Sticky headlines stop you in your tracks

Know a substandard headline can lead to failure in your content marketing?

Koechley show traffic to vary upwards of 500% because of headlines.

That is enough reason to inform you that a strong headline is an essential ingredient to the success of your online business or blog.

Look at this…

With the current times, every business on the internet is competing for attention, especially clicks. So create alluring headlines to help you garner more traffic. More traffic, higher click-through rate (CTR).

A great headline is a crucial game changer.

Take soccer for instance. There’s ‘playmaking’… changing the dynamics of a game from losing to winning, real quick.

In similar fashion you can with the minutest tweak make an impact on how catchy your title is to your audience.

Personally, I have been a culprit of spending long hours writing good content. And unknowingly neglecting good headlines. Until I came across statistics that confirmed my worst fears as a blogger:

8 out of 10 will read your headline, but only 2  will read the rest of your content. Fearfully of the potent of missing out on prospects, I take time to craft better headlines for my posts.

Now that you are aware how important headlines are, you are wondering what makes sticky ones,  right?

Well, you are in the right place. Why?  

Here are simple tricks and formulas. And you know the result – increased CTR.

First, we look at the purpose of a headline:

What is the purpose of a headline?

  • Grab attention.
  • Select your audience.


Grab Attention

Grabbing people’s attention is harder than ever. Why?

Technological advancement has led to bombardment of people with tonnes of advertisements daily. You’ve experienced this yourself. So most people have become advert resistant.

Do you know it takes less 5 seconds to determine if a headline is appealing?

Therefore, without a great headline, you slim conversion chances, no matter how persuasive your content. Remember we are working with mere seconds!  

What to look at to make your headline an attention grabber

  • Prospects will only react to your headline if it is exciting and relevant.
  • Prospects react to headlines that offer rewards or helpful information.
  • Prospects consider headlines with their wants.

Put yourself in your prospect’s shoes. Question yourself if the headline you have written appeals to you. If it does not intrigue you, then you will turn prospects away.


Select Your Audience

Within your online platforms… social media space, your potential clients are on the lookout for things that interest them.

Moreover, within every minute spent on social media, hundreds of things happen to your prospects. And they will only click through copy relevant to them.

So, your headlines will stick out your content to matching prospect’s ambitions.

We will look at samples of headlines:

“Prepare for the cost of retiring in Kenya”. What do you think of this headline?

Such a headline will only attract people who are in Kenya and about to retire.

Young people will have zero interest in what the content offers. Because they’ve not considered retiring.

Now change the location “Kenya” to your own country. Say “Malaysia”… will you be interested then?

Another headline that grabbed my attention is a listicle like “3 Disturbing Observations about Kenyans’ Attitude in Raising Their Kids”

Your thoughts?

Here is why it is a strong headline:

  • It grabs attention by the first three words – ‘3 Disturbing Observations’
  • It selects the audience – ‘Kenyan Parents’

Now, we look at what makes a good headline:

“What do I need to get Sticky Headlines?”


1. Make It Short But Still Long Enough To Capture Reader Interests

Great headlines should be short. How short is short?

Short enough to grab people’s attention and the prospects’ ambitions.

It is not something that happens overnight. But with continuous prospect research, you write great short headlines. So, in patience, your headlines should be relevant and sticky.

There’s a lot of controversy in length of words for a headline. But on average a headline with 12 words works.

Online news magazines and you will realize that their headlines are short and catchy.


2. Make it Clear, Not Amusing – Not Clever

Trying to be too ‘clever’ creates ambiguity. Why leave your potential readers guessing? Trying to discern the relevance of their topic under research.

Effective headlines on the web have proved to be clear, direct and uninventive and not witty. Be direct in what you want to deliver and save your wordplay and humor for the actual content.


3. Think SEO

What is your writing or product goal if not to attract more views and clients? Then it is time you optimize your headlines for search engines.

Speak a simple user language, use phrases likely to be “googled” and load your headlines with important keywords. And above all keep them simple.


4. Make it Relevant

Online users rarely have time to study copy to know if it is relevant to them.

So make sure your headline conveys your main message, and confidently the online users will judge whether it benefits them or not.


5. Benefits

“How to lose weight without dieting”

The headline is compelling. It looks at the immediate checking weight need and triggers an appeal of eating without stressing on what you eat.

To motivate people to read your content, ensure you attach an irresistible and powerful result to your headline.


6. Use Adjectives That Evoke Emotions

When two headlines have satisfied the above requirements, only one that uses emotionally stirring words will get more clicks.

Not only evoking emotions but also building up with touch verbs. We like to feel how it’s with our senses.

Words such as dress up, tasty, magnetic, eye-catching capture the emotion and sense of readers.


7. Appeal to Curiosity

You do this by asking intriguing questions. An example is:

“Are You Committing These Mistakes that Cost Your Business Dearly?”

This leaves your readers hanging…result is plunging into your article immediately.

Even more, if your business is struggling ‘what mistakes I’m committing?’ question comes to your mind. And the thought of a solution in the content will push to click and read through.


8. Sound Urgent and Specific

Time-sensitive headlines… hinting that you will instantly solve people’s problems. “Right now” “immediately”

Specific… “Lose 2 Pounds in 1 Week” looks more powerful than “Lose 2 Pounds in Several Days.”

Automatically, the first one sells. Why?

Because I’ve been struggling with weight loss for the longest time possible. And no solution seems to work. So, the headline arouses the urgency and backs up a working solution.

Heads Up: It is very imperative for the solution to work. If not, the headline will not work magic to tie down your prospects.


Key Takeaways

Now, you know if your blog post will be a hit based on your headline.

The huge disparity in creating sticky headlines and mediocre ones is out for all to see. It is time to make your blog posts do well, spend more time coming up with your headline the way you do when composing your content.

It is fortunate that your post will be exceptional even if your content is trash. Not really trash but average.


An exceptional headline! It is very busy out here. You’ll only pique readers with a great headline. And your readers will know you’re the only one.