How to Write Great Headlines for Your Content – Expert Tips

Craft headlines that convert readers. Use attention-grabbing formulas, keywords and value promises. Get creative yet clear. Understand your audience. Align with content. Optimize length. Spark emotion. Make readers believe you have the answers.
Last Updated June 17, 2024

When you’re writing copy, your headline is a make-it-or-break-it moment. That one line at the top of the page can convince an audience they need to know more about the topic — or it might make them keep scrolling. With best practices for crafting headlines, you’ll create attention-grabbing titles that intrigue users and encourage them to start reading.

So how do you create great headlines that pique readers’ interest? We’ve put together some essential tips to help you create titles that showcase your article’s value. Let’s get started and dive into the hows and whys of developing winning headlines for your writing.

The Power of an Eye-Catching Headline

While about 8 out of 10 people will read an article headline, only an average of 2 out of 10 will actually read the article. Improving that readership rate requires getting people’s attention with the one line they’re most likely to read.

Your headlines have a considerable impact on building your business’s online presence. When you persuade readers about the relevance and value of your content with a strong headline, you’ll develop a bigger audience who will keep reading and returning to your site.

The right content development and headline creation strategies will make your articles stand out on search engine results pages (SERPs). When you draw more visitors to read your article after they’ve searched for a relevant topic, you’ll also help your content rank higher in the SERPs.

How to Write Headlines That Make Readers Want to Learn More

Headlines that stand out and hold readers’ attention leverage certain optimized features to build appeal. Keep these tips in mind as you write your headlines.

1. Use Attention-Grabbing Formulas

Specific headline formats stand out in a line of search results. Try styles like:

  • Questions: Ask a key question in your headline so readers know they’ll find the answers in your copy.
  • Secrets: In your headline, tell readers you have a secret to share with them and pique their curiosity to find out what it is.
    • Numbers: Include numbers in your headline to create a sense of readability and accessibility. For example, “10 Tips for…” or “5 Ways to…” will tell readers you have a skimmable, information-rich article available to them.
  • Trigrams: Use groups of three words that draw people in, such as “The Reason Is…” “Will Make You…” and similar power phrases that foster curiosity.

2. Insert Keywords

Include the right keywords in your headline to show that your copy will answer the reader’s questions. Choose a keyword that matches the topics visitors are most likely to search if they’re interested in your copy’s topic. You’ll want to use best practices for keyword research and insertion for your headline and throughout your copy to help your content perform better in search results.

3. Promise Value

Making promises to your readers — and keeping them — is another important part of persuading them to keep reading. Tell them in your headline that you’re going to share something valuable, and promise they’ll get the answers they’re looking for in your copy. 

4. Communicate With Clarity

In the few seconds a user scans your headline, they want to know exactly what you’re offering in your article. Be specific about your topic and why potential readers should spend more time on your page.

Using keywords and language like “why” and “how” will demonstrate what kinds of questions your copy answers and why it matters for your audience.

5. Be Creative and Bold

Surprise readers with what you have to say — it’ll make them curious. You should brainstorm creative phrases and word choices to help you develop a unique, eye-catching title.

Be confident and break with tradition if you need to. Being bold with your word choices and structure will help you get more attention from potential readers.

6. Get Feedback

Try out A/B testing to see how headlines in emails and other content perform and explore which formats users respond to best. You can also collaborate with your team on which headlines sound the best.

7. Align Your Headline With Your Content

Make sure your headline’s promises and your copy content match. Readers need to know that they’ll get the information they’re expecting based on the title.

8. Speak Your Audience’s Language

Use buzzwords and terms your readers will relate to and provide information that fits their interests and values. Leveraging target audience data insights will help you identify the types of searches your readers make and the language that appeals to them.

9. Choose an Ideal Headline Length

Readers will only look at your headline for a few seconds before moving on. Keep the headline around six words long to capture users’ attention and convince them to read more.

While Google does not have an official limit for title tags, you may also want to consider optimal character length if your headline and title tag are the same. You want your headline to have optimal formatting in the SERPs, so using about 50 to 60 characters is recommended. If you’d like to preview your title tag, you can use Moz’s preview tool to check the formatting.

10. Leverage Emotion

Provoke your audience’s emotions and give them a reason to keep reading with your language choices. Positive language that makes them feel empowered, vivid adjectives that appeal to their imagination, and evocative, emotional words that draw them in will all help keep their attention.

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