What Is Headline Writing All About? The Complete Guide
80% of people never read past a headline. This means you absolutely need to get your headline right to get any meaningful readership. The title you give to a piece of content, like a blog post, is a big part of showing up on search engines and social media. It’s also how you grab someone’s interest and convince them to keep reading. In this guide, we’ll break down everything you need to know to craft effective headlines for your content.
How Do Headlines Work?
Headlines are the title heading for a landing page, blog post, or article. Like how they’ve long been used in print media, this short sentence introduces a reader to the topic and scope of a piece of content, giving you a sense of what you’re about to read.
For a blog post, a good headline will share just enough information to let you know what the post is about, but not too much. You want to tease the content that comes after it, enticing someone to keep reading beyond the headline. You want to catch a reader’s attention and pique their interest or curiosity enough to have them read the rest of your blog post.
Because there’s so much content on the internet, writing engaging headlines that stand out in Google search results can be hard. Good headline writers use tricks like questions (like in the headline of this post) or emotional tactics (like tapping into FOMO or the fear of making a mistake) to stand out and get clicks.
Headlines also help potential audiences find content that’s relevant to them. A good headline can also serve as the first part of an answer to searchers’ questions, like the best email marketing software or how to start a business on a tight budget . In content marketing, this makes headlines even more important, as they’re the way to signal to searchers that your article contains useful information for them.
As much as headlines work to get searchers and readers to ingest your content, headlines are also very important for SEO. Google takes headlines into heavy consideration when it comes to search engine result rankings, and smart use of keywords in your headline can make all the difference between showing up near the top of the first page of results and being buried on page three. A headline that isn’t SEO optimized will mean that, no matter how good your post content is, there’s a risk no one will ever find it.
How Long Should My Headlines Be?
This is one of the most common questions when it comes to effective headline construction. There isn’t a hard rule on how many characters a headline should have, but most marketing experts agree it should be under 60 characters .
The reason is that anything longer than 60 characters will have a portion cut off in search results. That makes it a bad idea to craft long headlines that don’t address the content’s topic in the first few words.
Top-performing blog posts that go over 60 characters tend to use parentheses to add extra information. Though these are cut off on the search results page, you can use this as a clever way to add an extra hook to entice the reader when they arrive on your content page. Just don’t place your keywords and topic beyond that cut-off, or searchers are unlikely to click through to the content page.
That’s a more advanced headline crafting tactic, so it’s smart to try your best to keep every headline under 60 characters. A good trick here is to use symbols like ampersands and plus signs to shorten length while saying the same things as “and” and “more than.” You can try playing around with parentheticals in your titles if you’re not getting the clicks or time on the page you hoped.
What Makes a Good Headline?
Headlines that entice and convert use a few common tricks.
A tried-and-true technique is using figures and numbers in your headline. They give your post a sense of tangibility. For example, people tend to like numbered lists because they’re easy to scan. Or, putting the current year in your headline helps readers trust that you’re providing relevant, up-to-date information.
Interestingly enough, odd numbers in a headline can improve click-through rates by 20% . So, when you’re writing up a list for your blog, consider adding or subtracting an item to hit an odd number and see if that trick works for you, as well.
Another easy way to make your headlines better is to tell people immediately what benefit they’ll get from clicking on your post.
People want to know what your content can do for them. To get more conversions and more clicks, make sure people know what they’ll learn, gain, avoid, or master by reading your post before they even click on the search result.
Having a benefit stated in the headline gives your readers an incentive to dive into your content, so try to make it as clear as possible in your headline without bloating it to over 60 characters.
In addition to those two tactics, another important way to approach headlines is to be specific. This requires you to know your audience well enough to understand what specifics will resonate with the readers you’re trying to reach.
If you are covering a popular topic, you’ll have to deal with a lot of competition. By getting specific, you can stand out from other headlines and get seen by your target audience.
The search term “pasta recipes” on its own will be extremely competitive, and just writing a headline like “19 Pasta Recipes To Try” doesn’t really grab anyone’s attention.
However, a headline like “13 Quick & Easy Pasta Recipes” will appeal to more busy people who still want to cook for themselves or people who don’t have a ton of confidence in their cooking skills. Anyone who has worried about making a good dinner after getting home after 6 p.m. or has screwed up making scrambled eggs will find this headline more relevant and appealing than the generic, broad version.
Keywords and knowledge of your target audience are an important part of SEO in general , not just headlines. Even if you are a smaller or newer site, you can still rank for keywords and get your headlines on page one of Google by going after less competitive keywords or using long-tail keywords. The key is to find your niche, learn what excites and intrigues the audience interested in that niche, and use that knowledge to inform both the content you create and the headlines you give that content.
What Are Some Headline Mistakes to Avoid?
Now that we’ve seen what a good headline looks like, let’s break down what you need to avoid. There are some tactics that, at first glance, you might think would boost conversions that could actually end up hurting.
Keyword stuffing, or keyword bombing, is when you put too many keywords or repeat a keyword too often in an attempt to boost your SEO. Google will recognize this and penalize your content page accordingly, causing your blog post or article to never even show up in search results.
Using our pasta recipe headline example, keyword stuffing might look like this: “Pasta Recipes for Pasta Lovers: Quick, Easy Pasta Recipes.” It doesn’t sound like plain English and is riddled with repetition and unnatural fragments. Google can tell you’re trying to game the system and be the first result for pasta recipe searches.
Using plain English is important in general. Avoid using too many big or confusing words in your headlines. Your headline should be easy for anyone to understand and clear.
Opt for simpler language over $5 words you’ve plucked out of a thesaurus. Instead of “13 Effortless & Delectable Pasta Recipes”, keep it simple and straightforward: “13 Easy & Tasty Pasta Recipes.” You’ll appeal to a bigger audience and, as a result, hopefully, earn more views and conversions.
Then, there’s clickbait, which is the tactic of optimizing your headline for keywords and search, but the content that follows it is unrelated to the topic of the headline. Even if it works to get a visitor from search results to your content page, you’ll only get that one click and then lose that reader forever when they realize they’ve been misled.
Not only will this annoy your audience and damage your site reputation, but you’ll also potentially get in trouble with Google (which checks for content relevance). It won’t just ding you for that content page but also your root domain, meaning that even if you do post other useful articles, Google and the readers who have been tricked before by one of your clickbait headlines won’t trust you at all. If you say there is value to your blog post in the headline, follow up on that promise.
What Are Some Popular Headline Formulas?
Writing good headlines comes with practice, but there are a few formulas that have been proven to work. Since you’re constrained by character count and required elements (like your keywords), there isn’t a lot of room for variation from tested headline-crafting techniques.
These formulas use marketing psychology to help you create headlines that make people so curious that they can’t help but click through to your blog post. Let’s look at a few of the tried-and-true headline formulas you can use today.
[Odd Number] Easy Ways To [Do Something Your Audience Wants]
This is the classic list post. The content and benefit of the post are clearly spelled out to your readers from the start. If they read this post, they’ll learn a few different means of accomplishing something they’re interested in doing.
These headlines use a combination of numbers, appealing language (e.g., “easy”), a statement of benefit, and audience knowledge to appeal to readers and searchers.
Remember, odd numbers tend to convert better, and you want to keep this under 60 characters if you can. If the statement of benefit you want to include in the title is on the longer side, you may want to avoid inserting an appealing adjective like “easy” in order to keep the entire keyword related to the benefit intact.
Do You Really Need [Popular Or Controversial Thing In Your Niche]?
These types of headlines use questions and counterintuitive knowledge to trigger curiosity and engagement. You can play around with different types of questions and approaches, but the goal is to grab the reader’s attention by using something they may think is common knowledge or best practice and implying in the headline that it isn’t the whole story or what it’s cracked up to be.
Perceived misconceptions are a powerful device in headlines for online content, even if you don’t actually disprove them. A headline that goes after popular or controversial concepts in this way will appeal both to the people who worry that the popular wisdom they follow is wrong and those who have always suspected it wasn’t totally correct.
How To [Fix Problem] In [Odd Number] Steps
Instructional posts are highly valuable to searchers, especially when they promise an easy-to-follow, step-by-step guide on how to do something.
Much like a list post, these headlines use numbers and give people very clear statements of benefits. They also tend to highlight a problem that people in your niche commonly face, which is attention-grabbing and helps you relate and appeal to your target audience.
Keep in mind that, as opposed to a list, you want to use a small number of steps. “33 Examples of Good Headlines” is appealing to searchers looking for a lot of options, but “How to Write a Good Headline in 33 Steps” is daunting and overcomplicated.
The Ultimate Guide to [Specific Topic of Interest To Your Audience]
Delivering the ultimate guide to a subject your audience is innately interested in or confused by is a great way to use long-tail keywords in the headline and provide value in the content by breaking down a complex topic.
These headlines work best when you get specific and choose trending topics or proven stumbling blocks to your audience’s goals.
Remember that specificity is your friend here. Broad topics for an ultimate guide are going to be competitive on Google and may not reach your intended audience as effectively as more specific subject matter. For example, “The Ultimate Guide to Making Pasta from Scratch” is likely going to be more effective than a generalized “Ultimate Guide to Pasta.”
The [Odd Number] Most Common Mistakes [Audience] Should Avoid
These headlines are focused on pain points common to your target audience and appeal to their hope to get things right the first time. Highlight a problem or spotlight pitfalls for your prospects, then show them how to avoid them.
If you use these headlines, make sure that you give good solutions in your post. You don’t want to create fear in your audience if you can’t provide them with a solution!
What Tools Can Help Me Write Better Headlines?
With all of the information above in mind, it can still be hard to find the right inspiration for crafting effective headlines every time. Therefore, we’ve found three tools to help you put the guidance above into practice. They’ll assist with staying under the character limit, adhering to proving formulas, and properly using effective verbs and adjectives to make your headlines more attention-grabbing.
The Monster Insights Headline Analyzer Tool is free to use. It analyzes any headlines you plug into it and then will tell you what’s good about it and what you can do to improve it. The tool will display an overall score for your headline, word suggestions, a preview of how your headline will look in Google, and more useful guidance.
Another free tool is the Sharethrough Headline Analyzer . This largely does the same things as the previous tool, but it gets a little more granular with suggestions. Some of its advice isn’t always useful (like name-dropping a celebrity in your headline, which tends to be bordering on clickbait), but most of its suggestions are helpful for remembering the basics (like including your brand name) and trying out different approaches (like using “alert” words).
Last, one of the biggest names in inbound marketing offers a free idea-generation tool. HubSpot’s Blog Ideas Generator lets you add keywords and then uses them to generate an array of blog post ideas and headlines for you.
You can get five ideas generated for free on the tool’s web page, or you can get a list of 250 headline ideas delivered to you by adding your email address.
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10 types of headlines to grab attention, madison breaux.
- Ad Copywriting
We have several different tactics we can use to catch the eyes of our customers. Imagery, ad copy , and CTAs all hold a lot of value for marketers, but the success of any type of content typically depends on the strength of the headline — and which type of headline you use.
So, what is a headline? A headline is a brief, attention-grabbing statement or question used to attract interest and entice someone to read a piece of content, whether that be an article, commerce landing page, or an ad. Its purpose is to sell an idea, concept or product.
Why Is It So Important to Have Great Headlines?
As Albert Einstein once said, “If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.” The same goes for headlines — if people aren’t clicking on them, then they probably just don’t understand what your content is about.
When do you need great headlines? You should always be mindful of how you’re presenting your ideas in writing; it should be clear, concise, and compelling enough that it piques curiosity while giving just enough information so people want to know more — headlines are no exception.
Look At Headline Examples Before Writing Your Own
When you go to create your own headlines , it’s not wise to go in blind. It’s essential to see what’s already been done and tested in your industry before crafting a headline. There are millions of headlines out there, and while they all won’t work or resonate with all audiences, seeing how others have crafted their own can help you brainstorm unique ideas for yourself. Additionally, seeing what doesn’t work can help you avoid repeating mistakes made by others that might turn off potential readers and customers.
Headline Examples based on Headline Types
Once you do start looking at what other brands and businesses use, you’ll notice that effective headlines are anything but cookie-cutter. Marketers can use several different tactics when crafting the perfect headline. Here, we dive into the trusted headline types.
This type of headline poses a question to the reader (obviously), but not just any old question. You should ask questions that you know your audience will want the answer to — enough so that they’ll be encouraged to click. Focus on the benefit for your audience or customer.
For instance, a company selling gourmet coffee beans could write something like: Do You Know Which Coffee Brewing Method Gives You The Most Flavor?
One easy way to provide added value to your customers is by promising to teach them something. And there’s an easy headline formula to help you accomplish this. Start with “How to” and then follow that up with whatever action or insight you want your readers to take away. It seems simple, yes, but there’s a reason how-to’s are the gold standard for converting headlines. These types of headlines explicitly state the value for your customer and usually solve some type of problem they may have.
For example: How To Eat Like A Local In New York or How To Stop Feeling Tired After A Full Night’s Sleep .
Sometimes it helps customers to hear from … customers. Testimonial-style headlines rely on customer quotes to do the selling for you. This tactic works well because potential customers can see the benefits of your product or service right away — in the words of someone who was once in their shoes. Plus, you have authenticity working in your favor.
What does a testimonial headline look like? Here’s one headline example: This Cooking Subscription Box Saves Me Hours Of Meal Prep Each Week!
Oh, the trusty listicle. Ten doesn’t have to be the magic number of this type of headline, but the practice of putting XX Best … or Top XX … has been a long-trusted headline formula. Your customers see the benefit of the product or service immediately.
Command Headlines / Direct Response
Command or direct response headlines follow a pretty simple formula: Action Verb + The Desired Action. This tactic typically looks more like an advertisement than other headline types, and though obvious, it’s still highly effective. What does a command or direct response headline look like?
One approach is when you’re trying to get a customer to sign up or subscribe to something: Sign Up For Our Exclusive Cooking Newsletter . The more subtle way to do a command headline looks like this: Clear The Clutter In Your Closet With These Organization Techniques .
We know what you’re thinking — how does a direct headline differ from a direct response headline? They sound awfully similar, and yes, direct headlines explicitly state the purpose of the article or landing page, but they aren’t necessarily as sales-y as direct response. Direct headlines typically get straight to the point, with little frills or embellishments.
For example, direct headlines can also be in the form of listicles like: 10 Vacation Spots To Consider For Your Next Getaway .
We have direct headlines, so naturally we must have indirect headlines, right? While direct headlines give it to the reader straight, indirect headlines are all about the art of subtlety. And both tactics have their merits. The indirect approach keeps an air of mystery that’s intriguing to the user by simply hinting at the main point of the article or landing page. They raise questions rather than answering them.
Here’s what this could look like: Popular Makeup Brand Takes A New Direction In 2022 .
Perhaps the most classic type of headline, news headlines have been a trusted favorite by journalists and writers for decades. These headlines are all about efficiency and relay breaking news or updates about a company in the most clear way possible.
For example: Local Brewery Announces New Operating Hours Amid Pandemic .
Using prominent public figures or popular brand names is always a good tactic to instantly draw attention to your content. This is also a helpful way for smaller businesses or companies to start building brand recognition with their audience or customer base.
There are a couple of different ways to name drop, but here’s what that could look like: [ XX Sneaker Brand] Set To Release A Brand New Line Of Kicks This Summer.
Challenging Belief Headlines
Now, it’s important to be careful with this tactic. Challenging belief headlines typically use clickbait-y phrases like “You’ll never guess …” or “You probably don’t know …” as a way to entice the user to click on your content. In a way, you’re challenging the reader to see if they actually know what you’re suggesting they don’t. What does that look like? Here’s an example: You’ll Never Guess Which Of These A-List Celebrities Went To Ivy League Schools .
But where you can run into some trouble with this type of headline is with platform guidelines. Platforms such as Facebook have set policy guidelines, and sometimes phrases like “You’ll never believe…” can get flagged as violating their rules.
Perfect Any Headline Type With Anyword
Regardless of which headline type you decide fits your needs best, crafting one that works is often easier said than done. But that’s where Anyword can help. With only a few clicks, Anyword’s powerful AI Copywriting generator generates or lets you improve headlines for ads, blog posts, landing pages — you name it.
And to sweeten the deal, all headlines created by Anyword’s AI are accompanied by unique Predictive Performance Scores, which indicate the conversion potential. What does this mean for you? The platform bases this score off of $250 million dollars’ worth of advertising spots and the copy elements, so you can feel confident that you’re promoting headlines that will work. Now’s the time to stop the guessing game when it comes to headlines. Start producing higher-quality headlines with a free 7-day trial .
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The 3 Major Types of Headlines in Copywriting
Headlines can make or break your marketing strategy.
Of course, there’s a lot that goes into creating quality content , but a headline is a reader’s first impression of your brand and your message. If it doesn’t encourage your audience to read on, then it won’t matter how great your content is—you’ve lost them before they even gave you a chance.
According to content marketing expert Neil Patel , “Your headline is how you capture your audience and convince them that they want to read your content. It’s arguably the most important part of your content.”
That’s why it’s critical to invest time in learning how to craft the perfect headline. And one part of mastering headlines is understanding the different types of headlines and when to use them.
Each type has its strengths and weaknesses, but all of them have their place in marketing. Learn these three types of headlines in copywriting and you’ll be on your way to better and more effective writing.
1. The Direct Headline
The direct headline plainly states the audience’s pain point and your solution to that pain point. With this headline, the strategy is to be straightforward instead of easing into the subject matter.
[Audience’s pain point] + [Solution to pain point]
- “Same Day Delivery Custom Jackets, Just in Time for the Holidays”
- “25 Cat Pictures that Will Make You Feel Warm Inside”
- “A Clinically-Proven Cream that Clears Up Acne for Good”
Why It Works
Award-winning blogger Brian Dean says, “Your headline should answer the question in your customer’s mind: ‘What’s in it for me?’”
The direct headline does exactly that by clearly communicating to your audience. It states the problem and solution in one simple sentence. There’s no doubt that your audience knows the benefit they’ll get.
One disadvantage to the direct headline is that it can be overpowering or come across as salesy. There’s a risk that the audience will feel like you’re trying to close a sale and not taking the time to empathize with them.
2. The “Reason Why” Headline
The “reason why” headline explains to your audience why they experience certain pain points. BuzzSumo analyzed 100 million headlines and discovered the best phrases to use at the start of a headline. At the top of the list is the phrase “X Reasons Why.”
[Number] + Reasons Why + [Audience’s pain point]
- 11 Reasons Why Your Baby Won’t Sleep at Night
- 6 Reasons Your Boss Won’t Give You a Raise
People want to know why they have certain pain points. Sometimes they search for an answer by typing “why” into a search engine. The “Reason Why” headline answers that itching question perfectly. Readers love getting to the bottom of their problems, so they’re quick to click on these posts.
The “reason why” headline can be limited since it explains why your audience has a pain point but doesn’t necessarily explain how to solve it. For example, “6 Reasons Your Boss Won’t Give You a Raise” explains why the reader can’t get a raise, but it doesn’t tell the audience how to get one.
<div class="tip">Looking for real-life examples of effective article titles? Look no further with these creative headline examples .</div>
3. The “How To” Headline
The “how to” headline teaches your audience how to solve a tricky problem or learn a new skill. It promises to guide your reader through a step-by-step process that helps them tackle their pain points.
How to + [Action your audience wants to learn] + [Unique benefit]
- How to Add a Social Media Icon to Your Gmail Signature in Ten Minutes
- How to Fire an Employee Without Feeling Like a Terrible Person
- How to Brew the Perfect Cup of Coffee Every Time
According to Buffer , the “how to” headline entices the reader because it promises they will become smarter and better. It’s not just giving the reader more information—it’s equipping them to overcome a challenge or learn a new skill all on their own. This headline empowers and excites the audience.
The “how to” headline asks a lot from your audience. Before reading on, the reader already knows they will have to commit time and effort into following instructions. Depending on the audience’s capacity, they may opt for content that’s easier to digest, such as a listicle .
Understanding and using the different types of headlines in copywriting will empower your marketing. Think of them as different tools in your copywriting kit.
Without solid headlines, it’s easy to lose audience interest. That means less traffic, less engagement, and fewer sales.
But here’s the good news: if you understand how to use these types of headlines in copywriting, you’ll keep your audience engaged and excited to read your content.
This article was written by Compose.ly writer Salvatore Lamborn.
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How to Write Great Headlines: 21 Creative Headline Examples
Scan. Dismiss. Scan. Dismiss. Scan …click!
This is what your audience is doing today. This is what we’re all doing today. In our inbox, on social media and on blogs, we scan through headlines, dismissing most and clicking a few.
Winning that click depends on the headline, more than anything else. It’s impossible to overstate their importance. We are all judged instantly and ruthlessly by this short set of words.
The average person sees 1,300+ headlines each day and dismisses 99.7% of them.*
*Totally fabricated, but a great headline.
Even if you do everything else right, blogging your fingers to the bone, everything will fail if you get this one thing wrong.
So here are our headline best practices. Let’s look at all the places they appear and how the success factors vary…
So a great headline isn’t just one thing. A single article may have different headlines in different places. It’s adapted for each context. Do not try to make one size fit all.
Now on to the checklist for writing great headlines.
1. Make a promise. Be specific.
The key to the click is to understand this: Before any of us click anything, we do a split second cost-benefit calculation.
Is the benefit of clicking (the value of the content) higher than the cost (two seconds of my time)?
Here’s what’s happening in your visitor’s brain…
The job of the headline is to indicate the benefit and to make a promise to the visitor that it’s worth it. And to do it in less than a second.
The more specific the benefit, the more likely the visitor is to click. Great headlines make specific promises.
Ask yourself as if you’re the reader. “What’s in it for me?” The answer should jump off the page. If it doesn’t, get ready to hear crickets. You’re about to fail.
The ability to imagine the readers’ perspective is the key to success in writing headlines. Empathy is the greatest marketing skill.
2. Use power trigrams
A few years back, Steve Rayson of Buzzsumo did a study to learn what makes effective headlines, and what correlates with social media engagement. His research was different in two ways. First, he looked at a LOT of data: 100,000,000 headlines. Second, he looked at trigrams, which are groups of three words.
As it turns out, certain trigrams have huge correlations with social engagement.
This chart shows the average number of Facebook likes, comments and shares for headlines that include these trigrams.
When these trigrams appear at the beginning of headlines, the headline is much more likely to get social engagement…
Warning! No clickbait!
If your first reaction is “this is clickbait” please keep reading. I am not recommending writing clickbait headlines. Do not try to trick the reader. Your article must deliver on the promise in the headline.
But look closely at these trigrams and you can see why they work so well. They all make promises. If you’re writing blog headlines that include these trigrams, you’re offering specific benefits to the reader.
Headline example :
- This is why these x stunning photos will make you cry tears of joy
That one’s a joke. I simply combined a bunch of the top performing trigrams. It doesn’t even make sense.
3. Use numbers
List posts are popular for a reason: they set expectations about the amount of content, about scan-ability and variety; if you don’t like one thing, you’ll be able to scan down and find something else.
Numerals, not just numbers, are part of the magic. In a line of letters, numerals stand out. So don’t write a headline with “Eight Things,” write a headline with “8 things.”
Headlines with numbers aren’t always list posts. Numbers can also be data and statistics, indicating that the article is supported by research. LinkedIn tested headlines with and without statistics and found that stats had a big impact on click through rates.
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- 101 Ways to Write Top 10 Lists that Increase Traffic By 21%
You get the idea.
4. Ask a question
Question headlines have two benefits. First, they leverage a psychological effect, causing the reader’s mind to take the next step: answer the question …or wonder. The lack of completeness inherent in questions causes tension and interest in readers.
Search is the second benefit. Google is focused on the meaning of a search query, not just combinations of words. It’s called “latent semantic indexing” and it’s key to Semantic SEO . The natural language of a complete question helps Google understand how the article is useful.
People are using their voices, not just fingers, to search these days. And naturally, they’re asking complete, full-sentence questions. Complete questions and answers help Google connect people to your content.
Headline examples :
- Why Do Dogs Bark at Night? 5 Dog Trainers Offer Tips for Quiet Canines.
- Which Superhero Are You? Take This Short Quiz and Find Out….
- How Does Social Media Affect SEO? (this was a recent post/video on this blog)
5. Put impact words at the front of your headline
In the mobile inbox, subject lines get truncated after just 45 or so characters. In search results, title tags get truncated after around 60 characters. Podcast titles have the same issue.
Consider these examples. These are really the same headline:
- 10 Simple Communication Tips That Can Help You Ace Your Job Interview
- How to Ace Your Job Interview with These 10 Simple Communication Tips
But here’s how they look in the mobile inbox:
One subscriber sees the impact and benefit of clicking right there in the inbox: “ace your job interview.” The other would have to open the email to see that benefit statement. Here are a few more tips for increasing email open rates .
Even when truncation isn’t an issue, readers will scan your headline from the beginning. So put those thumb-stopping words toward the front make them more likely to be seen, more likely to get tapped.
6. Write very long headlines
So it’s front-loaded with impact words and benefits, but that doesn’t mean that the headline itself is short. According to that same research by Steve Rayson, long headlines are winning, at least in Facebook.
This chart shows the average number of Facebook engagements based on the number of words in headlines.
That’s right. 15-word headlines had the highest average number of interactions. I suspect that most marketers have never written a headline that long. Try it and you’ll find yourself writing long, complete sentences. Or maybe two sentences.
Check out these headline examples from some viral content sites:
- It is now legal to breastfeed in public in all 50 states. Just now. In 2018. (16 words)
- Incredibly Unfair: Even Though Billionaires Work Way Harder Than Everyone Else, Then Only Earn 4,000 Times As Much Money (19 words)
- Devastating: Kid Makes the ‘Pull Horn’ Sign But the Trucker Accidentally Pulls the Self Destruct Cord (16 words)
It makes sense since the longer the headline the more likely the reader is to find and understand the benefit to clicking.
Give it a try.
We recommend going long wherever truncation isn’t an issue. That’s social posts and <h1> tags (page headers). It won’t work for title tags or subject lines. Those will always be truncated by Google and inbox providers.
7. Put the keyword first
Also good at the front of the headlines: target keyphrases.
Using the target keyphrase at the beginning of the title tag <title> and header <h1> gives it “keyphrase prominence” helping to indicate its relevance to search engines. This is not important for subject lines and social posts.
An effective headline works for both search engines and readers. To create headlines that rank and capture attention, use a colon . This lets you separate the search-friendly keyword from the social-friendly triggers.
It gives you keyphrase prominence but still leverages human psychology in the rest of the headline.
Check out these examples from past posts on this blog:
- How to Research Keywords: A Step-by-Step Process (with video)
- Neuromarketing Web Design: 15 Ways to Connect with Visitors’ Brains
- 3 Internal Linking Strategies for SEO and Conversions
- What to Blog About: 17 Source of Fresh Blog Topics
See the pattern? Each post is optimized to rank for the phrase at the beginning of the headline (with perfect keyphrase prominence) followed by a number or words to connect with visitors’ hearts and minds.
So here’s Orbit’s formula for writing headlines:
Target Keyphrase + Colon + Number or Trigger Word + Promise
Does it work? Search for any of those phrases before the colon in the headlines above. You probably see the post ranking for the phrase …and you might just click, thanks to the numbers and the benefit statements.
Final tip: Write lots, choose one.
The pros aren’t writing a headline. They are writing lots of headlines. For any article, you should write a dozen or more. Write several options for each location: title tags, headers and subject lines. Meet with your editor or get input from a friendly marketer.
Once you’ve got a dozen or more, you can pick one and put the rest in the circular file (the trash).
Here are a few final examples of headlines. These are the ones we considered but didn’t use for this article…
- A Quick Guide to Killer Headlines That Readers Can’t Resist
- How to Write Headlines That Won’t Get Ignored (Our 7-Point Checklist)
- 7 Headline Writing Rules For More Clicks, Traffic and Shares
- X Catchy Headlines, And 7 Tips for Writing Powerful Headlines Yourself
What do you think? Should we have gone with any of these?
Wait, more practical insights? Yes, please!
3 High-Impact Insights from GA4 Explorations (Step-by-Step Process with Video)
2023 Blogging Statistics: 10 years of Trends and Insights from 1000+ Bloggers
Content Strategy 101: 4 Steps to Launching the Ultimate Content Strategy
There is more where this came from…
The best articles from this blog are available all in one place – our book. Now on it’s 6th edition.
Content Chemistry, The Illustrated Handbook for Content Marketing , is packed with practical tips, real-world examples, and expert insights. A must-read for anyone looking to build a content strategy that drives real business impact. Check out the reviews on Amazon .
Buy now direct $29.95
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Your Definitive Guide To Writing Attention-Grabbing Headlines
July 14, 2021 (Updated: May 4, 2023)
What Is a Headline?
What’s the difference between a headline and a title, why is writing a catchy headline important, types of quality headlines, what is the aida principle.
- How To Write an Attention-Grabbing Headline?
- 4 Examples of Catchy Headlines and Why They Work?
Headlines give readers a preview of what they can learn from a particular piece of content, and they also emphasize why the content is unique or interesting enough to take up a portion of the reader’s time. As a marketer, writing these types of headlines can be tricky, but it’s worth the effort to make your content as engaging as possible. In this guide, you’ll learn why creating an attention-grabbing headline can be crucial to your content success and how to implement some top-notch strategies for yourself.
A headline is a brief and engaging introduction to a piece of content. Headlines are often used for news writing or other forms of informative writing such as blog posts. A headline’s primary purpose is to attract an audience and persuade them to completely engage with your content. A good headline can convince someone to read an entire article, watch a full video, or stay tuned to a specific TV channel to see an upcoming segment.
With written work, a headline typically gives the reader a preview of your content. For example, the headline “10 Best Practices To Drive Traffic to Your Social Media Channels” tells readers what they’re going to find within the article and why they should care about it. In contrast, titles are often shorter than headlines and encompass a broader summary of a work.
An easy way to distinguish between titles and headlines is to think of a nonfiction book. These chapter titles often function like headlines, as they are small blurbs about the information you’ll uncover in that section. However, the title of the entire book sums up the main idea of all the chapters combined.
Writing a catchy headline can improve how real users and automated internet programs view your content. Some benefits to writing an attention-grabbing headline include:
Building an Audience
Headlines are the first interaction a reader has with your content. Having more interesting headlines can make people curious about what else you have to say. This may entice them to click on or otherwise interact with your content and seek other information you’ve created. If these readers enjoy one piece of content, they may be more likely to return for more.
Optimizing for Search Engines
Headlines are just one piece of content that search engine algorithms use when they decide how to rank content. Better rankings can increase your click-through rate, allowing for more exposure to a broader audience. Because of this, optimizing your headlines with keywords may make it more likely that people will encounter your articles.
With the internet, social media, and other 24-hour news outlets, we’re constantly encountering articles, stories, and headlines. There are often many articles written on the same topics, and readers have many choices as to which ones they want to read. Creating a catchy headline can make your content more appealing than that of your competitors. Using a content creation firm such as CopyPress’s blog writing services can help you create headlines that attract readers to your top-tier pieces.
Depending on the full content of your article, you may choose a specific headline format to best present the information to your audience. You can also choose to use positive headlines that uplift, inspire, entertain, or educate the reader. Conversely, you might use negative headlines—ones that are somber or urgent—for specific topics. No matter which tone you utilize, understanding your options may help you choose the most effective headline format for your content. Headline formatting options include:
How-to articles present a problem and give the reader a way to solve it. Headlines for these pieces of content often state the problem and preview the intended outcome or resolution. For example, the headline “How To Write an Email Newsletter Your Subscribers Want To Read” implies that the reader’s email newsletter could be more engaging and that this article will give them tips to make that happen.
Listicles are articles that present their important information in an easy-to-read list format. Headlines for these types of articles typically include the number of list items in the article and the group or category into which the items fall. For example, a listicle headline like “13 Tweets To Increase Your Engagement” tells readers that each of the 13 points in the article provides information about how to build a better audience on the social media platform.
Writers use difference articles to compare two similar or related topics. Headlines for these pieces usually follow one of two formats: “X vs. Y” or “Difference between X and Y,” substituting one letter for one topic and the other letter for the second topic. A headline like “The Difference Between Copywriting and Content Writing” tells readers the article compares two related types of writing.
Question headlines are versatile and can apply to most types of content. Asking the reader to ponder something may capture their attention and encourage them to explore your content to find the answer. For example, a headline like “How Can You Increase Your SERP Placement with Just One Keyword?” may get people wondering about the topic and interest them enough to read and find out more.
Outrageous headlines often make surprising claims, causing people to question the truth. This type of headline can be effective if the claim is true and isn’t just a ploy to gain readership. For example, the headline “How a Small-Town Marketing Firm Became King of the Stock Market Overnight” sounds like a fictional story, but if the claim is real, it could spark a reader’s curiosity and maintain their attention.
Credible headlines cite a source by using statistics or subject matter experts. These headlines encourage readers to engage because they build a level of trust with an audience by promising factual evidence. For example, the headline “Four Top SEO Experts Discuss the Content Trends of the Next Decade” promises that authorities in the field are giving their opinions and advice in the article, which may persuade the reader to click and learn more.
Writers use “best of” headlines to indicate that they’ve taken the time to compile the most important information on a specific topic to make things easier for readers. These headlines imply that the reader only needs to interact with one article to learn all about a topic. While many headlines of this type use the phrase “Best of,” you can also use different superlatives to emphasize the quality and scope of your content. For example, the headline “The Ultimate Guide To Creating an Infographic” suggests that this article can tell readers everything they need to know about making an infographic.
The AIDA Principle is a philosophy that writers use to guide people through the engagement process to make a conversion. In content marketing, a conversion is getting someone to respond to your call to action or other persuasive point. AIDA stands for:
- Attention or attraction: In this phase, which typically includes headlines and titles, use powerful words that get people to stop and look at your content. Actionable words and phrases may be helpful in sparking peoples’ interests.
- Interest: This step goes deeper than just grabbing someone’s attention. Here, you want the potential reader to stay and engage with your content beyond the headline. Using bullets and subheadings can make the copy seem more approachable to a hesitant reader.
- Desire: In this phase, the content helps uphold the claim of the headline. Whether you’ve promised an answer to a question or a solution to a problem, the reader finds the answer by the end of the article.
- Action: The last step introduces your ultimate conversion. After someone reads your content, you likely want them to complete a certain action, such as signing up for a newsletter or making a purchase. Make your call to action visible throughout your text so it’s easily accessible when the reader is ready to make the conversion.
Some models of this principle include a fifth step known as “conviction or evidence” between “desire” and “action.” This step could be necessary for topics that are less appealing to a reader. Adding tangible evidence about why the topic matters could help lead readers to the action phase.
How To Write an Attention-Grabbing Headline
You may be able to write more engaging headlines to attract an audience by following a few key principles. They include:
Understanding Your Target Audience
Consider who you’re trying to reach with your content. What do they like? How do they get their information? If you’re trying to write a headline to attract a specific audience, knowing your demographic is helpful, and understanding how these people interact with content is also beneficial. Consider feedback surveys or focus groups to help you learn more.
Knowing Your Conversion
Most writers and marketers create content with an ultimate conversion in mind. The headline is the teaser or the elevator pitch, and the call to action or conversion is the resolution. Understanding what you want people to do after reading your content can help you craft a better headline. Consider drawing attention to your conversion from this first impression.
The purpose of a headline is to get the most important, most exciting, and most interesting information in front of your audience as soon as possible. When people interact with headlines, they’re constantly asking themselves “Do I care about this content?” or “Should I care about this content?” Providing important details in the headline that communicate your content’s purpose can help your audience decide if they wish to read further.
Though headlines are all about catching people’s attention, you want to create headlines that do so in a way that builds trust with the reader and leads them to the action step of the AIDA principle. Otherwise, your headline may be perpetuating clickbait . Being honest in your headline allows you to share the value of your content without duping the reader. As such, your headline should make a true claim that the content answers.
Using Accessible Language
Make your headlines easy for people to understand by using words they know and recognize. Consider how your headline looks without a photo or the rest of the article to provide readers with more information. Does the headline still make sense without this additional context? Quality headlines should make sense as stand-alone text, which helps them remain accessible to the widest audience.
Getting a Reaction
One of the best ways to get someone’s attention is to make them feel something. Appealing to emotions in your headlines can encourage people to pause and process those feelings while wanting to explore more about them through your content. The type of emotion you want a reader to feel may depend on either your target audience or the end conversion. Typical headline reactions may include joy, anger, surprise, sadness, curiosity, and fear.
Writing the Headline Last
Sometimes, waiting to write the headline until after you’ve completed the content can be beneficial. After writing, you’re fully immersed in the content and have a thorough understanding of what you’re presenting and how you want it to affect the reader. This may make it easier for you to decide which points are most valuable or interesting to your audience. You can then highlight those points in your headline.
Writing Multiple Drafts
Your first headline may not be your best headline. Take the time to brainstorm and make a list of multiple headlines you could use for your content. In his book “Think Better: An Innovator’s Guide To Productive Thinking,” author Tim Hurson discusses the rule of thirds . This principle states that when you’re generating ideas, the best ones come in the final third of the brainstorming or creative process.
For example, if you write 20 potential headlines, this principle states that the best options might be headlines 14 through 20. Challenging yourself to write more headlines may help you uncover the most effective one for your topic.
4 Examples of Catchy Headlines and Why They Work
Here are a few examples of real marketing and content-centric headlines that may help engage readers:
“50 Email Segmentation Tips You Need To Use Now”
This headline from optinmonster.com combines the listicle and how-to types. By including a number, it tells the reader how many tips they’ll find within the article. Using words like “need” and “now” encourages a sense of urgency and prompts readers to solve a problem with their email segmentation that they may not have known they had.
“Do You Really Need That Exclamation Point?”
This headline from hubspot.com’s blog gets readers thinking about their punctuation choices. It introduces reasonable doubt about a potential common practice in writing. It also encourages readers to form an opinion before they read the content, which may make them feel either validated or challenged by the resolution.
“How I Built an Online T-Shirt Business and Made $1,248.90 in 3 Weeks”
This sample from shopify.com’s blog combines three common types of headlines: how-to, outrageous, and credible. This headline is outrageous because making over $1,000 in three weeks from a new business sounds too good to be true. It’s also credible because it gives specific figures of how much money the author made and how long it took them to do so. Finally, using the word “how” implies that the author gives steps or tips to help readers replicate that success.
“Why Good Unique Content Needs To Die”
While this headline from moz.com’s blog doesn’t fit neatly into one of the traditional categories, it evokes emotion for the reader. Similar to the difference headline format, this sample juxtaposes the words “good” and “unique” against “die,” which compares positive and negative emotions. Using the phrase “needs to” further urges readers to take a stance on the topic or explore it further to understand why this is a relevant matter.
Creating an attention-grabbing headline can be an essential part of your copywriting and content writing strategies because they help attract a readership, improve your SEO, and keep you competitive with other companies and their marketing teams. For this reason, many people choose to outsource their writing responsibilities to a company like CopyPress, which can provide the best content to help get more traffic and attract loyal readers.
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19 Types of Headlines
- Direct headline. A direct headline clearly states the purpose of an article. …
- Indirect headline. …
- 3. News headlines. …
- How-to headline. …
- Question headline. …
- Command headline. …
- The “reason why” headline. …
- Emotional headline.
Although there are many factors involved in producing high-quality content, a headline gives readers their first impression of your business and your message. No matter how great your content is, if it doesn’t entice your audience to read more, you’ve already lost them before you’ve even had a chance.
Headlines: Meaning/ Significance/ Writing/ Types | Aastha Tiwari
19 types of headlines
Here are 19 different headline types you can use to grab readers’ attention:
1. Direct headline
A direct headline clearly states the purpose of an article. Facts from the article are typically used to highlight the main idea. When you use a direct headline, readers know exactly what they are going to read or see.
Example: “15 Puppy Pictures To Cheer You Up”
2. Indirect headline
An article’s thesis is alluded to in an indirect headline in a subtle manner. Since the main idea isn’t stated explicitly, it piques the reader’s interest in learning what the article is about.
*Example: “Shoe company floats on in 2021″*
3. News headlines
Important announcements about a business or its products are made in news headlines. These headlines are frequently used by journalists to effectively communicate recent information to the public in news articles.
Example: “Beach Cove Taffy Announces New Location Near Myrtle Beach”
4. How-to headline
Through a list of steps, this kind of headline demonstrates to readers how to learn a new skill or solve a problem. Writers use the words “how to,” followed by the action they want their readers to learn, when crafting a how-to headline. It also explains why they might benefit from that particular article.
For instance, “How To Drive Like a Local in a Foreign Country”
5. Question headline
A question headline asks the reader a question with the intent of answering it in the body of the piece. These are typically topics about a company’s goods or brand that customers might be curious about.
Do you know which of our vegetables contains the most vitamins, for instance?
6. Command headline
Command headlines direct readers to take action or learn something by reading an article. This kind of headline is frequently used by businesses when creating advertisements. Most command headlines start with a strong action verb.
Example: “Simplify Your Wardrobe With This New Technique”
7. The “reason why” headline
This headline tells an audience why certain situations occur. Since list articles are simpler to skim through than other article formats, readers frequently prefer them to other article formats when using this type of headline.
Example: “8 Reasons Why Your Outfit Is Affecting Your Interview”
8. Emotional headline
In order to entice a reader to read an article, emotional headlines typically target either a positive or negative feeling. To accomplish this, authors employ strong words like affordable or stressed
For instance, “How to Avoid Work Burnout in the New Year”
9. Wordplay headline
A wordplay headline makes inventive use of words and language, usually in the form of a pun or an ironic statement. These headlines are frequently used by businesses to make lighter fare seem interesting.
Example: “Local Auto Race Hits Bump in the Road”
10. Brand name headline
Brand-name headlines contrast a company’s operations or goods with those of its rivals using recognizable organizations. This can be beneficial for startups that are attempting to compete in a market with an established business.
Example: “Skeeter Expected to Gain More Popularity Than Peach Scooter”
11. Best headline
Best headlines rank certain items above others. These may draw readers who are looking for highly regarded content, such as lists of the best restaurants to visit or the best computers to buy.
Example: “Best Cities To Live in After College”
12. Two-part headline
A two-part headline joins two ideas with a punctuation mark, such as a colon, em dash, or parentheses. Normally, each of these headlines could stand alone, but when combined, they have a greater chance of grabbing the reader’s attention.
Example: “The Five Key Steps to Successful Word-of-Mouth Marketing”
13. Relational headlines
Relational headlines use second-person language to draw the reader into the article’s subject. Making the topic relevant to the reader encourages them to read and learn how this article can benefit them.
Example: “Heres How You Could Make $1,000 From Your Couch”
14. Location-specific headline
Readers are drawn to location-specific headlines because they feel as though they have access to information that only a small number of people would have. These headlines highlight a characteristic that locals have in common.
An illustration would be “12 Things Everyone in Seattle Knows to Be True.”
15. Challenging belief headline
People are persuaded to read by a headline that challenges their beliefs using the reverse psychology method. Usually, these headlines begin with, “You wont believe. which frequently encourages readers to read articles to determine whether they were actually surprised
Example: “You Wont Believe How Celebrities Are Losing Belly Fat”
16. Confrontational headline
Confrontational headlines are effective because they draw readers with opposing views to the headline or who agree with it. Posing a contentious position can encourage readers to read and determine whether the article confirmed or reinforced their prior beliefs.
Example: “12 Reasons Why Recycling Is Hurting the Planet”
17. Testimonial headline
A customer quote serves as the opening line of a testimonial. This provides viewers with an unbiased, expert opinion from a user of a company’s products.
Using this cooking plan, for instance, I can prepare meals for my picky kids.
18. The “backed by science” headline
This headline backs up a claim by demonstrating its thesis with facts and proof. These headlines are employed by authors for articles that contain research on a specific concept.
Example: “Scientists Believe Cicadas Are About To Emerge From Underground”
19. Background headline
Background headlines start with contextual information. This type of headline typically has two parts, the first of which gives background information and the second of which clarifies the importance or rationale behind the first assertion.
An illustration would be “Millionaire Donates $5 Million To Local Grocery Store; Thank Cashiers With Bonus.”
What is a headline?
A headline is text that appears above an article and summarises its main points. Its purpose is to quickly capture the attention of readers. Headlines are titles that appear before articles, so since they frequently determine whether a reader clicks on an article, they should be persuasive in order to be most enticing. For news articles, blog posts, advertisements, social media posts, and press releases, writers use headlines.
Tips for writing successful headlines
Here are some tips to help you write successful headlines:
What are the 3 types of headlines?
- 1 Flush Left Headline. One of the more contemporary headline formats is being used.
- 2 Banner Headline. In the fiercely competitive world of journalism, grabbing readers’, viewers’, or listeners’ attention is crucial.
- 3 Inverted Pyramid Headline. …
- 4 Cross-Line Headline.
What are the 4 us of a headline?
The 4 U’s formula, which states that content should be urgent, unique, useful, and ultra-specific, is probably familiar to writers who have been writing for the web for a while.
What is banner headline example?
A banner headline is a sizable headline that spans the front page of a newspaper. The headline on today’s front page reads, “The adulterer, the bungler, and the joker.” ‘.
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Let’s Go Through a Deeper Analysis of Heading Writing
Jason Lava | Sr. Content Writer |
A header is a brief statement that describes the parts that will follow. A title summarizes an entire article. Therefore , heading writing requires the ability to summarize a paragraph of the written content. As a result problems encountered by readers, we have included “heading writing tips.”
Do we need to have only one heading always?
Headline definition relates to the titles and subtitles that appear throughout most professional, scientific, technical, and corporate writing. In other words, distinct paragraphs would have distinct headers.
Headings always remains a critical component of professional writing. They inform readers about future themes and subtopics and assist them in navigating lengthy reports. Readers seek benefit from headings. They keep the material focused on the subject and structured.
Why are several heading levels required?
A heading informs readers about a part or piece of information included inside a paragraph. Certain points are more significant than others, and therefore need various heading levels to express their importance.
A heading’s level should be determined by whether the concept is a major point or a sub-point.
All of your main points should be related to your topic’s core argument. And function as building pieces contribute to your conclusion.
Consequently , they must be readily apparent at first sight. On the other hand, sub-points are small pieces of information such as statistics or instances that support the primary points. They are not substantial enough to stand-alone as primary subjects, yet they are sufficient to captivate pique readers’ interest.
Headings and subheadings denote the paper’s key themes and supporting ideas. They graphically communicate the hierarchy of significance. Differentiating the key points from the remainder of the text is facilitated by differences in text format. In general, headers are larger, though not more prominent, than subheadings. Subheadings should be less visible than the headings immediately before them.
Comparison of titles with headings – what you ought to know? This is always a question of debate.
While the titles and headings sound similar, they are distinct. A title introduces the whole text and summarizes its substance in one or two words; a heading introduces just a chapter or section and summarizes its content.
How to write a heading?
If advertising or a piece of material lacks an engaging title, it makes no difference how excellent the information is within. It is like cover page of a book that reflects what is inside.
You’re better off throwing away the time and work you spent composing it and putting up your campaign. There is no use in devoting any effort to content creation or advertising if your headlines are not engaging.
No matter how much engaging your book is if it has terrible cover, it’ll not grab reader’s attention, and they’ll not click any more. Thus, what techniques are currently effective for creating unique, clickable headlines? Let’s look at nine supereffective, repeatable methods for writing a fantastic headline this year, complete with examples. Let’s ensure that your work gets the attention it deserves!
Try to limit headlines to a maximum of 70 characters
If you would like your headlines to appear well in Google, and avoid getting chopped off, keep them around 70 characters.
Employ Simple Yet Effective Language
Naturally, the language you choose should complement the click-worthiness of your title. When you use terms that are boring, uninteresting, or hard to follow to the majority of readers, you will put them off.
Rather, stick to straightforward yet effective language. For instance, consider transforming your headline into a call to action by using the phrases “Try” or “Click,” or by directly addressing the reader with the word “You.” Transform a generic headline by adding a strong word such as “never.”
Implementing basic wording is your greatest tool for binding readers and increasing the number of readers who see your article. Avoid the usage of the term “utilize” when the word “use” would suffice.
Heading writing examples that use simple yet effective wordings:
- How to resolve all of your weight-related issues
- Access a plethora of free movies
Create a Variety of Different Headlines
According to some experts, writers should spend 80 percent of their time creating headlines — focus on the most critical part. Make time to brainstorm a diverse array of headlines. Write several headlines, say 5 to 10 headlines, as part of a headline writing practice. Ensure that each contains a unique structure – with appropriate noun or verb and adjective variants in its place. Determine which option seems the most attractive and get feedback from colleagues.
You really do need to sit down and think to get your creative juices flowing for snappy headlines. You may not find the sweet spot for headline writing until you’ve written a few titles – and odds are, the first headline you write will never be your finest. Create multiple headlines and allow readers to vote on the best.
Concentrate on keywords, using SEO tools, with a high search volume.
What is the use of running an advertisement or producing a video, if no one is interested in the subject? Moreover, e ach headline you create should include a term with high search volume – this not only guarantees that your title is optimized for organic or paid search but also demonstrates that people are actively seeking information on the subject. Is the term you’re targeting really being searched for? If the response is not conducive , the exercise may prove pointless.
You can use various tools available for locating high-volume keywords to use in your headlines.
Enter several possible keywords to determine their volume, and then focus on phrases with moderate to high search traffic. Simply bear in mind that competition will be considerably stiffer for keywords with a large search volume, and your content should be fine-tuned be to rank on the SERP.
Specify the Article’s Subjec t
While there is l ot to say about mystery and intrigue, you cannot keep readers in the dark about your blog post topic.
The title of your blog post should lucidly express what the piece will resonate. Again, nobody will click on a cryptic headline.
Make a Vibrant Proclamation
Including a s urprising element in your title nearly always results in increased click-through rates. Find methods to spice up your title and write in such an engaging manner that it immediately pulls people in. Making a strong, opinionated, or contentious remark is a certain method to do this.
Heading writing example of bold-faced headlines:
- How can I make money quickly in 30 days?
Consider Your Audience and What They Value
You are aware of your audience. You comprehend their aspirations and afflictions. Utilize this information while creating online headlines to ensure that your are articles really appealing to visitors.
Knowing your target enables you to craft some clever, strategic headlines that play on your audience’s desires or anxieties.
Include Numeric Characters in Your Headline
This advice may seem self-evident, but I couldn’t leave it out since it has been proven successful time and time again. Individuals are naturally drawn to numbers and lists. As They are easy for the brain to comprehend, and they reassure the reader that the format will be simple to consume (like this post, and mostly every single post I write).
Excellent headlines use listicles in the following manner:
- 10 Phrases You Should Never Use When Requesting a Raise.
- 10 Ideas for ranking at the top of the SERP Search Engine Results Page.
Conduct Competitive Analysis
Have your rivals published articles or ran advertisements on the subject you want to cover? How did they choose their headlines? What are the titles of the pages that have previously achieved Google ranking? How can you improve yours?
When you ask t hese questions you should be asking to improve your ability to create captivating headlines. If your headline does not stand out among the millions that bombard us every day, your chances of attracting a high CTR are slim.
Do a Google search for your term and observe what comes up as the number one result. Additionally, use content curation platforms like Buzzsumo to do a keyword/topic search and see which relevant articles have received the most shares. Why was it the case? A compelling title often compels individuals to share it with their audience. How can you create an even more appealing headline? Conducting research is important!
Pose an Odd or Amusing Question
Questions, particularly strange ones, are the ideal method to arouse someone’s interest and starving them for more, thus generating a so-called curiosity gap. Why? Because the natural inclination is to seek out the solution, which they cannot do until they click on the headline and visit your website. When utilized properly, this technique ensures a high CTR.
Excellent headlines based on questions include the following:
- Is there a better writing program than Microsoft Word?
- Is the groundwater in your region safe to drink?
Instill a Sense of Immediacy
FOMO (fear of missing out) is a genuine phenomenon, and it works very well in headline writing. Create a sense of urgency by including an expiration date for a special deal and utilizing standard wording, as seen in the sample AdWords ad below.
Examples of headlines that create a sense of urgency:
- Are you prepared for the new land-use legislation?
- What are the 5 medical reasons you should lose weight?
Maintain an Air of Mysteriousness
A must-have art to revealing the appropriate information in a headline, but you should never disclose your primary takeaway. If you do so, the reader will have no incentive to continue reading your material.
Look for the three articles that are now trending on a prominent website. Each of them is fascinating, and each of them leaves the reader hungry for more information.
However, there is a thin line between excessive and insufficient information. Hence , it ensures that you include sufficient information to arouse the reader’s attention, but not so much that the reader feels completely educated just by reading the headline.
Heading writing examples that will enhance your interest:
- 17 Unbelievable Facts That Are Actually True
- Three Interview Errors You Believe You Avoided But Didn’t
- 5 Reasons Why the Best Employees Leave Their Jobs, Even When They Enjoy Them
Humans may be a cynical lot, and we often leap at the opportunity to read about how we are being duped, misled, or cheated.
Examples of headline writing:
- Six Lies Your Car Dealer Will Try to Tell You Is Your Doctor Being Honest About
- While sun damage is undesirable, isn’t sunscreen much worse?
Prove Your Worthiness
Just as you would explain to readers why your offer is important in an article, do the same in the title. You want to convey to readers, in few words as possible, why your piece is worthwhile reading?
Readers Should Be ENGAGED in Your Article
By hook or by crook, i t is your responsibility to fetch reader’s interest to your article. It should give the same sense of excitement and wonder as a pair of children at Disney World’s entrance. Nobody is going to read your dull, tedious, dry nonsense. You are not on their list of recommended summer reading. But against other headline-grabbing competitors, so you’d better bring your A game.
Utilize Images to Enhance Headlines
Headlines are critical, and in many instances, they are the only means through which your content is presented to the readers. Many social media platforms, however, such as Facebook , Instagram , Pinterest , and, more lately, Twitter , make it simple to include pictures with your link headers. This is fantastic news since visuals grab everyone’s attention which boost your title’s effectiveness .
Create an Attention-Grabbing, One-of-a-Kind Title
Headlines that capture reader’s attention are those that stand out from the crowd. Excellent headlines act as a gateway to slide readers to your content . In the same way,a nicely-written content balances clarity and retains originality.
With these exclusive ideas in hand, your heading writing skill gives you the potential to soar new heights in terms of click-through rates! If you need further help, you can contact us. You can reach us – content writing services .
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How to Write Headlines That Attract Readers and Drive Clicks
Thursday, November 03, 2022
In a digital world with billions of different pages, how do you make sure that your intended audience reads your content? Even if you do a good enough job to ensure that your posts, pages, and other pieces of content rank well for relevant keywords, you still need to convince users that your content is right for them.
Headlines can make or break how well a piece of content performs. According to Copyblogger, eight out of 10 people will read a headline, but only two out of 10 will read what follows. Simply put, your headlines need to stick out so that people choose to go to your website over your competitors.
Of course, there are a lot of factors that go into whether your page and post titles “stick out” successfully or not. That’s why you’re here, after all. Let’s break down what it takes to craft tantalizing titles and provide some examples of what works in the digital world.
How to Write a Good Headline
Any old headline isn't going to cut it for a blog post, site page, or any other type of content. Titles should be carefully crafted to marry information sharing, search intent, and some old-fashioned sex appeal – people better be excited to click your links after all. Here are some top tips to help you turn your initial titles into great headlines.
Be clear about your purpose
No matter whether you’ve written a post, a page, a case study, a guide, or some other collection of words, titles play a key role in setting expectations. People don’t want to waste their time, and your title should make it very clear what your content is all about.
Every headline should accurately summarize your content and be easy to read and understand. If people think your titles are a touch too mysterious or unclear, they’ll simply skip them for other links in the search engine results pages (SERPs).
A good title should also make it clear why your content matters. Between the title and meta description, readers should quickly recognize why they want to click on your content. If they can’t tell how it will impact them or what they’ll stand to gain, you’ll want to rethink what you write.
Use impactful language
Being clear and concise is cool, but sometimes your titles need a little pizzazz to capture attention. Don’t be afraid to review your headlines to see if you can add words that are more interesting or expressive. You don’t want to get too cute – titles need to be clear after all – but some words will attract more attention than others.
So which words can instantly improve your title copy? Your ideal digital marketing lexicon can vary depending on what you want to achieve. Fortunately, Buffer has compiled different power words that can help encourage, inspire, and intrigue users in various ways. Try them out for yourselves to see what words can help your content convert.
Use relevant keywords
Let’s face it – your audience isn’t going to find your content organically without the right keywords. You’ll need to include keywords in your title to get your post, landing pages, and anything else to perform well in Google.
Of course, you can’t stick any keyword into a title and call it a day. Make sure that these keywords are specific and relevant to your topic and intended audience. Google ultimately wants to give searchers the best user experience possible, so opt for high-intent keywords instead of broad terms.
It’s also important to note that you can play around with display and SEO headlines. Display headlines appear on your site, social media, and other platforms, whereas SEO headlines are what appear in Google products and browser tabs. Oftentimes, display and SEO titles are the same, but your CMS may allow you to opt for a more keyword-centric or shorter SEO headline if you want to use a more creative display title.
Count your characters
Speaking of needing shorter titles, the number of words in your headlines can also impact how people perceive your content. Google measures out title tags in pixels, and anything they deem to be too long can get cut off in the SERPs. If losing the last few words of your headline will ruin the user experience, it’s time to shorten your title.
While Google uses pixels, your best bet is to base your title length on character counts. The good news is that Google has widened its SERP pages in recent years, giving marketers a bit more wiggle room. SEOPressor recommends keeping headlines at 60 or fewer characters to help keep your titles intact.
We’d also like to mention that the length of your title tag does not count as a Google ranking factor. While some people have theorized that character counts may impact SEO, Google has gone on record to say that length recommendations are not for ranking purposes . Instead, use your character counts to make sure users can see your full title every time they conduct a Google search.
5 Types of Headlines that Work
It’s easy to take titles for granted – they’re practically the length of a short sentence after all! The problem is that with body copy is a lot more forgiving. That brevity makes putting together top-tier titles a tough task, especially when you're trying to balance clarity, intrigue, and keywords. Fortunately, there are different types of headlines that can help you marry sizzle factor and search value.
Customer questions are a goldmine for generating blog topics and other content ideas. Your target audience has questions that relate to your business. You have answers. Use these FAQs as the basis for thorough, well-written articles that position you as an expert.
Not only are these questions great for inspiring ideas for content, they can also serve as an effective headline. First, a good question can attract an intrigued reader. People are inquisitive creatures, so a well-phrased question directly addressing your ideal reader. Second, the right query can be a quality keyword. Users will frequently type out entire questions in search engines instead of short keyword phrases, turning that question into a valuable keyword of its own.
While a question may have some search volume, there can be issues with using them as a headline. Question headlines, typically those starting with “Do” that end in a "yes" or "no" answer can lead users to ignore them because they think they already know the answer to the question. "Why,” “how,” and “what” questions are good because they don't obviously answer a question and allow you to position yourself as an expert. Also, avoid using a question headline if you don't actually have an answer to the question. No reader wants to feel like they got suckered into a clickbait post with no real conclusion or insight.
Example: What are the Best Types of Headlines for Driving Traffic?
People love content they can easily understand. A wall of text of vague terms can be overwhelming and misleading, whereas lists provide readers with an easy reading experience. As The New York Times wrote , a well-made listicle with good insights "spatially organizes the information; and it promises a story that’s finite, whose length has been quantified upfront."
The number headline, then, serves as a promise for quality content, albeit one that uses our brain's natural preferences as a trigger for action. A Conductor study even found that people prefer headlines with numbers to those without – a good number does set expectations after all.
What number should you use in your title? Yes, it’s been proven that readers prefer certain numbers over others. However, ideal numbers can change depending on what you’re trying to accomplish.
- Instruction specialist Abreena Tompkins found that grouping information in three or five sections can help people absorb information better.
- BuzzsSumo found that multiples of five are great for listicles (although seven also appears to be a lucky number).
- Different numbers can be used to add emphasis. Small numbers can suggest simple or direct information (“3 Steps to Solving Payroll Tax Headaches”) while large numbers can indicate a treasure trove of information (“97 Content Marketing Statistics You Should Know”).
It's important to note that while lists are useful, you can't—and shouldn't—convert every piece of content into a list. Some stories are best suited for an in-depth, long-form reading experience. There's no need to rework Moby Dick into "7 Reasons Why Ahab Just Had to Kill That Whale." The headline is a key way to entice readers, but the article itself needs to be worthwhile for readers to take any sort of action.
Example: 5 Types of Headlines that Demand Attention and Drive Clicks
How To Headlines
Sometimes people just want to learn how to do something. The appropriately named “how to” title gives this information-hungry target audience the exact instructions they crave.
As you probably expect, a good "how to" headline starts with those very two words and offers the steps people need to do… something. The exact thing all depends on what your audience craves, whether it’s as simple as “How to Trim Your Dog’s Nails” or some very technical, detailed process. Either way, the following formula is a great way to attract attention: Headline = "How to" + Verb + Thing + Benefit
Example: How to Write Headlines That Matter to Readers
We’re not saying this is the best type of headline, but it is a good tactic to attract visitors. Your customers and readers want the best. Do they want to know the different types of headlines to attract leads or the best types of headlines to attract leads? When faced with a decision on which headline to click on, the “best” is simply more compelling.
Not only is this type of headline more compelling, it’s also how people naturally search. People often begin searches with “best way to…” or “best type of…” This type of headline is a great way to plug in keywords and improve SEO.
Example: Best Types of Headlines for Digital Marketing Success
Do you ever feel like you have two different headline ideas, but wish you could combine into one mega headline? The two-part, or double whammy headline marries two titles that could stand alone but are more powerful together. It’s like milk and cookies, as long as you enjoy both cookies and milk.
To construct a two-part headline, you can use a colon, question mark, parentheses, em dash, or other types of punctuation to bridge the headlines together. This type of headline is great for plugging in keywords and making dull topics sound more exciting.
Example: Writing Headlines: Top Tips for Creating Tremendous Titles
Good Headlines Need Great Content
Regardless of what type of headline you choose for your content, it's important to remember that you're making a promise to your readers with every title you write. Misleading or inaccurate headlines will just result in readers leaving your site as soon as they realize you won't address their needs.
In the end, you need your content to be as good as your headlines. If you can entice readers with a good headline and keep them engaged from beginning to end, you’ll increase your chances of generating and converting leads.
Need help developing a strategic game plan or creating quality content for your site? Aztek’s content marketing team can help. Our content strategists, writers, and editors have the experience to leverage copy to attract visitors and generate leads. Contact us today to learn more about our digital marketing services and how we can help you grow your business online.
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Looking for insightful blog posts on content writing, and SEO copywriting? You will find them on Credible Content Blog. Updated almost daily. Fresh, unique perspective.
8 types of headlines you can use in copywriting.
8 categories of headlines you can use and copywritingKasauli simple and syndicate the
Do you know that 8 out of 10 people read your headlines but only 2 out of 10 read your main copy?
Since 80% people are going to read your headline, you can make the maximum impact writing effective headlines.
Therefore, writing power packed headlines has always been a critical part of the copywriting process.
In fact, copywriters like Bob Bly and David Ogilvy suggest that out of the total time you get to write copy for a project, spend 50% time on coming up with an effective headline, and then remaining 50% for the main body content.
When writing copy, should you write your headline first?
There is debate regarding this among copywriters.
If you ask a content writer, he or she will tell you it hardly matters as long as the headline represents the main gist of the content they are writing.
Consequently, many content writers first work on the copy and then based on the contents of the copy, create the headline.
The same happens with headings and subheadings.
First, they quickly jot down whatever thoughts come to them and then later they format the document with a headline, headings, and subheadings.
It depends on your process.
I write the headline first.
This is because my entire copywriting and content writing process centers around the main headline.
I believe that once I have worked out the headline, it becomes easier to write the rest of the copy.
Even when writing headings and subheadings, given a choice, I write them first and then the subtext beneath them.
Headlines and headings are interchangeable.
The term headings are used in terms of formatting and document referencing, and headlines are used as general terms to draw attention from people.
Headlines improve your conversion rate
Whether you want to improve your click through ratio or on-page conversion rate, your headline plays an important role.
Websites like BuzzFeed and Upworthy spend lots of time and effort on headlines that draw massive amounts of traffic from social media websites and search engines like Google.
You may have seen that the quality of the primary BuzzFeed content is not great but their headlines shock, intrigue, and humor.
BuzzFeed headline example
According to American Writers & Artists , there is a “Four U’s” approach to writing headlines.
Your headlines must
- Be USEFUL to the readers.
- Instill a sense of URGENCY in them.
- Communicate to them that the message on the web page is UNIQUE .
- ULTRA-SPECIFIC in nature to tell the readers precisely what you’re offering.
Questions to ask to write effective headlines
Want to write effective headlines?
Here are some questions that can help you write click-worthy headlines.
- Does your headline offer a clearly understandable reward to the reader for reading the main copy?
- Is your headline believable?
- Does your headline contain specific facts that are easy to believe?
- Does your headline figure a strong, actionable emotion?
- Does your headline offer an answer to a question the reader is seeking?
- Does your headline offer an irresistible proposition that is relevant to the needs of the reader?
Effective headlines can be of different types.
Listed below are eight types of headlines that popular copywriters and content writers often use.
Direct, straightforward headlines
Such headlines don’t beat around the bush.
- 30% discount on our holiday package
- Buy the custom printed T-shirt now and get 20% off.
- Free e-book: Data visualization made easy
These headlines offer straightforward proposition.
There is no mincing of words.
There is no guesswork.
The reader immediately knows what is being offered.
Some examples of indirect headlines are
- Stop eating this meal now; want to know why?
- The future of technology is right at your doorstep – find out how
- You are never going to get this chance again
- This is how you should have used your phone in the first place
Why are these indirect headlines?
They simply intrigue your curiosity.
They don’t provide any information.
To make sense of these headlines, you need to read the copy that follows.
You can learn a lot from news headlines because they are meant to make people read news.
In the olden days when newspapers were sold on the roads, their sales depended on the headlines.
In the newspaper industry, headlines were written so that the newspaper sellers could scream them and prompt people to buy the day’s newspaper.
Some examples of newspaper headlines are:
- NASA launches a new probe to Mars
- The government in Bihar falls, the 3rd time in 5 years
- The corruption charges reveal an interdepartmental web of intrigue
- Credible Content decides to put more stress on day-to-day content publishing
You can see that news headlines are like direct headlines with the big difference that they are about news and not about selling stuff.
How to headlines
These types of headlines are quite prevalent in the blogging world.
Even on my own Credible Content blog, I have written a number of blog posts on the theme of how to.
Some hypothetical examples of the “how to” headlines are:
- How to hire the perfect copywriter for your website in 3 easy steps
- How to make an omelet that is not hard on your stomach
- How to write copy that instantly converts
- How to improve your English writing skills in just 2 days
As the name suggests, a question headline asks a question from the reader.
Questions are always intriguing.
Whenever you come across a question, if you know the answer, you want to respond, and if you don’t know the answer, you want to know it, especially if it is relevant to your need.
Some examples of question-based headlines are
- Are you looking for a content writer who understands your business?
- Are you sick of your current accounting software?
- Do you know that germs can be life threatening?
Command or action headlines
Such headlines directly tell people to take an action.
Strong action words are used in the beginning of the command or action headlines.
- Download our FREE e-book now
- Avail 20% discount now
- Subscribe to our newsletter today
- Order your biryani today
- Do command headlines work?
Sometimes they do and sometimes they don’t.
It depends on your messaging.
My personal take is that such headlines work better as subheadings or call to action buttons.
Readers should be exposed to such headlines when they have already read a major portion of your copy.
‘N’ reasons why headlines
Such headlines have become popular in the age of web content.
First, a few examples:
- 13 reasons why you want to use WordPress as your preferred blogging platform
- 5 reasons why you must hire a trained copywriter for your business
- 25 reasons why people are abandoning your shopping cart
“Reasons why” headlines can be very effective.
When people come across them, they know exactly how many points you are going to cover.
There is no magic figure.
Nonetheless, the grapevine is that odd numbers perform better than even numbers for “reasons why” headlines.
Testimonials come from real people.
From real customers and clients.
- Our business registered 5% growth after switching to this accounting software
- Initially I was doubtful, but then I was blown away
- They delivered a project in 2 weeks after committing to a deadline of 4 weeks
Testimonial headlines are easier to believe in.
Instead of you blowing your own horn or using some sort of verbal trickery, the customers and clients who have used your product or service themselves are vouching for you.
Listed above are the main categories of headlines that you can write for your web pages, blog posts, and articles.
Different headline categories may perform better in different situations.
No matter how great a copywriter you are, you need to experiment.
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