How to Write a Good Headline

What to make the headline of an article about writing the perfect headline? We have all experienced this struggle. Once the time comes to create a headline lead, a thousand questions arise about vocabulary, tone, length, quality, etc. It is hard not to look into every word and use of punctuation, asking questions like:

“How do I entice people to read this?”

“Should I be funny?” 

 “How funny is still professional and acceptable?” 

The truth is, the list could go on but the answers are in the simplicity of the subject. When it comes to writing the perfect lead for your blog, here are three easy steps to break down the overthinking and create a finished product.

But first…

What is the Headline and Why Does it Matter?

The headline is the hook: the thing that grabs a reader’s attention and creates interest. From here, the consumer will likely click onto your blog or advertisement to read and therefore be more likely to take the initiated Call to Action. A captivating lead is in many ways, the start of a journey that ends with a user becoming a consumer for your eCommerce site.

Step One: Don’t Stress

The first action to take while writing a headline is to approach it with a relaxed mindset- in other words: no action at all. Stress levels will lead to overthinking in this situation and the last thing that anyone wants is the inevitable onset of headline writer’s block that emerges from stressing. Even the best of the best, those who have been writing headlines agree. Thomas J. Madden, the CEO of TransMedia Group (a top marketing and advertising agency) says that he has “been designing engaging bell-ringer headlines throughout my eclectic career. What’s my secret sauce? Keep ‘em brief, crispy, different and if possible, funny or cute without straining too hard.”

The trick is to cut out filler words and keep things simple. What the headline should do is catch attention long enough for navigation to the page without sounding as like an overdone clickbait trope. There is a fine line to creating a short blurb that is cute and funny and one that is offensive. Make sure that once the filler words are cut out, and the finished product is on the table, it reads with a tone that will elicit the reaction you had hoped for in future readers.

A good way to start is to question what about your article could strike curiosity in a reader. Of course everyone shops differently, make sure that you are appealing to a wide range of people when writing your perfect headline.

Appealing to a Wide Audience

Depending on what your mission is, obviously the headline will shape shift and mold into the desired product. Whether the final headline is a question or a statement that garners enough attention to pull in new customers, it should apply to not just one demographic. Every person has their own buying strategies whether they are aware of this or not. It is just human nature for certain things to appeal to certain people and not to others. When writing your perfect headline, whatever the result may be, consider your potential audience and cast a wide net in order to see the most success in conversion. This will also allow for a greater expanse of people to become familiar with your company and therefore increase your overall brand recognition.

Once you’ve simplified your headline and strategized what audience it pairs with (quite like fine wine), it is time to decide what visuals to bring to the table with it.

Keep in Mind the Visuals

As we all know from experience, many people shop with their eyes. It is quite rare for someone to read a post with no visual accompaniment, much less a post with poor visual content. Lewis Goldstein at Blue Wind Marketing consistently claims that the headline is in fact the back up singer and not the opening act.

When the visuals in a headline are strong, consumers notice and become interested enough to read the content in question. Creating this juxtaposition of a strong header with an enticing visual creates optimal opportunity for success when targeting new audiences and aiming to create conversions.

With all these elements in place, anyone can create a catchy, quippy, and clickable headline tailored to create conversions to your content. Try to say that five times fast. Before you close out this tab and go back to working on writing that headline that has been causing a headache, take a deep breath and try to make things simple. Writer’s block is common especially when it feels like a lot is on the table and there is a lingering need to be original on a consistent basis- this just leads to overthinking. Focus on taking steps towards productivity instead. Once the subject is simplified and the idea that is trying to be prevailed in the headline is clear- one can start to tinker and work on the phrase to make sure that it appeals to the entire audience that the content is aimed to target.

If for some reason there is still some struggling in writing a headline after simplifying and reworking the baseline of the subject: try to look at these catchy business slogans from other companies. Perhaps a creative refresher is all one needs to be productive and successful.