Effective headings, titles and openings
Here are some ideas for engaging, enticing and impactful headings to your articles, posts and Social Media updates.
- Summarise the article in a way that draws the reader in
- Give them what they want to hear – use emotions
- Keep to a maximum of 4 – 8 words
- Cut out as many adjectives and prepositions as you can (e.g. and, the, a, of)
- Be clear and precise
- Be specific
- Use numbers, especially non-round and large ones
- Use ‘you’
- Don’t try to be clever
- Play on words
- Use questions
- Front-load word order
- Use alliteration
- Add an element of surprise – e.g. with unusual pleasant things/wordings
- Prime readers’ curiosity
- How to … something
- Use Keywords (but this can make them very boring)
- Size matters
And now some examples…
Ways with words
Use a question – “How Many of These Italian Foods Have You Tried?”
Use numbers – “Lose 8 Pounds in 2 Weeks”
Cite Facts and Statistics – “More Than Half Medical Advice on ‘Dr. Oz’ Lacks Proof or Contradicts Best Available Science”
Provoke / Make shocking statements – “10 Signs That You Will NOT Make It As A Successful Photographer”
Play on words – “Otter Devastation”
Provide help, suggest ways to do things etc. (don’t tell)
Promote success / Offer benefits (save money and time etc.) – “How to Have a Healthier & More Productive Home Office”
Offer some inside knowledge – “Which blogger do 20 world leaders follow?”
Make an offer – “How You Can Effortlessly Sell Your Home in Less than 24 Hours”
Explain something – “How to Create a Perfect Blog Post”
Tap into people’s fears/hopes (reduce pain, worry etc.) – “5 costly PR mistakes to avoid”
Give an invitation – “Invitation to New Year’s Drinks Party”
Make it highly relevant – “The Secret of Writing Killer Blog Content on a Near-Daily Basis”
Time-limited offers/Create urgency – “30% reductions until next Monday”
Announce BIG news – “We WON a national prize today – Come and celebrate”
Tag your story on a person, issue or an event in the news (new hook)
Use ‘you’ in the wording
Testimonial – “84% of our customers are satisfied”
Curiosity factor – “More of Us May Be ‘Almost Alcoholics’ ”
- Put your audience first – think what they want to know.
- Brainstorm with a colleague – you won’t get good results at first / first time.
- Put keywords at the beginning.
- Be specific, use strong verbs/action words, use superlatives and extremes, front-load the wording, use only 8–10 words, intrigue the reader, make it sound plausible/possible.
- Don’t try and be too clever!