Why Writing Headlines Matters

Your headline makes your first impression with readers. A strong headline can drive more clicks. A weak one can send traffic away. That's why you should spend time to go from okay headlines to great headlines.

Headline Writing Tips

Writing great headlines isn’t hard and you don’t have to follow some kind of headline formula to optimize them. Just follow these tips to help you out. 

Write More Headlines

Your first headline idea probably won’t be your best. You might need several headline ideas before you come up with a good one. Follow these steps to brainstorm better headlines for your content: 

  • Write 10 headlines
  • Write 15 more 
  • Cross out the worst 15
  • Bold the top 5

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Know Your Target Audience

If the goal of a good headline is to get clicks, you can’t do that without knowing what will pique your audience’s interest. Doing some market research and creating a buyer persona based on your findings will help you tailor your headlines to your audience. 

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A/B Test Your Headlines

Run an A/B test with two different headlines and see which one is the best headline for your target audience. 

Use Numbers

Listicles are popular because they’re easy to read and let the reader know what to expect from the get-go. Use the digits at the beginning of the headline to keep it concise and scannable. Even if it’s not a listicle, using a stat in your headline signals to readers that this piece is based on research. 

Numbers in circles

Teach Something Useful

A compelling headline doesn’t just encourage people to click on it. It teases useful information that the content will provide. For content marketing, focus your headlines on helping instead of simply telling the readers information. Readers turned to the search engine in the first place because they had a problem or question and needed a solution. If you provide that solution, that can lead to readers thinking of your company as an authority in your industry. 

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Use "You" to Address Your Readers

In the headline and the body content, use the second person to grab the reader’s attention and give them something to immediately relate to. 

A had pointing toward the viewer

Create a Sense of Urgency

Using words that inspire a sense of urgency towards your call to action will increase your click through rate, leading to more conversions. 

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Stand Out From the Crowd

Research what your competitors are doing. Identify the expressions, keywords, and phrases your competitors use in their content. From there, you will understand how to make your headlines stand out.

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Be Specific and Concise

Narrowly focus on the one topic your content is about and use as few words as possible to communicate the main point of the article. Every word should contribute something. 

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Consider Every Platform Where Your Headline May Appear

The length of your headline depends on what you want to do with it. Email subject lines and social media might truncate your headline if it’s too long for them to display. 


Use Power Words

Catchy headlines use attention-grabbing words and avoid cliches that turn readers off. Certain words and phrases elicit emotional responses.  Using words that evoke urgency and positive emotions can convince your customers to  make the purchase.

David Ogilvy’s most influential words include:

  • Suddenly
  • Now
  • Announcing
  • Introducing
  • Amazing
  • Sensational
  • Revolutionary
  • Miracle
  • Magic
  • Quick
  • Hurry

Poor word choices include:

  • Market-leading
  • Breakthrough
  • Innovative
  • Stunning
  • Ultimate

An illustration of a power lifter

Ask a Question

A question headline has the benefit of driving clicks from people who want to know the answer and upping your SEO. Think about when you google something. You probably ask questions, right? So using a question people ask as your headline will mean more people going to it for answers. 

Question marks in various colors

Avoid Clickbait

We’ve all seen those “and what happens next will blow your mind” headlines on sites like Upworthy and Buzzfeed and been disappointed when we clicked and it didn’t, in fact, blow our minds. People have caught on to clickbait. Just accurately reflect what the article is about and get them interested in reading more without doing a bait and switch. 

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Don’t Forget Keywords

The title tag is an important piece of an article’s SEO profile. The main keyword you’re targeting should be somewhere in the title. You can find the most high traffic, low competition keyword version of your topic by doing a little keyword research on Moz, SEMrush, or even Google Trends

A repeating pattern of keys

How Sav Can Help

We may not be able to write effective headlines and do the copywriting for you, but our affordable, user-friendly website builder can make the web design and widget integration process easy. Start your free trial today to start creating.

Luca Harsh

Luca Harsh

Luca Harsh is an in-house content writer for Sav. They live in Chicago with their cat, Polly. Yes, Harsh is their real last name.