Guide to Write Catchy Headlines to Hook Your Readers!
By: Samik on July 20, 2015
Growing up with a mother and grandfather who used to work for the media, I have a fairly good idea of how important and critical writing catchy headlines can be. My mother would point out to me headlines in newspapers and we would read them together. She would let me pick out the ones I liked the most. I always wondered why I always chose the “catchy ones.”
Over the years, she would impart to me the reasons for my attraction to well-written headlines. “All people should be attracted to that headline,” she’d tell me. I wasn’t sure what she meant then – I was only seven or eight years old maybe. But when I was older and I had recalled what she had said, that’s when I realized: Headlines sell. Unless the words interest you, make you curious, give you that urge to look into it deeper, then the headline means nothing. They’re worthless and no matter how wonderful the body of work ends up being, people will pass it by for what they perceive better.
Go to your search bar and type the topic that you are interested in, see what pops up. What do you end up gravitating towards- the generic, mundane looking headline or that headline that seems to rise out of the greyness of everything else? All people want unique, all people want eye-catching, all people want what is different. So the best way to go about writing headlines is by always thinking about how you can stand out from the crowd.
The Number One Rule of Headline Writing
The main purpose of a headline is for it to get noticed. Once a potential reader notices that headline, they are more than likely interested to know what else is underneath. Your headline is the wiggly worm on a hook and the potential fish is the reader. If you want the fish to bite, per se, that worm better is the the juiciest, tastiest looking worm around.
Here’s How to make catchy headlines:
- Make your headline stand out; be unique.
- Make your headline specific – no vagueness.
- Make your headline convey a sense of urgency
- Make your headline helpful and useful.
Let’s go a little more in-depth by delving into these four tips.
Making Your Headlines Standout; Be Unique
Be creative when you are making your headline. It’s something of a work of art trying to get a limited number of words to convey a complete thought as well as engage the reader at the same time. Like I mentioned before unless you can stand out in the crowd – the crowd being all the headlines out there in the world wide web and that’s a lot of headlines – then you won’t be able to catch anyone’s attention. Be refreshing, be different, be a bit of a rebel of sorts. That’s what people look for even if they don’t admit.
Making your headline specific – no vagueness
Besides being unique, you need to make your headline specific to what your reader is looking for. You have a few seconds to let your potential reader understand what you are offering to them – unless you can do that with your headline, they will never know. Being vague at this point won’t get you anything, I promise you.
Make your headline convey a sense of urgency
Why the need for a sense of urgency? It’s not like it’s an emergency, right? The urgency we’re talking about is that sense of urgency when you feel like you are missing out on something great. Don’t we all have that feeling of being out of the loop sometimes? Well, good headlines should make you feel like you just might be unless you read what they have to offer.
Make your headline helpful and useful
Not that all headlines will have all these four rules incorporated in itself but at least one or two of them should be there and most of all this one should be at the top of your list. If your headline doesn’t give your potential reader something in return for reading its contents, then it means nothing, you just wasted somebody’s time. Your’s can be the catchy headlines, it can be clever and all, but if you don’t appear helpful to your potential readers, then all they’ll end up thinking is “Oh, that looks cool” and hurry on elsewhere.
Here is a quick infographic which will show you everything at a glance.
Want to Get Better Now?
Go the extra mile and make the effort when writing your headlines. Headlines aren’t there to just be clever or amusing. They have to mean something. Don’t hurry to overwrite that headline. Instead, think of it as if you are writing the title to your very first bestseller. Pour over it even if it takes you hours. The right headline could get you hundreds or even thousands of potential readers knocking at your door. It really is a make it or break it sort of situation.
But if you need a little more help or want to map out how you are doing… try “aminstitute’s headline analyzer.”
What is a Headline Analyzer?
Just from the words, it’s pretty straightforward. It helps you analyze the value of your headline. This particular headline analyzer is a free tool that determines what is called the EMV or Emotional Marketing Value score. Your headline is scored based on a total number of EMV words in relation to the total number of words in the headline itself. Not only that, it determines what particular emotion will impact your potential reader when they read your headline: intellectual, empathetic, or spiritual.
Another headline analyzer is a nifty app that helps you understand what works and what doesn’t in your headline and then gives you steps in how to improve and how to make catchy headlines for your potential reader as possible. The thing I enjoyed when I tested this headline analyzer is that it gives you a percentage, which makes it so much easier to see how well you have done. It then tells you what areas you need to improve.
Keeping all the tips in mind and with the help of tools like headline analyzers, you will have a better shot for making headlines for your potential readers to hook. Good luck!
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