Writing a headline that captures your readers’ attention is both an art form and a necessity. You might have penned the most thought-provoking piece since Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s I Have a Dream speech; however, without a captivating headline, it’s likely to get buried in the ever-flowing feed that constantly vies for attention.
Before you hit publish, follow these tips to write a headline that will help you stand out from the crowd.
Write down multiple ideas
Set a timer and spend five minutes writing down every headline idea that comes to mind, even if it seems downright silly. Remember, you can always tweak it later (and you definitely should). You may find that combining ideas will lead to a truly attention-grabbing title.
Write a title thinking of your client or reader instead of trying to appeal to the general public.
For example, instead of "5 exercises to increase core strength," consider using "5 easy basic exercises to do while your toddler is napping." The first title is very broad and lets the reader wonder who these exercises are for. Runners? Gymnasts? Body builders looking to strengthen their abs? The second title, however, specifically targets parents with little time.
Implement the BuzzFeed formula
BuzzFeed is king when it comes to writing attention-grabbing headlines. For inspiration, take a look at the titles of its trending articles — is there a formula that you can apply to your own content?
In the case of the title, “32 Lazyish Ways to Deep Clean Your Home You’ll Wish You’d Known About Sooner,” the formula is “[X#] [Adjective] [Noun] to [Action] You’ll Wish You’d Known About Sooner.”
Are you a food blogger who focuses on easy-to-prepare, healthy meals? You might create a title like, “15 20-Minute One-Pot Recipes You Wish You Had in Your Recipe Book Earlier.”
In an analysis of their titles, the CoSchedule marketing calendar tool revealed that "publications with a higher emotional value get more actions." For a compelling title, use words that elicit a strong emotional response. These can pique the reader's curiosity, fill a person with positive feelings or create a sense of exclusivity.
Stay short and concise
Google search results will cut your smart title if it's too long. To ensure that the reader sees the entire title, limit it to around 50-60 characters.
Create a swipe file
Watch the headlines that interest you. Create special "swipe files" in your inbox where you save emails with interesting subject lines, or copy and paste them into documents or online notebooks. When you lack inspiration, look at your files and see if you can apply one of these techniques to your own headline - make sure not to copy them word for word.
Analysis before send it to live on your Blog
After you choose one or two titles, try using a free tool such as
Yoast SEO Headline Analyzer to see how it works. Tweak as needed and exchange words to see if your score increases - the higher the score, the more likely the person will click on it.
Headlines are important, but the content that gives you what your headlines promise is just as important. Not only does it ensure that people read and share your content, it also helps with your search engine optimization (SEO) so that more people can find and appreciate your work.