3 Timeless Headline-Writing Principles
Jun 8, 2023
The algorithm will change. Social media platforms will come and go.
But these 3 principles for writing great headlines will not.
1. Clarity First.
Above all else, your headline must clearly and simply share the main idea. If the reader can't quickly grasp what to expect, they won't spend time reading it.
Sound similar to other writing advice? The challenge of great writing is to communicate the most information in the fewest number of words — the same applies to headline writing.
2. Be Specific. Be Descriptive.
What you’re avoiding in headline writing — a generic, vague headline that appeals to everyone — so it appeals to no one.
Ever wonder why so many headlines use numbers? Numbers are specific and appeal to the human desire for predictability — you know what you’re getting when you open the article.
Even better than using numbers — use specific, descriptive language that gives a similar sense of predictability.
3. Appeal to Emotions.
There is nothing more timeless than human emotion. Identify a core emotion that your writing captures and tap into it.
Curiosity is one of the most powerful human emotions in headline writing.
The Curiosity Gap is a popular headline writing technique for presenting a gap between what the reader knows and what they want to know. Can you share the main point of the post while leaving the reader wanting to know more?
In summary, be clear, be specific, and appeal to emotions when writing headlines.
The algorithm and writing platforms will change, but remember these core principles to help you share your ideas.