The 4-Step Secret Formula For Creating Great Headlines

In a world where we’re getting shelled with information like the opening scene of Saving Private Ryan, it takes more than just a great piece of content to get people to read. You’re going to need to tease and coax them with a great headline.

Editorial teasers have been around in printed media for a long time. In newspapers for example, an article on the front page will be truncated at a specific point that leaves the reader wanting more. On the web though, you don’t have that kind of time. People like to digest bite-sized pieces of information.

Your headline is the most important piece of information that someone will take in before deciding to read your content. In fact, your headline will be viewed approximately 5 times more than the content itself. What that means is that out of every dollar you spend on producing content, 80 cents goes into your headline so you’ll want to spend some time getting it right.

Hey, they don’t all write themselves.

How to Write Catchy and Enticing Headlines

When writing your content you need to ask yourself, “what would make me want to read this?” Your headline shouldn’t be an afterthought. It needs to be the showstopper. Here are the components that make up the captivating headline formula:

1. Start with a Number

Next time you’re standing in line at the grocery store behind the old lady who wants to pay for her Metamucil with a savings bond, take a look at the magazine rack and notice on the covers how many times you see them using numbers in their headlines. You’ll see countless headlines like ‘6 Ways To Tell if He’s Cheating’ or ‘5 Fat Burning Super Foods’. That’s because it’s easy to remember three to five tips.

2. Use A Compelling Adjective

People love reading content that will make their lives easier. Give your headline value by adding adjectives like painless, easy, awesome, free, simple. You could also use descriptive adjectives that give the headline a feeling of superiority like cool, fantastic, audacious, badass, etc. Using these adjectives primes the reader by letting them know that this is quality content.

3. Add a Triggering Keyword

Using a keyword is what’s going to instantly tell the reader what they are getting. It’s what the content is about. Is it about Pizza? Running Shoes? Roller Coasters? Your keyword is what’s going to initially grab someone’s attention.

4. Make a Valuable Promise

The promise you make to the reader is what’s going to dare them to read your content. What will they get from it? Will you help them learn a new skill or to try something new? Whatever it is, be bold in what you’re promising and deliver that promise with your content.

The Formula

So if we take into account the 4 tips we’ve provided above, the formula for a successful headline is:

Number + Adjective + Keyword + Promise

Let’s make an example. The subject could be ‘Roller Coasters’. It’s pretty bland. It sounds like something you’d look for in the Yellow Pages.

Now let’s spruce it up with our handy-dandy formula. We already have our keyword – Roller Coasters – so by adding a number, an adjective and a promise we can spit out a headline like “6 Steps To Building Your Own Badass Roller Coaster.”

Step one is get to the liquor store.

Works pretty good. People don’t want to be tricked into getting something they don’t want so make sure you deliver on the promise that your headline provides. Once you have that quality content ready to go, spend extra time crafting the perfect headline. Focus on creating captivating headlines that make the reader’s experience worthwhile and you’ll begin producing content that delights your audience.

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