Impactful headlines are essential to driving website traffic and engagement. Most copywriters will agree that the art of headline writing is as significant as that of content writing itself. A copy title sets the tone and expectations of the content. Just as advertising is to sell products, headlines are to sell content. A good headline… Continue reading An Ultimate Guide on Writing Attention-Grabbing Headlines
Impactful headlines are essential to driving website traffic and engagement. Most copywriters will agree that the art of headline writing is as significant as that of content writing itself. A copy title sets the tone and expectations of the content. Just as advertising is to sell products, headlines are to sell content. A good headline is interesting in itself as well as capable of inciting audience engagement with the content.
If your headline doesn’t impress, the main content isn’t likely to see the light of day. A few words can make all the difference in headlines that affect the click-through rates. So, how to write great headlines? Read on, for here; we are revealing tips and techniques on how to write better headlines.
How to Write Powerful Headlines
First of all, remind yourself what purpose does a headline serves? The basic purpose of a headline is to get the readers to read the content. And there are several ways to achieve that. The headline should somehow lure readers into the LEAD. A lead is the first few sentences of any article which involve the who, where, what, why, when, and how of the subject of the content.
The basic principles of writing headlines
Like the 5 Ws and 1 H in news writing (and basically any good lead), we have something of a 101 in headline writing. So, before you dive into headline writing tips, let’s begin with the key elements of a good headline:
The world is so done with things on repeat – movie remakes, copies of copied tik-tok trends recopied on Instagram – you get it, right? It’s the same scene in the content market. There are plenty of blog posts and materials on similar topics that our problem is no longer so much a lack of content as the redundancy of it.
As content writers, you must be aware that there’s already a plethora of online content similar to what you are working on. And, as wise copywriters, you already made in-depth, superior content, hopefully. But how do you tell readers, “Hey, this is the one you must read, the one better than the rest”? Headlines, that’s how. So, make your title outshine the competitors; tell them how yours is different and not the same old.
What exactly have you got for the readers? State right-out, and let them know what the content is about. As a writer, you probably heard the tip about not giving too much away in your headline. There’s the lead coming up, but provide enough information in the headline to help the readers decide. A bit of teasing is fine but don’t rely solely on readers’ curiosity to lead into the content.
When you aren’t specific with your offer, customers might get confused or, worse, uninterested – aka mission failed.
Copywriters are well aware of the fact that headlines are meant to sell their content. Treat the headlines as an ad for a product. The headline of a copy is supposed to act as an ad for the content, which in itself is a form of an ad – i.e., meant to drive sales.
Make an offer that can’t be refused and tell the readers that the offer is valid for a limited time; and that they must get it now or they’ll be missing out on the best.
Also, Use CTA or Call for a prompt action – i.e., to keep reading.
Ask yourself what the purpose of this content is? Convey to readers how the content will benefit them. If the content offers solutions to problems, announce them in the headline. Don’t rely on customers to figure out things by themselves. Also, do not be afraid to state the obvious in the headlines.
So, those were the ‘4 Us’ of headline writing. You don’t have to incorporate all of them in one headline. The quest is to try.
Headline Writing Tips and Techniques
If you think about it, the headline writing process is rather similar to that of content writing. Let’s have a look at how:
Know your audience
Whose attention are you trying to get through the headline? What kind of language does your reader use? Check user surveys to find out how the audiences are talking about a particular topic. Mimic their language.
Better go bold or stay humble in your headline, never in between. Most users prefer unpretentious headlines but would also tolerate ones that are over the top.
Use choice keywords
Make the headline SEO-friendly so that it has better chances of showing up in search engine results. This will easily tie in with the 4 Us if you already have specific words or terms mentioned in the headline.
Power of ‘power words’
Headlines don’t always have to be puffed up with keywords. For a title to be engaging, it should invoke readers’ emotions – fear, curiosity, anger, relief, concern, gain, amazement, etc. Whether positive or negative, your words should be strong and persuasive enough to arouse readers’ interest.
This one’s a fun tip. You know how you lay a skeletal structure for your content, lay out specific words you can’t miss in your headline. Then, frame your title around those keywords; you might achieve the 4 Us.
The more you research, the better you know your audience and what keywords work and what don’t.
Write for one and all
Unless your target audience is narrowed down to a super special niche, write the headline in such a way that anybody can comprehend it easily. Use an active voice. Keep it as graspable as possible. Headlines shouldn’t call for a dictionary to decode your ‘clever’ attempt on grandiloquence or witticism.
No writer would commit the plunder of forgoing an edit of their content. Don’t even think about not revising your headline. In fact, as you go tweaking the first mediocre few, you’re bound to come up with better lines eventually.
The art of headline writing, much like content writing skill comes with time – the more you keep at it, the better you get. Craft as many headlines as you can.
One common mistake content writers usually make is stopping at the first two to three headlines. According to the rule of thirds (not to be confused with photography’s rule of thirds), your best ideas are usually generated in the third/final phase.
You’d have to have passed the stage of mediocre ideas to reach the innovative brainstorming stage. In short, you’ll need to do a lot of writing and rewriting to arrive at the best headline.
Know your platform
Are you writing for a blog post, newsletter, email, or will it be in the form of a caption for social media? Set the length based on the platform. Six words are the ideal length of a headline, according to Buffer. Readers usually focus on the first three and last three words in a headline, so take care of those firsts and lasts.
Stats and Numbers
Statistics have a way of adding believability or amazement for the readers – this is true for any content writing, including the headline. Using numbers has a way of relaying specificity and simplicity, like ‘7 Ingredients of a High Impact Freelance Writing Proposal’, ‘Top 10 ways to earn from blogging’, etc.
Pro Tip: Use numerical, not words, for the numbers. Example: ‘7’ instead of ‘seven’. Also, odd numbers seem to be working better than even ones.
As with marketing web content, find out how well the headline worked. You’ll want to be unique, and thus popular headline formulas may not always work out for you. The only way to see what works (what doesn’t) is for you to try using different approaches, test (A/B testing), learn and apply.
If you want great headlines in an instant, go for Peppertype.ai that can help you create effective headlines in a few simple steps.
Lastly, the headline looks like this:
Summarize your story in your headline
Give a glimpse but never disclose
Keep it short and crisp
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In order to stand out to your audience, you cannot duplicate somebody else’s material. Rather, you can try Peppertype.ai in case of creative burnout. It can generate 100% unique headlines within seconds!