Writing Tips

How to choose the right headline for an article

“On the average, five times as many people read the headline as read the body copy. When you have written your headline, you have spent eighty cents out of your dollar. “—David Ogilvy

A couple of weeks ago, I was working on an email newsletter for an organization I’m engaged with. Now I needed the right subject for the newsletter; something that would make people want to click to read. I mean of what use is great content if no one reads?

A colleague of mine suggested a subject I thought was too cliché. I said, ‘Everyone has heard this before. Won’t that make them roll their eyes and mark the email as ‘read’, or worse delete it, or even worse unsubscribe to the newsletter?

This was his response to me ‘Maybe it’s cliché because everyone uses it. Maybe everyone uses it because it actually works. Have you thought of that?’

I decided to give it a try (Oh but I made him aware that if anything goes wrong, I was going to pin it on him). Surprise surprise, the newsletter recorded more clicks than the previous weeks.

Finding the right headline for your newsletter or a title for your article can be a headache. You need to make sure it’s nail on the head, smart, and carries your story in few words possible.

Below are a few guidelines to help you choose a clever headline for your writing purposes.

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I hope you find these helpful. If you have any tips to writing a good headline you’d like to share, please do in the comment box below.

 

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9 thoughts on “How to choose the right headline for an article

  1. d says:

    I guess I’m self-selecting myself out — I make a point to avoid headlines with numbers in them; or any that have that click-baity feel. Too many betrayals.

    A good headline, to me, is in a valley between Mt. Boredom and Mt. Spam. It has to be interesting while showing some mark of genuine content to come.

    Liked by 1 person

    • V. Naa Takia says:

      Interesting. I do see the list/ numbers as a content relational thing. As in if I say ’15 Reasons Why You Should Eat Pancakes Every Morning’, then readers should expect that I do exactly that; give them 15 reasons why they have to eat pancakes every Morning. And I agree, a good headline shouldn’t be boring or spammy.

      Like

      • d says:

        You are honest, but most minds behind these numbered nightmares are … creepy. Links usually lead to “one page per point” kind of sites so the ads can get max exposure. If you hit an ‘honest’ one!
        Maybe I am out of date now, though. Could be good people are taking the meme back. Will give it a try and keep notes. 😀

        Liked by 1 person

      • V. Naa Takia says:

        Oh I can really relate to the ‘one page per point’ thing. It’s awfully irritating 😡😡

        Like

    • V. Naa Takia says:

      Yes Dela. Those hoodwinking headlines all in the name of getting clicks can be very disappointing…

      Like

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