41. Use Number Psychology in Headlines
Number psychology isn’t an exact science, and neither is great headline writing. But, strategically implementing what you’ve just learned will make your headlines more compelling.
An example of Number Psychology applied to blogging headlines:
Use extremely small or large numbers as exaggerators-You can write compelling headlines that strengthen the appeal of a benefit by implying additional benefits through the use of numbers.
Today’s Healthy Recipe: 3 Ingredient Berry Smoothie
The explicit benefit expressed here is a new healthy snack idea.
There is also the implied benefit that this smoothie is easy to make.
That small number of ingredients impacts your impression of the benefit. Instantly, you anticipate a new, healthy, and simple smoothie recipe.
Why does this work?
Numbers are adjectives. But instead of the actual value they represent, we tend to interpret numbers in headlines to suggest the relative nature or size of the noun it describes.
This headline’s implied benefit doesn’t change much if the number of ingredients changes to either 3 or 5. The relatively low value emphasizes that the recipe is easy. But, raise the number to 7 and the implied simplicity of the recipe slips away.
We are especially likely to over-infer quantity when asked to make a difficult, concurrent, or snap judgment, like when we’re scanning different headlines.
Now compare this first headline to the following:
I lost $25 million and couldn’t be prouder. Here’s what it taught me about following my values.
The author emphasizes the sizeable dollar amount, enticing readers who want to avoid losing money themselves or are curious about how someone loses such a large amount of money to begin with.
Use extremely small or large numbers as exaggerators.
Small numbers can suggest relative simplicity or insignificance. Conversely, large numbers can suggest complexity.