Content Marketing

10 Headline Writing Tips That Will Change the Way You Write

Do you struggle to write catchy headlines? Are you looking for headline writing tips that will help you get more clicks?

Don’t worry. We’ve got you covered.

A strong headline compels more people to read your content and that’s why you need to ensure that they make an impact. They should make the readers want to click on them to land on your website.

We understand that writing headlines can sometimes be more difficult than writing the content itself. It happens to the best of us.

To help you out, we’ve compiled a list of headline writing tips that can get visitors to your site.

Let’s dive in.

10 Headline Writing Tips for Click-Worthy Headlines

The headline plays a critical role of making the first impression on a potential reader. People often decide whether or not they want to read a piece of content based solely on the headline.

So, how do you write headlines that compel your readers to click? Just follow these headline writing tips.

1. Write More

Is this confusing? Let us explain.

Do you write just one headline for your piece and move on? You need to stop now.

Your headline is the most important part of your content. The first headline you write may not always be the best.

So, here’s the tip. Instead of one, write a few headlines and then pick the best option. It’s always better to test them out.

David Ogilvy, the renowned copywriter, wrote 104 headlines before coming up with the winning one. It was for Rolls Royce, and the headline was:

“At 60 miles an hour, the loudest noise in this New Rolls-Royce comes from the electric clock.”

Image via Pinterest

Does that mean you need to write 104 headlines each time? Not at all.

The tip here is to write a few, and then pick the best. There’s no magic number. You can then pick the one that sounds more interesting and compelling than the others.

2. Leverage Curiosity

Let’s face it—a lot of the links that we click on are out of sheer curiosity. It’s an extremely powerful motivator that you should definitely use in your headlines.

When you write headlines that pique a reader’s curiosity, they are more likely to click on it. However, steer clear of clickbait. You don’t want to lose credibility in the eyes of your readers.

TED gets it right almost every time when it comes to adding the element of curiosity to their headlines.

Image via TED

So, how do you add curiosity to your headlines?

Know Your Readers

You need to know what your audience is interested in. When you know what they’re interested in, you can tailor your content and headline for them.

A useful tip is to make your readers curious by enticing them with some information in the headline. When they know a little, they will want to know more.

Here are a couple of examples:

  • The Countries Where It’s Easiest To Become A Self-Made Billionaire
  • Why Do Chinese URLs Use Numbers, Not Letters?

Surprise Them

Another handy tip to write catchy headlines is to add an element of surprise. Instead of predictable events, surprises stimulate the human brain more.

The following headlines add the element of surprise:

  • Windows Mobile Devs to Microsoft: Where’s Our Money?
  • Microsoft Reveals Janet Jackson Song Had The Power to Crash Laptops

Be Specific

Being specific is important because it arouses curiosity. Here’s a tip for making your headlines more specific.

Add concrete facts, especially those that can get your audience’s attention. It can make your headlines attractive.

Specificity also gives your readers assurance and clarity about what they are getting into when they click on your headline.

Here are two examples to understand this tip better:

  • Meta Shares Fall Over 25%, Erasing $200 Billion Off Its Value
  • For Gen Z, TikTok Is the New Search Engine

Image via Google

3. What’s in it for the Reader?

Let’s be realistic. With so much content available on the Internet, people are spoilt for choice. Most headlines get skipped in infinite scrolls.

People only read what truly interests them. If they are spending their valuable time reading an article, they would like to get something out of it. You need to give them value by appealing to their hunger for knowledge or information.

Your headline needs to answer the million-dollar question: “What’s in it for me?”. If your headline can answer it, you have a winner in your hands.

Here are a couple of examples to understand this tip:

  • 5 Steps to Create An Outstanding Marketing Plan for Your Business
  • The Guide to Becoming A Sales Director

4. Leverage Distrust

Humans can be pretty cynical. They seldom miss a chance to read about how they are being deceived or manipulated. Taking advantage of natural human tendencies is an effective tip to write compelling headlines.

You can leverage the distrust in humans to write headlines that garner more clicks.

Here are a few headline examples to understand this tip:

  • Sun Damage is Bad, But is Your Sunscreen Making It Worse?
  • 5 Lies Your Realtor May Tell You
  • Disturbing Things Your Doctor Won’t Tell You

Here’s one more.

Image via Forbes

5. Use Power Words

There are a few headline writing tips that experts swear by. One of them is using power words.

These words trigger an emotional response, causing readers to feel something that compels them to click.

Different words may evoke different emotions. Therefore, you should use the words carefully based on the context. For instance, if you want to build credibility, you may try using words like Proven, Tried, or Tested.

Another tip for you. Using emotional and uncommon words can also help you create catchy headlines that are different from the rest. You may try words like Bonanza, Astonishing, Captivating, or Annoying in your headlines.

For example, “5 Astonishing Headline Writing Tips You Must Try.” Uncommon words help grab attention, often resulting in more clicks.

In a nutshell, if you want a powerful headline, use power words.

6. Analyze Your Headline

Do you analyze your headlines before you publish your blog posts or news articles? If you don’t, you should start right away.

There are free headline analyzer tools available online that you can use to measure the effectiveness of your headlines.

Image via Attrock

These tools work by comparing your headline to data from search engines. They also look for power words that can strengthen your headline, among other things.

These tools then assign a score to your headline. The higher the score, the more likely your headline is to grab attention. This is easily one of the most useful tips for writing headlines.

7. Deliver On Your Promise

So, you’ve got a compelling headline in place—great. This would help you get the audience to click on it and land on your website.

But you need to deliver on the promise you’ve made in your headline.

The page that the visitors land on must not be deceiving. It must provide your visitors with exactly what the headline promised.

Let’s illustrate with an example. What does your target audience expect from a headline that says “9 Easy Tips to Become More Creative While Writing”?

Of course, they are looking for useful tips that can help improve their writing.

But what if your blog post does not give any tips?

Your readers will surely feel cheated. This will cause them to bounce from your website and it may impact your SEO.

Not delivering on the promise of your headline can significantly damage your credibility too.

8. Use Questions

Questions are an excellent way to attract a reader’s attention and get them thinking. The human brain seeks answers to questions and that's exactly why they’d want to click on your headline.

We implement question-based headlines for our blog posts too, as you can see below.

Image via Attrock

A question often makes a good headline.

But, not always.

You need to ask a question that does not have a simple “Yes” or “No” answer. Your readers would answer such a question in their minds and move on.

How do you turn your question headline into a clickable headline? Here’s the tip. You need to pick a question that requires a more detailed answer. That’s the reason  most popular articles ask the WH-questions:

  • Who
  • Why
  • When
  • What
  • Where
  • Which

Here are some headline examples:

9. Highlight the Main Benefit

Your headline is an advertisement for your content. Its purpose is to convince your target audience that your content has the answers that they are looking for. So, make sure you promise your audience value in the headline. It can convince them to click on it.

So, pick the main benefit of your content and be sure to use it in your headline.

What’s more?

Instead of trying to be clever, a great tip is to keep your headline to the point.

If you are talking about your products or services in the article, clearly convey that through your headline. You should do the same for your content marketing blog posts and videos.

Here are a few headline examples:

  • Create Awesome Infographics In Under 10 Minutes
  • 5 Useful Tips to Win Salary Negotiations
  • Super Easy Tips to Double Your Investment Returns

Image via Google

10. Optimize for Search

You have a great headline and amazing content. However, if it's not optimized for SEO, your article may never appear on the first page of Google search results.

And guess what?

The number one result on a Google search results page gets 27.6% of all the clicks. Being on the number one spot gives you 10 times more clicks than being on the 10th spot.

And, how many people do you think click on something on the second page? Just 0.63%.

That’s why appearing at the top of Google’s SERPs is crucial. So, you need to implement SEO best practices to get on the first page of Google.

Using keywords is a simple way to get your content to the top.

You should conduct keyword research using tools like Semrush or Google Keyword Planner. Find a relevant keyword that has low competition and high volumes and then incorporate it into your headline, preferably towards the beginning.

Keywords are crucial for SEO, and this is one of those headline writing tips you should never ignore.

Say, the keyword we are optimizing for is “Referral Marketing.” Here’s a screenshot of the Google search page. Note how every website has incorporated the keyword into its headline.

Image via Google

FAQs

Q1. How do you write successful headlines?

A. There are many things that go into writing a good headline. Following the headline writing tips given below can help you write successful headlines.

  • Write a few headlines and then pick the best among them
  • Add an element of curiosity
  • Use the primary keyword towards the beginning of the headline
  • Run the headline through headline analyzer tools

Q2. What is the ideal length of a good headline?

A. The ideal headline length depends on where your headline will appear and what your goals are. However, if you want your headline to appear completely in the SERPs, it must be 50-60 characters long.

Q3. Why do emotional headlines work?

A. Emotional headlines incorporate language that evokes an emotional response from your readers. This helps build a connection with them that prompts them to click on the headline to land on your website.

Q4. How do you write a catchy headline?

A. Here are some headline writing tips to write a catchy headline:

  • Know what your readers want
  • Add numbers or data
  • Include emotional adjectives
  • Use unique rationale to show what the readers will get out of the article
  • Ask a question

Q5. What are the 5 characteristics of a good headline?

A. The characteristics of a good headline are:

  • Simple to understand
  • Has the right length
  • Well targeted
  • Emotionally compelling
  • Vetted well

Conclusion

A good headline is an absolute must if you want your content to do well. Your headline should tell the reader why they need to spend their time reading your content.

What’s more?

It’s the first thing anyone notices about your content, so it needs to be catchy enough to make them want to read more. From incorporating emotional triggers to testing your headlines, you should do it all to get your headlines right.

Have any questions about the headline writing tips mentioned above? Ask them in the comments.

Gaurav Sharma

Gaurav Sharma is the Founder and CEO of Attrock, a results-driven digital marketing company. Grew an agency from 5-figure to 7-figure revenue in just two years | 10X leads | 2.8X conversions | 300K organic monthly traffic | 5K keywords on page 1. He also contributes to top publications like HuffPost, Adweek, Business2Community, TechCrunch, and more.

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