Here’s how you create that eye-catching headline

Did you know that almost 80% of your audience only reads the headlines of posts and articles? Here’s how to write that selling headline that actually gets their attention.

Ida Pernille Christensen, CXM & Content Advisor Ida Christensen • 28 Apr, 2022 • 7 Min. read

Advertising on social media is one of the most efficient and profitable ways to get in touch with your target audience. In Norway alone more than 85 % of the population is active on Facebook. 

Sounds like a good way to go, right? Well, it is – the problem is just that everybody else has the same idea. When fighting for attention and engagement in the constant stream of ads and content flooding social media, it’s easy to drown in the crowd. 

Headlines that pop

To succeed with your digital marketing and reaching your goals it’s important to create and strategically publish relevant and useful content. By this you’ll get those hot leads, reach the right consumer and grow a stronger brand awareness. 

An eye-catching headline is the first chance and probably the most important stepping stone in getting a reader’s attention. Therefore, it’s also one of the absolute key elements when producing any type of content on behalf of your brand. 

In this article, we’ll have a look at the importance of having an engaging headline and how it’s part of maximising traffic into your website. 

The importance of good headlines 

We very rarely read articles online word by word. You could say we more than often just do a quick scan. We pick up on singular words and sentences, and we look at the bold and highlighted keywords. In other words, creating (yes, not just writing) an efficient online article means that you have to make it “easy to scan” for the human eye. You can achieve this effect by, for example, doing the following:  

  • Write subheadings relevant to the core message
  • Stay within the bounds of a given subject in each paragraph 
  • Highlight keywords, make them stand out 
  • Use bullet point lists 
  • Shred everything unnecessary; make it short

Studies show that just about 80 % of any audience only reads the headlines of online news articles, on posts in their feeds and in search results. The explanation for this is rather complex. First of all, we’re bombarded with advertising and information in these channels at all hours, which has made our perception of what’s important more selective. 

Secondly, the human brain will always look for what could fulfil our immediate needs. If the content or what we’re seeing doesn’t register as important the second we scroll by – we’ll just keep scrolling.  

good headlines are important

Then who is actually reading the article or post? 

Further studies find that as much as 59 % of participants will share an article before even reading it. We make incredibly quick decisions based on first impressions and our immediate feeling of something being important. And what do we register first? The headline. 

This isn’t necessarily a disadvantage – it means that 41 % of  the people who share your content actually have read it, and this number is valuable from a marketing perspective. Your “real” readers are the most engaged part of your audience, and they are the most likely to convert.

The results of these tests show the importance of a good headline. Let’s have a closer look at what makes a headline good. 

What makes a headline good? 

First off, a headline is supposed to capture attention but whether it actually does is highly subjective. You can’t hook everyone, but you can hook as many as possible. Have a look at the following headlines: 

  1. Tips for writing headlines
  2. The world’s best headline has been chosen
  3. How do you write good headlines?
  4. Free headlines
  5. How does an SEO expert catch fish? With click bait. 
  6. DON’T use headlines
the power of great headlines

1. Tips for writing headlines

This is a boring headline. It doesn’t arouse curiosity, it’s not informative and it doesn’t use any appealing expressions. The Internet is full of tips and tricks, and it’s very likely that your audience will scroll past this headline, even if they have actually searched for “tips for writing headlines”. A better headline would have been:

“This is how you write good headlines: A step-by-step guide” 

2. The world’s best headline has been chosen

This headline is better because it contains a claim which arouses curiosity. The person who searched for “tips for writing headlines” will be interested in finding out which headline is considered the best in the world. It’s unlikely that the article will deliver on the promise, however. With a headline like this, you risk visitors spending less time on your site while the bounce rate increases. This is a bad sign, and Google might punish your site for it. 

3. How do you write good headlines?

This is a good headline because it is informative, and it corresponds with the search intent. We’re also phrasing it as a question, which works well because people automatically want to find the answer to a question. 

content marketing

4. Free headlines

You should be careful about using the word “free” in a headline. On the one hand, people love everything that is free, but on the other hand the term “free” is often associated with cheap and persistent ads that never deliver on the promise. We often see ads for free services and products, but once you enter the site, you find out they want something in return – your name, e-mail, subscription to a newsletter or something similar. 

5. How does an SEO expert catch fish? With click bait.

Humour in a headline is great, because it catches attention and makes you want to read on. Marketers do not agree on how effective humour is in campaigns. It’s a good strategy for branding as it leads to recognition and positive associations, but it doesn’t necessarily lead to sales.

If you’re going to use humour in a headline or campaign, you should first get to know your target group. Something that makes some people cry with laughter, can offend or hurt others. By all means, use humour, but make it tasteful. 

How many SEO experts do you need to screw in a lightbulb, lightbulbs, light, lighting, electrician, electrician Oslo, lightbulb electrician Oslo… 

6. DON’T use headlines

This is a good headline because it contains a warning. It’s an effective way to capture attention and arouse curiosity. Why shouldn’t we use headlines? Have I missed something? As soon as the reader has clicked the headline, you can calm them with a paragraph saying “… until you’ve learnt these techniques.” 

This headline falls into the category of clickbait, and if you do not deliver on the promise in the article itself, you risk a high bounce rate. However, some marketers think that clickbait is a clever way to increase traffic to your website, including the guru himself, Neil Patel: Why Clickbait Works (And Why You Should Do More of It)

the power of content

The power of a headline

A good headline is vital for getting more traffic to your website. In addition, the headline has attributes which can make your audience share the content with others, regardless of whether they have read the article itself. Here are some of our best tips for writing better headlines: 

  • Use adjectives to make the headline more attractive. Terms like “funny”, “good”, “smart”, “effective” or “exciting” creates positive associations and lead to more engagement
  • Don’t use complicated technical language if your audience don’t understand it
  • Address your reader directly: “This is what you need to know about the new Google Ads”.

Lastly, you should do your best to write a headline that captures attention. This, of course, is easier said than done, but there are some guidelines:

  • Make the headline unique
  • Be very specific
  • Try to create a feeling of urgency
  • Focus on the value of the article

Journey Agency makes you stand out online 

If you’ve ever tried to market your business online or in social media to no avail and without reaching your KPIs, we’re here to help. Here at Journey Agency we offer every service available within the field of online marketing. We’ve long been working with both Norwegian and Swedish clients – as well as bigger international businesses.

Here are just some of our services: 

  • Consulting and analytics 
  • Content marketing 
  • Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)
  • Advertising in social media 
  • Search Engine Marketing (SEM)
  • Website development and design