How to turn heads with your headlines

By 25th June 2019 No Comments

As John Caples wrote: “If the headline is poor, the copy will not be read. And copy that is not read does not sell goods.”

But getting your reader’s attention is an easy-task right? Just create an eye- catching headline, pull together some killer content and your eager readers will be ready to hang on your every word, helping you tell your story and generate much needed exposure for your product or service! Job done ? Well maybe …..

What is certainly true, is that we are living in a world surrounded by more online and offline content than ever before. Advances in technology and the accessibility of social media, has made publishers of us all, with content being created and consumed at an unprecedented rate. But with so much information competing for our interest, how can we get better at creating magnetic content that converts and captures the attention of our savvy screen scrollers? Here we share our top tips on how to turn heads with your headlines, but first ……



  • 8 out of 10 people may click into your article but only 2 out of 10 read the full content. 
  • Creating an attention-grabbing headline is perhaps the most important part of writing copy. It’s also the most enjoyable
  • Traffic could vary up to 500% because of your headline alone!

From online content, adverts, news articles, email and social media, headlines are used everywhere to; 

  • Capture our attention
  • Encourage us to read on
  • Generate action (Ie: selling goods, services, encouraging sign ups, followers etc)
  • Make us think
  • Spark debate

Headlines Sell (Fact !)

Headlines sell… there is no getting away from that.

In fact according to David Ogilvy headlines are worth 90% of the money invested in all advertising . The magazines that jostle for our attention on the supermarket shelves are a great example of how headlines are being used competitively to helps brand stand out.

So what are the steps to writing a good headline?  

  1. Understand the target audience and know who you are writing for.
  2. Write an outline of the article/ ad first. … (what are the main points you want to get across ? Summarise these in your title)
  3. Ensure your headline aligns directly with your content and has relevance.
  4. Write several different headlines and read them out loud.
  5. BENEFITS – Pick the most important benefit of your article and include that benefit in the headline.
  6. Include the product or problem in the headline. (Ie: How to stop the ageing process in 5 easy steps) (How to keep your social media followers engaged through conversation)  
  7. Keep it simple – simple is clear!
  8. Experiment and have fun!  Evaluate those that are working and those that aren’t by monitoring click through/conversion rates.
  9. Use one of the headline formulas below.

Types of headline

There are many styles of writing headlines. Here are some examples of a few to experiment with.

1) ‘How to’ headlines

These headlines add impact with a content style that ‘helps’ rather than ‘tells’. Ie;

How to ….. lose weight quickly

How to …. boost your fitness levels in 30 minutes a day 

2) List headlines

Lists helps to break content up and make it more digestible for the reader. Ie:

The 10 bestselling books for 2019

5 ways to improve your sales

3) Quotes

A quote in the heading helps to make an instant emotive connection with the reader.

“It has been a long journey, but if you dream, have ambition and put in the work, you can achieve.” says Sir Mo Farah

  • Questions

Asking questions can really generate interest and get people thinking. Ie;

Do you have what it takes to become our next sporting star?

Experiment with open and closed questions to encourage discussion ….. such as: When are the best times to send an email?  Do you send email at the best times of day?

  • News/ Press Headlines

Short and succinct titles that summarise the main jist of the article are effective for news articles or press releases ie:

Teresa May steps down as Prime Minister

Johnson defends Brexit plan and silence over row

Other top tips to help you write effective headlines include;

  • Suggesting the best way to do something
  • Sharing your experience .. With “What I learned’ style titles

Ie: What I learned from my time in the 2012 Olympics”

  • Hinting at something interesting …..

Ie: The new wonder cream revolutionising the beauty industry.

  • Including a statistic

80% of 11 year olds school children now own mobile phones

Half of British teenagers are exposed to harmful content on social media

  • And lastly …have fun !

In actual fact some of the best headlines are the ones that roll off the tongue or come straight from the heart. So have fun, experiment and get your creative juices flowing !


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