7 ways to write a good headline

7 ways to write a good headline
7 ways to write a good headline

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Want to become a successful blogger and write brilliant articles? Then post a quote from an outstanding copywriter and marketer, David Ogilvy:

“80% of success lies in the correct title”

Headlines can both attract and repel readers of your articles, books and any other work, especially when it comes to social networks. Correct headlines can lead a significant portion of organic traffic.

The time spent on drawing up the right headline will definitely bear fruit, while a bad headline can kill a post. Fortunately, today we have at our disposal the results of many years of research in this area. Successful copywriters are constantly experimenting with headlines and sharing the results, which we can also take note of.

Here are just some of the helpful tips:

Use numbers in headings

This is one of the most famous, and perhaps the most effective techniques. The article based on the list, as well as the title containing the numbers, are called leaflets (from the English List (list) + article (article)).

The graph compiled by Conductor.com demonstrates the effect that numbers in the headers can produce.

Using Headline Numbers
We see that 36% of readers are more willing to click on headlines containing numbers, 21% respond positively to direct access, and 17% prefer to receive clear instructions starting with the word “How.” At the same time, the headlines, just telling about the content of the article, as well as the headings-questions, give the lowest conversion – 15% and 11%, respectively.

Of course, this technique does not always give excellent results, but still, we can safely conclude that in most cases it works. A graph from the online social media magazine BuzzStream and Fractl shows how often users repost, depending on the type of material. Listikly surpass other text formats, and often these posts are shared even more often than video recordings.

Content for a good blog

Also, use odd numbers that, according to The Guardian, stimulate traffic growth . At the same time, the greatest result will bring specific numbers, for example, “117 ideas” instead of the usual “100 ideas”.

You can go even further: try the title “117½ Ideas”. Such options are rare, and maybe not at all, but to do something very first is to be creative!

Give specifics

The strength of the lenticles is in their certainty. “17 ways to boil an egg” sounds much more specific than “How to boil an egg.” This narrows our focus. Accuracy simplifies perception. And, as you know, our brain inclined to laziness loves things simpler;)

Show your results.

Instead of the heading “How to increase the number of subscriptions”, use “How to increase the number of subscriptions by 312%.” Instead of “How I made a ton of cold calls” try “How I completed the two-week rate of cold calls between breakfast and lunch.”

Contact readers directly

Do you know what reception successful copywriters consider the most effective?

Appeal to the audience on “you” or even on “you”. Communicating with readers directly, you suddenly get an advantage. The main thing is to make sure that you choose the right style of communication with your audience. If you start your post with the phrase “I know that you are a liar,” or “I know that you are lazy,” while your reader does not consider himself to be a lazy liar, then you will face a complete failure.

Need more proof? Then check out the list of top viral post headers compiled by Kevin Lee for Buffer. “You” in this list in the first place after the official parts of speech.

Top HeadersMost effective headlines for posting.

Write 25 headings

Yes, of course, you need only one. However, having written 25 titles, the likelihood that you will come up with a good one is much higher than if you write only one.

This technique was coined by Upworthy viral advertising agency. The authors of this agency write 25 headlines for each article they are working on! Think this is a bust? But how their posts in the network scatter!

This approach works. He separates lovers from the elite of the blogosphere. You can cheat a little and write 10 headings, 15 or 20. It does not take much time and is quite funny. In addition, writing several headline options is likely to help you improve the article as a whole.

Practice making great headlines.

Slide from Upworthy Presentation, How to create a viral post

Drop the convention

In simple terms, surprise everyone. Whatever you write, try to headline it so that the reader can see in the title something familiar, but provocative enough to be interested.

Given the fact that about two million posts are published on the Internet every day, we must either offer something new or present something old in a new light.Otherwise, we will be forgotten immediately after reading.

There are many ways to stir up the interest of the public, and we give only some of them:

  • Combine the incompatible (sports nutrition and classic literature, marketing and gardening, for example)
  • Show the pros and cons of things, or consider something from different points of view (“Why buying a house was the worst decision in my life”)
  • Use unexpected solutions, as they do in Upworthy:

The phrase about the contents of your post + “You will not believe what happened next” = Title

Looks like a cliche? Maybe. But it works almost perfectly.

Use the “classic five” of journalism

What, where, when, who and why are very strong words, include them in your headlines. Moreover, these words create a structure for newspaper articles, and for blog posts and any other online content. The strength of these words lies in their specifics, as we said above.

Use header analysis applications.

Perhaps you know that there are several online services that allow you to evaluate your headline according to the basic “rules” of writing headlines. Here are some foreign applications (maybe soon we will be able to see domestic ones): Headline Analyzer from CoSchedule , and Emotional Marketing Value Headline Analyzerapplication from the Institute of Advanced Marketing. Both services are quite good, however, they have their flaws.

Below is the ranking of the most popular Buffer, Moz, Entrepreneur , LifeHacker and Psychology Today headlines for these resources:

Headline checking software

Most Popular Posts of 2014Most Popular Posts of 2014

What do the points mean

The numbers given by The CoSchedule are the result of an analysis of more than a million headers. Readability, structure and grammar of your title is evaluated.CoSchedule also analyzes other parameters that are critical for SEO optimization, such as length, number of words in the headline, etc.

Heading scoring

The Emotional Headline Analyzer gives its estimate in percentages from 0 to 100%, although some of the pinings can earn 114.29% when checking. Speech in this case is about the content of words that attract the attention of the reader (Emotional marketing value words, hereinafter EMV).

It can also be noted that “compared to the titles of professional copywriters, containing 30–40% of EMV words, the headlines of particularly talented copywriters can include up to 60–70% of words that attract the attention of the reader”
How to attract the attention of readers

What conclusion after viewing this rating suggests itself? It is worth using such toolswisely, and sometimes with a bit of skepticism.

Some of the rules we talked about above were applied in the headings listed in the list above. Headings with numbers, they are also lists, are found on almost every site. Posts that begin with the words “how” and “why” are also very common. Many authors also use the element of surprise in their headlines.

What other tricks do you use? Share your experience with us in the comments! 🙂


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