Wondering how to write a headline that drives traffic and clicks?

The best headlines are:

  • Extremely relevant to the content
  • Contain a keyword
  • Generate interests

There’s plenty of room to be creative and demonstrate value, right off the bat.

While there’s no exact science to writing a headline, there are useful headline writing tips that will help you whip up brilliant headlines.

Discover 11 ways to write good headlines.

1. Let Keywords Drive You

If you’re writing a piece of evergreen content, always do keyword research to find out what people are actually searching for.

A slight difference in wording can make a huge impact on traffic.

Let’s take this content, for example.

As with all content, I did keyword research beforehand to pinpoint what people are actually searching for.

I narrowed it down to these keyword phrases, based on their monthly search volume:

  • Headline writing tips: 360
  • How to write a headline: 360
  • Good headlines: 390
  • How to write a good headline: 170

By choosing a relevant keyword phrase with the most search volume, I can boost the ROI of the content.

Accordingly, I chose “headline writing tips” as my main keyword (and, of course, I can use the others as supporting keywords).

As you can see, the headline on this content is “12 Headline Writing Tips to Drive Traffic and Clicks.”

It’s keyword-rich, relevant and (hopefully) demonstrates value.

2. Come up with Multiple Headlines

If you find yourself with a bout of writer’s block and can’t come up with a headline that really strikes your fancy, try writing a bunch!

The act of brainstorming multiple headlines will really get your creative juices flowing, and you’ll land on something great eventually.

3. Know that Sometimes Short and Sweet is A-OK

Sometimes we need to get straight to the point.

Not every headline needs to be lengthy – sometimes being punchy and straightforward is a better approach, so don’t automatically discount a potential headline just because it’s short.

4. Pull a Quote from the Article

Another option for coming up with a good headline is pulling a quote from the content.

A quote, especially from a celebrity or influencer, can be excellent fodder for a headline.

The quote, of course, should be on-topic with the article as a whole.

Here’s one technical issue to keep in mind: unlike body copy, quotes in headlines should always appear in single quotations, according to Associated Press Style.

5. Leverage a Compelling Statistic

Considering popping a powerful statistic right into the headline.

That’s what Matt Southern did in this article for SEJ: “91% of Brands are Moving Toward In-House Digital Marketing.”

6. Look at Competitors’ Headlines

If you’re stuck and can’t come up with a good headline, look to your competitor’s content for inspiration.

You can never copy them, of course.

But you can look at what your successful competitors to get some ideas and then you can create your own variations on that theme.

7. Put a Word in All Caps

Very occasionally, you can put a word in all caps.

This will immediately give your headline a sense of immediacy and urgency.

I like to use this occasionally to punch a headline up.

Use this sparingly, however – it’s not for every article, every time.

8. Use a Question

What questions does your article answer?

The question itself can sometimes make for a good headline.

If you’re writing a guide on the Facebook algorithm, a headline like “What is the Facebook Algorithm? 10 Things You Need to Know” would be perfect.

Potential readers will know, upfront, exactly what question your content is going to answer, which is valuable.

9. Don’t Forget a Call to Action

Whenever you can, add a call to action in the headline.

Use terms like discover, learn, find out, understand, etc. to make your reader feel like they’re making an empowered choice when they click through to your content.

10. Use a Number

Studies have shown including a number in your headline drives clicks.

Note: the Associated Press states that headlines beginning with a number should spell out the number.

You’re also supposed to spell out numbers one through nine, including nine.

Online, however, where attention spans are short and space is precious, numerals rather than spelled out numbers tend to perform better.

It’s still good to know the rule, though, even if you’re going to break it.

11. Test Out the Headline – Would You Click It?

Unsure of whether or not the headline is good?

Use this simple test: would you click it?

Put yourself in the readers’ shoes and consider whether or not you’d be intrigued by your headline.

If you are, great – you’ve found a winner.

If not, keep brainstorming – get back to this list of headline writing tips and consult it whenever you’re feeling stuck!


Image Credits

Featured Image: Paulo Bobita


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