn to feel acknowledged. When you focus on one person or group of people, the article seems more personal. Try adding “you” or a group of people (“millennials” or “working parents”) to your headlines.

There’s a science to making headlines “click-worthy.” And as with other sciences, experimentation is key. Try using the tips above to see what is most effective for you!
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