Grab Readers’ Attention With These 13 Headline Writing Tips


As content marketing efforts have grown dramatically for modern brands, so too has the importance of writing catchy, clickable headlines for online copy. Whether it’s a blog post, email, thought leadership article, or press release, the title of your article should grab the reader’s attention and l ‘encourage them to continue reading.

Of course, that’s easier said than done. Consumers are bombarded with advertisements and marketing content daily, so you need to fine-tune your approach to get rid of the clutter. Take a page from the Forbes Communications Council manual when writing your next headline.

All photos courtesy of the members of the Forbes Council.

1. Leave them hungry.

There are several aspects that make a headline effective. First, grab the reader’s attention with something that will resonate with that particular audience. Second, let them ask for more. If you are disclosing all of the content in the title, you do not need to read the article. Hover over the subject’s surface to optimize apertures and CTRs. – Cody mcconnell, Keller International

2. Have a crystal clear goal.

Headlines are interesting and grab attention when they connect the viewer to what they want or need. To write a good headline, make sure it clearly expresses what the viewer will get by clicking on it or looking further. It’s all about honesty and self-interest, and it’s harder than it looks. A crystal clear lens that matches title to content means viewers will stick around longer and share more. – Seth waite, Rev unit

3. Think about what would make you click.

We are all consumers of online content. I pay attention to what I personally click and use what I learn to guide my own headline writing. There are topics I will click on regardless of the title. But sometimes there’s a headline on a different topic that I just can’t resist. I write these tracks and record them so that I can consider what attracted me and for future inspiration. – Candice russel,

4. Be brief and emotionally powerful.

Consumers are inundated with headlines and ads across multiple platforms, so their attention span is quite limited. I always tell my team to keep the headlines short and to the point while invoking the emotion. Nike’s campaign for its Black History Month collection is a prime example that only uses the word “EQUALITY”. The word means a lot to people and sparks interest in engagement. – Edouard Bourelly, OMNI-CULTURE MARKETING, INC.

5. Say it out loud.

“Write as you speak” is vital when you only have a fleeting moment to capture the attention of readers. Does your title sound right when you say it? Can he be left alone without a subtitle? Otherwise, it’s probably too jargon or convoluted. Keep it simple and make sure your title is something a human would actually say. – Dave heinzinger, in the market

6. Keep the conversation going.

One of the best subject lines I have ever used is “hey”. It was simple, but the open rate was great because it was personal and fun. Headlines can, of course, be longer than a word, but avoid sensational jargon and keep it conversational. – Mandy menaker, Shapr

7. Show readers what they get out of it.

My best advice is to keep it simple, clear, and concise. A good headline lets readers know that the content is valuable and it’s not just clickbait (because it isn’t, right?) . Headlines should indicate that readers will learn something new, glean hard-hitting advice, or be entertained and moved by the words to come. Answer the question “What’s in it for me?” “- Melissa Kandel, Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices

8. Ask others to give you feedback.

Determine which headline / headline will get the most clicks and views. I’ve seen influencers ask their followers through social media to vote for a poll or choose between a few headlines they plan to use. There is nothing wrong with asking others for feedback, even if it may seem unorthodox. – Benjamin trinh, Postmates

9. Ask a question in your headline.

I find myself clicking on headlines if they ask a question about a hot topic and promise to answer it. It has always served as a teaser. But if this technique is used without providing answers, it can leave a bad taste. Make sure you only use it if you answer the question and provide direction. – Anshu Agarwal, Cedexis

10. Harness the power of FOMO.

FOMO is a powerful motivator. Playing on the fear of missing out – instead of learning more – can be an effective way to attract people to your content. For example, “The one-stop management tip you can’t start your day without” is more compelling than “Starting a to-do list and other productivity tips”. – Alina morkin,

11. Harness the data and test your titles.

At its core, search and social media are the biggest and most easily accessible panels a marketer can tap into. Test multiple versions of your creative against the audience segments you want to reach, then leverage the data from those tests to scale across all platforms. – Jim kensicki, Catalyst

12. Make a human connection.

As our world continues its path of commodification, it imposes a new relational pitch. New social media standards, mobile updates, and media streaming all compete with stories, but not necessarily headlines. Apply a headline that doesn’t just title the story, but rather tells the story to the target audience. Remember, we’re all still human (for now anyway). – Patrick corcoran, Luxoft

13. Be controversial.

The fastest way to get attention is to make a somewhat controversial statement or ask a tough question. Attract your audience’s curiosity and inspire them to think. It’s a teaser for the copy. In a world of shrinking attention spans and competing headlines, standing out from the crowd is crucial in getting the reader to take the time to engage with your copy. – Tracey Grove, Microsoft


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