How to Craft Article Titles That Catch Your Audience’s Attention
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When it comes to crafting article titles that get clicks, there are no corners you can cut and succeed. While it may seem easy to write a single line of copy, they take time and care to get right.
How can you know you’ve written an effective headline before you even hit publish?
There’s no question that writing them is difficult. Not only do you need to summarize your whole topic and all of your research in just a handful of words, but you also need to know which words to use and judge how the title might resonate with your audience.
Fortunately, you’re in the right place to learn how to write headlines correctly.
Download Your Article Title Template Kit
This post has plenty of great tips and tricks for guiding you towards creating your next best article title, but we want to leave you with a few materials to take with you.
This downloadable bundle includes:
- 100+ headline templates from CopyHackers, Copyblogger, Michael Hyatt, Crazy Egg, and CoSchedule.
- A list of attention-grabbing words that are perfect for writing diverse headlines that drive traffic, shares, and search results.
- A headline infographic full of relevant headline data — like average click-through rates and how to use positive/negative headlines — that is sure to bring you the best results for getting connected with your audience.
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Why Are Article Titles So Important?
While there are many more reasons to focus your attention on improving the work you put into your headlines, these are a handful of the most important reasons.
What Should Effective Article Titles Achieve?
So, now we know that our readers have limited time and make decisions to read articles quickly. Here are seven things that an effective headline needs to do in order to capture the reader’s attention.
Understand That The Reader’s Time is Limited…
Since there’s a constant flow of content, articles, and other resources refreshing people’s result pages and timelines, it’s crucial that you create a headline that captures attention. In fact, there is an actual phenomenon that has been researched for years and years about the human attention span.
This phenomenon is called the goldfish conundrum.
In a few words, this recognizes the idea that the average, modern human attention span is shorter than that of a goldfish. Keeping this idea in mind, it’s apparent that there is a very limited time to ensure your readers don’t continue scrolling to find the information they’re looking for. Having a great article title can increase your chances of catching someone’s attention and convincing them to click through.
… So, Give Them a Reason to Care (Quickly and Concisely)
Your headline acts as a quick insight into what your potential audience will be reading if they choose to click through to your content. Providing that insight is extremely helpful and important for readers to understand whether your article is right for them and their needs.
Make it Clear What Your Content is About (and What Makes It Different From Other Articles)
Your article title is the face of your content. Each one should be unique to whatever information is behind the link that lands on search engine result pages (SERPs).
That being said, the face (i.e. article title) that you decide to fixate onto your content is meant to inform readers why they should care about what you, your team, or your business has to say.
Here’s an example:
The results that show up for a simple search on writing exercises are fairly similar, but one stands out among the rest. The indicated title tag grabs your attention through the addition of “Famous Authors” because it tells us that even experts will use these writing exercises.
Those are the kinds of headlines you want to craft for your own content: ones that stand out among the rest.
Get Your Readers Amped Up
One other reason your headline plays an important role in content creation is to excite people about your subject matter from the get-go. When you get readers amped up about your ideas through something as simple as a headline, your content is more likely to perform exponentially better than it would without a great one.
Here’s what an excitable headline might look like:
This title tells researchers that they do have creativity, but sometimes that creativity needs to be discovered or “unleashed”. A headline, like this, makes people want to reach their full potential.
That’s cool stuff!
Tell Them Why They Should Care
Another purpose of your article title is to give a reason for your readers to care about what you have to say in your article. Having the ability to tell an audience in not so many words that your content should matter to them is a true skill, and it makes a big difference in the success or failure of your work.
Here’s a search result that embodies this idea:
If done correctly, good headlines will be straightforward in convincing your audience that you have something that will directly benefit them.
Leverage Curiosity Gaps to Generate Interest
A great way to further interest your readers is to offer them what we call a “curiosity gap”.
When you offer something — like a curiosity gap — to a potential reader, you are inviting them to discover the answer to a question or problem that they may have within your content. In other words, make people curious, and they’ll be more likely to engage with what you have to say.
Optimize for FOMO (Fear of Missing Out)
There’s nothing people are more aware of than when they miss out on something — whether that be an event, a joke, or, well… content. Nobody wants to be the person who’s out of the loop or not up-to-date with the latest info.
By appealing to your reader’s fear-of-missing-out method (FOMO) in your article title, your audience will be inclined to use your content to educate themselves and settle that fear.
Using language, like in this example, such as “while stocks last” or something that implies time being limited, you are appealing to your reader’s FOMO. This encourages them to be informed and well-equipped.
Write Awesome Article Titles Every Time With This Process
You now know why spending time on headlines is important and what makes a compelling title click-worthy. Now, follow this process to actually write better ones consistently.
Identify the Angle of Your Article
Before deciding what label to smack on the face of your article, you should decide the tone and direction your content should take on.
You’ll want to make sure that the purpose and core perspective of your content is extremely clear to you — not just your readers. When you have a concrete understanding of what your content’s purpose is, you are well-equipped to informing your readers of that same information.
You can’t tell an audience what makes up your content if you’re uncertain of it yourself. This could lead to giving misinformation, misunderstandings, and even clickbait.
We don’t want that.
Take Advantage of This Writing Exercise
I find it best to outline, write, and edit your content to presentability and then draft a couple dozen title ideas.
Drafting title ideas and then dwindling down your list to select just one doesn’t have to be a painful chore. Simply create 20–25 headline examples for your content, then organize them as shown in the chart above. Repeat this process until you are left with one awesome title idea that stands out among the rest.
Get your team involved in this process to solidify a title idea that resonates with your most trustworthy peers.
Don’t forget to make them creative article titles, too. The more creative your title ideas are, the more likely you are to capture the attention of browsing readers.
The downloadable bundle towards the introduction of this post contains the most helpful title templates for creating unique and original headlines that fit your content. Remember to take advantage of it!
Use Power Words to Inspire Action
One of the best ways to improve the impact your title has on readers is to incorporate one or two power words. Again, our template bundle in the introduction offers some great power word examples you can utilize in your next title.
Here are a couple examples of how some companies have chosen to use power words in their article titles:
In this case, the words “easily” and “simple” would capture the attention of a reader because we are constantly digging to find the most efficient ways to do anything. Time is money, so might as well save both by doing something the easy way.
Forbes has used the word “practical” in this case to advertise a variety of vehicles. While not everyone is always looking for a practical car or crossover, there is a large percentage of buyers who are. This title is geared towards the majority.
Be Creative, but Avoid Clickbait
As we mentioned before, working with creative article titles is a great way to encourage readers to click on your content. However, while it’s helpful to be creative, it’s pertinent that you avoid clickbait.
What exactly does that mean?
Clickbait article titles are a recipe for disaster in terms of earning the trust of your readers; no one wants to be promised one thing and have something else delivered to them. With this in mind, just remember to stay unique but don’t fail in delivering the content you’ve promised.
Use Keywords Strategically in Your Headlines
Using keywords in your headlines will increase your chances of appearing higher on SERPs, increase your clickthrough rates, and help you reach a wider audience.
One of the best ways to conduct your keyword research is through the Keywords Explorer in Ahrefs. This tool will analyze your main keyword or keyword phrase and give you helpful information about the volume and level of your keywords, as well as other relevant keywords.
Optimize Your Title Length
Now that you have a good idea of how to write article titles in a way that engages potential readers, we should chat about how to format them, too.
The length of your title is another factor in helping people decide whether they want to read your content. For example, if it’s too short, you’re probably not offering enough information to your audience about what’s to come. Too long, and you risk people losing interest or having a difficult time comprehending what they’re about to read.
This blog post has some handy information on the optimal headline length for different types of content on a multitude of different platforms.
It also goes more in depth about how to format your title tag and meta description for search engine optimization (SEO).
The length of your title tag is a somewhat separate matter from your headline. While you can choose for the two to be similar, Google only displays the first 50–60 characters of title tags on an SERP. In other words, you should be aware of your keyword making an appearance before you hit the character limit, OR you should just stay within the 50–60 character limit.
Improve Your Article Titles With CoSchedule’s Headline Analyzer Studio
CoSchedule’s Headline Analyzer Studio is the perfect tool for understanding the pros and cons of your headline ideas.
Here’s an example of how CoSchedule’s Headline Analyzer Studio measures the success of a potential headline:
First, you enter your title idea into the text box and click “Analyze Now”.
Next, you’ll see information about why the analyzer graded your headline the way it did. One of those grading components comes from the word and character count of your title.
As you can see, the word count of this headline example is great, but the character count should be cranked up in order to be sufficient. This tells us we should be using larger words in place of the ones we currently have in this title idea.
Let’s talk about how it can do more than just grade the length of your headlines.
The Headline Analyzer Studio is the tool you need for getting optimal feedback on your headline ideas. As we mentioned before, you will get suggestions on how to improve the word and character count of your headlines. You’ll also get some feedback about the type of headline you’ve drafted and whether it holds any sort of sentiment.
Try it out today, and start reaping the benefits of getting honest, professional feedback on your article titles!
Never Worry About Your Titles Again
Now you have a multitude of resources for your next great headline, so it’s time for you to get writing! Also, don’t forget to download our awesome bonus bundle before you leave.
April 21, 2021