Why your headline is the most important thing you’ll write

By Julie Painter | 21 May 2020

Your headline is the first piece of writing that your readers see. It’s the only information they have to understand what you’re going to talk about, and it needs to be good enough for them to want to click through. That’s a lot hanging on just a string of words, right?

Your headline is vital because without it, no one will read what comes next (and you don’t want all that time, effort and research to be for nothing). Headlines need some TLC to make them most effective, so they shouldn’t just be considered as an afterthought. Here are some tips on how you can write a stonker of a headline every time.

Read other headlines

Headlines are everywhere so use them for inspiration and you’ll quickly learn what styles, formats and syntax are most effective. The more headlines you read, the sooner you’ll understand what catches your eye (and your click), and then you can use similar techniques. Test your headlines out, see how they fare, and tweak or alter them to discover what works for you.

Write more than one

We know that headlines are important, so give yourself the time required to get them right. Spend time crafting at least five headlines – don’t just go with the first one that flies off the top of your head. This way, you can think of different angles, tactics and words to achieve your desired effect.

Avoid clickbait headlines

Drawing your audience in is important but don’t oversell a piece of content and leave them disappointed. This is a one-way ticket to a high bounce rate (plus, you could lose the trust of the reader in the process), so make sure your content complements your headlines.

Stay away from 'yes' or 'no' questions

Don’t set yourself up to fail. If your audience can answer 'yes' or 'no' to the first title you wrote, chances are, they won’t read on. This is because they assume the piece won’t help them or offer them anything new. This is often why 'how to' style questions can work well, as they offer information that the reader is looking for. Here are some examples:

A ‘yes’ or ‘no’ question: Does Your Business Need SEO?

A headline that offers information: 7 Ways You Can Take Your Business to the Next Level With SEO

Clearly, the second headline offers more value to the reader, while also establishing you as an expert on the subject (which makes your brand more trustworthy). Happy headline writing!