A headline is a bridge between your content and the reader. Whether it is a blog post, newsletter or an email campaign, It’s the headline that grabs your reader’s attention and lands them to wherever you want them to.
Headline writing is an art but you don’t have to be an artist. I’ll show you the ways to write an irresistible headline. These tips are simple to implement yet powerful enough to rise above your competition. In other words “An irresistible headline that can’t be missed”.
1. The four U’s
Your headline can’t stand out if it’s like million others. Think of a way to make it different. Can you give it a personal touch or might add some humor to it. Look at the example here.
“7 tips to use WordPress”.
“7 WordPress tips you will actually use”.
Which one will you click? The first one isn’t bad but not unique or eye-catching but the second one looks more attractive because of the word “actually”.
A reader needs a reason to click. Think about what valuable information you are giving to your reader and why would they invest their time in your content.
Look at my headline “How to write an irresistible headline in 11 simple ways”. So if you are struggling with your headlines then there is a good chance you will click this one because this seems a solution to your problem.
A narrow headline is more attracting for a specific audience resulting in a better conversion rate. So be direct and get to the point. Don’t waste your reader’s time.
“A possible solution to quit smoking”.
“Could nicotine gum solve our smoking addiction”?
The point here is to get qualified readers who are really interested in what you have to say.
We as a reader have very little time to read. Even if we find something interesting we’ll bookmark the page or save the link for later. But how many times we come back to that piece of content? I personally never.
This is where urgency comes. It pushes the reader to take immediate action like this one.
“5 simple mistakes you’re making with your blog”.
Looks urgent? It’s hard to ignore if you are a blogger. Tell them why they want to read it now.
2. Be Concise
I would have written a shorter letter, but I did not have the time.
Long headlines are hard on eyes and also mess with the page design. Here is what I mean.
“If you want to become a good speaker, you really need to listen”.
“The secret to becoming a good speaker? Listen”.
You should also ignore long words where a short one will do the job like “use” instead of “utilize” or “Consider” instead of “taking into consideration”.
Human brain like familiar things. We get attracted to what we know.
“5 best scenes from Game of thrones”.
“Top 3 places to visit in Paris”.
Look for the famous places, celebrities or movies that you can use in your headline.
4. Use vibrant words
Use words which triggers emotion. If the headline creates a visual picture then the reader will be tempted to click. Notice the difference between the first and the second sentence.
“5 tips to write a great blog post”.
“5 tips to write an epic blog post”.
“10 benefits of meditation”.
“10 astonishing benefits of meditation”.
Empty and dry words don’t create a sudden impact to the reader. Sprinkle some vibrant words throughout your headline. Here are some of the powerful words.
Deadly, epic, astonishing, eye-opening, lunatic, shatter, nightmare, buffoon, Catastrophe, toxic, crisis, jubilant, legend, striking, extraordinary, mind-blowing, terrific, faith, fearless, titan, phenomenal, tremendous, glorious, remarkable, unleash, conquer, sensational, valor, spectacular, victory, spirit, splendid, incredible, jaw-dropping, dominate, allure, goosebumps, passionate, hypnotic, pleasure, tempting, intense, tickle, crave, juicy, turn on, desire, divine, urge, ecstasy, vulgar, enchant, spellbinding, naked, exotic.
5. Be accurate
Don’t mislead your reader with outrageous headlines. These headlines might gain you a few clicks but the reader will disappointedly leave, promising to never come back. This can also hurt your SEO very BADLY.
Don’t over-promise on your headline.
6. Headline first
Many bloggers does a terrible mistake of writing content without a headline. Don’t ever do that. Your headline works as your blueprint that your content follows.
Without a headline, your writing will look directionless and lacks clarity.
Once you’ve decided to write on a certain topic, play with several headlines and finally stick with one, then only you should write the post.
There are certain formats that are successful and proven to have a higher click rate. One is the question format like this one.
“How to make money with your blog” or “How to build your blog from scratch”
These question headlines work very well with the readers as it provides them with a solution to their problem.
Another format is the listicle headline, you must have seen tonnes of them.
“10 ways to be more productive”. or “05 tips to stay top of your competition”.
These titles work like magic. They provide a scannable structure to the reader. Busy readers know what they are getting into before committing their time.
8. Giving away too much
Your headlines should be crafted to lure and spark curiosity to the reader. If you give a solution in your title, there will be no point in reading your content.
Example- “How to save money by cutting your expense”
Being an reader why would you ever read the content of this headline.
Generally there are two ways to capitalize your headline.
Title case- Here each major word is capitalized. We only leave the prepositions and articles like a, an, the, but, with, or, with, and, on, in, to etc. But remember that all the verbs will be capitalized even the small verbs like Be or Is.
“How to Declutter and Speed up Your Phone”.
“Sooner or Later Your Cousin’s DNA Is Going to Solve a Murder”.
Sentence case- Here you only capitalize the first letter of the first word and proper nouns like the name of a place or people’s name. Example-
“Travelling to Cuba may get harder for Americans”.
“Americans are among the most stressed people in the world, poll finds”.
Capitalizing depends on each individual. It’s more of a style thing. No matter which one you choose but stay consistent with them. It will make you look more professional.
Sometimes, a headline alone is not enough to describe your content. This is where subordinate headlines (subheads) come. It appears just below the heading and explains a little further to your reader.
Be economical and try to avoid repetition of words in the subhead that has already been used in the heading. It makes it look more elegant. In the below sentence the writer has not used “rich” and instead use “wealthy” in the subhead.
‘Tax the rich. The rich leave’
Wealthy Americans flee high-tax states, take billions with them.
If Headline writing is an art and science. This is the science part. Google or other search engines hunt the pages that readers are looking for.
The best way to write an SEO friendly headline is to find the right keywords that will lead the reader to your article.
You can use the Google keyword planner to find these keywords. These tools will give you various keyword ideas along with their competition level. Then make that exact keyword a part of your heading like this one.
“19 ways to increase your willpower.”
Here ‘increase your willpower’ is the keyword phrase. This helps Google to show relevant blogs to the searchers.
Quick tip- Try to limit your headline under 60 characters as Google will most likely cut the rest of it.
If you can catch your reader’s attention and promise something informative or valuable then the reader is yours. You will certainly rise above the noise and build a great relationship over time.
But remember, implementing is as important as learning something. Be fearless and experiment with your heading until you get a perfect one.
Do you use any other way to craft your headings? Do share your views or let me know if you have any queries.