5 Easy Tricks to Help You Write Catchy Headlines

On the average, five times as many people read the headline as read the body copy. When you have written your headline, you have spent eighty cents out of your dollar. 
—David Ogilvy

In a world full of noise, how do you get people to read what you write? It takes more than good content or great design. The most important part of writing an article is the headline.

5 Easy Tricks to Help You Write Catchy Headlines

To see exactly how I create blog posts that grab people’s attention, watch this video.

The same principle applies to blog posts, book chapters, and so on: The title is where your focus should be. You should begin and end every article with the question: “Would this make me want to read on?”

If not, don’t publish until you’ve got a catchy headline. Concentrate on this, and you’ll get more readers, more buzz, and more love.

How to write catchy headlines

Too often the headline is the most neglected part of writing an article. People just gloss over it without taking much time to consider it. In their minds, it’s the cherry on top. No, friends; it’s not. The headline is the sundae.

I sometimes deliberate over titles for 30–60 minutes before settling on one that works. And I often go back and change them. This is what it takes to write a good headline.

If you need some help concocting catchier headlines, here are a few simple tricks (you can also watch me walk you through this in the free video and checklist that accompanies this post):

  1. Use numbers to give concrete takeaways
  2. Use emotional objectives to describe your reader’s problem
  3. Use unique rationale to demonstrate what the reader will get out of the article
  4. Use what, why, how, or when
  5. Make an audacious promise

1. Use numbers to give concrete takeaways

There’s a reason why so many copywriters use numbers in their headlines. It works.

Do an experiment: Go to the grocery store, and scan the magazines in the checkout lane. Look at the front-page article headlines. It doesn’t matter if it’s a fitness magazine or a tabloid; many of them will be using numerals to start off the headline.

There aren’t really any rules (as far as I know) regarding what numbers work best, but people typically only remember three to five points. That said, sometimes a really obscure number like 19 or 37 can catch people’s attention.

Warning: don’t overuse numbers or use them arbitrarily. If your article clearly has some key takeaways, adding a number to the headline can help make the takeaways more digestible. But if the article doesn’t, don’t force it.

2. Use emotional adjectives to describe your reader’s problem

Here are some examples:

  • Effortless
  • Painstaking
  • Fun
  • Free
  • Incredible
  • Essential
  • Absolute
  • Strange

3. Use unique rationale to demonstrate what the reader will get out of the article

If you’re going to do a list post, be original. For example consider the following:

  • Reasons
  • Principles
  • Facts
  • Lessons
  • Ideas
  • Ways
  • Secrets
  • Tricks

If possible, never use things. Please, for the love of Pete, don’t use things. You can do better than that.

4. Use what, why, how, or when

These are trigger words. I typically use “why” and “how” the most, because I’m often trying to persuade or enable someone. Typically, you’ll use either a trigger word or a number. Rarely does it sound good to do both.

5. Make an audacious promise

Promise your reader something valuable. Will you teach her how to learn a new skill? Will you persuade her to do something she’s never done before? Will you unlock an ancient mystery?

What you want to do is dare your reader to read the article. Without over-promising, be bold. Be seductive (in the most innocuous way possible, of course). Be dangerous. And then deliver what you promised.

Try this formula

Here’s a simple headline-writing formula:

Number or Trigger word + Adjective + Keyword + Promise

Example: Take the subject “bathing elephants.” You could write an article entitled, “How to Bath an Elephant” or “Why I Love Bathing Elephants.”

Or you could apply this formula and make it: “18 Unbelievable Ways You Can Bathe an Elephant Indoors”

Another (more serious) example: Take a bold promise like “selling your house in a day.”

Apply the formula and you get: “How You Can Effortlessly Sell Your Home in Less than 24 Hours”

Here are some examples of my most popular articles and the headlines behind them:

When in doubt, be clear

People don’t want to be tricked into reading something boring; they want to be drawn into something exciting. Make it worth their while.

Take extra long time to consider what headline will grab people’s attention the most, and make sure that it describes your content in an honest, but attractive, way. They won’t regret it, and neither will you.

You can go grab the downloadable checklist that accompanies this blog post right here.

And if you don’t yet have a blog, check out my 8-minute video walk-through on how to launch a self-hosted WordPress blog.

What tricks for writing catchy headlines do you use? Share in the comments.

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    Here @ ghanapoliticians.com, our secret is headlines.

    Ee clocked 1 million page views in 2 weejs just by this!

  12. Hi, I just came across your article, and have to say it is one of the best resourceful articles I have read about writing catchy headlines.

  13. Hello Jeff,
    It is really an outstanding post for writing catchy headlines. For the first time I have seen a formula for writing catchy headlines and I promise I am gonna use it for my future blog posts and then will let you know about the results. Thanks for sharing the formula.

    Thanks
    ContentBloggers

  14. Loved this article, I was really stuck for a headline and nothing seemed to be working, read so many articles and used so many power words but this article really did the trick. Thank you so much!

    Pst I mostly write headlines for poems or short stories any way you can help me with that?

    Psst psst – I ended up with the title –

    Couldn’t Stay – A love story that will actually make you ask for more!

    Would love to head what you have to say about that or suggest something different. Thank you!

  15. Interesting article. Did you see the buzzsumo article about headlines? A lot of the conclusions they come to support what you say here, like using numbers and using words like who/what/how.

  16. im writing an article for school on the gunpowder plot if anyone has any good ideas for a GREAT headline PLZ let me know THNX!

  17. Such nice and clear tips! This headline formula that you show us here seems really helpful, we also use some other ideas like “A List Of Best (tools, sites…)”, “The Best/Worst…”
    Anyhow, it’s completely true that a catchy headline is basic to attract readers. Not just that, but also it is to write relevant content and promote your post. We have recently published a 3-steps roadmap to know how to do it. You can check the post in our blog: https://www.pointvisible.com/blog/roadmap-to-great-content/

  18. Thanks I became the president of the USA and I will establish a never-ending dictatorship in this country.

  19. Great and very valuable post. Thanks. Understood the mistakes already done and will try to change.

  20. The article was good and gave structured insights about how to write a headline, but some say that the headline word limit should be okay if it is around 60-100 characters and some say if it is around 15-20 characters it can fetch you more engagement. So what exactly is true?
    from:https://www.boomer.co/

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