Compelling headlines will make people click and open your post or email. They will also read longer and even share without reading.
A headline is a kind of horn to grab the reader’s attention to your article. It’s like a summary of your content. It should communicate to your audience what the article is about, by just reading the title. A headline is the first impression we give to users. And this impression is the trigger for visitors to click on the title or not.
In this post, I’ll share with you some tips and hints that will help you write a headline that will trigger the reader’s envy to click and discover your content.
It doesn’t matter how good your writing is if your headline isn’t captivating enough to get anyone to click and read your story. And what’s the point of spending so much time and effort on your content if people aren’t even reading it, right?
In fact, boring headlines can lead to up to 80% loss of your audience. This is to show you how important it is to take the time to write a compelling headline for your post.
“Remember, when someone reads a headline, they are making a decision, right then, whether what you have to say matters to them,” Ronn Torossian said.
“If you can give them something or tease something in a headline, you will grab their attention. If not, they will quickly click away.”
There are plenty of ideas on the net about the way to write the perfect headline. However, I’ve tested many of them and here are those that I (and many bloggers) recommend following when writing the headline of your post:
1. Include your keyword in your headline
Including the keyword or its variation in the headline is both for SEO purposes and to give your readers a real taste of what to expect in your post. Include a “focus keyword” to help your writing to get discovered in search engines.
A keyword, or a focus keyword as some call it, is a word that describes the content on your page or post best. It’s the search term that you want to rank for with a certain page.
So when people search for that keyword or phrase in Google or other search engines, they should find that page on your website.
2. Start with the “5W”: “What”, “Why”, “Where”, “Who” or “When.”
When looking for an answer to a question, we usually type in the search engine one of the words “How”, “What”, “Why”, “How”, or “Who”, “When”. It is the most intuitive way to formulate questions. This formula can guarantee your content’s popularity, as this title indicates that the content responds to the user’s real needs.
- Why you should target your goals and stop dreaming about your wishes?
- What do you want to be paid for?
- Why online business models are recession-proof
3. Start with “How” or “How To“
These headlines are popular because they promise to teach something. The reader is going to learn how to do something they really want to do.
- How to start a blog and turn it into a successful business
- How to turn a crisis into an opportunity
4. Harness the power of numbers in your headlines
Studies show that headlines with numbers perform better across all verticals. In fact, 36% of readers prefer “number” headlines.
Headlines with numbers have the highest preferences
This conclusion is confirmed by another study outlined in the table below that shows that “List headlines” are the most shared headlines.
Nota: Headlines with numbers are also called
- “List headlines” or
- “Listicles” or
- “List posts”.
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5. Use “You” or “Your”
As you know, people feel valued when they receive personalized mail. Think about it for a second. Do you like a message that makes you feel like it’s sent to thousands of people? Certainly not.
You’re not alone. A study conducted by OkDork and CoSchedule confirmed that headlines containing “You” or “Your” are the second most shared after listicles.
What common words/phrases are used in highly-shared headlines?
- Why you should not be satisfied with an average life? You deserve more, Peter?
- Is your niche trending? This tool helps
- Have you found stillness and peace each and every day? It’s time to wake up, Brian
6. Create urgency
Having a sense of urgency propels people to act now rather than later. One effective way to stir this emotion in your headline is by adding time-sensitive phrases like “now, today, this week, or limited time.”
These words trigger fear to regret it when they miss out on an opportunity (FOMO=Fear Of Miss Out). Words like “free, exclusive, better” tend to induce such a feeling and push to take immediate action.
- 5 things you can do to increase traffic to your website today.
- 5 harsh truths about making money online, now…
- 6 signs it’s time to change, John …
7. Use the power of superlatives
Positive superlatives lead to a strong and emotional headline, while negative superlatives appeal to fear and doubt. Note that negative superlative perform better than positive ones.
- 5 worst methods to lose weight
- Never heard that 1 in 3 americans has a side hustle. What’s your side hustle, Oneil?
Superlatives help to get the best results in your headlines.
8. Use headlines backed by science.
People trust science and are willing to accept what is reported to come from scientists.
Example: “Doctors prove two out of three women can have more beautiful skin in 14 days”.
9. Use power words
Power words, like
not only spark an emotional reaction, but they are also persuasive and call the great attention of the reader.
You can find a list of power words that can make the difference between a click on your headline and a click away to the next post.
Example: The crimes we commit against our stomachs.
10. Add an emotional dimension
Remember that humans carry their own specific sets of needs, pains, and emotions. These emotions are conveyed by words like:
CoSchedule analyzed over one million headlines in their database and found out that headlines with higher emotional value actually get TEN more social shares than those with a lower emotional value.
Posts with a higher emotional value get more shares
Get here a list of 180 emotional words you can use in your headlines.
Example: Did you know you can earn a six-figure income online in six months?
11. Use questions (“?”)
Many people type questions right into search engines. If your headline matches a popular question, then it will be seen by many people. They will want to click through to find the answer to their question.
- Human jobs threatened by technology? Have you thought about it?
- Can it feel like your life is going in circles?
- Afraid of success?
12. State a problem. Suggest a solution
Your readers are looking for a solution to a problem. By stating the problem and offering a solution in the title, it’s a smart way to tell the reader “I know your problem and I have the solution”. Many decide to open and read your article because they believe from the title of the post that you, the author, can solve their problem.
Example: Do you want success and better life? Do what 99% aren’t doing.
13. Write different headlines and choose the best
1. Write as many headline versions as you can that match your keyword and some of the above criteria. Joanna Weibe recommends writing at least 50 headlines for every piece of content before deciding on the one. Personally, I start with half a dozen titles and create new versions later as I write my copy.
2. Eliminate the worst of them
3. Start writing your copy
4. Once you have a good draft of your copy, revisit your best headlines and pick the one that best matches the content. Because now you know exactly what you are talking about. Then finalize your copy ensuring that there is a perfect match between the headline and the content.
The bottom line
Now you have ways to write headlines that kill, use them to entice readers to open your articles, posts, or emails.
However, make sure you deliver what your headline promises to keep the reader’s thirst for your next article. Remember, a catchy headline is nothing without quality, thoughtful, engaging content that is shared and admired.
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