Your headline is a very tight encapsulation of your article. It should convey the very essence of what you’re trying to communicate throughout the piece. Beyond that, it should also grab the reader’s attention, tempt the reader to want to view the entire article and be very, very shareable.
Here are 10 words you should use in your headlines for ultimate share-worthiness:
1. A Number
The Buzzfeedification of the Internet is indisputable. Articles that are presented as lists (sometimes called “listicles”) are popular and will remain popular into the foreseeable future. That’s why headlines starting with something like “10 Ways to…” or “7 Reasons Why…” are very shareable.
If you want to reel in an audience, get personal. You can do that by putting “you” or “your” in your headlines because it makes a connection between your content and the person reading it.
This one is obvious. Who doesn’t like free stuff?
If you can work your headlines around the fact you’re giving something of value away for free, then you’re going to draw a larger audience. There’s no shortage of people looking to save money.
4. How to
“How to” pieces are great because they scream “life hack.” Usually, they’re tempting to people who are looking for a better way to build a mousetrap or just want to know how they can accomplish a task they’ve always wanted to tackle.
Since “how to’s” can be applied to many facets of everyday life, there is no shortage of “how to” creations or people to read them.
If you use the “DIY” acronym in your headline, you’re getting the beYour headline is a very tight encapsulation of your article. It should convey the very essence of what you’re trying to communicate throughout the piece. Beyond that, it should also grab the reader’s attention, tempt the reader to want to view the entire article and be very, very shareable.
People are always looking for relatable experiences. If you can share with others a personal story about how you improved your life, fixed a problem or became generally happy, then you can be sure people are going to want to read more. You’ll also find that the headline is quite shareable.
Let’s face it. People are always looking for the lazy, or easy, way to get something done. That way, they can get back to enjoying time with their families, playing video games, sunbathing or whatever else it is they’d prefer to be doing. That’s also why the word “easy” is so attractive in a headline. It tells people they can make their lives a little bit less burdensome.
Well before the Internet became a household word, direct mail marketers knew the importance of using some variation of the word “win” on an envelope. It’s often the case, to this day, that people go to their mailbox and pull out an envelope that reads: “You may have already won $50,000” — or words to that effect.
You can think of the word “win” in your headlines as just another variation of the word “free.” You’ll tempt people when they think they can get something without paying for it.
Many people are susceptible to the “shiny object” syndrome. They’re looking for something that’s, well, new. They want to see the latest and greatest technology or some clever device that makes life easier. That’s why “new” is a great word to use in your headlines — it will pique people’s interests and entice them to read more.
This list ends just as it began: by paying homage to listicles. There’s no shortage of very shareable headlines that explain “4 Ways to Grill a Steak” or “5 Ways to Immediately Improve Your Appearance.”
Give your readers a portfolio of options to choose from, and they’ll view that content as a “go to” source for the subject you’re writing about. They’ll also share it.
The first thing anyone sees about your article is its headline. Make sure it’s captivating, alluring and above all, shareable.
Adrienne Erin is a freelance writer and designer who blogs at Design Roast. She has been blogging for the past 3 years and loves picking apart online campaigns to see what makes them tick. You can follow her on Twitter as @adrienneerin.