They say the pace of life is just too fast for people to stop and read the copy of an article. We no longer browse, we scroll. With so many social networks and companies competing for our attention, headlines today need to be clear, sharp and intriguing if you want to write catchy headlines that capture interest and get people reading, then follow these steps!

1. Never underline or finish your headlines with exclamation marks

If you’re trying that hard to grab attention, chances are you’re writing your headline wrong. A good headline should sing on its own – it should be creative, memorable, pun-free and quickly convey the benefit of the article or product. When writing headlines, ask yourself: what will the audience get out of this?

2. Numbers are good

Readers love headlines with numbers. Numbers clearly communicate what they’re going to get from the content and how they’re going to get it. There’s also a psychology behind it: numbered headlines mean the content will be broken up into lists that can be quickly read during a lunch break or commute, making readers more incline to click through.

3. Use trigger words and imperatives

Words like ‘Why’ or ‘How to’ make for more engaging headlines because it asks a question and frames the content as providing the answer. On the other hand, imperatives like ‘Increase’ or ‘Attract’ command attention and lend a sense of authority to the content and brand.

4. Use adjectives. And Superlatives

We know that interesting adjectives like ‘easy’, ‘essential’, or ‘important’ and superlatives like ‘4 Big Reasons to Make Sure Your Website is Mobile-Optimised’ can be effective in headlines. But did you know that negative adjectives and superlatives (worst, don’t, never) perform 30% better than positive ones? The idea of putting a negative adjective in a headline might seem daunting, but it works because it plays on the element of surprise and curiosity. Think of how engaging a headline like ‘The 3 Worst Mistakes a Marketer Can Make’ reads compared to ‘Three Common Mistakes a Marketer Can Make’.

5. Try this formula

If you’re really stuck and just want to write a headline quickly, try this formula:

Number or Trigger word + Adjective + Keyword

‘5 Easy Tricks to Writing Catchy Headlines’ – see what we did?

But remember to keep it real.

Nothing will annoy a reader more than misleading and highly inaccurate headlines that direct them to unrelated content in the hopes of increasing your site’s traffic or click through rate. It’s a cheap move and you can guarantee that you will quickly lose trust from your readers and hurt your brand identity.

Tonberry Digital are a Sydney based Inbound Marketing Agency. We live, eat sleep and breathe digital; particularly Inbound. If you have any questions that you need answered around digital marketing feel free to get in touch with one of our consultants for a free consultation.