6 tips for shiny, eye-catching headlines

Jan 8, 2016

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I read a lot of the blogs on my Facebook Feed, but these days there seem to be some kind of a pattern in most of those articles. Yes, the headlines always seem to be on the lines of “10 Things –Blank– Did, But When I Looked Closer, My Jaw Dropped” or “20 Things So Funny,You Can’t Help But Laugh”.

The funny thing is, I find myself naturally gravitating towards these articles; well, who wouldn’t? Their headlines are so persuasive!

Statistics show that 80% of people read the headlines, but only 20% end up reading the actual content. That makes the headline your ultimate moneymaker.

Headlines trump your real content! What are the odds of that happening?! Well, here are 6 ways to improve the way you create your headlines:

Step 1: Practice

You know your audience – that’s why you painstakingly created the content in the first place. Now don’t take the headlines for granted. To get your headlines to be just as persuasive, if not more, you need to come up with more than a dozen titles for your article before you zero-in on one.

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Step 2: Keep it short

You can write a Meta title that is just about 60 words, to be seen in search results, but the absolute ideal length of any headline is 6 words only.

Six! The way most people read newspapers, people only scan headlines. Therefore, the least number of words gets you more attention.

Step 3: Personalize

You have more chances of a reader avidly flicking through your content if he or she can actually relate to the article on their personal level.

So consider adding ‘you’ and ‘your’ kind of possessive pronouns in your headlines. When you reference the reader, the reader is engaged instantly.

Step 4: Adjectivize

Yes, that isn’t a real word, but you get the drift?

Add interesting, eye-grabbing adjectives like essential, effortless, shiny... Such positive words tend to excite people and in that rush of adrenaline, they click through and want to read your content!

Step 5: Negativize

Ok, I should stop making up words, but it feels right and I’m not apologizing.

Anyway, when you use negative words in your headlines like ‘no’, ‘don’t’, ‘stop’ and others, it actually gets more attention than you think. Such words, in fact, bring out people’s insecurities to the fore… which then incentivizes them to find the solution to those insecurities in your article!

Step 6: Use Numbers

I spoke about those articles in my Facebook Feed in the beginning, remember? They all had numbers in common. And no, not written out in words, but actual digits.

People just don’t have any time to do anything these days and so if they come across an article that says “6 ways you can –blank” (oops!) then they have a perceived notion that it’s going to be a short article or it’s going to be very efficient.

So remember these 6 tips to optimize your headlines to yeild better traffic. Happy writing!

Nicole Stansley is a content strategist for educational websites and a freelance writer. Her area of interests includes, though not limited to educational, writing, self-development, motivation topics, marketing and apps.