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What Makes a Headline Effective?

If you want a content marketing strategy that works, you need effective headlines.

If you make a push to popularize your content, you’ll get your headlines seen by potentially relevant visitors all across the web. Searchers will see your headlines manifested as title tags in search engine results pages (SERPs). Social followers will see your headlines when you tweet about a new post. Others will see your headline due to an advertisement or social share.

For all these people, your headline will form their first impression. For some of these people, your headline will be their only impression.

Accordingly, your headline is one of the most important parts of your article—it’s what will determine whether or not people will click to read more. So what are the elements of an effective headline?

  • Originality. First, you need titles that are unique. If your headlines sound like everyone else’s, or worse, if they’re identical to other popular article titles, nobody’s going to click on them. Work to give your subject a unique, on-brand spin.
  • A strong focal point. Next, your title needs to have some kind of strong focal point—a topical or structural locus that will bring people in. Many writers use numbers for this purpose, like “10 tips to _____.” Users see a number and know they’re going to get a concise bulleted list. You can also pose a question you seek to answer.
  • Keyword density. There should also be strong keywords in your headline. SEO keywords will help you increase your search engine visibility, but strong, compelling words relevant to your target audience will get them to click.
  • A tease. You want your readers to know the topic of your article, but you don’t want to give everything away. A good headline makes a tease that makes inquiring readers want to learn more.
  • Emotional content. Ideally, your headline will also evoke some kind of emotional response—such as surprise, fear, or amusement.

If you’re looking to draft some more effective content titles, or if you just need help revamping or executing your content marketing strategy, reach out to Quez Media today!

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