Great Headlines 101: How To Write A Headline
Let’s face it, creating a headline which will guarantee lots of traffic can be incredibly difficult. Although there is no one miracle solution to great headlines, there are some strategies you can implement to greatly improve your writing.
Generally, the best headlines create an interest in a specific topic, are representative of the content, and contain at least one keyword. Below are some more detailed tips on writing great headlines.
- Implement Relevant Keywords
Make sure to research the keywords associated with the topic you’ll be writing about, especially when creating universal content that is supposed to be useful and relevant for a long time. Slight variations of words can really make a significant difference in the amount of traffic your content will get. It’s a good idea to use some sort of keyword research tool to identify which phrases people search for, and which variation is the most popular.
Of course, you’ll need to make sure that the headline still sounds natural, as many readers will be discouraged from clicking on content with a grammatically incorrect headline, even if it’s full of keywords.
- Create More Than One Headline
If you’re stuck on what to write, have a go at brainstorming a number of different headlines. This will definitely help you get over your dry spell, and you may even create your winning headline while you’re at it! Oh, and don’t disregard any ideas, the more you have to work with, the better!
This is also particularly useful if you can’t decide between variations of keywords or phrases since you can create as many versions with as many variations as you need and compare them all to each other.
- Don’t Be Afraid Of Short Headlines
Sometimes it’s better to just get your point across quickly. Short headlines do just that by delivering the most important information in a simple and straightforward manner.
In the age of the internet, many users simply skim past headlines in a matter of seconds, so if your headline takes a full minute to read, they almost definitely will not pay attention to it.
Also, some people may be discouraged by longer headlines – they may imply that the content is full of fluff and unnecessary additions, which may take away from the overall user experience.
- Quote Your Content
If you’re really stuck on a headline, try writing the content first, then pulling a simple quotation from it that sums up whatever you’re writing about. This ensures that your headline is relevant to your content topic and that it stands out from your competition.
Bonus point if you manage to use a quote from someone famous, like an influencer or a well-known celebrity – something like that will generate thousands of clicks!
- Include An Interesting Statistic
Consider including some sort of interesting or shocking statistic right in your headline. Not only will this grab any potential reader’s attention, but it will also imply that your content is well-researched and supported by evidence, possibly increasing the total traffic.
- Research The Headlines Used By Your Competitors
This is another one for when you’re completely stuck and have no idea where to start. Taking a look at what your competitors are doing can help inspire you, or can tell you what not to do if their content seems to be underperforming.
Make sure to never copy any part of their content, though. This will make you and your brand look bad, especially if you copy off a high-profile competitor that is well-known in your specific niche.
- Use Capitalization To Your Advantage
Seeing a word or a phrase that is capitalized will immediately cause readers to pay attention. It implies something urgent or shocking and is guaranteed to generate a high amount of traffic from curious clickers.
Be warned, however, that this should not be used for every single article you ever write. Capitalization can easily ruin a piece of content by making it appear too ‘click-baity’ or even humorous.
- Make The Headline Into A Question
As with many of the other tips on this page, this is one that will immediately catch the attention of potential readers. It will make them want to know the answer to the question you’ve posed to them, making them much more likely to click on your article.
Of course, you’ll need to make sure that your content actually answers the question you pose, to avoid leaving readers disappointed and losing future traffic.
- Include A Call To Action
If possible, try to include a call to action in your headline by using words like explore, learn, or understand. These words will make potential readers feel as though they will gain something substantial from your content, encouraging them to click on it.
- Use Numbers
A number of studies show that, for some reason, articles with numbers in their headlines seem to get more clicks than those without. You can use this to your advantage particularly if you’re writing a list, a ranking, or a guide – the headline ‘Some Gardening Tips’ will definitely generate less traffic than ‘5 Expert Gardening Tips’.
- Test It Out On Yourself
This is possibly the best way to decide whether your headline is suitable or not. Pretend that you’re researching your particular topic and happen to stumble across your article. Consider if you would be tempted to click on it, or if you would simply scroll past and look for something else. By trying to think like potential readers, you can have a more impartial view of the content you’ve produced, and you can gain a better understanding of your target audience.
If you’re tempted to click, great! You’ve got yourself a quality headline. If you’re unsure or would probably skip the article, go back to brainstorming. You can also ask friends or family to give you their honest opinions about the headline.