What’s the ultimate goal of your content?
Being able to answer such a question should be relatively simple and straightforward, whether you’re trying to build your base of patients, educate new readers about physical therapy or simply gain traction in the SERPs.
However, there should be a larger goal in mind for your content: that is, you should strive to provide value to your readers as quickly and succinctly as possible.
Think about it: today’s readers have incredibly small attention spans. If we aren’t doing everything we can throughout our content, such as picking fresh blog topics, writing punchy copy to and using captivating imagery, chances are that we’re losing out on potential business.
What’s the remedy?
Modern brands must do everything they possibly can to grab their readers’ attention, and there’s perhaps no better way to do so through killer headlines.
The Hidden Value of Headlines
David Ogilvy, often referred to as the father of modern copywriting, acknowledges headlines as the most important element of any piece of copy. Considering that readers are five times as likely to read your headline versus the body or your article or advertisement, it’s crucial that your headlines pack a punch.
Even if you don’t consider yourself an expert “writer” or are relying on someone else to take care of your physical therapy site’s written content, consider the following benefits of carefully crafted headlines for your blog posts, social media updates and future offers. From allowing your practice’s personality to shine to encouraging links and shares, headlines can make or break your content strategy if you don’t get them your full attention.
The Secret Purpose of Any Headline
First and foremost, be aware that the purpose of any headline is overlooked by most businesses.
The purpose of any headline is to get readers interested in the first sentence of your copy. Once you’ve gotten readers into the body of your message, you’re golden. Many writers and marketers alike overthink headlines, obsessed over the elements of SEO or fear of potentially misleading readers.
Let’s use an example of a potential blog post for your physical therapy site detailing tips for pain management, in which “pain management” is also target keyword. Which of the following stands out the most?
“Pain Management Tips” versus “Pain, Pain Go Away! Four Simple Pain Management Tips.”
The latter headline has personality, presents itself as easy to digest through its list format and nails the target keyword on the head.
Now, consider how implementing some classic copywriting principles can help you revamp your current headlines that may be lacking.
Time-Tested Principles of Killer Headlines
Headlines comes in many shapes and sizes, quite literally. We’re often restricted by the need to implement keywords or fit within a character limit; however, such constraints simply force us to rely on our sense of creativity.
Writers have relied on the following tips for decades to encourage reader response through headlines. Whether you’re relying on a combination of the following principles:
Emotion - Whether playing on your audience’s fears, insecurities or personal desires, headlines that tug the heartstrings will always perform well (“These Habits Could Be Taking Years Off Your Life)
Urgency - Readers today need incentive to read through a long-form article: therefore, frame your content as time-sensitive (“Healthcare Hacks That Can Help You Save Today”)
Exclusivity - Give your readers the notion that they’re getting content that they simple can’t find from a competitor (“We Uncovered the 7 Best Stretch to Relieve Your Back Pain”)
Headlines should always work to pique the curiosity of your readers, driving them to get to that coveted first sentence.
The Power of “You”
Did you notice how the word “you” was central in each of the previous headline examples? That’s no coincidence.
Regardless of the scope of your physical therapy content, understand that your readers and potential patients should be the center of your copy. For each piece that you craft, headlines included, ask yourself the following questions:
- How will my content benefit the reader? (Use “how-to” headlines, for example)
- What action will my reader be driven to take when they’re finished? (What’s your CTA?)
- How does my content differ from what’s already out there? (What are you putting out versus your competitors?)
Whether you’re providing a list that’s easy to digest or a straightforward how-to guide, the concept of “you” should be central to your headlines and copy.
What About SEO?
Although the principles of strong headlines can be simplified, how can we combine them with the principles of SEO?
Headlines typically perform best when they’re between six and twelve words; however, keep in mind that the Yoast SEO recommends no more than 70 characters for a post title. As noted earlier, keywords can be fit into just about any headline, although you may have to get somewhat economical with words if you’re using a longer term such as “physical therapy clinic.”
Chances are you have the creativity and tools at your disposal to craft content and headlines; however, it’s easy to get overwhelmed trying to mesh these concepts while also attempting to rank in the SERPs. If you need help managing your physical therapy content strategy, consider how PatientSites can help strengthen your search presence.