Headlines Hitters

I am trying to improve my writing skills, in particular, for writing articles for publication.  I am following a number of leaders in the field of copywriting and journalism who are generous at giving away top tips every so often.

This week’s top tip from Carole Seawert (https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/secret-great-headline-b2b-copywriter-and-newsletter-writer-/?trackingId=Te9b20uY1%2FUJwSqiFWg2Sg%3D%3D) was about capturing the readers’ attention with a headline that will draw them in to read the rest of the story.  Apparently only 80% of people will read beyond the headline so you only have three seconds to get your reader interested.  The headline needs to be concise and pique interest enough to scroll down rather than swipe left. 

It is suggested by Neil Patel that a headline should be no more than 62 characters long otherwise search engines tend to ignore the rest (https://neilpatel.com/blog/the-step-by-step-guide-to-writing-powerful-headlines/).  Any longer than that and the reader is bored or confused already too. Seawert offered seven ways for beginners to tailor their headlines to create impact:

Numbered lists – 10 Ways to …, 3 Steps to…, 7 top tips…

How – to do…, I earned…, to make…

Why – doing x made y, some x is more successful, xyz is the best app ever…

Questions – Is this x causing y? Are you…? Do you need…?

The Secret – to living…, to writing…, of becoming…

The controversial – why xyz is a waste of time, the real answer to x is…, I’d rather be x than y

Unusual/Curious – What do x and y have in common? X accused of y, something doing something out of the ordinary

You get the picture, right? Seawert proposed that by following these formats a new writer could be well on the way to getting noticed.

Patel offered suggestions to include:

Numbers – the brain being more receptive, especially to odd numbers.

Rationales – tips, reasons, lessons, tricks, ideas, facts, secrets and so on.

Call to action – the purpose of the headline suing the four Us:

  • Uniqueness;
  • Ultra-specific;
  • Urgent;
  • Useful

Patel also recommended:

Stating the obvious – sounds obvious doesn’t it?

Use interesting adjectives – fun, painstaking, free, strange, absolute, essential etc

Addressing the reader – using “you” to connect the reader.

Use emotional words – amazing, fearless, sensational, grateful …

Then of course the headline needs to make sense so as not to confuse readers. With all of that in mind I must update my headline…

14 amazing ways new writers can create fantastic headlines now

What do you think?


One thought on “Headlines Hitters

  1. I’m biased, in that I will always read your articles whatever the headline. I do wonder sometimes how much of this advice causes ‘click bait’ but guess you have to employ various tricks to ensure your article is read above others


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s