5 Helpful Tips for Writing Better HeadlinesMarch 28, 2016
We’re all short on time, and while we may want to read lots of articles on the internet, the unfortunate truth is that we often have time to read only the headlines. However, a good headline can draw us in and compel us to delve into the text. How can you write better headlines for your articles and blog posts, drawing your reader in and inspiring them to read on? Here are five tips.
Keep it shortA headline should be just that: a short, pithy statement about the information contained within. Six words is about the perfect length. Any shorter, and you probably aren’t giving enough information about the article, but any longer, and you risk losing your reader. It’s also important to consider that in search results, headlines get cut off after just 65 characters. That’s another good reason to keep it brief.
Think in numbersAll listicle jokes aside, numbers in a headline convey precision. They let readers know exactly what they’ll find in the article and give them some idea of how much time they’ll need to read it. When using numbers in your headlines, adopt digits rather than writing them out. This is easier to read, plus it cuts down on the headline’s character count.
Use specific nounsFor example, in the headline for this article, we’ve used the noun “tips.” It’s not “How to Write a Better Headline” — we’re giving you specific steps to take so that your headlines will improve, and that’s reflected in our headline. Other nouns that could work well, depending on your article, include “ideas,” “reasons,” “examples,” “secrets,” and “lessons.” Sometimes, you can use specific nouns along with numbers to create a bigger impact.
Use an appealing adjectiveJust one good adjective in a headline can punch up the emotion of both the article and your audience’s attitude toward what you’ve written. For example, you can have an article titled, “5 Stories of Perseverance,” but it might be more inviting if it were, “5 Incredible Stories of Perseverance,” or “Heartwarming Stories,” or “Unbelievable Stories.” One well-placed adjective can really draw readers in.
Create a sense of urgency (if it’s appropriate)While you don’t want to be unnecessarily dramatic, creating a sense of urgency in your readers — making them feel like they’ll really be missing out if they don’t read the article — can persuade your audience to keep reading. A headline like, “Don’t Miss Out on Another Business Opportunity Again” really conveys that there’s something at stake
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