One of the most powerful headline types you can use to grab your reader’s attention is the “reason-why” headline.
Every popular website you can think of uses this headline type because it consistently gets us to click.
- 5 Surprising Reasons You’re Not Losing Weight (Health.com)
- 50 reasons why NYC is the greatest city in the world (Timeout.com)
- Five Reasons Why PS4 Should Outsell Xbox One (Forbes.com)
These headlines are captivating because they promise answers to a pressing question you have. The more you care about the subject, the more likely you are to click.
You’ve been jogging for 8 months, and you don’t know why you still have a muffin top. A headline promising several explanations is definitely going to tempt you to click on it.
You can use this attractive headline type to get your readers to read your content—so long as you’re providing an answer to a question they have.
Reason-why articles are easy to read
Reason-why articles are almost always written in list format.
You would break up an article titled “5 Reasons Why Your Landing Pages Suck” into 5 numbered sections.
By breaking articles into small sections, you make them easy to read. Online readers do not want to read a long page of uninterrupted text.
Use sub-headings to break up your content into sections like so:
Sub-headings also make it easy for your readers to scan your article—a big must on the Web. Research from the Nielsen Norman Group shows that nearly 80% of Web readers scan Web pages.
Lesson? If you want your readers to be happy with your content, use sub-headings (that your readers will care about) to make you articles easy to read and easy to scan.
Leave “reasons” out of it
You can easily substitute the “reasons why” part of the headline with something else.
“Ways” is a popular word. For example, “5 Ways to Make Money Online.”
You could also take out “reason” and go with a “why” headline like in this example:
CNN creates curiosity by asking a question that people following the Snowden story will care about.
The video tempts you to click by promising an answer.
Here’s another example of a “why” headline.
Notice that a strong image can add a lot of appeal to a headline. Keep that in mind.
When should you use this headline type?
Your headlines should always say something your readers care about.
So you can use reason-why headlines to answer questions your readers have.
Or to bring up a topic you think they would care about.
You can also use them to create interest on the subject of the article. Reason-why headlines are designed to spike your curiosity.
Think about the He-Man headline.
I don’t think there were swarms of people trying to find out why the 1985 Stinkor action figure still stinks 30 years later.
Yet, as of this writing, the article earned 524 Tweets. That’s a lot.
It goes to show you how powerful a reason-why headline can be—especially when coupled with a strong image.
Does why catch your eye?
Which reason why headlines caught your attention lately? Do you rely on these headlines to entice your readers?