Your headline is the first impression of your published article. Writing a great headline can be the difference between a handful of views or thousands of views. It can mean the difference between growing a loyal audience or losing integrity over weak content.
You can write the best headlines in the world, but if your content that is backing it up sucks, you’re in trouble. Your audience won’t trust your content anymore, which will translate into lost revenue.
That’s why you might need to go back to your headline after you’ve written your copy. Does the article or other piece of content answer the headline in its entirety? If not it’s time to rewrite your storyline.
Want in on a secret of how to write a headline? Start with the result you’re promising. More Instagram Followers? More web traffic? How to get more clients? Now, tie that result to a surprising fact from the story or copy. By combining those two concepts, you’ll ignite curiosity.
What Is The Job Of The Headline?
The job of a headline is to sell your story/article and clearly convey what it is about. Give the reader context about the story, and help them decide if it is worth reading; all in one short sentence.
Remember that the reader has not yet read the story. Your headline needs to convince them to click on it and read it. When you’re writing a headline, step outside yourself as the writer and imagine reading it from the reader’s perspective.
To make sure you’re writing the best headlines possible, follow these tips and you’ll be well on your way to growing your audience:
- Start with a promise. What do you want your reader to take away from the content?
- Add interesting verbs and adjectives. These parts of speech make your headlines stand out. Ensure your prose is on point and the language sounds natural.
- Ask a question or make a comparison. Invoke curiosity by leaving the answer open-ended.
- State a controversial opinion. The reader knows what you think, but will want to learn your thought process behind it.
- Hit a pain point. Knowing your audience is key.
- Play with language. Sometimes a play on words can clarify a headline or make it stand out rather than render it too vague.
What To Avoid When Writing a Headline
Out of the gate, make sure your headline adheres to these don’ts;
- don’t use all caps
- avoid typos
- don’t make the headlines links
- avoid profanity
It can be tempting to bait readers with exaggerated titles to get clicks. The issue with that is they may leave the reader wondering if what they read was actually worth reading. In the short term, this may help drive traffic, but in the long term, it undermines your personal brand and integrity as a writer. Exercise caution with particularly bold and provocative claims in your headlines. If the headline exploits the readers’ emotions and insecurities, it is likely clickbait. If you’re going to make a bold statement, then just remember to back that up in the body of your story or article.
If you choose to be poetic, clever, or artistic in the title, do so carefully. The challenge with writing a title this way is that it becomes obscure and confusing. In most cases, the reader won’t click to find out more because they didn’t understand what the story was about in the first place. If you want to be poetic or clever in your headline, follow it up with a strong subheadline.
A Few Examples Of Engaging Headlines To Grab Your Audience With
These headline examples are great for inspiring creativity as long as you use them for the right pieces of content. Let’s look at examples/templates of some headlines you can use for your online publication.
The X Best Ways to Get _______ Without _______
The 10 Best Ways to Get Rich Without Working a 9-to-5
The 101 Best Ways to Get Ripped Without a Gym Membership
The 27 Best Ways to Get Investors Without a Boring Pitch
Here’s What You Don’t Know About _______ That Could _______
Here’s What You Don’t Know About Electric Cars That Could Bust Your Budget
Here’s What You Don’t Know About SEO That Could Harm Your Business
Here’s What You Don’t Know About Dog Training That Could Hurt Your Furry Friend
How To [Accomplish Something] In [Short Amount of Time]
How To Craft High-Converting Headlines In Less Than 60 Seconds
How To Land A High-Dollar Client In The Next 30 Minutes
How To Potty Train Your Puppy In Only 3 Days
Ensuring Your Headlines Are SEO Friendly
Are SEO friendly headlines important? They sure are! Just writing great content for your website doesn’t mean that it will attract visitors. You may write the most relevant content that is out there for a certain niche but if your headline doesn’t announce this then you may as well not bother. Writing your headline so that it’s SEO friendly ensures your content will rank higher in the SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages).
So the question now is, how do you make a headline SEO friendly? It’s relatively easy. You’re going to follow the other guidelines that we’ve laid down in this article, but you just going to make sure that you’re including the keyword in the headline. Include it in a way so that the headline sounds natural when reading it out loud.
Including keywords in your headlines is important to the search engines, as well as potential site visitors. Google, Bing, and other search engines put a great deal of emphasis on a headline so including your keywords is a must.
Make sure that the keywords are relevant to the topic of the article or it won’t attract any users online or search engine crawlers.
Include numbers in your headline. The visitors to your site then know what they’re getting, so make sure your content backs up the title.
You can use a formula when including numbers in your headline, as follows:
Number + Adjective + Noun + Keyword + Promise
For example, 7 great ways to write catchy SEO friendly headlines in five minutes. Studies show that odd numbers do better than even numbers in headlines as they stand out more, with the number 7 working the best.
How To Test Your Headlines
You need at least two headlines to test. One is the H1 and the other is the Meta Title. You might change just one word between the two or use a completely different version in the variation. It’s up to you.
The easiest tool I’ve found for dialing in my headlines is Headline Studios by CoSchedule. They have a free version you can use indefinitely, but you have the option of upgrading to a paid version to unlock some pretty cool features.
All you have to do is plug in your title and click on “Analyze.” From there Headline Studio will score your headline on a scale from 1 to 100. The goal is to have a score of 70 or above. The tool will give you suggestions on what you need to change in order to get your headline up to par.
Once you are satisfied with the wording of the headline and the score, you’re ready to plug them into your article and publish.
If you find it difficult to come up with a clear headline, this might say something about the article itself. Try having one of your peers read over your article. Are they clear about what your story is about? It might be helpful to restructure it.
For this reason, it is useful to come up with a working headline early on. I typically find myself working on my headline as I develop the content. What I started with, is not necessarily what I end with.