5 Tricks for writing effective headlines

5 Tricks for writing effective headlines

On average, 80% of people will read a headline and not the content piece itself. People expect a headline to summarise the content of the advert, article or document in front of them. It’s the headline that drives us to read more – that’s why it’s so important to take the time to make sure it’s effective, engaging and enticing.

Top tips for writing headlines:

  1. Use emotive language

The best headlines are those which cause your reader to “feel” something. Whether that’s interest, compassion or excitement; triggering an emotional response is gold dust when it comes to crafting headlines.

Adjectives such as “absolute”, “strange” and “essential” can compel someone to read your content. Try to avoid commonly used words such as “great”, “good” or “fun”. Experiment with alliteration or puns (play-on-words) to increase this effect.

  1. Add a sense of urgency

This is particularly important when using a headline to promote a sale, special offer, event or product launch. Phrases such as “available now” or “sale now on” peak a reader’s interest and encourage them to read on to find out the deals that are currently available to them.

  1. Use numbers

You may have noticed when reading the headline to this article that we didn’t just say “Tips and tricks for writing effective headlines” but “5 tips and tricks”. Numbers suggest to a reader that the content will be numbered or in bullet points which means it will be easy to read and presented in small, manageable chunks.

Remember that the bigger the number, the higher the incentive for people to read as they believe they will be getting more content. Odd numbers also tend to have higher conversion rates than even numbers – so aim for 5/7/9/11 rather than 4/6/10/etc.

  1. Make your headlines unique

If your advert headline is the same as all the other companies in your area it will be difficult for readers to distinguish you. Indeed, they may even discard your advert without reading it if they recall reading the same headline recently as they may think this is another advert for the same company.

The same goes for online articles – if you write an article with the same headline that already exists, what’s going to make visitors click your link in their search results over someone else’s?

  1. Avoid ambiguity

The order of words in your headlines can make a big difference to how they are perceived. A recent campaign for a GPS based dog tracker gained notoriety for all the wrong reasons. Their headline was something similar to: “Find your dog if he gets lost with your iPhone”.

Can you see the issue? It spawned hundreds of comments from people saying thing like “why would you give an iPhone to a dog?” or “my dog never gets lost with my iPhone, he knows how to use the maps”. The headline made it sound like the dog was in possession of the iPhone, when in fact they meant that your iPhone could be used to find a missing dog.

How to write a killer headline

Need some more headline inspiration? Download our free paper to access 101 different headline ideas. Whether you’re advertising a product, shouting about a sale or publishing an article, our comprehensive PDF guide will help you to create the perfect headline.

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