How to write better headlines (including subject lines) – seven easy tips

If you’re a content marketer, the weight of developing eye-catching headlines to garner your prospect’s attention is ever-present. Here are seven simple tips to inspire your next thumb-stopping sentence.

Engaging headlines, subheadings and subject lines are essential for communicating with your readers. With so many overstressed people multi-tasking and scanning, compelling headlines are critical as they provide stopping points for the eyes.

1. Start with who, what, when, why, where or how

These words have been proven to work so many times over the years. And if the statement is surprising, all the better: ‘Why young mums need to eat more’.

2. Begin with a verb – an action word

‘Keep your teenager enthusiastic about school work’ or  ‘Come to our store this Saturday for the biggest bargains ever’.

3. Start with the words, ‘how to’

People love finding out how to do something. ‘How to write with more impact every time you sit at a keyboard’ or ‘How to earn serious money from your favourite hobby’. 

4. Give important news

“Chief scientist from Oxford visits our school this month” – but make sure the news is relevant for your audience.

5. Ask a question

“Do you worry about finishing work assignments on time?” A question is an involving device and gets people to read on as they want to see what your answer is.

6. Put the deadline in your headline

If the deadline is important to you, make sure it is not missed by your readers.

7. Use proven magical words wherever possible

Such as: ‘free’, ‘save’, ‘guaranteed’, ‘announcing’, ‘new’, ‘win’, and ‘you’. Without doubt, the most important of these is ‘you’.

Sometimes, some people forget that all writing is visual. It catches the eye, before it has a chance to catch the brain. 

Frank Chamberlin is founder, copywriter and writing trainer at Action Words.

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Image credit:Roman Kraft

Frank Chamberlin
BY Frank Chamberlin ON 14 August 2019