Headlines that Grab Attention

Sections of this topic

    Four Easy Tips to Capture Your Readers

    If your headline doesn’t grab your readers’ attention in a few short seconds, you’ve lost them.

    We live in a universe of scanners. No one has time to actually read everything that comes across our computer screens. So you MUST write effective headlines that pull them in. And you have one shot at it – exactly 3 seconds.

    Here are some tips to get the edge on your competition:

    1. Make the headline easy to read

    When we scan, our eyes look quickly for certain words. If it looks complex – with big words that take focus and brain strain, our minds (perhaps subconsciously) tend to avoid it. So keep it simple. Make it easy to scan.

    Instead of:

    “Choose either pre-configured or custom-configured spaces for your equipment”

    Simplify it:

    “Standard or custom storage”

    2. Lose the advertising hype

    The internet has changed the way consumers want to hear messages. It’s no longer a one-way “push” campaign. Consumers want to be educated, engaged, and respected. We tend to tune out the old-style “push” message. It doesn’t serve us!

    Instead of:

    “100% Opt-in Audience that has the Highest Response Rates, Guaranteed!”

    Make it more believable:

    “Need a reliable traffic magnet that delivers long-term clients?”

    3. Include your top keyword

    Ideally, it would be the first word in the headline. Both for the reader and for search engines, this gives weight to the topic of your text. If not the first word, place your top keyword as close to the beginning as possible. This gives the reader assurance that they’ve landed on the topic they’re looking for.

    Instead of:

    “New gel guaranteed to cure athlete’s foot”


    “Athlete’s foot cure – guaranteed”

    4. Use subheads

    This tip is perhaps the single most important thing to KEEP the reader engaged.

    If you grab their attention in the headline, you want to immediately draw them in on the subhead! Like a one-two punch, deliver the subhead with intrigue, and promise value in the text below.

    Using the previous headline, try a subhead like this, which gives the benefits of the promise:

    HEADING: “Athlete’s foot cure – guaranteed”

    SUBHEAD: “Quick results, no mess, and low cost! Learn more here.”

    (Thanks to Ginger Makela at Google for the inspiration.)

    Do you have any MAGIC BULLETS for effective headline writing?


    For more resources, see our Library topics on Marketing and Social Networking.

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    ABOUT Lisa M. Chapman: With offices in Nashville Tennessee, but working virtually with international clients, Lisa M. Chapman serves her clients as a business and marketing coach, business planning consultant, and social media consultant. As a Founder of iBrand Masters, a social media consulting firm, Lisa Chapman helps clients establish and enhance their online brand, attract their target market, engage them in meaningful social media conversations, and convert online traffic into revenues. Email: Lisa @ LisaChapman.com