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The 9 Key Components of an Effective Headline!!!

Headlines, headlines, read all about it! Copy, blog posts, newsletters, infographics, and more — What do they all need? An attractive headline.

The headline is the most important part of your content. Sometimes, it’s not the blog post that gets shared, but just the headline alone. In fact, multiple studies have found that 80% of internet surfers read ONLY the headline and will share content without actually reading the article. (Guilty.)


Photo credit: NCinDC via Visual Hunt / CC BY-ND

A satirical news site put this to the test and made a blog post headlined: “Study: 70% of Facebook users only read the headline of science stories before commenting.” The post has a small duplicate intro and the rest is “lorem ipsom” text. More than 55,000 people shared the post on social media. Hmm … how ironic.

If that doesn’t get your attention and help you realize how important headlines are, then we don’t know what will. So how do you write an amazing headline that grabs a reader’s attention and keeps them engaged with your content?

What Makes a Great Headline?

There are 9 key components of an effective headline:

  1. Using a hyphen or colon will increase your click through rate by 9%.
  2. Headlines with eight words do 21% better than the average headline.
  3. Lists are great. Use a number in your headline if you can, and odd numbers get the best results. They do 20% better than a headline with an even number.
  4. Images and thumbnails with links will increase your clicks by 27%.
  5. Question headlines referring to the reader as “you” or “your” do very well. Don’t use rhetorical questions.
  6. Using three exclamation points has proven to be an effective punctuation as well!!! If you’re going to use one anyway, it might as well be three!!!
  7. Use trigger words. Here are some good ones:
    • New
    • Proven
    • Free
    • Easy
    • Secret
    • Yes
    • Never
    • Imagine
    • Convert
  8. Great adjective words do great as well. Try some of these:
    • Beautiful
    • Amazing
    • Fun
    • Effective
    • Best
    • Epic
    • Valuable
    • Fail
    • Horrifying
  9. You can’t incorporate all of these characteristics into one headline but try to use as many as you can. If you can do this and make your headline unique, detailed, urgent, and informative, then you are on the right path to a killer headline and multiple shares.

Don’t be afraid to experiment a little bit. Test your headlines and see how well they perform and track the click-through rate. If it works, then great! If not, it might be time to hit the drawing board. If you need help or a second opinion on your content strategy, contact us today.