Last Updated on by Karl
You need to get your audience hooked! Promise that you are going to deliver value. Make sure you write titles and subheadings that tell the reader why they need to invest time reading your content.
Catchy headlines can make or break your content. There are infinite ways to write a headline. You can combine the principles of writing effective 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.
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
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. The same applies to your content marketing articles and videos. The headline should answer your audience’s question “what’s in it for me.”
- Free E-Book That Will Help You Get X
- The Ultimate Guide to Writing Catchy Headlines
- Now All 2021 Models 55% Off!
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.
Product review site, Above House, does a great job with this with titles like: “Alesis Nitro Drum Set Reviewed for 2021 [By a Drummer]”. The addition of [By a Drummer] is a clear unique selling proposition compared to all of the other results that pop up.
You can test different benefits to find out what works best.
- Fast and Easy Way to Increase Your Investment Returns
- Create Awesome Infographics in Minutes
- 3 Tips to Win in Salary Negotiations
Another great example of this comes from an Estonian site called TMM that reviews various gaming platforms. One of the first headlines on their page puts strong emphasis on the fact that the site is created “by gamers, for gamers”, instantly building a connection and quite likely giving a good reason to trust their information.
3. Announce Exciting News (News Your Audience Cares About)
Let’s be frank! Nobody cares about your company news – seriously. 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. To be interesting, you need to 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!
An example of this is our Jungle Scout review (we use our own principles!): Jungle Scout Review 2021 (Do You Really Need it? YES)
5. Appeal to You Reader’s Hunger for Knowledge
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 the reader’s real motivations. For example, this might not be the best headline:
- Making Money by Carefully Investing for the Next 50 Years!
- 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 [For Good!]
- Easiest Way to Run a Marathon in Under 3 Hours
- Write Headlines That Force People to Share Your Content
6. Tell Your Audience What to Do!
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!]
- 7 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.
- Content Marketing Strategy that Gets You Results [SLIDES]
- A Beginners Guide to Pinterest [Free E-Book!]
- How Powerful Will Video Marketing Become? [Infographic]
A recent example from our own content is taking the boring old product review headline, and adding a spin to it by including how much work and research went into it: MasterClass Review: Is It Worth It? [50+ Courses Watched]
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.
Coschedule's 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:
9 Formulas to Create Awesome Headlines in Minutes
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.
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 Earn $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.
- The Untold Secret of Successful Blogging
- 5 Secrets to Effective Time Management
- 10 Secrets to Better Search Engine Rankings Today
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 Coca-Cola Gets Results from Social Media
- Here’s How Women Can Look Younger
- Here’s How You Can Double Your Organic 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.
- 5 Little Known Methods to Gain More Followers
- 8 Little-Known But Effective 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
7. 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.
- 6 Insightful Social Media Video Interviews
- 22 Inspiring Examples of Facebook Page Designs
- 15 Must-See Interactive Youtube Ads
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:
7 Copywriting Formulas to Energize Your Social Media Posts
How to Create Engaging Titles and Headlines [infographic]
Image: The Anxious Type JD Hancock
Image: “Funny Camden Chronicle headline MACHETE ATTACK MANIAC HUNTED” by Cory Doctorow