11 Tips to Help You Write Better Titles and Headlines

Close up on newspaper headline
Aug 4, 2015
Content Copywriting

How do you sum up a whole piece of work in just a few words? Writing titles and headlines can be challenging. It’s the first impression for your readers and has the most impact on your open rates.

If you find yourself struggling, take a look at these 11 tips for writing better headlines and titles.

1. Write at least 10 different headlines for each piece of content

It may sound excessive, but the more you write, the more creative options you will have to pick from. Often, the first headline you write is straightforward. Push yourself to write several alternative titles and you’re likely to come up with better choices.

2. Get feedback on your titles

Ask colleagues or friends to pick a favourite from your list of titles. This will give you an idea of how your different headlines appeal to your audience. If you’re working solo, try an online headline analyser. The Advanced Marketing Institute analyser gives you an emotional value score and an indication of what emotional appeals your headline is targeting.

3. Keep titles as short as possible

Fewer than 55 characters is an ideal length from an SEO perspective. Beyond that Google will cut your title in search results. An easy trick to help you cut characters is to remove ‘filler’ words like ‘that’, ‘which’, ‘can’ and ‘should’.

4. Feature your keywords

For best SEO results, you should include keywords in your headlines. If you can’t naturally include them, try using them at the front of your title. For example, ‘Content Marketing Strategy: The Power of Three’.

5. Start and end on a high

Readers are the most influenced by the first three and last three words of your headline. Put keywords at the beginning or end of your title for best results.

6. Don’t make false promises in your title

How many times have you been told an article will ‘change everything’? Readers become unhappy when sold false promises in headlines. There’s nothing worse than a headline that overpromises and underdelivers. You don’t want to get a reputation for producing clickbait with no substance.

7. Your headlines don’t necessarily need to be sexy or surprising.

You want to pique your audience’s attention, but you need to do so in moderation. Only use attention-grabbing techniques if it’s aligned with your brand image.

8. If relevant, use numbers in your headlines

Listicles rule. Readers are attracted to titles with numbers and those posts tend to enjoy higher open rates than posts without numbers. It’s becoming an overused tactic in the content marketing space, so use with caution.

9. Address your audience directly

Use words like ‘you’, ‘your’, ‘our’ and ‘we’ to pull your readers in and make them feel like your article was written specifically for them.

10. ‘How to’ posts are always popular

The majority of searches on Google are asking questions, proof that people are looking for information. ‘How to’ posts are not only a great way to appeal to your existing audience, they are super effective for attracting new readers and viewers to your content.

11. Use questions to draw the reader’s interest

If you’re stuck for an interesting title, questions are always a good way to engage your reader. Instead of a post saying, “Daily Meditation is Good For Your Health”, you can rearrange the statement as a question reading, “Could Your Body Benefit From Daily Meditation?”

If you’d like more advice about how to improve your content writing, contact Lush – The Content Agency. We love to share our tricks of the trade.