Often when you write articles, you do not give much thought to the headline and focus more on the content of the article. Letting the headline take a back seat is the first mistake! Headlines are often let go as an afterthought, but in reality, it should be treated with more consideration. Factually speaking, your headline is arguably the essential part of your article. After all, how great your blog post is, no one will find out if no one ever reads it!
Out of all the people who read your headline, only 20% of them will read the article. Whether it is for an email’s subject line, eBook, blog, etc. you need a compelling headline to catch your reader’s attention. Modern online article headlines are tricky because they need to SEO keyword friendly and also, unique and creative. If you are successful in creating one, the result will be one super clickable compelling headline!
So what makes a super sensational keyword-friendly headline? Here we list several different headline writing tips to help you out:
1) Numbers and lists:
Readers love their numbers! And when it comes to lists, they are mesmerized by it. Starting your headline with a number helps it stand out. Just like the human eye is magnetized towards contrasting colours, our eyes are naturally attracted to digits placed beside the text. A list also gives the reader a clear idea of what to expect in the article, as well as a quick, short read. Here is a list of amazing words you use to get you started with your list:
2) Your article’s definition
Though mystery and intrigue do tickle the readers, leaving your readers clueless on what to expect from the blog topic is a big no-no. Your headline should clearly be compelling on what you will be covering in your article. A vague headline will not catch your user’s attention. E.g.
- Bad headline: Pick Apples
- Good headline: How to pick up apples: 101
3) Show your value:
Your headline should be able to explain to your visitors on the amount your article offers. The value proposition of your article will automatically incline readers towards your blog. You can subtly push your value proposition in your headline and explain to your readers why your item is worth reading. E.g. How to clean your kitchen in 10 minutes. A headline like this promises a quick way to clean your kitchen, and it sounds worth-reading too! Promising a result within a period of time is a traditional way of writing a winning headline.
4) Play with distrust
Humans can be cynical at times, and will never leave a chance to read about topics like human manipulation, deception, or given the runaround. This type of headline writing examples include:
- 5 Lies Your Car Salesperson Will Try To Tell You
- Is Sunscreen Worse Than Sun Damage?
People are often searching to educate themselves or learn about something new or a particular concept. They want to learn how to build a comfortable chair, where to catch the latest movie for cheap, or a simple way to secure your smartphone. People have found success using the ‘how to..’ concept. If you are starting all your articles on the ‘how to..’ theory, it will get boring quite quickly; therefore you need to come up with creative ways to present your’ how to…’ E.g.:
- 3 Fantastic Methods for Peeling a Pineapple
- 6 Ways to Buy Something For Cheap
‘101’ or ‘Complete/Beginners Guide’ are also great ways to add more essence to your educational post. These words reassure your reader with ease on what to expect from the article.
6) Get your readers excited:
Your job should be to get your readers excited to read your post. No one will read your article if it’s dull and dry. You need to get your A-game active to push your article against the big hitters to get some traction. The big hitters we talk about here do not need much in their title. But for you, your title will be everything.
7) Decorate your title:
Don’t be afraid to venture into the path of the unknown when it comes to selling your blog to the public. Be brave by embellishing, exaggerating and enticing your headline. Substituting potatoes with carrots in your diet may be the ‘secret’ to losing weight, but you need to portray it in such a way, people will find out the secret only reading your article, e.g., “The Ultimate Secret Of Losing Weight.”
Creating a sense of urgency also helps! E.g.:
- Make the Most of Holiday Shopping – Don’t Miss Out!
8) Be unique:
To stand out from the rest of the crowd, you need to make your headline to be captivating. Get a little weird if it makes up for a great headline. The most sensational headlines line between clarity and uniqueness.
9) What matters to the audience:
You know your audience better than anyone else. You know what your audience wants and what they expect from you. You need to understand their aspirations and their issues. Make use of this information to create a headline that reciprocates with your audience. You capitalize on your audience’s wishes and fears by creating strategic headlines. E.g. 10 ways to create amazing content
Remember you 5 Ws:
These are engaging Ws are interrogative and can be used to gather information. When using such words in your title, your user exactly knows what to expect from your article and the information they will be attaining.
10) Speak to your audience in 2nd person:
Addressing your readers in the second person creates a sense where you are direct with the reader. Second person writing allows you to grab the attention of the readers by calling them out. E.g.:
- You Think You Know Everything About FRIENDS? Take This Quiz And Find Out
11) Breaking barriers:
It is okay to go unconventional at times. Headlines that eek illicit controversy always draws in curious readers. People thrive on reading about controversies, so a headline that breaks the standard conventions can peak the audience’s interest. E.g.:
- Why Your CTR Does Not Matter As Much As You Think
There have been reports where writers have devoted around 80% of their writing time into coming up with a headline. Therefore, you can understand how important a headline is when it comes to writing an article. Spend enough time with the most crucial element – the title. Come up with a plethora of ideas, and brainstorm on how it can work out with your article. For starters, you can begin with writing a headline ten times in different formats. You can use multiple structures, different adjectives, a variation of verbs, etc. See what works out the best, take a poll with your co-workers for their opinions, and choose which one is the best suited for your article. Brainstorming a headline is absolutely crucial because the more you keep trying hard to come up with a caption, the more will be the ideas flowing through. Eventually, you will reach a point where you will find your last headline.
13) Play with powerful adjectives and verbs:
Dark and violent words have always caught the user’s attention. This morbid fascination has always loomed over humans for long now. This fascination has led to coming with headlines with words like:
Not just ominous words, other viral words that work with users include:
Creating a headline with these words can get that attention towards your article quick.
14) Question the reader:
Questioning the reader makes the reader challenge themselves. Grabbing their attention this way, you can curate a headline that draws these users into your article. Asking the reader works in a similar fashion, just like numbers and digits in a textual sentence. E.g.:
- Are You The Breaking Bad Expert? Find Out Here.
15) Keyword it out:
Creating a headline in SEO is incomplete without the keyword. You cannot miss out on the keyword since you want your blog to rank in the search engines. Without keywords in your headline, your blog’s ranking will take a hit. So, make sure you are creating a title which is clickable as well as includes the topic’s keywords.
16) 70 character limit:
Google has a 70 character limit for the title of your blog. If you want your headlines to look awesome in Google, make sure you are adhering to the 70 character headline limit. If you are headline goes beyond 70, it will be cut off by Google. Cut off titles tend to give off only half of the information to the users, therefore, automatically making them look for other alternatives.
17) The A/B test:
This test will help you choose which headline will work the best for your article. There’s no rocket science involved, and the process is quite simple. All you have to do is:
- Choose the two headlines that you think can perform potentially well
- Schedule two tweets with the two different headlines
- Tweet them an hour apart
- Whichever tweet performs the best will help you get your headline
18) Use images that work in tandem with your headlines:
Headlines have always been essential, and in several cases, they have been the source to gain access to the article for the world. Headlines have always been a big deal as being the only way to introduce your blog to others. But now, with the rise of social media networking platforms, images have become an essential part as well. Many social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, etc. have made it easy to add an image along with the link to your blog.
That’s why the image you use should complement the headline and also with the information about your blog. Using images is a fantastic aspect because the pictures are insanely powerful in grabbing a user’s attention and boosting the success of your title.
Images have always been a powerful tool as people prefer to look at pictures rather than reading the text. Therefore, the photos you will be using should not be an ugly, off-the-internet picture. The picture should be able to provide the potential reader with a strong visual clue on what to expect from the article. These images need to be carefully curated and should reciprocate with your article’s headline.
These pictures can also be colourful and punchy, helping to grab the user’s attention with ease and encouraging them to click on the post. You also have the option of taking a minimalistic approach where the creative reciprocates with the article without any text on it. Such creative do engage the audience with the article, as it sparks their curiosity.
21) Use a tool:
There are plenty of headline analyzer tools available on the internet. Even though they aren’t perfect, they serve as a great reference point in you are struggling with your headline writing. Hitting every criterion we mentioned above is quite impossible, but you should hit as many as possible.
These headline analyzer tools will assess your headline based on specific criteria and will tell you what part of your headline works and what needs revision. These tools also check for the type of words you are using, the grammar and even give you a readability score. If the score is high, you will know that you are on the right track.
Though creating a headline requires quite a bit of brainstorming, it is certainly not rocket science! There is no robust format of creating the ultimate headline, but with these pointers, you will start off in the right track. Do set out a period of time to find your ultimate headline. Focus on coming up with good headline writing techniques, and keep writing.
And ultimately, experimentation is the key, so try experimenting as much as possible. Test with different titles, analyze which one works the best and go ahead with it. Soon, these testings will help you find the right headline, which resonates with your target audience. A headline will make or break your article, so give it as much time and attention as it needs!
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