Want an effective marketing story? Check your headline

headline writing tips

On social media, marketers are finding value in relevant and interesting stories in presenting their clients’ messages or promoting their products online. If they learned the basics of writing, it is that the headline of a story is as important as the opening of the story, if they wish for their target audience to read from start to finish.

The headline is considered the critical part of your content because it is often the reader’s first interaction with your brand. The effort you exert in putting up your story will go to waste if you will not give the headline equal attention you did with the body of the story. It may be comprised of just 140 characters or less but it has a big impact on your brand.

So, to avoid wasting your efforts, you must really take the headline seriously.

headline writing

Just like any strategy, before creating a headline, you need to set goals and have a thorough plan. Based on the free e-book by Hubspot and Outbrain, there are three kinds of goals marketers have for content: traffic, engagement, and conversion. Each of these goals has its own measurement of success and each plays a vital role in your brand.

We have listed here the different goals and the headlines people would be compelled to click, engage, and convert.


Creating traffic to your site is hard to do considering all the cluttered content by different brands posting online. However, with a little trick, this is going to be quite easy.

Traffic is measured by click-through rate (CTR) that tells how many people click on your content. Your headline plays a very vital role in this part; if your headline is catchy enough, you will garner higher CTR.

Here are some words and arrangements that can compel people to click:

  • Who

Headlines that contain the word “who” generates 22% higher CTR than those without it. People are more compelled to click if you will intrigue them by focusing on the who factor rather than the why.

  • Photo (in brackets)

Headlines with the word “photo(s)” was found out performing 37% better than those without it. People nowadays like seeing images and other visuals because they find these easy to understand. For them they also do not eat up all their time. By putting “Photos” in your headline, you are telling your readers instantly what they can expect.

Headlines with bracketed information (e.g. “A Day in the Life of Pnoy [Interview]”) compel people to click since they will already have an idea on what they will get once they will click the content.

If there are words that compel people to click, there are also words that drives away people from clicking. Here are some:

  • Headlines with “how to”, “easy”, “always”, “best”, “need”, “must”, among others

Headlines with these words approximately generate 58% worse than headlines without it.

People don’t like clicking content with these headlines because they are appealing to them. “How tos” only appeal to people who are looking for specific content but not to people who are only browsing the Internet. The words “need” and “must” convey urgency and sound demanding, which is a turn off for most people.


As a marketer, your goal is to push people purchase what your brand is offering so you won’t just stop from compelling people to click. Surely you would love to keep them engaged as well.

One measure for engagement is page views per sessions. Here are some headlines that can keep people engaged:

  • Headlines with the words “amazing”, “photos”, and brackets

Headlines with these words generate almost 59% better than headlines without these.

People are more likely drawn to visuals because they just don’t stop from clicking the content, they engage as well. With the word “amazing”, this only generates a little audience, but these audience are surely going to stick around. When people know what to expect by just reading the bracketed information, they will surely engage.                 


When people engage wtih your content, more likely these people will take action, such as availing your services and, in the process, transforming themselves as customers and/or ambassadors.

To make people take action, these are the headlines that won’t keep them from just clicking and engaging:

  • Headlines with the word “need” and brackets

Even though headlines with the word “need” decreases CTR and page views per session, this actually increases conversion rates.

Meanwhile, headlines with bracketed information increases CTR, page views per session, as well as conversion rates by 112%. This happens when the target audience is given clear information when they click and engage with your content.


As a marketer, you invest in information and stories. And that investment starts with thinking what headline to write that would make people stop, look, and listen.

(with Mary Mae Yburan, The Memoriter Writing Service)

Photos from www.pixabay.com

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Nancy Cudis-Ucag

Learn. Then write.

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