David Ogilvy once said, “On the average, five times as many people read the headline as read the body copy.” Some even say headlines are worth 90 percent of the advertising dollar. Those statistics don’t even take into account all the people who can’t find your article because it isn’t ranked highly in search results. With those compelling numbers in mind, we compiled some of the most important tips to help you write better headlines.

Know Your Audience (and Their Lingo)

Who is your target audience and what resonates with them? Surely you know this already because you’ve put in the research to write the article in the first place. But take a moment to really think about your audience, and look at them from two different angles:

Tell It Like It Is

Nail down the specifics of your article, and be sure your headline clearly communicates the main point. Use the five W’s to help you do this—who, what, when, where and why. Consider adding a bracketed clarification—blogs with them perform 38 percent better than those without. For example, “[Infographic] How to Sell Real Estate in 5 Easy Steps.”

Show Them The Money

Your headline should communicate the value, benefits and/or urgency of reading your article. Use numbers in your headlines to grab readers’ attention. Show how your article will educate readers by using words like “how to.” Also, indicate your article is a list for those interested in a quick read.

Keep It Short

About 60 characters is a pretty safe number for your headline—it ensures your headline won’t get cut off in search engine results. Eight to 12 words is also a safe bet.

Make It Sexy

As you know, your article will likely have a lot of competition. Why would someone want to read yours, and does your headline communicate that? Entice them. Show urgency. Be a little weird. Elicit controversy.Alliteration is awesome if it aligns with the above advice.

Be careful, though; don’t be clever for clever’s sake. Be sure every word in your headline has validity. Make sure to stay away from puns, as web headlines should be able to stand on their own without any additional context needed.

Ask For Someone Else’s Help

Lastly, ask for someone else’s opinion about your headline. Does the headline make them want to read your article?

We know all this can be overwhelming. We’re here to help. Contact us to learn more about optimizing your web writing.