Headlines are the first thing that people see before reading any content. And, these are what determine whether or not they will go ahead and actually read your content.
That is why writing attention-grabbing and relevant titles should be an essential part of your content strategy. If you’ve got your headlines right, then you’ve already won half the battle.
In this post, I have listed 7 of the most effective headline writing tips that you can use to ace your headline game.
1. Use Numbers and Statistics
Using numbers and statistics in your headlines immediately builds credibility and authenticity. Even if you don’t provide statistics, just using a number helps the brain organize information in a logical manner, thus, making it more click-worthy.
If you write a listicle and tell readers exactly how many points you are going to cover, they will instantly know whether to invest time in it or not. A study conducted by Venngage clearly shows that using numbers gets more engagement than using just words.
For example, check out the two headlines mentioned below to see which one you’re more likely to click on.
- 9 Simple Tricks to Lose 3 Pounds in a Week
- Simple Tricks for Quick Weight Loss
Most people would prefer the first one because it makes a specific promise and quantifies it. It is, unquestionably, more believable and seems credible.
Using numbers is one of the most effective headline writing tips that anyone can give you. So, leverage this and see the results for yourself.
Pro Tip: Odd numbers tend to work better in listicles because they seem more random.
2. Include Your Primary Keyword
This might seem obvious, but a lot of people don’t pay enough attention to this useful headline writing tip. You should include the exact keyword you’re targeting in your headline, without exception.
This will help the users searching for that keyword find your content easily. It will also help your content rank well in Google search results.
3. Provide a Solution
This is another useful headline writing tip that definitely works. People often search the internet looking for answers to specific questions or solutions to some challenges. You can grab their attention by using a headline that provides a solution to their problems.
This is probably why “how to” content works so well because it gives a step-by-step solution to a user query.
Check out this blog post headline that provides a solution to the people who are struggling to rank well on Google search results.
4. Generate Curiosity
This is another one of the essential headline writing tips that you should try to make your headlines catchy and click-worthy. The basic concept behind this is to pique the readers’ interest so that they want to know more.
One of the most common ways to generate curiosity is to ask questions in your headline.
Writing question-based headlines has two benefits. First, it generates curiosity in readers to find the answer. Second, a lot of users search the internet by asking specific questions and thus question-based headlines will match their search queries and help you rank better.
Check the below headline from one of my blog posts. Doesn’t that make you want to read further to know the answer?
Create a Hook/Cliffhanger
This is another one of the headline writing tips that aim to generate curiosity among your audience.
You need to provide a hook and bait, similar to catching a fish, to make your readers want to learn more. One of the best ways to do this is by providing incomplete information and leaving your audience wondering what it is all about.
Read the following headline and answer honestly if it didn’t pique your curiosity?
Another way is to tell a shocking or even unbelievable fact in your headline so that people want to read your post to validate its authenticity.
Make a Controversial Statement
What better way to grab audience attention and generate curiosity than to make a controversial statement. Making a statement that most people would object to is a real head-turner and helps get people interested.
For this headline writing tip to work, you should make a statement against any popular belief and then elaborate on it in your post. Just make sure that you give a twist on the popular belief instead of opposing it, otherwise, that might backfire.
Check out the below headline where the writer makes a controversial statement. But, in the actual content, she writes from the perspective of how men and women are different instead of saying they shouldn’t be treated equally. The title, in such cases, is slightly misleading, but it does grab immediate audience attention.
5. Use Action or Emotion-Evoking Words
No list of headline writing tips is complete without adding this expert tip. There are some words that work better than others. These magic words are usually strong action words or words that evoke some form of emotions.
Some examples of such action words include “learn,” “make,” “create,” “execute,” etc. You can always add some more drama by adding superlatives like “best” or “worst” and by using words like “always” and “never.”
For example, read the two headlines below:
- X Ways to Write Good Headlines
- Learn the X Secrets to Writing the Best Headlines Ever!
Which one attracts you more? I’m sure it will be the second one, for most people. The reason is the use of words like “learn,” “secrets,” “best,” and “ever.” These words add that extra drama and emotion to an otherwise plain and boring headline.
6. Keep It Short
This is one of the well-known and yet underrated headline writing tips. Everyone knows that headlines should not be too long, but while writing one they often forget.
A lot of times people end up writing long headlines in their zest to include all of the other tricks mentioned in this post.
Also, keeping headlines short means that they are easier to read for people who read it on their mobile phones. They constitute a majority of your audience and hence you should keep your headlines short and easy-to-read.
7. Use A/B Testing on Headlines
All the other headline writing tips in this list focused on creating the best headline, but this one focuses on choosing the most effective one.
A/B testing requires you to test various headlines and see which of those perform the best. So, if you are not sure which type of headlines work best for your audience, do a split test and find it out.
These useful headline writing tips will surely help you write headlines that convert. Use a mix of these techniques to create powerful and engaging headlines that make your audience want to read further.
Shane Barker is a digital marketing consultant who specializes in sales funnels, targeted traffic, and website conversions. He has consulted with Fortune 500 companies, influencers with digital products, and a number of A-List celebrities.