In the digital world where everyone wants to grab attention, writing catchy headlines is almost a talent. But, you don’t need to be a born writer to make a good one. It’s still safe to say that headline writing is a skill. Why? Because there are tricks you can learn to be good at making one. Remember, when it’s something that can be learned, it’s a skill.
First and foremost, why do you need to make your headlines catchy? Headline plays a crucial role in your content marketing strategy, as it gives the first impression of your article. It’s the first thing that people read and assess to decide whether your blog post is worth their time or not.
Here’s an interesting statistic: On the average, 8 out of 10 people read headline copy, but only 2 out of 10 read the rest of a post. If you want your content to serve its purpose, you must write headlines that can convince your target readers to click on it. The good thing is that there are rules you can follow, as well as free online tools you can use to turn a boring headline into a catchy phrase.
After reading this headline writing guide, I hope that writing attention-grabbing headlines for content marketing will become easy-peasy for you!
8 Headline Writing Rules You Should Follow
Don’t be vague. Be ultra-specific.
Never sacrifice clarity to sound witty and playful, as it can hurt your headline more. Get to the point right away because no one wants to guess what your article is about. Be direct in your headline and communicate clearly what your content is about.
Communicate what’s in it for the reader.
People will find value in your content if it benefits them. So, there must be some incentive in your headline so that they would know that’s it’s worth their time.
Ask yourself this question, “Why would they want to read my content?” This is where phrases like “To Improve Your Conversion Rate” or “To Grow a Profitable Network” become handy.
Research and Be unique.
Of course, no one wants their headline to be just like the others. You want to make it unique. If you think that others have already written a similar content, it’s time to check the search engine so that you can spin your angle and write catchier versions.
Limit the number of words and characters.
Long, rambling headlines can do more harm than good. If you want to write a headline that’s good for your SEO, limit its length to up to 60 characters.
Hubspot analyzed the impact of headline character count in social media engagement and found that headlines with 8-12 words got the most Twitter shares on average, while headlines with 12 or 14 words got the most Facebook Likes.
Speak with your brand voice.
At the end of the day, you want to set yourself apart from the rest. Keeping your brand voice consistent can make your brand recognizable and distinctive.
It also expresses your personality as a brand or business, which your target audience would love about you. So, choose the language that aligns with your branding.
Know your audience and speak the way they do.
What sparks your audience’s curiosity? What language do they use?
When you know your audience on a personal and deeper level, finding answers to these questions are easy. Speaking with the same words and tone that they use can build a stronger connection between you and your business.
Include your keywords, but don’t force it.
Keywords are important to your SEO, so be sure that it’s present in your headline.
If possible, place it at the beginning for a more efficient search, but try not to force it. You wouldn’t want to ruin the flow of thoughts in your headline, right?
Follow a headline formula.
Let’s make your headline-writing job easier with a formula. Book author, Jeff Goins, shares an excellent headline-writing formula, which is self-explanatory. It goes like this:
Number or Trigger Word + Adjective + Keyword + Promise
For instance, a content about ‘condo buying’ can have a title like “10 Smart Tips to Buy a Condo in the Next 12 Months.”
Following Jeff’s formula, you have 10 [number] Smart [adjective] Tips to Buy a Condo [keyword] in the Next 12 Months [promise].
Types of Headlines to Take Inspiration From
Now that you know what makes a good headline, it’s time to learn the different ways you can frame it. Depending on your content, you can make your headlines more appetizing using these models. I also checked Buzzsumo to provide examples that performed well online.
If your content offers a timely story, you can generate interest by presenting it as (guess what!) a news story.
- Philippine Trade Secretary Talks About Top Industries for Foreign Investors
- Netizens Are Going Crazy For What This New iPhone Airdrop + Camera Hack Can Do
- The Philippines’ Tech Startup Community Is Growing
A “how to” headline is probably one of the most common types of headlines, so be sure to make your headline compelling enough to attract readers. This headline works well for content that provides a step-by-step guide, advice, and solutions.
- How to Plan for Your Team’s Success in 2018
- How to Get Rid of a Headache in 5 Minutes Without Pills
- How to Change Your Life in One Second Flat
While it sparks curiosity, a question headline can be tricky and must be used with caution. Avoid using questions that can obscure facts or create fear and panic, as it could backfire on you.
- Why aren't Brits taking holidays?
- Which Content Syndication Networks Are Right for You?
- Bitcoin: Boom or Bust?
This type of headlines encourages action to readers by telling them what to do. Begin with a verb to make this compelling enough.
- Try These Best DIY Projects For Your Home Decoration
- Attract More Money in 8 Ways
- Learn How to Spot Investment Scams in the Philippines
People find value on things that benefit them. Know who your target readers are so that it’s easier to determine which benefits to highlight.
- 7 Benefits of Closed-Loop Reporting
- Parents Shouldn't Overlook These 7 Benefits of Art for Children
- 7 Beauty Benefits of Potatoes for Hair and Skin Care
If the subject in your content can offer guaranteed results, then use this to your advantage by emphasizing it in your headline. It’s a much better way to highlight benefits. You can also use figures to make it more compelling.
- 5 Business Tips for a 45% SMS Response Rate or More
- The Best 8 Exercises to Get Rid of Lower Back Fat for Women
- The 7 Workout That Burns 7 Pounds Of Belly Pooch In 7 Days
Emphasize why your content should matter to readers by stating the specific reasons. Usually, it starts with a number and ends with a claim or a fact.
- 15 Lovely Reasons Why German Shepherds Make the Best Pets
- 10+ Reasons Why Anna Kendrick Is The Funniest Person On Twitter
- 10 Reasons Why Today's Teenagers Are So Anxious
6 Online Tools You Can Use to Write Catchy Headlines
Sometimes, you are running out of creative ideas, and you need a little help to get inspirations. There are moments where you just want to hear what others think about your headline. Is it sizzling enough? Does it create interests?
Fortunately, a lot of free headline generators and analyzers are available online where you just enter a keyword or your headline for insightful results.
Tweak Your Biz Title Generator
Whether you need a headline or a topic, just enter your keyword in Tweak Your Biz Title Generator, and it will provide you a long list of sample headlines you can use. The titles are even categorized such as Lists, Best, How To, Questions, Secrets, and more.
What’s beautiful about Headline Analyzer is that it scores your headline and provides an in-depth analysis of its overall structure, grammar, and readability. It also tells you if your headline is too wordy so that you could cut it if necessary.
Based on the words you used, the tool can also detect the emotions it conveys. It shows a preview of what your headline would look like on Google search.
Similar to Tweak Your Biz Title Generator, SEOPressor’s Blog Title Generator can generate a roster of headlines for you by entering your keyword.
Its unique feature is that you can describe your keyword to get more relevant results. It asks if your keyword is a location, a brand, a product, an industry, an event, a person’s name, a skill, or a generic term.
HubSpot's Blog Ideas Generator
If you’re having a hard time jumbling your keywords together in one headline, you just have to enter up to three nouns in HubSpot’s Blog Ideas Generator and let it do the work for you.
While the tool’s algorithm is good, it has a disclaimer that you might still need to tweak the results a bit to be grammatically correct.
Portent’s Content Idea Generator
Amusing headlines that may never cross your mind are at your disposal with Portent’s Content Idea Generator. Just enter your subject or keyword in the tool, and it will automatically give you results one-by-one.
The headlines it suggests (often) follows Jeff Goin’s formula, so you are guaranteed that it works.
Emotional Marketing Value Headline Analyzer
Emotion is a powerful force that can trigger action, and headline usually uses emotional appeal to generate interest among readers. Emotional appeal can trigger your audience to click on your headline.
The Emotional Marketing Value (EMV) Headline Analyzer by Advanced Marketing Institute can analyze your headline to determine its EMV score. It will also tell your which emotional side your headline has the most impact based on the words you used – intellectual, emphatic, or spiritual. The tool will automatically cut your headline if it exceeds 20 words.
You don’t have to be a born writer to make your headline appetizing. With the right formula, tools, and (yes) taste, writing headlines that are click-worthy should be easy.