Effective headings, titles and openings

Posted on July 29, 2016 in Copywriting, Training

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)


‘Psychological factors’

Use ‘you’ in the wording

Testimonial – “84% of our customers are satisfied”

Curiosity factor – “More of Us May Be ‘Almost Alcoholics’ ”



  1. Put your audience first – think what they want to know.
  2. Brainstorm with a colleague – you won’t get good results at first / first time.
  3. Put keywords at the beginning.
  4. 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.
  5. Don’t try and be too clever!
Not just a Copywriter - Also a Writing Trainer.
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