7 Headline Tips to Make Your Head Spin

Setting off on the right foot matters just as much with content as it does with meeting face to face.

Making the right first impression. Saying the right things that open up doors to other avenues of conversation, interests and opportunity.

So don’t fudge your headlines, OK?

You might be doing a press release, a webpage, a LinkedIn post or an email. They all have that first line that your audience see before anything else.

It could spark a fire inside someone. They realise this particular piece of content pertains to an issue they have or an interest – and they have an insatiable thirst to consume it.

Or it could raise red flags. Or grey if it’s really boring. And it means they develop an aversion to your brand. They’ll swerve anything that has anything to do with you.

With that in mind, here’s some headline writing tips if you don’t have a writer to call on to produce magic for your business (easily solved, just click this link). Or if you’re a copywriter and can’t find that special blend of herbs and spices to make that headline finger-licking.

Headline writing tips to make your audience salivate.

1 – Don’t stretch it out

You might have a product release with tonnes of new features. Or you’ve got a sale going that means plenty of merchandise is going to be underpriced. Either way, find the one key reason people will want to know what you’ve got to say – and use that as your headline. Don’t put a paragraph as a headline.

2 – Don’t give them everything

The general rule for sentences – especially headlines – is that it should carry one message per sentence. No more. Plus, if you give away all the good stuff, why should they continue reading?

3 – Stat it up

If you’ve got some numerical facts, use them. Let’s say your new brand of piston lubrication delivers 56% more efficiency – use that. Numbers make the world go round and everyone loves them.

4 – DON’T USE ALL CAPS For social posts

For most, this doesn’t need saying. But for those who do this, it comes across as shouting. Please stop.

5 – Use the sub-header

Sometimes, it’s nigh-on impossible to cram your key message into a headline without it looking like the edited version of War and Peace. That’s where your new friend, the sub-header comes in. It’s like a follow-up to your headline and if bridged correctly, it means you can put more info in and lead the audience further down the rabbit hole.

6 – Read your headline tomorrow

Once you’ve come up with an eye-grabbing header, leave it to stew in its own juices for a while. Ideally, come back to it the next day. You’ll find the way you read it is different to how you intended, for the most part. Give your eyes and brain a period of time to read it fresh.

7 – Re-write, don’t fade away

This is a tip I picked up from copywriting supremo, Dan Nelken (look for him on LinkedIn and sign up to his newsletter, you won’t regret it.). He said you should write as many headline options as your brain can muster. When you think you can’t write any more, then write a few more. When you find yourself looking outside of convention to make up a line, you’ll discover that the best ones you write, will be the ones where you think you were pulling at straws.

I hope these tips help. I’ve written a wee book – 70-odd pages – filled with tips like these to take with you in your laptop case, for moments where inspiration feels far away. You can find it here.

I’m also available for team training, B2B and B2C writing work and the occasional supermarket opening.

Speak to you next week.

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