Viral media mogul Peter Koechley knows the importance of a good headline. His tests show online traffic to content on his popular website Upworthy can vary by as much as 500 percent depending on the headlines. “The headline is our one chance to reach people who have a million other things that they’re thinking about, and who didn’t wake up in the morning wanting to care about feminism or climate change, or the policy details of the election,” he explained. So, how do you create a headline that makes people want to read on?
While the right headline will depend on your topic and audience, there are some guiding principles all marketers should consider when crafting their titles. Many of these are explained in depth in CopyPress’s white paper “Creating Effective Headlines and Titles.” One of the key principles is remembering the 5Ws and the H, shorthand for the key journalistic questions: Who?, Where?, What?, When?, Why?, and How? Answering some of these questions in your title will give readers a taste of your article’s content and build expectations.
However, a good headline has more than facts on its side. Other qualities like uniqueness, urgency, usefulness, and ultra-specificity can give your headline the X factor it needs to stand out. Further techniques like brainstorming and putting yourself in the shoes of your target audience can also assist you in creating the right headline. These techniques are dealt with comprehensively in the white paper. If you’re short on time, browse through the companion infographic below.