Coming Up with Compelling Headlines


Content Marketing

The blank page can be extremely overwhelming when you sit down to write your content. In fact, many people feel that it is extraordinarily intimidating. However, if you are able to write an effective headline, the rest of your content will follow more easily.

The many purposes of your headline

You may be wondering what has to go into a headline to make it compelling. Of course, there are many different elements (and facets) that go into making a headline compelling and really effective. There is actually a formula that you can follow, which will help you tremendously to make your headlines exactly what you need them to be. 

When a person starts to read your content and your headline makes a vow to that person, that means that the reader will know exactly what to expect from you based on that particular piece of content. At this point, you need to determine what you are vowing to do and why that will be something that other people will notice. Right off the bat, the first thing that you need to determine (before you post any content at all) is exactly who your target audience is. Once you have done that, the vow that you make through your headline will allow your target audience members to have a clear expectation about what you can do for him or her. In short, you need to let the other person know that you have the capability of solving his or her problems.

When you sit down to write your headline, there are a lot of things to keep in mind that will help you to draw your readers. On the other hand, there are also some things that you shouldn’t do because if you do, your headline will not help you to accomplish the goals that you have set out to accomplish. Ultimately, everyone in business has the same goal. Everyone wants to achieve greater success and earn more money. However, at the heart of good writing is the relationship itself. Your content is a tool to help you to build and grow relationships with your target audience members. 

Write as much as possible

If you are intimidated about writing because you haven’t done it very much, the best way to counteract that is to write more and more. The more you write, the more comfortable and the better you will become at it. You should be prepared for the fact that in the beginning, your headlines may not be very good (or, at least, may not be what you want them to be). Please don’t despair about that. It will definitely get easier as you write more and more headlines. Once you have written a nice number of headlines, you will feel much more comfortable about writing in general.

However, now you have to button down not only writing headlines but you need to also button down writing good-quality headlines. If you aren’t sure (which may be the case) about the quality of your headline, you can test it, which will give you a more objective idea about the impact of that particular headline. It is a very good idea to write different types of headlines so that you can figure out which type(s) work best for your particular business.

The first place to test those headlines is with people with whom you work. However, you are not only looking for those people to say that they like the headline or don’t like the headline. You are looking for constructive criticism, which means that you want to capture the reasons why those people like or don’t like your headline. That will give you an understanding of what you can do to improve your writing.

Examine each headline, word by word

In addition to writing a large number of headlines, you should also read a large number of headlines. If you read a headline that affects you in a positive way, ask yourself why you reacted in that way. On the other hand, if you reacted negatively, try to determine why you reacted in that way.

You should have absolutely no lack of headline sources. Headlines are everywhere around you. You can go to the bookstore (or a bunch of magazines that you have at home) and thumb through those. You will find a wealth of headlines in those publications. Of course, you can also go the route of taking a course or using a book to learn the anatomy of a headline and learn in that way. It all depends on the way in which you learn most effectively. There are many different ways in which you can learn to write headlines. You just need to determine which one works best for you.

Writing a headline is a formula

Writing a headline is actually quite simple. You can actually use the formula and that will make the headline writing much easier and less intimidating. You should pay attention to what other people in your industry are writing and you can mimic those, with your own words (of course). You may want to create a repository of headlines that you like so that you can refer to those when you sit down to actually write your own headlines. Once you have become really familiar with the anatomy of a headline, you can create a template, which will basically be foolproof. At this point, you will have buttoned down the concept of what should go into your headlines and why you choose the words that you choose.

Writing amazing headlines with minimal effort

There are certain words that automatically draw the attention of your readers. People respond to “How to” content. In general, people love to learn new things. If you use this technique, it will get the attention of the reader because your headline makes the reader understand that he or she is going to learn something new if the person reads your content all the way to the end. You have made a vow and the body of your content will deliver on that vow.

It is extremely important to keep in mind that every piece of content that you post must have a story. Your headline will give a hint of that story and if the reader keeps reading, he or she will learn what that story is and how that story resonates with him or her.


All of the different parts of any given piece of content are important for a variety of reasons. Remember that before you can run, you need to walk. Don’t have an expectation of perfection when you first sit down to write your headline. Write a preliminary draft and then work on it until it is perfect in your eyes. However, because the headline is the first thing that the person reads, it is critical that the headline is as compelling and attractive as possible. It is critical that you recognize how important your headline is to your business’ success. It is the foundation that you need to continue to perfect over time.

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Carolyn Cohn

Co-Founder and Chief Editor at CompuKol Communications LLC

Carolyn Cohn is the Chief Editor of CompuKol Communications LLC. Mrs. Cohn has a wealth of experience in business writing as well as having a strong editorial background. She manages all of the company’s writers, journalists and editors as well as writing, editing and publishing several business articles a week on a consistent basis, which are syndicated globally.

Mrs. Cohn has run several editorial departments for other companies. She has over 25 years of editorial experience and her expertise covers a wide range of media, such as online editing, and editing books, journal articles, abstracts, and promotional and educational materials.

Throughout her career, Mrs. Cohn has established and maintained strong relationships with professionals from a wide variety of companies. The principle that governs her work is that all words need to be edited.

Mrs. Cohn earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from the State University of New York (SUNY) at Buffalo.

Mrs. Cohn is a member of the American Medical Writers Association (AMWA).

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