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The Secret to Great Headlines

blogging content marketing Jun 11, 2015

Chances are if you are a business owner, you either blog or publish other marketing material for your business.  In order to be successful, all elements of the publication should work together and complement each other.  Two of the most important elements are the images and the headlines.  Images, because people respond better to great images. Headlines, because they summarize and grab attention.

So, how much time do you spend thinking about your headlines?   If you just slap a headline on your articles without much thought, you may be missing out on the very readers you worked so hard writing the article for!  While all of the following components do not need to be present in a great headline, a combination of them will make a stronger impact than just one.

Here are 5 Components of a great Headline:

1) Concise Summary

Your headline should relate to the body of your article, otherwise, it will be seen as switch and bate by readers.  Reader’s time is important to them and they want to know what the article is about before they decide whether they want to click the link to read it.  Respect your reader’s time and be clear in your headline as to what the article is about.

2)Talk Directly to Your Audience

In order for someone to want to click on your link to read your article, a reader must feel like you are specifically talking to them.  There are a few ways to accomplish this.  One is to use the word “you”  in a conversational tone.  One example of this would be “Marketing Secrets You Must Use Now!”  In this example, you are talking directly to your audience and telling them they must use them.  Curiosity alone is enough to make someone click through if only to make sure they are not missing out on something.  Also, people relate well to a conversational tone.  Consider the above headline to “Marketing Secrets to Use Now!”  Most would agree the first one makes a bigger impact.  Using the word “you” allows for the word “must” to be used and creates urgency.  It’s more difficult to do that without directly addressing the audience.

3) Grab Their Attention

In the above headline the words “must” and “now” are the attention grabbers, but you don’t necessarily need to address the audience to grab their attention.  Consider the following headlines:

“The Secret Sauce of Great Headlines”


“Tactics Marketers Use to Get Results”

Both of these use strong words that imply the writer has information that the reader does not have.  Again, the reader will be drawn to the article because they will want to make sure they are not missing something.  Readers want valuable information that will help them succeed.  A strong headline should convey that.

4) Incite Emotion

In the above examples, I implied that readers don’t want to miss out on valuable information.  Now I will take it further and play into emotion.

Consider this headline:

“Are You Losing Money in Your Marketing Campaigns?”

Not only does this headline address the reader directly, but it plays into fear.  Fear is a strong emotion when it comes to small business owners. Budgets are tight and competition is stiff.  Wouldn’t you want to know if you were losing money?

5) Lists 

Lists usually summarize but are usually combined with addressing the audience, inciting emotion and/or grabbing attention.  Lists should not be too long if there long explanations with each list item.

Here are a few headlines to consider:

“12 Steps to Move Your Business Forward”

“5 Ways to Improve Your Marketing Plan”

While both of these can be effective with the right audience, 12 steps sound like a lot.  It could make a potential reader feel like there is a lot of work involved.  If they are looking for a quick fix (most are, even if they don’t exist), they will not click through to read the article.

Another factor to consider is time. Most people don’t have a lot of time.  If they click through to read an article, they want it to be quick.  Twelve steps may sound like a long article to some and may deter them from clicking through to read it.  Short lists are better unless there is a good reason for a longer list.


While these are only a few of the many ways to go about creating a great headline, if you use a combination of these you should be able to create a high impact headline that will increase your readers.

 Need more help? Schedule a call with me to see how I can help you!