30+ Killer Headline Hacks To Amp Up Emails, Tweets, Posts

Posted by on August 19, 2014

Ah ha! So you opened my blog post, did ya? Was it the Buzz Feed-esque number at the beginning of the title? The catchy buzz words like “killer” and “hacks?”

I read an interesting article on Buffer about maximizing your click-rates, providing one of the most extensive lists of headline formulas (yes – formulas) I’ve seen. Apparently there is some real science behind a good clickable tweet or headline!

“On average, five times as many people read the headline as read the body copy.”

employee-boss-cartoonThe well known quote above is by the late marketing/advertising guru, David Ogilvy. And he’s right. That carefully crafted tweet you sent out (after 10 revisions) on behalf of your brand? It’s likely it may have been seen in the feeds of your thousands of followers…but it may have only generated  50-100 clicks. This is not uncommon. Typically 8 out of 10 people will read your headline/tweet while only 2 out of 10 will click. Those 140 characters or 6-10 word headline are more important than you’d think. We’ve got our work cut out for us!

I won’t list all of the awesome ideas the blog post shared (I encourage you to check them out as you have time), but below you’ll find a few of my favorites.

Beyond the buzz words, try psychology to make your blog post/tweet/email irresistibly clickable. Some examples of emotion-driven headlines:

  • Surprise – “This Is Not a Perfect Blog Post (But It Could’ve Been)”
  • Questions – “Do You Know How to Create the Perfect Blog Post?”
  • Curiosity gap – “10 Ingredients in a Perfect Blog Post. Number 9 Is Impossible!”
  • Negatives – “Never Write a Boring Blog Post Again”
  • How to – “How to Create a Perfect Blog Post”
  • Numbers – “10 Tips to Creating a Perfect Blog Post”
  • Audience referencing – “For People on the Verge of Writing the Perfect Blog Post”
  • Specificity – “The 6-Part Process to Getting Twice the Traffic to Your Blog Post”

The ultimate formula! Try: Numbers + Adjective + Target Keyword + Rationale + Promise 

  • Before the formula: How to Sell Your House
  • After the formula: How you Can Effortlessly Sell Your House in Less Than 24 Hours

Which would you click? 

Nitty gritty tips:

  • Max character count is 65 before getting cut off in search results
  • Perfect length for headline = 6 words
  • People scan headlines and typically only take in the first 3 words and last three words
  • Use numbers (digits, not words) – people want to increase efficiency and seeing a numbered list (easy steps) fills this need

Now go forth and write those amazing headlines!

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Thanks to Kevan Lee of Buffer for these great tips!