You can have the smartest content or the most entertaining video but if you don’t convey that information well in the headline, people may never find it. Headline writing isn’t something you can slap on an article when you’re done. It’s something that should be carefully crafted and drafted before the article is written. A clear headline can keep your writing on task and make the end result more powerful.
There are many great articles about writing effective headlines (we share some with you later in this article). Our goal today is to give you three key tips that will improve your headline writing. Read on and refresh your headline-writing skills.
Tip #1 for writing an effective headline: be usefulGo back to your basic marketing tenets for this one. What’s the benefit to your audience? You can describe the features all you want but if you don’t tell people how those features are useful… why they matter… then you’ve lost your audience. Using the headline for this article as an example, we could have titled it “headline writing.” It’s accurate but boring and certainly doesn’t tell you why you should read the article. Instead our title tells you that we’re going to share ways to write effective headlines. It tells you how the article will be useful – and since you’re reading this right now – it worked to pull you at least this far into the page.
- For more on being useful, we loved the “four u’s” outlined in this article titled Headline Writing 101.
Tip #2 for writing an effective headline: grab attentionDon’t tell the whole story. Don’t use three lines when one line will do. Feel free to tease a little bit. These are all ways of saying your headline needs some punch. It needs to be concise, descriptive and perhaps spark a little curiosity. A good headline makes the reader want to learn more.
- For more ideas on what to do and what not to do when writing headlines, check out this article: Writing & Designing a Killer Headline.
Tip #3 for writing an effective headline: Numbers, numbers, numbers!Not all topics lend themselves to this last one but there’s a reason you see so many headlines with “Top ten tips…” or “20 ways to..” Numbers attract people. Numbers immediately convey a sense of what the article is about, how useful it might be to you (see tip #1) and makes people want to see what made the list (see tip #2). If you can include numbers in your headline, it will often make your headline more effective.
- The Moz Blog did some interesting research on types of headlines and which proved to be more effective in this article: 5 Data Insights into the Headlines Readers Click.