How to Write Eye-Popping, Catchy Headlines for Social Media

Beto Molinari
by Beto Molinari on July 7, 2014 in Visibility
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Depositphotos 18425663 mOnline readers are just plain picky. Only a small percentage of people who come across your article will actually click on the link to read it. You've got about two seconds to entice someone in, to prove that you've got something they want or need inside. Your headline is your front door, and your readers will decide whether you've got something attractive with flowers and a fresh welcome mat or a peeling paint job and creaking hinges. Write catchy headlines and you'll entice crowds to click on your page, giving you a steady source of leads for your site. The trick is figuring out what people respond to when they read that one line.

Some may complain that manipulating headlines like this will make your links sound like spam, but the only reason multiple marketers use these techniques is that they work. First impressions count. When you go out on a first date you dress up, right? Try to make a good impression to get to that second date? Same concept. You're just trying to get your foot in the door and are using methods that have worked millions of times before.

Make It Relevant

Subconsciously, all readers are asking themselves, “What's in it for me?” when they read online. Every time you put up a headline, you're telling potential clients how your article can impact their lives. Get right to heart of it and let them know why you've got valuable information.

  • Solve a Problem Using Manageable, Bite-Sized Chunks: 9 Steps to Training Your Puppy
  • Ask Them a Question: Have You Stocked Enough Storm Supplies?
  • Give Them a List: 5 Great Inexpensive Family Vacation Spots
  • Relate a True Story: Paring Down - How One Family Saved $5,000 by Embracing Minimalism
  • Shock Them: Fast Food Workers Detail Unhealthy Kitchen Practices
  • Tie in Current Events: How Does Your Garden Stand up against the First Lady's?

These tried-and-tested formulas have been shown to deliver the responses you want, so why wouldn’t you want to use them?

Give Them Something They Want

Not just a bit of emotional satisfaction, but an actual reward for clicking on the link and reading your article. If you've got some type of loss leader such as a free report, an eBook offer or a continuing newsletter, let the readers know about this up front. Readers who are interested in your topic and who want to find out more about it are much more likely to click on your headline if they know they'll receive something of value in return. It’s all about making a fair trade, and your reader needs to know right upfront what you’re offering him in exchange for his time.

Use the Right Words

Dozens of survey companies have followed the most successful blogs and websites to find out just what they have in their headlines that produced the biggest results. They've even broken down the titles into lists of the most popular words and phrases used. Looking at these lists can not only make your blog stand out from the crowd but will help to fill in your headline as well as give you a solid direction in which to start writing. Among the most popular words are:

  • You and Your - This tells the reader that the article is relevant to them, and not about the writer and her experiences. Make These Dishes for Your Next Barbecue, You Can Save Hundreds on Your Next Car, Your Landscaper May be Overcharging You
  • Why - The use of the word Why lets the reader know you're going to offer an explanation to the question they're reading. They know that if they click on your headline, they'll be satisfied with an answer. Why the Newest Smart Phone is a Dumb Buy, Why Go to Walt Disney World in February?, Why Common Core Causes so Much Controversy
  • How To - Lives are complicated, and most people look to the internet to find the answers to their common puzzles every day. Using this phrase lets them know that they've found the right place in your article. How to Grow Fatter Tomatoes, Learn How To Knit in One Day, How to Change a Tire Without Getting Filthy

Use Strong, Attention-Getting Words

You want to grab their eye and make them click on your headline. This isn't the time to be shy and modest. You can't really shout over the internet (well, unless you're using all caps, but that's criminally annoying to most people), but you can use words that are unusual enough that they'll stop for that one second it takes to get their attention. Be outrageous and adventurous, be grandiose, and write over-the-top titles that use loud words, such as:

  • Explosive
  • Hidden
  • Eye-catching
  • Exceptional
  • Fabulous
  • Killer
  • Shocking
  • Surefire
  • Never before
  • Smart
  • Science
  • Huge
  • Critical

Don’t be afraid of words. They won’t bite you, but they will draw your reader in and bring you attention.

Lists Are a Hidden Gold Mine

Readers love lists. They're broken down into easy-to-digest bits, they can pick them up and put them down at will, and they even seem more interesting because they flutter around from subject to subject. People read lists because they think they're getting more reading bang for their buck. Without getting into any in-depth explanations, your article can cover all aspects of a problem your reader wants you to solve. Use titles like:

  • 6 Tips for Growing Organic Carrots
  • Top 10 Items to Buy in Thrift Stores
  • 7 Reasons to Buy Clothes Online
  • 5 Ways to Find More Facebook Friends

Always use the numeral instead of spelling it out, as studies show it results in almost twice the clicks. That’s because it’s easier to read and the user can see immediately what you’re giving him, instead of having to first process the text.

These headline tricks will help you build up followers on social media, help drive traffic to your website and increased readership of your blog posts. If you follow them, of course. It doesn’t happen by itself.