How to write a headline that sticks everywhere

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How to write a headline that sticks everywhere

The job of a headline is to grab the attention of your audience and make them want to read more, so it has to be good. Fall at this first hurdle and you will fail to connect with your customers. So, how do you write a headline that leaves people wanting more?

Is there a single formula for writing headlines?

If you’re after a quick fix we’re afraid we can’t offer you a one size fits all formula. This is due to the enormous number of ways businesses can use headlines in their PR and marketing materials.

Here are just a few:


Each of these pieces of content needs a different approach if its headline is going to be effective. This is because people access and consume information in different ways on and offline.

For example, a newsletter or case study headline might benefit from a pun but if you want a journalist to read your press release the headline needs to summarise exactly what it’s about.

Meanwhile, website pages, video titles and blog posts need to use keywords that people are searching for if you want any chance of ranking in Google search results.

So, as you can see, headlines need to be tailored to the occasion.

Speak to your audience

Whatever your medium, it’s important that your headline puts your audience first. What matters to them? If you only share what’s important to your business there’s no incentive for people to read on.

Use power words

Power words act as a literary firework by turning what might otherwise be a very dull piece of text into a thrilling read. Include interest-triggering words like ‘secret’, ‘easy’, ‘facts’, ‘how to’ ‘ideas’ and ‘reasons’ in your headline to motivate readers to find out more.

Cash in on numbers

Adding numbers to your online headlines will generate 73% more social shares. They can also give your copy more authority.

For example, you have a choice between two Google results: one gives 3 ways to grow a successful business, and the other gives you 20 ways. Which sounds like it knows more about its topic?

Keep it brief

Combining brevity with all of the tips above is a bit of an art form. But being succinct is vital when writing a great headline. It often takes a few rounds of editing especially when you are creating marketing content that will be used in several ways.

So, how many words should you be aiming for? A press release headline should be about six words according to Newswire, while you’ll find headlines in the New York Times average at about nine words. Meanwhile, HubSpot talks about blog post headlines being between eight and 14 words long if you want them to be optimised for social sharing.

Again, there’s no one size fits all answer and that’s why experienced copywriters are worth their weight in gold.

If you’re stuck on how to write a headline or need help crafting marketing and PR content for your business, we can help. Amplify PR is a Southampton-based PR and content marketing agency with copywriting experience across multiple sectors.

Get in touch to find out more about our services.