For instance the headline “23 ways to communicate with a non-verbal child” struck a cord with me, because it made me paint a picture in my mind of a parent and child in a bonding relationship, where you don’t need words to express yourself.
When a headline becomes more than a collection of words and when it paints a vivid picture or makes the reader feel something, that’s when it becomes truly powerful.
Is there also a surprise element because of the juxtaposition of “communicate” and “non-verbal”, because a reader might think of verbal communication first?
Yes, this is a smart point from Ruth – contrast can add intrigue and draw extra attention to your headline.
Now I wonder… how long is too long?
This is what I just wrote on Mike’s thread:
I try to keep my headlines to a maximum of 80 characters (incl spaces) as this makes them tweetable and retweetable. From a search engine perspective, it’s important to have the main words in the first 55 characters as the headline may cut off in the search results. For instance:
I prefer this order: A Lazy Girl’s Guide to Wooing Web Visitors With Landing Page Copy, but it’s 65 characters, so I changed it to: A Lazy Girl’s Guide to Landing Page Copy That Woos Web Visitors => Landing Page Copy would be visible in the search results if I get this blog post to rank.
How many benefits should I state in a headline if there are many?
The general rule is the higher your number, the more social shares you’ll get. Big numbers stand out in social media streams. There’s a little downside, however, as some people get disheartened when they see a big number and they may feel they don’t have the time to read your post. But I’d think this would happen until you get well over 20. So if you have 11 reasons, then I’d list all of them.
And I always try to avoid round numbers like 10 and 20 as they look a little forced. 11 or 13 or 9 is more intriguing 🙂
Enchant readers. Woo customers. Win business.