15 essential hacks for creating the best headlines everA recent study showed headlines that pose a question increase click-through rates by a whopping 150%. The logic is that we are intrigued when we see a question and this compels the brain to find the answer.  

So what else can help hook readers in and drive up click-through rates?

1     If you understand what keywords your audience is using to search online then you can incorporate these in your headlines as this will help the audience find your content.

2     People love numbers and the bigger the better. 100 ways to XYZ will always perform better than 5 ways to XYZ because of the perceived added value – as long as the content delivers on the promise.

3     And talking of numbers…. Using digits instead of words i.e. 10 ways to save money instead of Ten ways to save money and putting the number at the start of the headline also improves performance.

4     Try and use as few words as possible so the headline is as short and punchy as possible. Remember that Google has a character limit for search results and typically displays 50-60 characters. If you keep your headline at 60 characters or less the chances are that it will display properly.

5     People searching online are often looking for a solution to a problem. Improve clickability by using a headline that alludes to the problem-solving aspect of your product or service.

6     Everyone likes to learn new skills that improve or complement his/her life. Headlines that suggest new knowledge or learning such as “Learn to speak French in 5 days or A beginners guide to playing chess, can be very powerful.

7     ‘Listicles’ e.g. 20 best-selling books of all time, are very popular online as they are easy to read and the reader knows exactly what to expect from the headline.

8     Use emotional adjectives such as effortless, fun, incredible, free, essential to add more interest – e.g., 6 surprising things you didn’t know about avocados; 5 essential life skills to learn before you hit 30.

9     We all want everything now! So, add a sense of urgency to your headlines, for example, ’10 ways to change your life today’ or ‘double your earning potential right now’ – these examples have an emotional appeal too.

10   Keep it simple. As tempting as it might be to throw in the odd buzzword or acronym, using simple, easily understood language makes your headline easier to read, more accessible and therefore more clickable.

11   The headline has to work on its own as it will be seen in tweets, newsfeeds, search results pages etc where it will be competing for attention with other content. The reader will scan headlines and decide whether to click in just seconds so it’s critical to get it right.

12   What’s in it for me? Be honest and ask yourself, if I saw this headline would I click on it? If not, then why not? Consider what’s on offer for the reader, is the headline conveying the right message? Do I need to be more specific or to add emotion?

13   Humour can be a great way to grab attention. But bear in mind that what one person finds funny, another may find deeply offensive – so just be careful!

14   Stuck for ideas? Look at what is trending on social media (Twitter has a handy what’s trending area) to see what people are talking about and use that to spark creativity.

15   Here is a simple formula for creating powerful headlines:

Number or Trigger word + Adjective + Keyword + Promise

As an example: 25 essential fat-burning secrets to help you drop 5 kg super fast

If you use this format, along with the points mentioned above, you will quickly see a big difference in your headline writing.


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PM HousE
Old PorTsmouTh Road
GuIldford GU3 1LZ

jane@thewordbox.com 0330 043 1951  07907 566 773