1,000 Can’t Miss Tips on Writing Killer Headlines

OK, that’s a lie. You won’t find 1,000 tips on writing killer headlines here. What you will find are a few thoughts on the approach to writing marketing headlines that seems to be taking over online.

The trend is to rely on a formula that starts with a number written in digits followed up with an important sounding adjective or phrase:

10 Top Tips…
6 Essential Facts…
8 Need to Know Reasons Why…

The formula works because those digits jump off the page out of the word clutter and catch our eyes. They’re also appealing because we’re all busy people bombarded by information all day long. A numbered list lets us know we can skip through it quickly.

That adjective helps out too. It makes the article seem somehow important. It suggests that we’ll walk away with a bit of extra knowledge. And who doesn’t want that?

Another recent rule of thumb is to focus on the first and last three words of headline, since readers tend to miss the middle part as they scan. It’s interesting that headlines have gotten so long that we need this rule. Then again, it’s easy to go long when you’re trying to insert as many search terms as possible.

No matter how well a headline follows the rules, it’s only the icing on the cake. Articles still need to have substance if they’re going to be effective. There’s also the question of how long this headline formula will work. It’s so pervasive these days that readers may start looking past them.

Plenty of people are probably already yawning when they come across these headlines in Internet searches or on social media. But that doesn’t mean they don’t click on them.