How to Write Great Headlines

Have you ever wondered How to Write Great Headlines which catch people's attention?  More importantly than catching people's attention is making sure you get clicks, right?  I am going to share with some of the “secrets” that professional bloggers, journalists, and copywriters use to not only make sure that you want to read their articles but make you need to read them.

how to write great headlines

Be Appealing to your Audience

This is pretty obvious but if you want to create killer headlines for articles you write you need to make sure that they appeal to your audience.  What is a good example of this?  How about this title I came up with for a CarNewsCafe article I wrote;

Russian Chick crashes a Nissan GT-R, which makes us Cry!

The title is not only funny but appeals to our audience of car readers which is composed of mainly guys.  (Yes, I know women read about cars too just not nearly as much.)  They not only like the beginning of the title, “Russian Chick” but the fact that a Nissan GT-R crashing would make a couple of auto writers cry is just plain ridiculous.  Of course the craziness and appeal of the title is what drew clicks to this post.  To be honest that is not the greatest article I have ever written but the title is great.

Keep Titles Short

This is not always possible but it's best to keep titles short and as much to the point as you can.  The above title example I used included everything that it needed and something funny which caught readers attention.

Titles that are too long are bad for many reasons.  It can confuse a casual reader who is scanning lots of different articles and makes the likelihood that part of the word will get cutoff if it's shared on Twitter or another social network.  (Even if you don't use or like Twitter, a lot of people do.)  Short titles make it easier to digest and make your articles more shareable.

Use Keywords

This is obvious and something a lot of seasoned writers know how to do for creating killer headlines, but something a lot of beginners don't know about or are not aware of.  Using keywords, terms that people search for in Google and other search engines, greatly increases the chances people will find your articles.  For instance let's take this article as an example;

Swedish Biker Babe breaks Motorcycle Speed Record at Bonneville

This article is about Eva Hakansson from Killacycle who broke an electric motorcycle landspeed record at the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah.  Since I know a lot of other people were going to be using “Killacycle” and “Eva Hakansson” in their titles I decided to go for different terms.  It never hurts to be different, ya know!

I knew people probably type in “Biker Babe” and even “Swedish Biker Babe” if they want to be really specific.  In addition “Motorcycle Speed Record” is another good keyword phrase I put in the title.  While this article didn't kill it in the search engines it does ok.

Sometimes it's actually better to focus on making a headline keyword friendly than it is to make it appealing.  Sad but true.  Why do you think I titled this article “How to Write Great Headlines?

What most people are probably wondering is, how do you find keywords?  The tool you should use is the Google Keyword Planner.  You will need a Google Adwords account to use it but that should not be a big deal since it's free to sign-up.  You won't need to pay Google anything to use it, just login into a Google account.

Make it Informative

If you want to create killer headlines you not only need to make sure the title is appealing, short, and uses keywords but is informative too.  “Russian Chick crashes a Nissan GT-R, which makes us Cry!” is not only fun but is informative and tells you what you need to know.

A lot of websites, even major publications, like to skew headlines to garner clicks.  While you could argue some of my headlines are a ‘stretch' I never try to mislead readers about what the article is about.  You want to build trust and keeping your titles informative and on topic will do that.

Final Thoughts on How to Write Great Headlines

Writing killer headlines that catch someone's attention is never easy.  I think you should realize that it takes a lot of writers a long time to master this skill.  Honestly I am still learning more about it everyday and sometimes you can never predict when readers will like or dislike a headline.  It can sound great in your head and to your, but that might be the only person it works for.

If you find my guide on How to Write Great Killer Headlines useful, please let me know.  If you have a suggestion I'd love to hear it.

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