Titles and headlines are an essential part of writing content pieces. They’re what draws your readers to your articles, blog posts, press releases and more, so you must generate well-thought out, captivating titles and headlines in order to get your piece read and understood, but how do you do that successfully?
When developing a title or headline for your content piece, you should consider implementing some journalism rules and that includes using the five Ws:
In addition to the aforementioned, you should also consider ‘how’. Let’s say you’re writing a press release about a new product that your client is launching, then you should ask yourself a few questions, for example, including:
You should look to include those answers in your headline or title. This way, your readers know exactly what you’re advertising, who it’s for, where they can get it and when. For example, if the new product is an eco-friendly toothbrush, then your title would read something along the lines of:
“London-Based Company, [company name], Launches Sustainable Bamboo Toothbrush to Battle Climate Change”
If you’re struggling to generate effective titles and headlines, then you should consider using SVO: subject, verb and object. This formula will help you to generate a title or headline that’s both descriptive and self-explanatory, accurately representing the content that sits within the content. To enhance it further, you could try including:
There are other techniques to try, together with more technical methods, including:
The English language is full of vibrant linguistic tricks and methods to enhance your writing, bringing it to the next level almost effortlessly. Where these techniques can be used in the body of your content, they should also be used to produce catchy titles and eye-catching headlines. It would be a good idea to gather several different ideas for your headlines and/or titles, for the same content piece. You should then take those ideas and peer test them to see which one people find the most appealing and go with that one.
It’s important to keep your target audience in mind when generating titles and/or headlines for your content pieces. For example, the headline: “Summer Holiday Destinations Worthy of Your Best Bikini” will not draw in couples in their forties and fifties who are looking to go on a cruise. It’s also imperative to remember that online headlines aren’t the same and shouldn’t be generated in the same way as a newspaper headline. Internet headlines allow for more flexibility, such as the inclusion of slang words and even bad grammar.
Newspaper headlines, on the other hand, need to be short, sweet and to the point whilst also being, often, free of punctuation (although this doesn’t make it, necessarily, grammatically incorrect). All of this comes down to the attention span of your audience. If your headline or title is too long, people won’t bother reading it, so the only thing left to grab their attention would be images or videos, which isn’t always feasible.
According to BrainLeap Technologies, you have about 8 seconds to grab the attention of a teenager, for example. So if you’re writing for an online “tween” magazine, then it’s more important than ever to generate exciting, short titles and headlines to introduce your content to them.
You shouldn’t copy any of the content you find, but you should take inspiration from it. You should also do it after you’ve generated some ideas and done some planning. There’s a fine line when it comes to researching similar content because you need to be careful not to rehash what’s already out there. The benefits of looking at already-published content include:
We have already touched on this above, but you must throw all of your ideas out to your peers for review. This will help to weed out the poor titles and/or headlines from the stronger ones. You’ll also be able to choose one to go alongside your content that you can be sure is captivating and attention-grabbing which, in turn, will generate more views and draw more readers – think of it as a proofreading session.
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As an experienced Copywriter, Lorna enjoys creating varied content for an abundance of different industries and sectors. From detailed, informative articles to creative infographics, she's always looking to inject originality into the work she produces. When she isn't working, Lorna runs her own lifestyle blog, plays the guitar and loves to take part in charity runs.