Your Headline Is Putting Me To Sleep

4 simple tricks for writing powerful headlines

Creating engaging headlines is the most important part of writing. It’s also a lot of fun.

Many professional writers spend nearly equal amount of time creating a headline as they do in writing the entire article. So don’t worry if it’s taking too long.

Did you know: on average 80-85% of people only read the headline and not the body?!

Based on the headline alone, most people decide whether or not to continue reading.

As a matter of fact, many people even make their buying decision just from the headline!

This truth applies to headlines in articles, blogs, ads, flyers, posters, banners, etc. Most people will only read your headline.

If your headline stinks, your content won’t get viewed and your site won’t keep its visitors.

So.. headlines are important… agreed?

Great! Now let’s write some great headlines. You don’t have to use all these tips to make a great headline, even just one will already be an improvement.

1. Use Numbers

Using a number in your headline is like killing two birds with one stone. Your headline makes a clear specific promise, and your reader knows what to expect from the rest of the content.

“Dinner Recipes”


“3 Dinner Recipes”

These are both pretty boring but if you had to choose between reading one of these two articles, wouldn’t you choose the second?

The reason for this is that our brains don’t like uncertainty. Given two similar options our brains will most often choose certainty over uncertainty. Would you rather $100 today as opposed to  maybe $110 tomorrow?

2. Use Adjectives

Use adjectives to make your headlines interesting and descriptive. Essential, fun, free, incredible, best, surprising, etc. Adjectives help your reader get a fuller picture of what you are writing about. They can add a little spice to a boring headline.

“3 Dinner Recipes”


“3 Easy Dinner Recipes”

See how the second one is more enticing! “Dinner recipes” alone is vague. “Easy” adds a bit of information. The reader now knows that our recipes will be easy for them to do.

Many times people may be interested in your recipes but they just say “eh, too lazy.” An added benefit of using the word “easy” is that it silences their laziness. Even for just enough time to read your content. 

Different adjectives can play different roles. Use them wisely depending on who your target audience is.

Our headline is getting closer to the “wow” zone. Let’s move on.

3. What Is The Application?

How can your reader apply what they are about to read? Tell them how to use your offer and what benefit they can get from it.

“3 Easy Dinner Recipes”


“3 Easy Dinner Recipes For Meat Lovers”

If you were a meat lover, wouldn’t you prefer to read the article containing meat recipes? Isn’t it a great benefit to you if you have 3 easy recipes to whip up a delicious meat dish?

Including application has now made the headline even more attractive to the relevant audience.

 An added benefit to including application is that it helps refine the audience that will read your content. If your business targets meat lovers, then you wouldn’t want your ads being clicked on by vegetarians. Specifying what your product is used for can weed out unnecessary spend on irrelevant clicks.

4. Make A Bold Promise

Make a bold claim. Be bold, be gutsy. Just get out there and say it. What you want to do is dare your reader to continue reading. You want to make them feel like they just can’t pass this up. Of course you don’t want to overpromise and under-deliver, so make sure you can back up that claim.

“3 Easy Dinner Recipes For Meat Lovers”


“3 Easy Dinner Recipes Every Meat Lover Will Die For”

The claim here is that these recipes are amazing. Not only are they easy but people that love meat will go crazy for these dishes. This article is every Shabbos cook’s dream!

And voila! We have an irresistible headline. Btw, did you notice that one of this article’s headlines follows this exact formula?

Conclusion – Your headline needs a bit of pizzaz but the underlying theme here is clarity. The clearer and more direct your headline, the better odds of the content being read. The better picture your reader has of what they are getting themselves into, the more likely they are to do it. (Given, of course, that your content is at all of interest to them…)

Bonus tip – There are many ways to write great headlines, not just the four from this article. Sometimes a great headline doesn’t even talk about what the product is. It actually talks about the absence of the product. The famous example of this is from the milk industry. For years the dairy farms have been trying to convince people that milk is healthy and all they saw was sales dropping. Then they started their “Got Milk?” campaign (remember that?) and sales literally soared! Another famous example is the headline of this article 😉

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