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How to Write Emotional Headlines Guaranteed to be Shared

Published July 2, 2024
/ Updated July 2, 2024

As you probably already know, headlines can make or break how your content performs and represents your brand. In fact, statistics show that eight out of ten people will read a headline, but only two of those people will actually click to your content.

Those are results based on the average goodheadline, so can you imagine how a bad headline might perform?

You guessed it. Nada. Zip. Zero. No dice.

Readers are much more likely to engage with your headline if you add emotional components to it. That being said, what exactly constitutes those emotional components? You’ve come to the right place to find the answer, my friend.

It all boils down to your word bank and your content’s angle. Using words in your headline that evoke emotion (any kind: joy, curiosity, confusion, sadness, etc.) in readers is a great strategy for improving your click-through rates and earning trust from your audience. The hard part is finding the right way to implement that striking vocabulary to your headlines (a.k.a. your angle) without scaring off your readers for good.

Stick around and find out how to make this step easier in your content production.

Test Your Headlines With CoSchedule’s Headline Analyzer Studio

There’s no better way to improve your current headline or craft your next best headline than by taking advantage of CoSchedule’s Headline Analyzer Studio. Not only is it the #1 free headline analyzer, but it is trusted by millions of marketers all over the world.

Headline Studio homepage

Our free Headline Analyzer Studio will help you:

  1. Use headline types that get the most traction for social shares, traffic, and search engine ranking.
  2. Make sure you have the right word balance to write readable headlines that command attention.
  3. See the best word and character length for search engines, like Google and email subject lines, while also seeing how your readers will scan your headlines.

Start by visiting the Headline Analyzer Studio page and entering your headline:

Example of a headline in Headline Studio

As you play around with different versions of your headline, you can compare different ideas and scores:

Headline analyzer studio title history

You have access to your headline score, which is graded on a scale of 1–100, and the different word types in your headline influencing that score. Here at CoSchedule, we always aim for a 70 or higher:

Example of a headline score in Headline Studio

Your word type results reveal tips on how to better incorporate each word category into your headline:

Example of word type results in Headline Studio


Continue to play with combinations until you find one that works best. It’s free, and you can use it as much as you’d like.

If you love our Headline Analyzer Studio, upgrade to Headline Studio Pro to unlock premium features. Instantly improve your score with smart suggestions based on millions of words, and feel confident that your headline is written to drive results. Trusted by more than one million marketers, Headline Studio Pro is the headline remedy you’ve always needed.

Analyze more headlines more quickly with an all-new algorithm. See which types of changes will strengthen your score based on proven data from 4+ million headlines.

What Makes Headlines Emotional?

Before you even start drafting ideas for an emotional headline, you should begin by looking into what makes those headlines emotional. Making this connection is the key to crafting a title that resonates with people who are on a mission to find content related to their keyword/keyphrase search.

1. They Evoke an Emotional Response

Let’s start with the obvious emotional headline characteristic: they intentionally incorporate language that evokes an emotional response to encourage clicks. That’s kind of a given.

All people want to know is: “What’s in it for me?” Whether it’s a promotional offer on a product or service, shocking news that everybody’s talking about, or a list of tips that will make their life easier, you need to convince readers that you have something worth investing their time and energy into. One of the best ways to go about this is by using a headline that appeals to their emotions.

This headline example is basically telling their audience, “Hey, this method got us an insane amount of readers. If you take advantage of referencing the examples we laid out for you, you could get ten million readers, too!”

On top of that, Income Diary has left us wondering how on earth a measly ten headlines generated a whopping ten million followers. Easy, profitable, and practical? Sign me up!

2. They Use Emotional Language

What kind of emotional words might elicit this kind of appeal?

Emotion words for headlines

Do you notice anything about this list that makes these words similar?

Well, they all promise some type of benefit — whether that benefit represents an offer, an answer, a sneak peek, or a hack — which fulfills that infamous “What’s in it for me?” question that every reader wants to know.

CoSchedule is notorious for offering amazing, free templates in every blog on their page. Since offers like this can be few and far between, it’s helpful to the reader that the headline mentions the free email marketing templates perk right from the get-go.

Take note that CoSchedule uses one of the suggested emotion words (i.e. free), and tells readers exactly what they can achieve with these free templates (i.e. execute everything).

3. They Provide a Benefit

By utilizing writing in which you clearly lay out the benefits of your content to the reader, you’re more than likely to encourage an increase of click-throughs and social shares for your content simply because of that emotional connection and trust you’re creating with your audience.

With everything being online nowadays, Mariah Coz knows everyone is looking for ways to make this process easier and headache-free. By creating a headline that highlights the simplicity behind her method of creating online course content, she’s sure to attract countless people who have a difficult time with transitioning from in-person to online materials.

Note: It’s also a good idea to use words that possess some kind of positive tone in your headlines because people want to get a worthwhile, pleasant, and simple experience out of whatever they can. Reassuring readers that your content will provide a stress-free, rewarding experience is the perfect method for encouraging their engagement.

10 Examples of Emotional Headlines

Let’s catch a glimpse at some examples of real articles that use emotional headlines to snatch the attention of readers using powerful language.

1. iPhones Secretly Send Call History to Apple, Security Firm Says

Based on what you know about emotional headlines so far, what is it about this headline that might label it as emotional?

Well, for starters, we see the word “secretly”, which is a curiosity-inducing word, like we mentioned previously. Not only that, but readers (particularly iPhone users) are discovering that this directly relates to them and their privacy.

As an Apple iPhone user, I’d be concerned, too.

No one wants their personal information to be disclosed to people they don’t know, especially if it’s being done without their knowledge; that’s just… creepy.

2. Oral Roberts shocks Ohio State, first big upset of NCAAs

What appeals to readers about this headline?

This is a great example of a headline that utilizes the curiosity gap — a writing method that shows point A and point C, but fails to explain how we got from one point to another.

In this case, readers are left wondering: “How did Oral Roberts shock Ohio State?” or “What was the first big upset of the NCAA?” This can be especially intriguing to people who are big basketball fans because people want to be in the know on what they’re passionate about.

Not to mention that this article was posted during March Madness, the biggest tournament of the year for NCAA basketball.

3. A Ranking of Padres and Dodgers Players Who Are Most Likely to Start a Benches-Clearing Brawl

Remember in those movies where a fight would erupt in the high school hallway, and everyone would gather around in a circle to take videos and photos and chant “Fight! Fight! Fight!”? Well, here’s a real-life example of something similar.

This article is taking advantage of the idea that people are mesmerized by other individuals fighting; but, in this case, the people fighting are involved with two Major League Baseball teams. We want to know what started the fight and who came out victorious, and The Ringer is capitalizing on that psychology in their article.

4. Watch this amazing footage of a drone flying right through an erupting volcano in Iceland

Not everyone will have the amazing opportunity to see a live volcano in their lifetime; it’s something most people will only see in documentaries, CGI movies, or animation films.

The Verge takes advantage of the beauty we see as an erupting volcano by providing a one-of-a-kind visual. Not only that, but the fact that a drone can fly over the action to get an aerial view makes it even more exhilarating.

5. 50 Essential Marketing Skills You Need to Be Successful in 2021

While this blog post is catering to just marketers, it caters to the idea that marketing is a complex industry, and a marketer needs to have a lot of versatility when it comes to performing their job effectively.

By using words like “essential” and “successful”, CoSchedule is telling their readers that they have all of the information marketers need to reach their goals. Not only that, but incorporating the current year makes it relevant and up-to-date.

6. 12 Powerful Stress-Busting Tips You Need to Know

In this day and age, who isn’t stressed?

Evernote uses this headline to empathize with their readers and lend a helping hand to those in need. Catering to the idea that people want to relieve their stress as easily as possible, and using a word like “powerful” in their headline, is sure to appeal to millions of readers who just want some relief.

7. A dog with a rough past shows a funny side

Let’s be real for a second here; who doesn’t like animals? Not just any animals, but funny dogs?

Heartless people, that’s who.

The combination of a pun in the headline coupled with something cute and cuddly is sure to warm the hearts of people who want a good chuckle. Highlighting the humorous personality of a dog with past trauma was definitely a win for the Japan Times.

8. I Blogged Every Night for a Week. It Went Terribly.

Did you know that there are 600 million blogs across the Internet out of 1.7 billion websites? Just to put that into perspective, that’s approximately a quarter of the content people can discover on the entire web.

Even if someone doesn’t have a blog of their own, they more than likely read blogs on a consistent basis. Blogs are relevant, useful, and informative, making this article topic consistent with information that bloggers want to know.

Companies and individuals who are blogging or want to blog want an idea of what an appropriate amount of blogging means, and this article provides that answer. The title alone informs readers that they should definitely avoid blogging on the daily, if you want to avoid feeling miserable.

9. Cheetahs Are So Shy That Zoos Give Them Their Own Emotional “Support Dogs”

There are a lot of components to this headline that make it an emotional read, but, in short, it appeals to the same idea that our funny dog article used for their headline.

This headline also takes readers by surprise by indicating that a powerful predator like a cheetah needs an ESA. Doesn’t that just make you wanna cry from the adorableness?

10. Roku Channel just added one of the best TV shows ever — for free

Our final emotional headline example comes from Tom’s Guide, which (like many of our other examples) takes advantage of appealing to a popular interest.

TV shows are all the rage, and Roku knows it; so they decided to add another TV show that is a must-watch, and it’s free! There’s one of our emotional words that we talked about before. Who doesn’t like free stuff?

How to Write Emotional Headlines Using Headline Analyzer Studio

An awesome resource you can use to craft emotional headlines (for free) is CoSchedule’s Headline Analyzer Studio.

Whether you want to measure your headline’s potential performance, get advice on a new headline, or browse word banks dedicated to emotion and power words by upgrading to Headline Studio Pro, your content will benefit from CoSchedule’s extensive headline research that has all been implemented into one, impressive feature.

When you’re working on writing the best emotional headline, be sure you’re referring to the Word Balance section — where you can focus your attention on your common, uncommon, emotional, and power words.

Example of word balance results from Headline Studio

A neat feature you can find in this tool is categorized word banks that contain vocabulary dedicated to words that can benefit your headline.

Play around with the Headline Analyzer Studio and see what cool stuff you can find out about your headline crafting skills.

It’s Time for You to Give It a Whirl

It’s a lot to take in, but your content and your audience thank you for it. Feel free to take advantage of the examples that have been laid out here for you, scurry on over to the Headline Analyzer Studio, and keep researching ways to make your headline even more emotional.

The best part is that you don’t have to stick to the resources in this post; keep conducting research and experimenting with your titles and content, so you can reach the most people, the right way. CoSchedule’s blog is a fruitful place to find all the answers you need for your marketing needs, and it has all been backed up by impressive research from people who eat, sleep, and breathe marketing.

Best of luck!

This post was originally published on July 22, 2014. It was most recently updated and republished on June 21, 2021. Garrett Moon and Peyton Muldoon contributed to writing this post.