I have become absolutely obsessed with writing headlines for blog posts and subject lines for emails. Nail it, and open rates skyrocket. Miss it, and you just lost a valuable opportunity to connect with your audience – and wasted a lot of time.
As a result of this obsession, I am constantly reading up on how to balance the art and science of writing attention-grabbing headlines. When HubSpot published an infographic on the subject, beautifully put together by Neil Patel at Quick Sprout, I got super excited. This is good stuff, people!
To save you time, I compiled what I believe are must-read tips on writing better headlines, gleaned from the infographic:
1. Spend more time writing a headline than you think you need to
When you consider that 8 out of 10 people read a headline but only 2 out of 10 people keep reading, it becomes obvious that you need to take the time to brainstorm lots of options for a headline. Walk away from it, and then come back later in the day and choose the one that would make you want to continue reading.
2. Keep headlines at 6 words
Not only are 6 words the ideal length for a headline, but people only read the first and last 3 words. So your headline should look like: IS this the BEST HEADLINE EVER?
3. Personalize headlines
Somehow reference the reader in your headline, and consider framing it as a question. Both are much more conversational and therefore much more engaging.
4. Get comfortable with creative headlines
Get out the Thesaurus! Look up interesting adjectives for a bigger impact. You can also try going negative, as “no,” “without,” and “stop” lead to more sharing. Who knew?
5. Use numbers when it makes sense
People like big numbers in their headlines – they get more shares – and digits rather than words (7 over seven).
6. Try out this formula to create perfect headlines
Number or trigger word + adjective + keyword + promise. Just look at the title of this post, which I wrote before I even started writing the body. I very coincidentally nailed the formula – woo hoo!
What is the most successful headline you’ve ever written (as measured by sales, shares or engagement)?