3 eye-catching headlines that effectively communicate expertise
Establish yourself as an Authority in your field and never go hungry again
A great way to attract clients is to position yourself as an Authority in your domain (Authority is one of the 6 social triggers discussed in a previous post). People want to follow a leader with Authority--not only is it deeply engrained human trait, but we are also socialized from a young age to listen to those in authority (e.g., our teachers). A good title is a remarkably effective way to convey Authority in your domain, whether it is used in a blog post or an email subject line.
Fortunately, getting a client's attention is easier than it sounds. It doesn't require a lot of creativity, just a little understanding of the psychology of attention.
What is Authority
The principal of Authority is the tendency to trust and follow people in positions of power. This innate drive could be explained by reasoning that this person has achieved their position of influence through some combination of talent and hard-earned experience. This effect then extends to expertise, in fact, it is practically synonymous as we view power being derived (at least in part) from relevant expertise.
How to create Authority
Authority being derived from expertise means that nearly anyone can be an Authority on some specific thing. Step one is to know yourself and what subject you excel in. Step two is to let others know it (without coming off as a know-it-all). Step three is to expand your sphere of influence, keep learning and sharing your new expertise.
That's it, three steps to become an Authority in your field. A moment to get started, and a whole career to grow!
In this blog post, I will examine 3 headlines of published works and discuss why they are so effective and how you can tailor them to your audience.
How to Win Friends and Influence People
-book by Dale Carnegie
Having sold over 30 million copies world-wide, Dale Carnegie's little self-help book is one of the best-selling books of all time. The book's enormous success is due, in part, to a great headline.
"How to" headlines are great in that they imply expertise and position the author as an Authority on the subject. Ask yourself what you can tell your potential clients how to do. Nothing sells a service like having tried to do it yourself first, ask any plumber.
What everybody ought to know...About This Stock And Bond Business
-Merrill Lynch advertisement from 1948-1965
This was the headline for a newspaper advertisement that resulted in millions of leads for Merrill Lynch. The headline evokes the reader's curiosity. The reader wonders if he/she will learn something new and valuable, or if they have been making mistakes with their money.
This type of headline again conveys Authority since the author is telling the reader about things they should know. Use this type of headline to talk about issues that are relevant to your market. It's a lot like school, we all want to know what's going to be on the test.
The 7 Surprising Ways To Lose Weight Without Exercise
-blog post by Andrea Atkins at Huffington Post
List articles are very effective and often shared on social media because they are compelling and succinct. The specificity provided in the headline (7 ways) is very compelling to readers and the fact that these ways are "surprising" further evokes feelings that the author knows something special.
Be specific about your expertise and approach your writing with a beginners mindset. Before you were an expert what was surprising, exciting and challenging? Know your audience, you are the Authority and you are writing to the uninitiated.
You don't have to be a creative genius to come up with headlines that are effective at getting your prospect's attention. Of course, the article you write should deliver on the promise made in the headline. Play around with the types of headings described in this article and see what works for you!