Could This Headline Technique Double Your Click-Throughs Too?

Could This Headline Technique Double Your Click-Throughs Too?

Reader Comments (51)

  1. This sounds a lot like the way that Upworthy crafts the headlines for their posts. Although they’re not always in the form of a question, they almost always invoke a strong sense of curiosity. I’ll definitely be doing some experimentation with this to see if I can make it work for me. Thanks.

    • Yes, Upworthy is very successful at generating curiosity with the headline. This is one area where headline writers must be careful though, because hype can generate curiosity … but if the post itself doesn’t deliver, your reader won’t be happy or impressed. So generate curiosity, but just makes sure it’s commensurate with what you are actually going to deliver with the content.

      • “If the post itself doesn’t deliver” the entire premise of Upworthy!

        Thanks for making a great point that I’ve been thinking about as well. I truly hate headlines that are just click bait but don’t live up to the promise. It actually makes me not click their links again.

        People online today don’t have a lot of time to read. Dooping them into reading something that doesn’t provide what was promised seems to be a good way to lose a potential repeat reader.

        I do like the idea of the Jeopardy-style headline, providing the question is answered in the post!

  2. Ha, ha! Made me click!

    Your headline is a prime example of this idea. When I looked in my Mailwasher program, where I can see only the “from” and subject line, this one stood out.

    I had no option but to click. (Sob, sob) I couldn’t help myself!

    And you’re right about overusing it. Too much of good thing can hurt, even Jello! Well, maybe not jello.

    With all of the great ideas for headlines available, especially in the Copyblogger eBook, you can rotate them around, which also keeps your writing fresh.

    I never write a headline without the good old “Magnetic Headlines” book in front of me. My PDF is dog-eared!

    Great article, Jerrod. Thanks for an excellent start to a Monday Morning!

    • This also got me, the only different heading in the bulk of my inbox, I saw this in almost all marketing sites but since I know copyblogger and the content that it’s producing I made my click. Its all about of curiosity of knowing the answer to the question and also include the site authority of where it came from.

    • You’re welcome Steve, and thanks for the comment. I’m glad the headline worked on you as well. Copyblogger has a long history of “teaching by doing” … so I just wanted to follow suit. ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. Ahhh, the power of a relevant question! It triggers curiosity that can’t be ignored. Doing so would invalidate our daily hard work to realize the relevant topic.

    I appreciate the additional insight on the 4 U’s as well.

    Thanks you Jerod,

    Joel

  4. Questions within your headline might be questions to what many readers or visitors are looking for anyways.

    That’s why question titles are important to incorporate once in a while in your content production in order to target directly the minds of your readers in the form of questions since many problems are asked in the form of questions anyways.

    Remember, just like Jerod mentioned, questions that asks a big problem in the niche will attract more clicks.

    Always make sure to provide your highest quality words after the words of your headline.

    Far too many writers use the question headline only to find they aren’t unique “Jeopardy Effect” and don’t provide much help on the other side.

    Thanks for the insightful and eye-opening post Jerod!

    – Sam

    • You’re welcome, thanks for the comment Samuel. And you make a great point: your blog post needs to open with a bang, otherwise you might lose readers right after the click on the headline. Our next episode of The Lede will cover this.

  5. Thanks for this great addition to The 4 U formula.

    Don’t know whether question headlines are over-used or under-noticed. Fact is, I can’t remember having read another one today.

    For a quick sanity check, I might want to google today’s headlines that end with a question mark. If you have a smart Google Search tip, lemme know :-]

    • I think good question headlines are under-used. I see a lot of question headlines (or at least I feel like I do), that are gimmicky or hype-y. Sometimes just a straightforward question, that your post will answer (important!), is the best possibly headline you could use.

      As for the Google search tip, I’m not sure on that one. If anyone knows, do tell. ๐Ÿ™‚

  6. I love Jeopardy and liked the headline.

    I’ll use more question headlines in my posts, but I won’t over do it. Whenever I’m stuck, I refer to my headline swipe file and “Confessions of an Advertising Man.” Plus, reading newspaper, blog and magazine headlines helps me to write headlines.

  7. Actually, I think the term “Jeopardy Effect” has more to do with why anyone would HAVE TO read this article than anything. Curiosity about what that is, specifically, is what draws the clicks. If the headline would have been “Can You Double Your Clicks With Headlines That Ask Questions?” I suspect it would have suffered a far worse click-through rate. Sure, many people would have read it to find out the answer but twice as many people probably read it to find out both.

    • Scott, that would have been very interesting to test. I do agree that the “Jeopardy Effect” created curiosity that helped drive clicks … but remember that the data in the original post showed the doubling of clicks across many headlines that did not include such a term. ๐Ÿ™‚

  8. Yes, it made me click. Very clever. I need to try this on my site. I am working on new titles for my free reports and know the 4 p’s and 4 u’s are really going to be helpful. I am going to check my subject lines in my drip campaigns and make some adjustments to them.

  9. Wow it made me click Jerod!

    That is awesome! I just joined the my.coppyblogger now and downloaded it!
    In fact even before downloading an idea for a post entered my brain.

    It’s amazing how blog post ideas form quickly in our heads. My grey matter was in overdrive today and I banged out 4 of them 2 guest posts and 2 on my own blog.

    I suppose my post “Can you Jeopardise yourself by blogging daily” will be my fifth of the day seeing as I have just over 2 hours left till midnight! Yay look at that I used the word Jeopardise and asked a question in my title. Something I have never done before in my blogging career!

    Thanks for your epic share Jerod it’s just inspired me to write my 5th blog post of the day!

    Be Strong Blogging
    – PD

  10. Very interesting idea I must admit. Never thought of making a headline to be a question, even I think saw similar question headlines before few times. This could be working, I’ll test it on my PPC campaign and see it by myself.
    Just I think here you also need to be creative, and make a short eye catching question title, to atract visitors to make them click it.

    Thanks for sharing your trick and big support for great work!

    Best regards,
    Roman

  11. We as human beings are curious by nature, Headlines which end which a question are so important when it comes to email marketing. It helps us stand of from crowd. Great article.

  12. Jerod,

    The odd question here and there taps into the train-wreck effect. We just need to know. Gotta stop. Also, the rubber-necking effect known to people from the Tri-state in the US ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Thanks for sharing Jerod, smart post!

  13. The resulting traffic is known as a “gapers block” in Chicago, Ryan. Gapers are a bad thing on the Dan Ryan, but a good thing on your website! ๐Ÿ™‚

    Roger

  14. Arousing curiosity and promising a benefit in a single sentence – pretty much the perfect way to get someone’s attention. Helps people select themselves out too, if they are not interested in doubling their clicks, there’s not much point in reading the article.

    Not only is the post itself excellent, (thank you, Jerod), but it provides a great example of practicing what you are preaching. Two thumbs up.

  15. Dang it, Jerod! I am blown away at how effective that headline was! I was scrolling through my G+ feed and snubbed every link, but when I got to your headline my immediate thought was “That. I want to read about that.” I don’t know if it was my interest in copywriting and writing good headlines that made me click through, or just the tantalizing offer of the headline itself, but regardless; I’m here, I’m reading, and now I’m commenting. You’re a wizard buddy ๐Ÿ˜‰

    • Thank you Chase. Glad it worked! We like to teach by doing here at Copyblogger. ๐Ÿ™‚ And if you’re going to totally copy the strategy of a site, Neuromarketing is a great one to copy. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  16. I love reading this. My most effective and well-responded emails sent out for my current employer have been those with questions as a subject line. I ask the question that I believe the readers are asking – and oftentimes they respond. I tried it on a whim. Nice to know there’s info backing up the practice. But yes, like all things in life, moderation is the key.

  17. Great post Jerod! While I like the question headline because it does work when trying to pull a reader into copy…I think the other two very important elements he put in the headline were: 1) He used “YOU” and “YOUR” to personalize it, and 2) the Big Benefit (Double Your Clicks)

    I think many times, although a headline doesn’t rate a “10” on the excitement or cleverness scale, it can boost response significantly just because it includes these two elements…

    as proven in this A/B test: http://tinyurl.com/lwmyxez

  18. Glad I read that last paragraph before I rushed off and changed all the headlines on my blog to read as questions.

    ๐Ÿ™‚

    Great hack Jerod. Thanks.

    I agree that question headlines are a great way to engage people (provided they are used in moderation). Answering a question is so completely drilled into our psyches that we can’t help but respond to a question.

    • You’re welcome Layne! Writing good headlines is not easy. I must have spent the better part of a half hour working on a headline today for just one post. Wrote out so many iterations I lost count. Always a great exercise though, and every time you get a little bit better.

  19. I actually liked the “Jeopardy Effect” part more than the “Double” part. The Jeopardy effect idea was great…I thought I “should” know what that meant, but I wasn’t sure. I would have definitely clicked through just to see what in the heck that was and if I was right.

    The big question, however, is what happens next after I satisfy my curiosity about the Jeopardy Effect. Do I keep reading or just leave. That’s a big question for me concerning headlines like this.

    • Lee, great point. That’s why the opening of the blog post must be great (check back here tomorrow for a great post on this topic by Henneke) and why you must do your research and know your topic to be able to provide the value your readers are expecting and deserve.

    • Lee, every headline runs the risk of being a letdown if the content doesn’t follow through. Manipulating someone to click with an intriguing headline is possible but won’t produce results if the content doesn’t deliver on the promise.

      • Right on that! If I had to choose either/or, I would rather have a weaker headline that was completely fulfilled by the copy of the post, than have a headline that rocked, but the post didn’t fulfill. One means you have a lower open rate, but the people who read are generally content with the information they got. The other means you’ve “p’d” off quite a few folks. Generally, not a great idea for a marketer.

    • To get a little bit Yogi Berra about it, you need to spend 90% of your best thinking on the headline, then the other 90% on writing a really awesome post to justify the headline.

  20. Jerod- Sounds like this approach might also work to grab the attention of an audience during a presentation or maybe in court during an opening statement or closing argument. I like it. Captures attention right off the bat. Thanks!

  21. Great post and very good reminder that using questions works, and not just as a headline. It not only arouses curiosity, but “forces” people to engage. They see it, and can’t help but ask themselves the question. And when the answer can go either way (yay or nay), then you just have to click and find out. The beauty of human nature: we’re really damn curious ๐Ÿ™‚

  22. Interesting – I started crafting different style headlines when I realized a jiu jitsu aggregate site was more likely to post my articles if I had the word BJJ or Jiu Jitsu in the title. I started to notice which headlines I was most likely to click on, and started changing them a bit based on that.

    I haven’t done any question headlines yet, but I like the idea, though part of me really hates clickbait and feels like it’s a sort of cheap way to get folks there. But – I get it – if it works, more people read. It just ends up feeling SLIGHTLY like I’m a rube falling for a carnie. ๐Ÿ™

This article's comments are closed.