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Create a List. Increase Clicks and Double Downloads.

How do you ensure your title or headline captivates the reader? You might start with a really strong word. But you might not.

Consider a number.

Think about how often a headline or the title of a piece begins with a number. It’s hard to top the allure of a “10 Top Secrets to…” list or “7 Essential Tips for (fill in the blank).” One number. Infinitely provocative.

Why? People are drawn to advice. It’s hard to resist a list. We save lists. We pass them along. We give the source credit for being an authority.Test my theory of numbertivity.

Type a number in Google. I chose “3” and got “The 3 Essential Facebook Settings Every User Should Check.” I better read that. Next, I tried “8.” I got “8 Horribly Misguided Futuristic Video Game Controllers” from Wow.

Notice the names of the documents you download, webinars you attend, books you buy, links you click, emails you open, articles you read. A number is a powerful word. I’ve had great success offering this strategy to my clients. I’d be pleased to help bring an all-powerful digit to your domain.Here are 7 Useful Ideas for Enumerating with Power:

  1. Use a small number. 1 is a winner. “One Sure-Fire Tip for…” How magnetic is that? I think 1 through 12 works. You might even get lucky with 13.
  2. Follow with a desirable noun. Your next word is the thing you have to offer: tips, reasons, ways, shortcuts, facts, strategies, guidelines. People want these things.
  3. Toss in an adjective. “7 Essential Tips…” “6 Killer Concepts…” “5 Mouth-Watering Recipes…” Look how the adjective makes the list even more irresistible.
  4. Try reverse psychology. Offer a list of things people don’t want. I convinced a client to repackage a white paper into “The Five Costliest Mistakes in Event Marketing.” In 2005, it was syndicated across multiple publishing networks and you can still download it today.
  5. Questions? Your list can be “X” Questions, frequently asked questions, common questions. Questions beget answers, another thing readers want.
  6. Segue with a subhead. The headline or title might get a notch stronger with a subhead to segue into the list. Sample title: “7 Tips to Hiring A Tax Pro.” Sample subhead: “Pay Less and Get More.”
  7. How to get started. Need a place to start? An idea generator? Fill in the blank: How to (blank). Example: “How to get people to open your email.” Title: “7 Ways to Write Effective Subject Lines.”
I like it. It sounds like reading material worth your valuable time.