newsletter titlesThe quality of your content is only important if readers’ eyes see it. For this to happen, you need compelling headlines; if you don’t have then, you will score exactly zero views. When it comes to writing newsletter headlines, this is perhaps more important than ever. Newsletters are, at best, a pleasant surprise; most of the time they are not even worth the time it takes to delete them.

This blog post is a great place to start for copywriting tips. Combine this with the landing page basics offered by this course on how to boost newsletter readership and sales, and you’ll see why online content is finally getting the respect it deserves.

1. It’s Not A Newsletter

If Coke started advertising it’s products as sugary, teeth-melting, high-fructose corn syrup beverages, they would essentially commit advertising suicide. So whatever you do, don’t think about or even mention the word “newsletter” when you write your headlines. I don’t care if the newsletter is about a recently discovered asteroid that’s going to end life as we know it, if the headline is, “Apocalyptic Asteroid Newsletter,” I’m not interested.

Calling a newsletter a newsletter is like calling an iPhone a phone. It’s highlighting its most unsurprising, un-exciting features; phones have been around for decades, after all, as have newsletters. Instead, focus on shorter, more powerful words. “How-To” content is proving to be incredibly valuable, and even the words “Reports,” “Guide,” and, surprisingly, “News” are better at catching readers’ attentions.

If you aren’t doing keyword research, you’re way, way behind. Bring yourself back to the 21st century with this post on how to use keyword lists to create targeted content.

2. What’s In It For Me?

Everyone’s time is valuable, so respect that fact. Don’t just send out bland titles with bland content and expect to be rewarded because someone happened to (accidentally) click on your boring newsletter. What am I going to get out of reading your newsletter vs. reading Mashable? Mashable can protect me from the Heartbleed virus, what can you do?

If your company specializes in marketing trends, then how can you impart your knowledge in a way that benefits the reader? To do this, you need be very specific. You need to express exactly what the newsletter is going to do for the reader in the headline. Are you explaining the newest TV marketing trends of the month? What about the truths of Facebook advertising?

Part of doing this successfully is forecasting interest. For example, a newsletter about MySpace is so outdated it’s almost unbelievable that I’m even mentioning it now. Relevance is key, so play off of it.

is not going to be as effective as

3. Where The Action’s At

Everyone wants to be where the action is, especially in business, so add some appeal to your newsletter title. The easiest way to do this is communicate an action or result into your headline. There is an easy, fool-proof way to accomplish this: use verbs. Verbs are action words, and you only need one to make your title jump off the page.

Still, there is a certain degree of strategy involved and there’s tons of good information out there (get awesome advice from iMarketer Training with this content marketing class for small businesses). If you’re going for shock-value, you want to place the verb at the beginning of the title, preferably the first word. But if you’re going for the most concise communication of what the newsletter contains, it’ll be worth the time to think of the most appropriate verb. Here are examples of bad and good shock value, respectively:

Here are examples of concise communication (bad vs. good):

4. Fifty Ideas Are Better Than One

Even if the first idea you have ends up being the one you go with, you should still generate loads more than you would ever need. Not only does this help you come up with better ideas, it helps you build up a log of headlines you can turn to when you’re stumped. So, needless to say, write down all your title ideas and store them in a safe place. This way, whether you’re short on creative juice or short on time, you have a back-up plan.

You should also keep track of which headlines garner the most views. What about them is so appealing? How can you recycle this process? You’d be amazed at what you can track just by using Google Analytics. Learn more than you could ever want to know with this top-rated Google Analytics mastery course.

5. It’s Not About You

Believe it or not, one of the fundamental strategies of writing headlines and content is to avoid mentioning your company name, if possible. Honestly, this will just drive people away. JW Marketing Digital Ideas sounds about as appealing as raw chicken. Not only does it make you sound desperate to get your name out there, it’s just plain tacky; even if you’re not desperate, you must be vain as hell to sacrifice a good headline just to see your name in print.

Instead, keep your focus on what your content is really about. Presumably, your content will discuss things your company does or news relevant to your field. And this, truly, is what people are interested in; by attracting them to this information, they will automatically be ushered into your digital space.

It doesn’t take much, but a little planning, a little know-how and a little creative elbow grease will go a long way to attracting more viewers. Help establish your company as an industry leader with this sweet course on using content marketing to become known as an expert.

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