Marketing April 24, 2020 Last updated April 24th, 2020 2,437 Reads share

7 Winning Formulas For Writing A Headline That Converts

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Remember that saying “Don’t judge a book by its cover”. Well, your content is about to be judged by your headline. It’s all great to write insightful content but think about it. What if no one eventually clicks?

The aim of every headline is to get the audience to read the content of the piece. Copyblogger explained that 80% of people will read your headline, but only 20% will read the article till the end. An attention-grabbing headline is a portal into your prospect’s world. It is what makes them decide whether they want to see the rest of the good news you have to tell them or not.

It’s about time to change your headline game, and get more conversions by making your audience actually stop and engage with your content. These formulas will help you write catchy headlines that convert.

1. Firstly, Do The “4 U’s” Test

The 4 U’s mean that your headline has to be:

• Unique: Oxford Dictionary, defines unique as “Being the only one of its kind.” This means that you should write a headline that has no other one like it.
Here is how you check for the uniqueness of your blog topic:
Type in your proposed headline into google search box and enclose it in double quotation marks like in the screenshot below:

Ultra-Specific: Here, you don’t have to be a Jack of all trades. Your audience has problems, address these in your posts. The fact about ultra-specificity is that solving your audience’s problems makes them trust your knowledge about the subject matter. Therefore, the more specific your headline, the more authority your audience believes you have on that topic and niche; and the more their trust in you. Do not be vague about your headlines, write in clear simple terms that address an issue so as not to leave your readers confused.

Useful: How valuable are your headlines and content? No one will want to engage something they don’t find useful. This might sound cliché but you need to take your time here. A post might have a unique and ultra-specific title, and still not be relevant. You need to create informative content that will be worth your readers’ time; that will address a particular problem they are facing.

• Urgency: If you don’t add a feeling of urgency to your headline, the target audience will scroll past your content, and that is not what we want. Your headline should be connected to their fears, hopes, desires, and dreams, and tied around a factor of urgency. Why should you use an urgency factor? Well, it’s simply to get them to click right now—not sometimes later or never.

Here’s an urgency request that could be made into a blog post:

This is another urgency headline for an email copy from Melyssa Griffin.

#2. Use Numbers In Your Headline

Including numbers in your headline makes it more compelling, and thus generate more conversion. A number of studies show that headlines with numbers have more than 70% engagement compared to those without. This is because our brains get attracted to numbers and figures.
So, the next time you might want to write “Ten Foolproof Ways To Get Clients,” write “10 Foolproof Ways to Get Clients” instead. Check this example from Entrepreneur below:

More so, it’s been a great discovery that odd numbers specifically yield the most conversion. According to research by Content Marketing Institute, click-through rates of headlines with odd numbers increased by 20%. This is because the human brain seems to believe odd numbers more than even numbers.

#3. Use Rationales, Adjectives, and Emotional Words

Headlines yield up to 50% of your blog post effectiveness. This is why you need to write your titles in the most attention-grabbing way by using words that prompt conversion. These include:

Rationales: These are words that give your audience strong reasons to click and read your content. Such words include tips, reasons, facts, lessons, secrets, ways, guides, tricks, hacks, methods, principles, strategies. This is a headline from Finsavvy Panda:

Adjectives: These make headlines very eye-catching and allow readers to connect easily with your content. These superlatives include: smart, incredible, free, fun, best, strange, quick, clever, effortless, attractive, essential.

What’s more is that using negative superlatives–such as worst, harmful, never, terrible, painful, unpleasant, avoid, destroying, damaging–converts more than their positive counterparts. Outbrain made a study of 65,000 headlines, and negative titles performed better by 30% than those without superlatives; and 63% than those with positive superlatives. Bustle made a post with such style:

Emotional Words: also called “power words” are impactful words that prick the emotion. These words should not be used for manipulation but instead, positively to increase your conversion. These include powerful, surprising, amazing, happy, breath-taking, eye-opening, sensational, stunning, blissful, and so on. See headline below from Forbes.

#4. Use The “You” Pronoun

There is a need to flag your audience in your headline by calling their attention by integrating “You” into your headline. This flagging technique was introduced by Dan Kennedy. Titles that contain “you, ” and “your” have high conversions.  See some examples from Gamecrate and The Pennyhoarder below:

#5. Problem-Identification Headlines

This focuses on addressing a problem that resonates with your audience. This wins because it talks about their failures, mistakes, fears and how they can get better. It hits a punch of curiosity in their minds. Examples are these posts from Medium and Lifehack:

#6. Question-Based Headlines

This headline style is a surefire conversion method. It asks the audience the right questions they need the right answers to. This eagerness is what makes them click quickly, and hence generate conversion. These types of headlines powerfully inspire your readers. It usually focuses on asking questions whose answers they have been searching for. A lot of copywriters use this approach in their copy. Neil Patel and Brian Clark used this method in these shots below:

#7. The “How-To” Style

Who wouldn’t want to know how to do something they really want to? When you write your titles with this strategy in mind, your audience will engage your content because they want to know “how to-”
The format can be as:
How to + the benefit

This Masterclass headline explains this:

How to + benefit (+ squash objection)

For example: How to bake a moist cake (without oven). See a blog post headline Elna Cain published below:


It is becoming a not-so-easy task to focus on a content marketing strategy that works with diverse emerging ones every day. Therefore, you should focus on informative and engaging content that would be worth the reason they clicked your headline. And continue to learn new ways of creating attention-grabbing, stop-in-your-track headlines that convert

What’s the headline tip you use in crafting great headlines?

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Sally Ofuonyebi

Sally Ofuonyebi

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