1. Focus on solving a problem, not selling something.
The first thing to do while creating an eye-catching headline is to focus on helping.
If you check out most of the articles ranking high in Google, you will find that their focus is mainly about helping people solve a particular problem.
Your headline will always perform better if it is helpful.
2. Come up with many ideas.
Upworthy.com is a popular news/storytelling site, and I’m sure you have heard about it before.
According to them, virality is a combination of great content, a compelling story, and the right environment. But there is nothing more important than the headline.
They attribute much of their content marketing success to writing 25 headlines for each blog post they publish on their site.
Then they will select the one that seems more promising, compelling, and attention-grabbing.
Upworthy has eight rules for writing headlines.
Here they are:
- You have to write 25 different headlines for every piece of content you’re writing.
- You will write some stinky headlines.
- Once you start getting desperate, you should start thinking outside the box.
- So you have to write 25 headlines.
- Number 24 will suck. Then Number 25 will be a gift from the headlines gods and will make you a legend.
- Accept that headline every will be perfect.
- Then write 25 headlines.
- With consistent practice, you’ll be writing 25 in 15 minutes. Only then will you be allowed to lower your limit.
As you can see, there’s the power of consistency here, and this is something you should try. The next time you write a blog post, write lots of headlines before choosing a winner.
You can use a headline analyzer to help you out.
The more you do this, the better and more professional you’ll become at crafting great headlines.
3. Keep a swipe file.
A swipe file is a collection of different headlines that have already proven to work for others. This helps you get inspiration when you need to come up with a great title.
A good example of this is the Jon Morrows Headline Hacks eBook. With this book alone, I’ve been able to write consistently better headlines over time.
Headline Hacks A Cheat Sheet for Writing Blog Posts That Go Viral
You can always use your swipe file as a source of inspiration to write good headlines whenever you’re lost or stuck.
According to Brian Clack, swipe files can’t even really be considered cheating. It’s just the way it’s done if you want to write effective copy, especially when starting out.
Only once a copywriter has a true understanding of what works can they take a completely original approach. Even then, it’s pretty rare to come up with a gangbuster headline that is 100% unique.
Using these templates can ultimately increase the effectiveness of your blog post titles, and hence, the ultimate read rate of your blog posts.
Start gathering good headlines from across the web.
Start to pay attention to the things you click on and WHY you’re clicking.
Figure out what works and then copy the model.
4. Use numbers (preferably odd numbers).
Several pieces of research have proved that using numbers in your headlines tend to get 73% more social shares and engagements.
What’s more is that adding specific numbers (like data) to your headlines is a good way to make the title more exciting to your readers.
Debra Jason stated that one of the major reasons why using numbers in headlines works is because numbers are like “brain candy”. This is to say that the brain is very receptive to numbers.
I also want you to know that there’s a science behind odd numbers. Odd numbers tend to perform better, and that’s why you often see blogs using odd numbers in their headlines.
Research carried out by Content Marketing Institute discovered that the brain seems to believe odd numbers more than even numbers. It was also discovered that odd numbers help people digest and recall information more easily.
When they tweaked one of their headlines to include the odd number “7”, the click through rate increased by 20%.
5. Include positive words.
Using positive superlatives in your headline will help make it more emotional. This will, in turn, make it more enticing and attention-grabbing.
Some positive superlatives that will enhance your headline writing include:
6. Use negative words to highlight fear.
Fear is a strong emotion which can make anyone take action on a given task.
A study carried out by Outbrain found that headlines featuring negative superlatives performed 30% better than those with positive superlatives.
Some of the negative superlatives you can use include:
- By No Means
- No One
- No Way
Also, using words like Stop, Avoid, and Don’t in your headline is a good idea, too.
“Stop Making These Silly Blogging Mistakes”
“The 5 Worst Excuses For Not Living Your Dream Life”
“7 Things To Never Do When Socializing”
7. Make use of brainstorming tools.
The availability of tools on the internet has made most tasks easier and less time-consuming.
There are tools out there that you can use to help come up with great headlines. If you have tried all the other methods mentioned here but still can’t get a thought-provoking headline, then try using some tools to help.
- Coschedule Headline Analyzer
- Pr Headline Generator