You probably have noticed that quite a few stories, blogs and other content have “lists” in their headlines – such as the headline on this posting.
This one is meant to be a bit tongue-in-cheek. After all, there ARE 10 words in my headline.
If you’re scratching your head wondering what in the heck Scott is talking about, just take a look at a quick scan of a few of my own headlines on my AccountingWeb blog:
- 5 Ways to Improve Your LinkedIn Status Updates
- 3 Reasons We Don’t Blog (and How to Get Back to Blogging)
- 3 No-Brainer Ways to Get Your Name in the News
While I don’t use a “list” headline every time because it would be overkill, the reason to use a number in a headline is because it draws the reader in. In short, the reader thinks he or she is going to learn something more specific than would be possible in a story without a “list” headline.
Years ago, I picked this concept up from someone who was very well versed in content. It is actually nicknamed the “Cosmopolitan Effect” because when you see magazines on a newsstand – like Cosmopolitan (no, I don’t read that one), you are constantly drawn in with lots of list headlines on the covers.
If you’re writing and publishing content in the accounting profession, try this and see if you get more engagement on your articles. The number of seconds an average person spends scanning headlines is about 4 seconds. It doesn’t work every time; you have to have quality content, of course, to keep your readers coming back … but it is a really effective way to get attention within a very short amount of time.