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Writing Tips: 5 Ways to Power Up Those Headlines

In Writing for AC, Writing Tips on February 6, 2009 at 4:00 pm

Writing attention-grabbing headlines is a critical part of your article’s success.  Many avid readers are using RSS feeds and other readers to keep up with your latest published articles, you need a great ‘hook’ to encourage a click.

Here are five simple strategies for powering up those headlines:

1.  Tempt them with a number.Six Ways to Lose Weight This Month’, ’11 Tips for Decorating the Living Room’ and ‘5 Ways to Power Up Those Headlines’ give the reader an idea about what to expect.  Numbers simply work; try them in your next article!

2. Command an action. Making the title an imperative resonates with the reader looking for solutions.  ‘Learn to Speak French Like a Native’, ‘Discover the Secret of Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookies’ and ‘Improve Your Fitness Level in 7 Days’ spell out a definite purpose for your articles.

3. Reveal a secret. Make a promise to deliver the ‘truth’ to make your headline more compelling.  ‘What X Didn’t Tell You About…’ or ‘What Car Manufacturers Know About…’ adds a feeling of intrigue or mystery to your title.  This doesn’t work for every niche, but if you can find a way to use it and weave in your keywords, the headline can be very powerful.

4.  Keep it short and sweet. The ‘perfect’ headline is only 65 characters long.  That’s about 5-6, one and two-syllable words.  Read the headline out loud or visualize it on the front page of your favorite newspaper; would you want to read more if it caught your eye on the newsstand?

5. Use power words. Marketers have a long list of persuasive words that encourage action. Some of the most effective include:  win, inspire, lose, earn, learn, find, compete, sell, surprise and avoid. Can you use any of these as the lead to your headline?

Play around with your headlines this week to freshen up your article and attract more attention.  Have any tips of your own?  Share them below!

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