How to Write Headlines?

Intro on how to write headlines

One main aspect of online content is a good headline, and while that is obvious, what makes one a “good one” is not that much. And even while some strategies sound familiar, many steps to be taken are quite new/funny for many. What is fascinating is that with just a bit of knowledge you can improve all your headlines. Especially because they are quite easy to put in place once you understand them, we have to mention them.

In today’s article, we will tell you about some of the most useful best practices to consider.

Let’s begin.

Try To Use Odd Numbers (Like 11,13)

I know what you may be thinking, “thirteen, really?” Well…. yes! While other numbers are more familiar, they become more common, thus losing appeal.

Just think about it, one of the things that matter a lot in headlines is to grab people’s attention. And we must be honest, using 77 does it more than 75? Of course, that 77 won’t do if they are not about something valuable, which tells us something important about this article. All sections won’t work alone (by themselves), but in tandem, they are unbeatable.

Besides, odd numbers give you a little more space to add important info or cut it into smaller more accessible pieces.

Keep It Short (Less Than 70 Characters)

Even a more important thing to always consider is the length of the headline. You have to keep in mind that people are not looking at your post alone, they are searching and choosing from many options. You want to make sure to bring them to your site, and in order to do it, they should at least be able to read it quickly and not get bored in the process!

Keeping them short also helps at making your piece look bold and concise, which are great attributes for your content. Also, small headlines are the most compatible with search engines, so there is plenty to love in them!

Use SEO Keywords

Since you got to keep them short, you got to know what words to use. Keywords, especially SEO keywords appear like great options. SEO stands for search engine optimization, and in a nutshell, they work in a way that makes online searchers see your content. We always mention this idea of a bridge between surfers and your content as a good metaphor.

The details on how they work or why is that they do so are too big for this article. But if you keep in mind the definition found above, you’ll be better equipped.

Now, as for finding the right keywords, it could be as comprehensive/ large as you desire. We recommend doing small research by using online tools to see what has been searched for and how often. Very soon after, you’ll find a ton of words and you’ll get to a point where you just have to choose yours. Just remember not to obsess too much with them considering that these strategies working in tandem is what matters.

Use Buzzwords

We mentioned in a previous article the importance of them for your content more broadly, but we didn’t mention how it improves your headlines.

Let’s first start from what they are. Buzzwords are popular words/phrases that tend to have technical origins/meanings. But they are used everywhere by most people with ease, one example is to “think outside the box”. They could be sector-specific like ‘holistic” or attractive adjectives like “dynamic”.

They are very important because they are attractive, engaging, and very flexible. By the last point I mean they can be used without any clear limits or positions in your posts.

This also includes headlines and sub-headlines, but remember to don’t overdo them, short titles are better.

Some examples are: “hacks”, “you-your”, WH- questions, “effective”, “smart”, “critical”, or “huge”. Others are: “surprising”, “free”, “new”, “proven”, “easy”, “secrets”, “The”, “yes”, “never”, “instant”, “convert”.

I’ll give you one headline example:

“13 Surprisingly Easy and Proven Tricks For Your Online Content!”

Promise Result

Related to previous points is the importance of promising something valuable in the article. While this is quite obvious, you’ll be surprised to see how many individuals omit it. Of course, that they offer value, but they don’t explicitly announce that they will do. That’s the important part. Even worst, is to not directly signal that in the headline, remember headlines are the first thing that people see.

On the specific results you can offer, they will vary a lot; be specific or broad as you will but always deliver.

For example, the result could be to know 13 ways to do X. Another could be knowing the understanding dynamics of Y. It is really up to you and your audience. What matters is delivery and of course, such a result has to be attractive!

Know Your Audience And Target Their Pain

There is one more strategy that we would like to bring out in this article, and it is quite broad. As you well know by now, knowing your audience is vital, and targeting their needs/pain is highly useful.

You might ask how is this related to headlines? And my answer is: these 2 aspects are related to everything! For example, you cannot ask a question or use an odd number if what you are offering does not resonate with your audience.

When you know your audience, you understand what it likes, needs, and struggles with. And though it sounds complex, if you found your niche, you most likely have a sound idea already. Besides, knowing your audience is like getting to know people. Time and experimentation are necessary so remember to constantly evaluate your approach..

One last thing to clarify is what we mean by target their pain. It refers to find the struggles and exploit them, remember value-giving is your goal. And frankly, there are few things more valuable than content that helps with something.

Ask a Question

A question is a great rhetorical tool for almost anyone. This is because it can be used in many ways:

  • Pure rhetoric to increase curiosity: “What are the key parts of any headline?”

  • For connecting with the audience by showing relatedness. “Tired of living under lockdown? We too, here are X things to keep yourself busy with”

  • Signal value/urgency. “Can someone make a fortune in 10 months without a degree? Yes, here’s how!”

Lastly, as you can see, you can change pretty much any headline to a question. Though we are not asking you to only use questions, knowing how useful they are and that you could is valuable.

Conclusion Of How To Write Headlines

So, the strategies can be summarized in this way.

  • Odd numbers: to stand out as particular, funny, and/or eye-catching.

  • Short headlines: targeting little attention span and tons of competition

  • SEO Keywords: a must to connect searchers with your content

  • Buzzwords: directly affects attractiveness and thus attention paid to the piece

  • Promise result: Results are valuable, and fulfilled promises required

  • Knowing your audience and pain targeting.

  • Questions: easy to use and very flexible

Thanks for reading this article, we expect to have been insightful and helpful to you.

Diego Castrillon Levoyer

International university student, Online Marketing enthusiast, and Content-Creation fan. Current affairs passionate follower, cosmopolitan par excellence, a natural learner, and cool-headed person. An avid research writer partnered with Duomly’s crew.

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