17 Easy Tricks How to Write Catchy Titles and Headlines

how to write headlines

Catchy headlines can make or break your content. There are infinite ways to write a headline. You can combine the principles of headlines to get even more possibilities. In the following post, I will give you tips and tricks have proven themselves for many years. Next time you have to write a catchy headline, use these easy and powerful headline formulas.

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Great headlines give you an edge and convince your audience to read and respond to your copy. These headline examples will inspire you to get creative and write headlines that work for you.

Good headlines will make people click your content. They will also read longer and share even without reading.

On the average, 5 times as many people read the headline as read the body copy. When you have written your headline, you have spent 80 cents out of your dollar. – David Ogilvy

First I will start with seven general principles:

1. Keep it short, simple, and to the point

Write Catchy Headlines

Great headline goes directly to the point of your content. Don’t try to be clever or intriguing. Clear headlines don’t play with words or try to make a joke. Most people will miss it. So, don’t do it. Get to the point! Bring out the benefits and make clear offers when talking about your products and services. Same applies to your content marketing articles and videos. The headline should answer your audience’s question “what’s in it for me.”

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  • The ultimate guide to write catchy headlines
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2. Be clear about your main benefit

Don’t list features! Turn features into benefits and make sure you put the most important one in your headline. Your headline is an ad for your content that has to convince the audience that your content has the answers they are looking for. If you promise them value in the headline, they will click through to get it.

Of course, to put the big benefit into the headline, you need to know what it is. You need to know your target audience. Even if people don’t click through, they have seen your offer.

You can test different benefits to find out what works best.

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3. Announce exciting news (News your audience cares about)

Let’s be frank! Nobody cares about your company news. But people do care about the things that are important to them. Let them know that there is something new that makes a difference in their lives. Most businesses do not have a constant stream of news, so use old material and present it in a novel way. Use newsjacking to tie your content to recent and upcoming events.

When covering your products and services, you can introduce new features and discounts. Or, new ways to get the most out of your product.

Bring the news to your headlines and your audience is intrigued.

  • Finally, the Gadget Hits the Stores!
  • Introducing the newest idea in distant learning from X
  • Top SEO Trends from the Past 6 Months
  • Yes! The new thing improves results but more than expected

4. Questions in the headline

The question in the headline should be something that your audience wants to know. If you ask something they don’t care about, then you’ll lose them. This means that you tie the question to your main benefit. You aim for one of two responses:

  • “Yes” as in Do you want to know how to get a result that is amazing?
  • “Hmm? Tell me!” – This tool blew the analysts’ expectations

As you can see you can combine questions with the news formula and make your headlines even more irresistible. The question doesn’t always have to be in the form of the question. You can just imply or hint at it.

  • Yes! The new thing improves results, but more than expected
  • Do you want to know the top 5 mistakes most bloggers make?
  • What to do with your dog on a rainy day?
  • Your boss wants to see you in his office? Read this!

5. Appeal to you reader’s hunger for knowledge

how to write headlines

If I can learn to do something in X easy steps, then I would want to know how. Most people do! Use your headline to tell your readers they can learn something. You have to make it sound easy.

Do not include the process into the headline since it tends to sound like a lot of work. Target the result and reader’s real motivations. For example, this might not be the best headline:

  • Making money by carefully investing for the next 50 years!

Instead use:

  • Huge profits in options trading you can learn in 15 minutes!

The benefit and excitement of learning something new that I can use immediately to improve my daily life will make your audience click on your headlines. The most common version of this title is the “how to” headline.

  • How to stop smoking right now and never start again
  • Easiest way to run a marathon in under 3 hours
  • Write headlines that make people share your content

6. Tell your audience what to do!

Catchy Headlines

Create a headline with a command in it. Tell your audience what they have to do to get the value you are offering. Be direct and demand action. You, the expert, tell them to act in a certain way. You make them ask “why” and that in turn will make them click through to your website. Some examples of commanding headlines:

  • Subscribe to our service and get X for free!
  • Stop wasting your budget on social media. Get 10x results from email
  • Throw away your old snowboard, this is what you need!

7. Create the most valuable information resource

Take a look at the best content out there and create something better. Better examples or more complete guidelines let you create a definite piece of content in your industry that will work for years.

But the internet is full of information. People don’t want more information; they want to make their lives easier. We usually look for quick fixes, steps, tips, and tricks. Make sure you communicate that value in your headline.

  • 10 most important tips to make your sex life better
  • Complete guide to cooking perfect meat every time [with Videos]
  • 10 secrets that help to make every vacation a dream

[BONUS]. Add numbers and symbols

There’s something in the headlines that begin with numbers and contain parentheses. Numbers as digits work amazingly well even when compared with the same numbers as words. For example:

  • “5 best beaches in the world” usually gets you an engagement rate that is double of “Five best beaches in the world.”

Add a bonus to your headline. Include that in parenthesis or square brackets. Special characters make your headline stand out, and people will click it more.

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Now go make your content better

You can improve your results now! Go back to your old content and edit the headlines to make them better. Set aside one hour per week for editing headlines. You will spend about 10 to 15 minutes per headline, and then you can update 30 to 40 pieces of content per month.

Of course, if you create new content make sure that your writing process includes coming up with a catchy title. Processes help you save time and be consistent in your content creation.

Headline Analyzer

One more thing before we continue! There’s an awesome tool from coschedule.com that helps you hone your headlines to perfection: Blog Post Headline Analyzer. But that’s not all! If you want concrete examples and formulas to create catchy headlines I will show you 9+1 simple formulas to create killer headlines that work every time:

create killer headlines

9 Formulas to Create Awesome Headlines + You

Interestingly, a lot of your shares come from people who just read the catchy title. What makes the headline informative and intriguing enough for people to click and share? There are repeatable formulas for that.

Make your headline to stand out and make people click. Here are nine formulas that help you write headlines that make people pay attention, read more, and share.

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1. Who else wants [something]?

A classic headline format that uses social proof. By beginning with “who else wants” you show that people already do want.

  • Who else wants to work less and get paid more?
  • Who else wants a free social media marketing training?
  • Who else wants to work from home and get $500 per day?

2. [Number] Secret(s) of [something]

Another great headline formula is playing on your curiosity. Who wouldn’t want to know the secret? The reader assumes that they get access to inside information and this makes the headline work.

  • Secret of successful blogging
  • Secret of effective time management
  • 10 Secrets of better search engine rankings

3. Here’s how [somebody] [does something]

Simple, straightforward, personal. Make readers recognize themselves by replacing [somebody] with your target audience. Make sure [something] is a benefit they want to achieve.

  • Here’s how marketers get results from social media
  • Here’s how women can look younger
  • Here’s how you can get more leads.

This headline also works in a slightly modified “here’s why” version.

  • Here’s why you need to speed up your old website

4. [Number] Little known methods [to do something]

Similar to the “secrets” and “how to” but works on the idea that if it’s little know, then you may get an advantage over the people who do not know.

  • Little known methods to gain more followers
  • 8 little-known methods to avoid stress
  • Little known method to reduce your gas consumption

5. [Number] quick solution (or ways) to [something]

Instant gratification! Most people want things to happen yesterday and headlines that promise fast results get our attention.

  • 5 quick ways to fix your search engine rankings
  • Fast solutions to your money problems
  • 10 quick methods to get rid of spam comments

6. Now you can have [good thing] and [other good thing]

These are two good things that have not been previously possible together. Who wouldn’t want the cake and eat it, too?

  • Now you can have your Mac and use Chrome
  • Now you can eat more and lose weight
  • Now you can beat the pros without hard work

9 Simple Formulas to Create Killer Headlines7. How to do [something] like [world class example]

Identify what your target audience wants and combine that with the best example. You can also use a number in this headline to give a list of more than one way of doing things.

  • How to blog like Seth Godin
  • How to dominate the market like Microsoft
  • How to sing like Robbie Williams

8. All you need to know about [something]

This headline implies that there’s not much effort involved and intrigues people to find out more.

  • All you need to know about Facebook advertising
  • Everything you need to know about getting fit
  • All that you need to know about writing headlines

9. [Number] [superlative] [something]

People love lists! Lists are easy to scan and read. List of X best things works like a magnet if you know what your audience is interested in.

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10. Add You!

Here’s a bonus idea that will make all these headlines even better: make the headlines personal by adding just one little word – you.

Find out more about headlines, titles and copywriting here:

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Image: “Funny Camden Chronicle headline MACHETE ATTACK MANIAC HUNTED” by Cory Doctorow

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4 Responses

  1. Chris Nastav says:

    I really liked this post primarily because you provided those fill in the blank examples. So often people just tell what to do. You took it that extra step and followed a great training methodologies. “Explain, Show, Do, Review”. I look forward to reading more of your posts and hope they provide the same level of “Practice”.

  2. The 7th Move - Digital Marketing Agency USA says:

    The post gives a complete guide in creating catchy headlines or titles for a post. But I think there’s a room to share tools that are available online for free to help and assist us in doing that!

    • Priit Kallas says:

      There’s an awesome tool from coschedule.com that helps you hone your headlines to perfection: Blog Post Headline Analyzer. http://coschedule.com/headline-analyzer

  3. Angelene Verano says:

    You got it right that direct headline goes straight to the heart of the matter without trying to sound intrigue or clever. I’ve been in writing for almost a year now and I remembered back when I started that it was really hard for me to create one remarkable and catchy headline or title. It took me a lot of patience and of course tons of revisions until I finished an outstanding content. Also, this post http://blog.tryadhawk.com/content-marketing/headline-checklist/ will help you getting started with one amazing headline and noteworthy content.

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