How to Hook Your Audience With An Amazing Headline

February 19th, 2021 Mathias Lehnhoff

For content to be great, it needs a great headline. 

Headlines are the single most important factor for getting your target audience to read your content. 

A headline is your chance to make a first impression and to reel your audience into your blog post, LinkedIn post, eBook, etc. No matter what kind of content you are sharing, it needs a strong headline. 

Headlines do more than title your work, they also identify the subject of your content, so that readers can determine if it’s relevant to them. Powerful headlines are the key to a successful digital marketing strategy. 

Today, we’ll share the top methods you can use to create amazing headlines. 

Learn from the Best

With headlines, you don’t need to reinvent the wheel. While you certainly don’t want to copy others, it’s great to get inspiration. Head to major publications that do well and employ catchy headlines, like BuzzFeed. Look at the kind of headlines they are using. Pay attention to keywords, formatting, etc. Use these publications as a guide for inspiration, and create headlines that mimic the templates they use. 

Analyze Your Own Headline Success

Not only can you learn from publication headlines, but you can also learn from your own headlines. Look back at headlines from your previous content, old email subject lines, etc. to see which ones have been the most effective. Compare your top-performing headlines to find common themes. For example, is there a certain structure or format that your best headlines have in common? Are they questions? Do they use specific keywords? Look for patterns in your top headlines to replicate their success in the future. 

Provide a Solution 

Remember, headlines are meant to tell your audience that your content is relevant and important for them. One easy way to do this is to use your headline to present a solution. Consider the top pain points your audience has and the value proposition you provide. Frame your headline to provide a solution to their biggest obstacles. Figure out what pain points your audience has and then write a headline in a way that gives a solution.

Headline Analyzer 

Headlines shouldn’t be a guessing game. Use a headline analyzer to grade your headlines so that you can optimize them to be the best they can be. There are many free headline analyzers that will rank the headline your input and provide suggestions for which types of words to include or adjust. Headline analyzers challenge your assumptions about what makes the best headline and can help you craft better headlines quicker. 

Coschedule has an easy-to-use headline analyzer. 

Incorporate Numbers Into Your Headline 

One surefire way to boost your headline’s efficacy. Numbers make for powerful and interesting headlines that will draw in your target audience. Use numbers when possible opting for digits over words, and consider incorporating statistics. Instead of “nine strategies for…” it should be “9 strategies for…” It’s best to include numbers at the beginning of your headline when possible. For example:

  • 5 Ways to Change Your Content Marketing Game
  • 10 Things Most Small Businesses Do Wrong 
  • Increase Conversions by 73% With This Simple Trick

Use a Thought-Provoking Question

Involve your ready by asking a direct question. Make sure the question relates directly to the benefit you offer and is clear. The question should provoke the person to answer “yes” or to want to learn more. For example:

  • Considering Getting a Dog? Read this first. 
  • How Do I Know Which Type of Car is Right for Me?
  • Do You Make These 10 Common Mistakes on Your Content Strategy?

Include Powerful Trigrams

There are certain words and phrases that are specifically useful for headlines. Trigrams are groups of three words, and some are highly connected with social engagement. Steven Rayson from Buzzsumo studied over 100,000,000 headlines and found these trigrams to be the most effective:

  • Will make you
  • This is why
  • Can we guess
  • Only X in
  • The reason is
  • Are freaking out 
  • X stunning photos
  • Tears of joy 
  • Is what happens
  • Makes you cry 
  • Talking about it
  • X things only 

Including these trigrams at the beginning of a headline makes it more likely to get social engagement. These trigrams make promises that are enticing and beneficial to the reader. Of course, make sure that you use them logically and do not overload your headlines with them in a spammy way.

Tips for Creating Amazing Headlines

Along with the strategies above, here are some helpful tips for writing your powerful headlines:

  • Know your target audience. Different headlines appeal to different readers. Your headlines should attract your target audience and play on their emotions. Define your target audience, creating a persona of who they are, what they’re interested in, and what their biggest challenges are. 
  • Be succinct. Headlines should quickly and effectively grab the reader’s attention. When your audience is scanning Google or social media for content, long headlines will get cut off, and they seem overwhelming. Be concise when possible. 
  • Use variety. While it’s good to repeat strategies that work for your audience, it’s also good to mix things up. Every headline should not be “How to” or “# of Ways”. Pull from the different strategies above to come up with unique headlines. 
  • Write several headlines. The first headline you come up with maybe the winner, but many times brainstorming a bit will help. Instead of spending too much time trying to drum up the ideal headline, jot down several different headline ideas as they come to mind. Then you can sort through the best options, read them an outline, and adjust until you’ve found the best one. 
  • Test your headlines. When possible, split test your headlines. WordPress has a great plugin for this called Title Split Testing. This will help you learn which headline formats work the best. 
  • Deliver on promises. Only make claims that you can back up, but make the biggest claims that you can deliver on. For example, instead of “how to make more money this year” your headline should be something like “6 Ways To Make Over 100,000 this year.” Then, your content should provide specific evidence that aligns with your headline. 
  • Write the headline last. Create your copy first. Write your blog, ad social media post, etc before the headline. The content will give you a good idea of what to include in your headline, and you won’t waste time on the headline before you’ve even written the content. 

Writing headlines can seem like a pain, but they are incredibly important for hooking your audience. Headlines are not just for magazines or blog posts, they’re vital for all forms of content. In addition to the strategies and tips above, writing top-notch headlines just takes practice. The more you do it, the easier it will be to quickly craft catchy headlines for your content.