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7 Tips for Writing a Successful Headline for TOFU Content

7 Tips for Writing a Successful Headline for TOFU Content

By Brianne Carlon RushAug 21 /2012

successful tofu headlinesWe have been talking a lot about top-of-the-funnel content here at Kuno. In fact, the term “TOFU” just rolls of our tongues so easily now that it is starting to become existent in conversations where people have no clue what we are talking about. (Then we have to explain that we are not referring to what Dan eats for lunch.) But perhaps what we don’t talk about enough is what makes successful TOFU content. As a former journalist, I tend to put a lot of responsibility on the headline. So I am breaking down what makes a valuable and effective TOFU headline.

You might be asking what makes TOFU headlines different from any other headline, and you would be right to wonder. You could certainly apply the following best practices to any headline, but they apply to TOFU content directly because of the goal of the content: TOFU content should appeal to as many people within your targeted buyer persona as possible. This means the busy executives who delete most of the emails in their inboxes, skeptical leads, and anyone else who may not necessarily open your content but should. Once leads have made it down the sales funnel, they are more and more likely to open content from your brand, but TOFU offers are where the biggest challenge lies. 

So step 1; be clear about your topic. It is dreadful attempting to come up with a headline, let alone a good headline, when you don’t really even know what you are writing about.

A Few Do’s and Don’ts (Plus a Few Examples)

Do give away your offer: Figure out what the biggest takeaway for your audience will be and lead with that. People want to be entertained or informed. Let them know right up front that you are going to solve one of their problems, and this article, download, or video will show them how.

Good Example: The Great Keywords Secret Revealed

Don’t use big words: The idea of top-of-the-funnel content is to cast a broad net and convert as many people as possible into leads. When you use big words, or even industry-specific words, you often alienate more people than you attract.

Do focus on the end game: The headline is not the place to get caught up in the process or progression of something. Instead, talk about the final result that your future customer will be excited to arrive at.

Good Example: More Facebook Views = More $$$

Don’t be afraid to be direct: Just say it. Say what you mean. It will be OK. Seriously, come out with it already. Being direct lets people know what you are offering right away without question.

Good Example: 12 ways to add force to your writing

Do ponder a question: What issue in your industry does your product or service solve? Ask the right questions that will pull in potential customers, and then use your TOFU download, blog post or guide to answer the question in the way that positions your product or service.

Good Example: Is Your Marketing a Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing?

Don’t use your brand in your headline: Just don’t. Blog posts that include a company name in the headline often underperform compared to blogs that don’t by staggering numbers.

Do use creativity: Puns, alliteration, rhymes … they all do a fabulous job of catching a reader’s eye. See some of my favorites here.

The Bottom Line

Remember, TOFU headlines need to attract as many people as possible. When you enlist tactics such as simple, direct phrases, irrefutable values and sheer wittiness, you can’t lose. What challenges do you experience with your TOFU headlines? Share them here, along with your favorite TOFU headlines. 

photo credit: coconinoco 

The Author

Brianne Carlon Rush

After developing the Kuno Creative content marketing department and growing it by 500%, Brianne has expanded her role to help grow the inbound marketing agency in size, revenue and resources. She now focuses on sales and marketing alignment; employee recruiting, hiring and development; and communication strategies, while still dedicating time to client strategy and Kuno’s marketing efforts.