A good headline can make or break an article. Any Buzzfeed reader can tell you that. Any website that A/B tests their headlines knows it to be true. Check out the infographic from QuickSprout below to get you writing headlines like a champ in no time.
More people read headlines than read articles, at a margin of 4 to 1. A lot of how we think about headlines can be attributed to the sad fact that we are all competing for a limited amount of attention. Short is better. Indeed, a six-word headline is the best because people tend to only read the first and last three words anyway.
Ever heard about "negging," one of the black-hat tools of a pick-up artists? When you insult a woman to get her to go out with you? Turns out it works for headlines, too. Negative wording taps into your readers insecurities, which is a common and effective advertising trick. Have you ever clicked on an article called something like "The 7 Things You Must Stop Doing If You Want Your Girlfriend to Like You?" You are not the only one.
People love numbers in headlines. Look at a magazine cover the next time you are in line at the grocery store. There are numbers everywhere! Why do people like them so much? Numbers suggest that the ideas in an article will be concrete and succinct.
Good headlines make the content seem interesting and useful. Sometimes a headline might introduce a little mystery. I'm sure you've seen the ones that set up a narrative and then a mystery, like this, "A Chimp and a Tiger Met in the Waiting Room at the Vet and You Won't Believe What Happened Next." You click on it. And maybe you are not surprised about what happened next, but the headline proved effective nonetheless.
Knowing your audience and what kind of information they need is maybe the most important part of writing a clickable headline. The Internet is designed for people to find answers to their questions. Show that your article provides one and you are already on the right track.
The infographic provides a formula for good headlines:
Number or Trigger Word + Adjective + Keyword + Promise
Let's try it for this post, shall we?
Easy + Clickable + Headline + You'll Be as Popular as a Viral BuzzFeed Post
The Easy Way to Write Clickable Headlines That Will Make You as Popular as a Viral BuzzFeed Post
Ok, that's too long. Earlier we learned that we want 6 words max.
Write Irresistibly Clickable Headlines Like BuzzFeed