Better headlines without a journalism degree

By Lauren Rogers on March 29, 2017

By Lauren Rogers on March 29, 2017

We all want more clicks, right? Whether you use your website to gather leads, get people to make donations, or actually sell items online, you have to get people there to make it all happen. And a key to that is writing better headlines.

We all know what a headline in a magazine or newspaper, right? In the digital marketing world, the line becomes a little more blurred.

But a lot of aspects of online marketing can benefit from better, more enticing headlines!

In blogs, they play a huge part in how likely someone is to read the actual article.

In email newsletters, they have the single biggest impact on whether your subscribers open your emails or not.

In social media, it’s one of just a few factors that influence whether people click on a link that’s shared or not.

I could go on and on, but I won’t. Because now you’re probably saying, “Enough already, Lauren. I believe you. Tell me how to write better headlines online!”

Step one, get years and years of experience writing.

Oh, wait, you wanted something quicker? You’re impatient, aren’t you?

At the risk of greatly oversimplifying things, the best headlines appeal to some problem or pain your target market is likely to be suffering from. So if you mention a mistake they could be making, or express how to simplify something they’re scared is too complicated, you’re appealing to the emotions surrounding that problem or pain.

Still too complicated for you? You want something even easier to apply?

Okay, here’s a list of words you can use in your headlines to appeal to that pain or problem.

  • Struggling
  • Frustrated
  • Worried
  • Angry
  • Embarrassed
  • Pressured
  • Uncomfortable
  • Afraid
  • Fearful
  • Helpless
  • Hopeless
  • Lonely
  • Annoyed
  • Confused
  • Overwhelmed
  • Discouraged

Okay, now you just need to spend the time actually writing your headline. I can almost guarantee that you’re not spending enough time on it. To make sure they’re really effective, don’t rush it!

One technique is to start by coming up with a half dozen or so headlines. Then you can either share that list with someone else for feedback, or wait a couple days and take a look at it again.

Remember, if that article, email newsletter, or social media update was worth writing in the first place, then it’s worth creating a great headline so people will actually read it!

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