Questions work well as article headlines or email subject lines. But they’re almost self-defeating in terms of attracting readers if the answer is simply ‘yes’ or ‘no’, and even more so if the readers think they know the answer anyway. The best content marketing authors know this, and an understanding of this is why so many article headlines are annoyingly compelling. Teasing ‘how’ or ‘why’ something of interest to the prospect will subsequently be explained is hard to resist: it promises that the effort required in reading the piece should be well spent.
I might easily have put a title on this piece which made it into a direction, such as: “Write questions to which only you have the answer”. Your response might have been “OK, let’s see what he’s talking about here”, but it could also have been “Yes, fair advice, but I know that and don’t need to read it”.
A question could be a better alternative, but it could fall into the same trap. If the title was “Should my headlines be interesting questions?”, it’s a little more intriguing than the instruction suggested above, but again, your response might be “Presumably yes, so I don’t need to read it”.
However, by using the headline “What sort of question makes people want to click?”, I hope to interest readers while making them actually read the article to find out the answer. Of course, then I have to deliver on the promise…