Headlines are your hook. The words on top of your page reel readers in – a powerful heading is as important as the article itself, because without a killer heading, you’ve got no readers, no matter how great what you’ve written is.
Headlines are used as titles for blog posts, (like this one), articles in magazines or journals, above infographics and as promotional hooks on social media.
The image above shows a blog post shared on Twitter. You can see from this that the headline itself is the only information a reader has. Those few words are the only thing potential readers have to help them decide whether your article is worth reading or not. That’s a lot of pressure!
When putting a headline together, I like to think about the blog post or article. Ask yourself what is it really about? What does it do, or promise, the reader?
Number or Concept + Buzzword + Promise = Awesome Headline
The example above is a post about proofreading. Rather than just writing “I can proofread your novel,” or “Why you should use a proofreader,” I’ve used buzzwords to grab the readers’ attention. Following the formula, I’ve used the concept of self-publishing, targeting a specific audience instantly. Then I’ve used a buzzword, in this case, ‘incredible,’ and followed it up with a promise to the reader – that the post will explain the benefits of hiring a proofreader.
Popular buzzwords include attractive concepts such as Effortless, Simple, Instant, Amazing, Stunning, and so on.
One final note to bear in mind – people are selfish. We are interested in ourselves and our own lives. We want to know what the benefit will be for us, and we want to know instantly. Because of this, it’s always better to focus on ‘you’ rather than ‘I.’ For example, “Your products will fly off the shelves” is much more effective than “I can help you sell a product.”
So there you have it, a copywriter’s guide to a great headline! And remember, with great power comes great responsibility… Always deliver what you’ve promised!