Let me present to you eleven tips on how to write exceptionally appealing headlines. They are crucial because, on average, five times more people read only the headline without the rest of the content. By crafting the headline, you’ve already spent 80 cents of your dollar. Here’s what David Ogilvy, one of the early masters of copywriting, had to say – he was one of the big names in advertising from the 50s and 60s. He literally used the phrase about the 80 cents because he spent it on buying advertising space in newspapers. But even if you don’t do that, the signal you should get is how important headlines are. In fact, if you really think about his words, then you should spend five times more time writing your headline than the content because that’s what will grab the attention of most people.
Now that you understand how important headlines are, let’s also go over the first tip. It is: always start with a number, like “Top 15 Websites for Free Images for Your Digital Marketing,” “21 Practical SEO Techniques You Can Use Right Away,” “Seven Ways/Secrets to Feel Happy Every Day,” “Seven Proven…, Seven Reasons…, Seven Tips…” and so on. The great thing about starting your headlines this way is that it not only creates a lot of curiosity that makes people click to find out those 15 or 7 things but also creates a very easy structure to follow for your content checklist. It also provides very easy reading instructions for people since they will quickly scan the information. This is perhaps the best advice you can use easily.
This is how websites like BuzzFeed, by following this headline writing advice, have built businesses worth hundreds of millions of dollars annually. Almost every article on their website starts with a number.
The second tip for headline writing is to use the phrase “How to.” For example, “How to Make Lavender Lemonade to Get Rid of Headaches and Restlessness?” “How to (blank)?” Since many people know how to do various things, when they encounter a problem, existing solutions might not work. So, if you really want to grab attention with something unique and different, include “even if, if, without.” An example that will truly catch attention is “How to Make YouTube Videos Without Recording Video?”
The third tip is to focus on common mistakes. For example, “16 Copywriting Mistakes You’re Probably Making and How to Fix Them,” or “Do You Make These Common 10 Google AdWords Mistakes?” This will really pique people’s interest, and they will click because they would want to know how they’ve made those mistakes. Also, it will help them solve a problem that often occurs, allowing them to reach their desired level much faster.
The fourth tip is to ask questions. Like, “Want to Build a Snowman? Read This Guide First,” “Think You Know SEO? Take This Quick Test to Find Out!” These questions are a great way to engage people and make them read your content.
The fifth tip is to use punctuation. This is a very simple yet useful SEO technique. If you want to rank high on Google or YouTube, you can help yourself by including the keyword at the beginning of the headline. Here’s an example: if you want to rank for the keyword phrase “marketing plan template,” then your blog post title could be “Marketing Plan Template” or “Create Your First Marketing Plan in Five Steps.” This will give you an SEO advantage because the keyword is at the beginning of the headline. It also clarifies the topic of the post for the readers.
The sixth tip is to be extremely precise and clear in your statement. You really need to define the topic of the article and remember that headlines set expectations for the rest of the article. Try to be very specific about the topic. Something like “Write a Song” could fall into the bad headlines category, while a good one would be “How to Compose Your First Song,” “Songwriting from Scratch,” or “Basics for Composing Your First Song.” With this headline, expectations are clear.
Tip number seven is to write headlines using the 5Ws, which are engaging and probing words used to gather information: Who, What, When, Where, and How. These are the most common questions we ask, and by incorporating them into headlines, we easily articulate the information we want to convey. For example: “These seven questions will reveal why you should be unattached” or “How to motivate yourself when you don’t want to exercise?”. Include the 5Ws in your headlines.
Tip number eight when writing headlines is to pay attention to their length. If you want them to look good without being cut off, ensure they are the right length. Generally, Google displays the first 50-60 characters of a blog post title in search results, so make sure you fall within this range; otherwise, the title will be truncated. People won’t be able to see it in search results, and it’s unlikely to be attractive enough for them to click on it.
Tip number nine is to use images to enhance your headline. A good image is crucial for success, as it needs to grab the searcher’s attention and help them understand the essence of the article, video, or course. It’s even better if it can visually explain what the headline is saying. You can get a vast collection of free images from many websites. Here are a few I personally use: unsplash.com, stockssnap.io, pexels.com. These are copyright-free images that you can use for your content.
Tip number ten is to follow the style of the best in the business. In particular, I found a website called jeffbullas.com. I think he writes very successful headlines and adds great images to them. They are highly interactive; for example, we can take one of his headlines: “Twelve new plugins that will boost your online sales in 2019.” This headline is very clear; we have a number, we have a result, and I really want to see what these 12 plugins are because I want to achieve such a result. “Five fundamental mistakes in your brand messages and ways to fix them.” This is an example of a commonly encountered mistake. I would recommend looking at someone who is very good at writing headlines, perhaps someone in your niche. Take a few examples from them, develop them, and use them for yourself. Or just browse the jeffbullas.com site and use his blog articles as a template by adapting them to your own business.
The final tip, number eleven, is to practice. It’s clear that copywriters are not born; they are made, and I recommend you do it. You can write 25 headlines in Google, and it will become clear to you. The great thing about this tool is that you can really write a blog post title 25 times; you will find 25 variations to use for the blog post you are going to write, and you can choose the title that really grabs your attention the most. As we mentioned, five times more people will read the headline. So, it is recommended to try and write 10 different variants of headlines for each article or email you create and see which one grabs your attention the most. The good thing about this tool is that it has a built-in automatic check of the length of your headline, so you can see if it’s correct. This applies to headlines, tweets, and emails. It also has built-in templates that you can write on directly and adapt them to the topic you are developing.
These were the eleven tips on how to write compelling headlines. Try them and use them for yourself. I think you will be very pleasantly surprised by the results you can achieve!