Online users are bombarded with bucketloads of content everywhere they go. Successful headline writing is key to grabbing their attention and standing out from your competition.

It is essentially what gets your content viewed or ignored, so make sure you spend enough time carefully crafting it to perfection. Besides, 80% of readers will not even make it past the headline – so make it matter!

A converting headline is concise and informative, giving the user a clear idea of what he will get after he clicks.

So let’s take a look at 8 winning tactics that will teach you how to write a headline that clicks :

1. Keep it short and self-explanatory

You only have a few seconds to get your user’s attention. So a short and comprehensive headline is key to getting more clicks!

Your headline should be able to make sense on its own – even without context. It should convey the essence of your piece of content in just a few words.

For relevant inspiration look no further than the BBC for some of the best headlines in the news and media industry. Breaking-news and current events are encapsulated in clear, concise headlines that a user can scan through and get an overview of what is happening in the world.

bbc uses short and clear headlines

2. Talk directly to your audience

Headlines that directly address your audience can resonate with them better than something impersonal.

Using the second person draws your readers in and makes your content seem personalized just for them!

For example, take this article headline on ClickZ. Written just for you, right?

clickz headline example addresses audience directly

3. Use questions

Questions have the power to create a catchy headline users want to click. Asking a question gets the reader curious and urges him to seek for the answer aka clicking on your headline!

The question asked should directly speak to your audience’s interests and problems. Usually the best question headlines are not vague or open-ended and can be answered straight off.

For example, see how Copyblogger raises a question everyone wonders about in its blogpost headline:

headlines with questions receive more clicks copyblogger example

4. Take inspiration from magazine headlines

The art of writing the perfect headline is not a new concept. It is traced back to the golden days of print media when computers and the internet didn’t exist.

So what better inspiration than magazines or newspapers that originated in print form?

The New York Times definitely knows how to write a clear and informative news headline:

nyt headline example uses clear informative copy

On a completely different note to the above, Cosmopolitan is another example of a clever headline copywriter. It knows how to speak to its audience and uses clever headlines – often cheeky or with word-puns.


5. Use a number

Using a number or some type of figure that is relevant to your content can create a click-worthy headline that works for your audience.

A specific number is something your reader can instantly relate to. According to a study by Conductor, number headlines are the most preferred type.

See what the Guardian does in the following article headline:

The Guardian uses a headline with a number for more clicks

Or this article by Miss Vogue with two figures in its headline:

miss vogue headline example use a number

6. Use How To’s

A how-to headline has become a winning formula for many advertisers and copywriters alike.

It should give your user a direct answer to what he will get if he clicks and deliver the benefit he will reap from it or the final outcome.

Check out the following how-to headline by Search Engine Watch. It is clear and delivers a promise to give a lesson many marketers will find useful:

how to headlines are a winning tactic example

7. Evoke user emotions

Creating a headline that will trigger surprise, anger or amusement is a common tactic that leads to more clicks.

Buzzfeed knows how to create a killer headline with tons of its content going viral online. Most of its popular posts use bewildering headlines that beg to be clicked.

buzzfeed headlines evoke extreme emotions

The following headline used in a Quartz article evokes surprise and puzzlement, two emotions that generally make for more clicks:

emotion evoking headlines get more clicks

8. Use superlatives or negatives

Headlines with superlative are a very popular type that many content creators opt for (eg The best.. The fastest…The biggest…etc)

For example take this article headline by Copyblogger:

copyblogger example headline uses superlative

Negative superlatives on the other hand tend to be awarded with even more clicks when used in headlines. It makes sense given that avid readers always enjoy a shocker or an extreme story!

Check the following screenshot from Trippy using an extreme negative statement for its headline:

use negatives in headlines example


What type of headline do your most popular articles use? Comment below!

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Victoria Stamati

Digital Marketer at Exit Bee. Loves helping websites create great campaigns to get more conversions and re-engage abandoning visitors. Keen film buff and cheese appreciator.

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