How Are Your Verbal Headlines?


(By Randy Lane) Headlines are vital to attracting your audience’s attention. A well-crafted headline also piques curiosity and creates a sense of urgency and desire to hear or read more. The same applies to email subject lines, online posts, and presentations.

Headlines don’t just grab attention; they dictate whether listeners, viewers, or readers will invest their time in your content. They hold the power to shape the initial perception of your content.

Why are headlines the most important part of your content? The best content segment of the year will go unheard by many without a gripping headline. People rely on headlines online to decide if they’ll click the link. They are instrumental in driving engagement and content sharing.

Many P1 or loyal listeners will listen to a content segment without an engaging headline on radio. However, when you start talking, non-P1 listeners give you only eight or nine seconds to decide whether they’ll listen to your content. To grow your audience, you must attract new listeners or convert cume listeners to fans.

Headlines must be clear, concise, and memorable to effectively communicate the essence of your content and compel the audience to listen, read, or view it. This is why RLC coaches shows to start all content segments and topics with an alluring headline.

ABC World News Tonight continues to increase its lead as the most-watched network newscast. Watch how David Muir starts the newscast with headline teases previewing upcoming content.

8 Ways to Craft Enticing Headlines

Online marketing company Constant Contact suggests eight tips to improve headlines. I’ve modified these tips to include radio shows and podcasts.

  1. Use active voicePeople can lose weight using these ideas (passive voice) vs. five ways to lose weight immediately (active voice).
  2. Be conciseLike with billboard copy, the fewer words, the better. Experts say six words is the ideal length of a great headline tease. More important is the impact of the first and last three words of your headline.
  3. Make sense. Be clear with your headline. Many talents try to be clever and deliver headlines that sound more like riddles.
  4. Spark curiosity. Foreshadow content with a headline that establishes a mystery you’ll resolve in the segment. Example: Most people are unaware of the hidden fees when investing online.
  5. Use numbers. People are drawn to numbered headlines online because they’re easy to scan. For example, here are five tips to improve your relationship.
  6. Include a reason to listen. Present the problem and solution in the headline. How to support your mental health in challenging times.
  7. Write for your brand and target audience. Is your brand’s voice humorous, sarcastic, or authoritative? Like your content, your headlines and teases must reflect your target audience.
  1. Use powerful words. Emotional words like “guaranteed,” “free,” and “instantly” stand out more.

Final word:
What are the primary benefits of headlines?

  • Trigger curiosity in your content.
  • Evoke emotions.
  • Demonstrate relevance.
  • Highlight and distinguish your content.

Randy Lane is the owner of the Randy Lane Company, which coaches and brands radio and television personalities, business professionals, sports personalities, entrepreneurs, and pop culture artists, helping them master communication skills to have an impact on their audiences. Read Randy’s Radio Ink archives here.


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