5 Tips for Writing Better Headlines

Posted on in Marketing

As a savvy small business owner, you are devoting a great deal of time to adding valuable content to your website. However, without an attention grabbing headline, people may never read your content. Headlines are the icing on the cake. They frame your content and catch people’s attention. Writing engaging headlines can sometimes be difficult. The following 5 tips will help you write better headlines:

  1. Short – People are busy. Write short headlines in an active voice in order to get their attention. Visually, shorter headlines will stand out. Because they are short, people will take the time to read them while scanning a page on your website. Using actionable words within a short headline will be full of impact. Finally, keep in mind that a short, clearly written headline is much better than a catchy, clever headline that says nothing.
  2. Urgency – Create a sense of urgency in your headlines. People scan headlines until they find something that catches their eye. Adding urgency to your headlines will immediately draw their attention. The subject matter could be urgent or the action you are requiring the reader to take could be urgent. Either way, it will make them want to read the content now rather than later. How many times do you see an interesting headline, but simply bookmark the article to read later? A sense of urgency will eliminate that temptation and get your viewers reading now.
  3. Specific – It can be tempting to write clever headlines. However, clever headlines can be confusing and unclear. Instead, you need to be specific. People are busy and want to know ahead of time if the article is going to be worth their time. Also, a good headline will be searchable. Specific headlines produce relevant search results. For example, the headline for this article is “5 Tips for Writing Better Headlines.” Anyone who searches about writing headlines will easily know that this article will help them out.
  4. Unique – Chances are that you’ve spent a great deal of time carefully writing content for your website. Your headline needs to show people that you are offering a unique point of view. In the headline for this article, for example, the reader is being offered unique tips for writing “better” headlines.
  5. Beneficial – When people read, they want to benefit from their efforts. In order to get someone to read your web content, you need to show them the benefit. Your content needs to be engaging and valuable to your readers. The benefit of this article is clear. The headline clearly states this benefit: read this article and you will be able to write better headlines.

Use these tips as a checklist the next time you write a headline. Ask yourself: Is this headline short? Does it provide a sense of urgency? Does it clearly define the topic? Does it present a unique point of view? Does it clearly state the benefit to readers?  A final piece of advice is to write your headline first. Your headline sets the tone for the entire article. If you write your headline first, you’ll have already defined the purpose of your article and its benefit to the reader.

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