How to Write the Best Headline Possible
What is the most important part of your article or blog? The headline. So, learning how to write the best headline possible is essential. In fact, experienced copywriters will tell you that if you don’t get the headline right, the rest of your writing won’t really matter. Your headline is your first impression and determines if your reader will go any farther. By implementing a few proven steps, you can start writing the best headline possible.
How do you write the best headline?
1. Get attention.
It may seem obvious, but if you want people to read your headline, you must start by grabbing their attention. As writers, it is our job to get and keep the reader’s interest. So, ask yourself, what makes my headline stand out? What about it is unique? Readers have millions of headlines screaming for their attention. If you cannot get their attention quickly, you’ve already lost them.
2. Create a need.
The best headlines garner interest by creating a need. If prospects do not need to read your article or find out more information about your product, they won’t. It’s up to you as the writer to convince the reader that they’re missing something.
3. Solve a problem.
After you create a need, the next step is to show your audience how you can help them meet that need. Remember, your audience doesn’t care what you know or how great your product is. They don’t want to know what you can do for them. So, don’t belabor what you know or what makes your product exceptional. Tell them how you can benefit them.
4. Be specific.
Your headline does not have to appeal to everyone. In fact, if the headline is too broad, the people you want to read it won’t. Find your audience and target them. If you’re writing to cat lovers, say it. If you have information for people interested in publishing a book, let them know.
5. Keep it simple.
Let’s be honest, people are busy. Thanks to the internet and social media, advertisements and other headlines constantly bombard prospects and compete for their attention. This means that you only have a few seconds to grab your reader’s interest and convince them you have something worth their time. Because of this, the best headlines are simple and easy to process. Although most copywriters encourage writers to keep their headlines short, longer headlines can be effective if they don’t confuse the reader. So, focus on clarity and get your message across.
6. Use keywords.
The best headlines include one or more magic words called keywords. Keywords are significant ideas within your writing that describe what your content is about and help drive traffic to your site. By including them in your headline, you help readers find your work quickly and easily.
What are the best types of headlines?
The best types of headlines are whatever gets your readers’ attention and keeps them reading. Several types of headlines have proven to work exceptionally well. These include:
Direct headlines are straightforward, to the point, and effective.
Question headlines work well because they make your audience stop and think. If the readers don’t know the answer to the question, or they find it interesting, chances are they’ll keep reading.
Do you have something unfamiliar to your audience? Tell them. People are curious and love finding out fresh information.
Command headlines are exactly what they sound like—a directive for your audience to do something.
Testimonials are a wonderful way to establish credibility and build trust. When placed in headlines, testimonials are an effective tool to gain your reader’s confidence.
It’s a fact—people love to laugh. Twisting a cliché, incorporating a pun, or using another playful device is a terrific way to grab a reader’s attention.
List headlines offer the reader a series of tips or steps to satisfy a need. Prospects love lists because they can get what they want in an easy, organized format.
Mistakes to avoid writing the best headline.
Clever over clear.
You need a super snappy or catchy headline to grab your reader’s attention, right? Wrong. It is better to state your aim clearly than to come up with a clever phrase. As fun as it may be to write, your readers do not care about how witty you are. They care about how you can benefit them. So, use the puns and witty phrases only if you can do so while clearly communicating your main purpose.
Hard to believe.
Have you ever read a headline that seems too hard to believe? “Lose 20 pounds in 1 week!” or “How to earn $50,000 without working…” If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. If you want your prospect to read your article, you must back it up, or, at the very least, make it sound believable. So how do you make your headline believable? Do not make a promise that you cannot meet. If you tell your audience that you can do something for them, prove that you can. Be specific and use facts and details to support yourself and add credibility to your claims.
Headlines should sound genuine while still appealing to people’s emotions. When writing headlines, it is acceptable to use empathy and emotion to draw your reader in. However, people are quick to notice writing that is just trying to sell them something or sounds overdone. And there is nothing people dislike more than a headline that sounds like a used car salesperson wrote it.
How do you pick the best headline?
Know your audience.
Who will read your headline? What are their interests? What do they want or need? If you want to write a successful headline, know your audience, know your audience, know your audience.
Don’t just write one headline for your article. Write ten, fifteen, twenty, or as many as it takes. Because headlines are arguably the most important part of your article or post, play with and tweak them until they satisfy you.
Read other headlines.
Look at what others have done and mimic them. Learning from others will help you be more productive and save time. This does not mean that you must sacrifice your creativity. If you have a new idea, try it! But there is a reason professional copywriters write the same headlines repeatedly. Some headlines just work. If you know what works, use it?
Headlines are a wonderful opportunity to highlight your skills and use your creativity. They are short and simple, but essential to the rest of your writing. If you enjoy what you are doing, you will do a better job. So, roll up your sleeves and have fun.
About the Author
Ryleigh Wood is a full-time writing student who enjoys learning how to refine her writing skills and develop her technique. In her spare time, she enjoys reading, running, and playing the violin.