How to Create a Catchy Headline & Improve Your CTR (Step-by-Step Guide)

If you ask anybody that is a blogger or creates some form of content online, they will agree with me when I said that making a headline that catches the attention of your target audience is one of the most essential blogging skills you need to increasing your traffic and in essence your SEO rankings.

In fact, Copyblogger stated that only 2 out of 10 people who read your headline would consume your content.

That is crazy!

How to Create a Catchy Headline

So how can you get more people to read your content instead of scrolling past your social media promotions or your Google search engine result?

In this in-depth guide on How to Create a Catchy Headline, you will learn:

How to Read This Content:

This section will be a quick tutorial on how you should read this content.

If You Landing on This Page Through My Email Course Then...

For those of you who are going through my email course "Stop Making Shit Content" then I would advise that you read all the content within the blue boxes.

If You Landing on This Page Through Any Other Platform Then...

If you have not come here from my email course, then feel free to read everything on this page.

The content within the blue sections will is extra content that goes in-depth into this topic.

How Buzzfeed Built an Empire through headlines

Everybody knows Buzzfeed.

There are a bunch of reasons why Buzzfeed grew the monthly readers to 163 million (In the US alone); However one of those reasons is due to their headlines.

How to Create a Catchy Headline

Buzzfeed cares a lot about headlines and so should you.

Let's take a little look at some of Buzzfeed's headlines tropes that can help you bring in more visitors.

Before we get into the example, I would like to remind those from the email course and give those who aren't a task.

I want you to come up with five headlines that target keywords within your niche.

It could be five new headlines for existing content or 5 headlines for content in the future.

Also, try out the plugins at the bottom of the guide that help you with your headlines by A/B testing your headlines against each other.

Using Numbers Helps Give Concrete Facts

Example number #1: 18 Times Tumblr Was The Punniest Place On The Entire Goddamn Internet.

We all know that list posts are a big hit online.

Numbers give a clear indication of how many things will be covered in this article.

It also helps people understand how in-depth the content is.

For example, if you wanted to learn more about SEO you would more likely want to read "200 Google Ranking factors to Rank," rather than reading "5 Ranking Factors in SEO."

Wait don't people have a shorter attention span these days?

How to Create a Catchy Headline

Take a look at Brian Dean's article on exactly that. His post (at the time of writing this) has over 30,000 shares.

You do not even need to make a list post to use numbers. If you found an SEO strategy that boosted your monthly visitors by 67% then use that.

You could have a title like "How I Boosted My Monthly Visitors By 67%."

Another Example

How to Create a Catchy Headline


  • Reader Addressing Headlines (21%)
  • How to Headlines (17%)
  • Regular Headlines (15%)
  • Question Type Headlines (11%)

People like numbers because they indicate proof & authority with that article. Another example of this would be headlines like the one above.

Neil Patel published an article in April called "How to Grow Your Social Fans by 400% With User-Generated Content." 

That is a huge claim.

If you had 1,000 followers on social media, that means that this article could help you reach 4,000 new followers. Once people see that, they will be more likely to click the post to check it out.

According to a study made by Moz, headlines with numbers in it get at least a 36% increase in click-throughs, which is more than:

  • Reader Addressing Headlines (21%)
  • How to Headlines (17%)
  • Regular Headlines (15%)
  • Circle
    Question Type Headlines (11%)

People like numbers because they indicate proof & authority with that article. Another example of this would be headlines like the one above.

Neil Patel published an article in April called "How to Grow Your Social Fans by 400% With User-Generated Content." 

That is a huge claim.

If you had 1,000 followers on social media, that means that this article could help you reach 4,000 new followers. Once people see that, they will be more likely to click the post to check it out.

That is why that article is currently sitting as 345 Facebook shares alone.

Note: Do not use headlines with huge claims unless you can back up that claim. If you clickbait people then it will have the opposite effect on your "Authority."

The last tip for numbers is step-by-step guides.

LiveScience published an article in which they stated that the human brain could only process five to nine things for short-term memory recall.

That means that processing over ten things can become overwhelming.

For this reason, I would suggest only having five to nine steps in your guides. In fact, even if you are doing a list post of 200 items, I would recommend picking the 5 - 9 best tips and adding them at the top of your article.

Why you should use emotional words to help your readers

Example number #2: A Reporter Asked Rihanna If She Would Be Attending The Royal Wedding And She Replied In The Best Way.

Okay, this title doesn't help someone with a problem but it invokes curiosity.

By using emotional words in your headlines, you will get a ton of clicks.

Instead of just having "A Reporter Asked Rihanna if She Would Be Attending The Royal Wedding," as their headline, they invoked curiosity into their readers by adding "And She Replied in The Best Way."

Using SEO as our example, you could have a headline like this:

"How Anthony's Backlink Strategy Shocked Me".

I could use something like "Backlink Strategy: How to Get Better Backlinks," which isn't bad but it doesn't create any emotion.

Another Example

I used curiosity as the example for creating emotion; however, that isn't the only emotion.

If you use Coschedule's Headline Analyzer, you will notice how much they talk using "Power Words."

How to Create a Catchy Headline

They are essential to any headline, and if you look carefully, you will notice power words in almost all of the examples used in this article.

Even in the headline for this article has words such as:

  • How
  • To
  • Improve

Remember you do not only want people to land on your page and read your content, you want them to learn and feel the emotions behind your words.

Coschedule has an article talking about the psychology of social sharing; I would highly recommend that you read it.

focus on showing not telling

Example number #3: 14 YouTube Channels You Need To Know If You Want To Work Out For Free.

This headline features two different tropes. Can you see the other one?

When people are on social media, they not there to consume your content. They're there to connect with their friends, family and other people on the platform.

If you want to capture their attention, you will need to find a way to help with something where they didn't even know they needed the help.

I Wrote a guide on how to make a WordPress blog and my headline for that is "How to Set Up a WordPress Blog in 2019 (Step-by-Step Guide)."

If somebody was thinking about making a website but wasn't sure because he or she didn't know they could make a fantastic website or blog, seeing my headline let them know that I am here to help.

The sad reality is that people do not care about you or your website. They only care about how you can help them.

So remember when creating the headlines you want to help your target audience.

Another Example

As humans, we are visual creatures by nature. That's why we came up with the expression "Actions speak louder than words."

I could sit at my desk and create a 3,000-word article about how you can make $1,000,000 by next week, but if I can't show you how to do that, then it's merely a scam.

Headlines are the first (and most cases the last) thing that people will see when looking through your content.

It's vital that you give them a reason to stay.

In OptinMonster's case, they wanted to show their readers how to increase their blog traffic with 25 strategies that they put together.

Instead of telling them that they can increase their traffic, they wanted to show them how much their reader based can be improved.

OptinMonster's Headline: "25 Proven Strategies to Increase Your Blog’s Traffic by 1064%"

use headlines that spell out your content

Example number #4: Literally Just 21 Funny Tweets From This Year's Eurovision.

This headline is perfect for this last tip.

Sometimes you can just say what is in your content as a headline.

If you read the blog that this title is connected to, you will see that it is just 21 funny tweets from the Eurovision.

If you remember earlier in this lesson, I was talking about Brian Dean's article on Google ranking factors.

The title was merely what the content had to offer to you. "200 Google Ranking Factors."

Another Example

In some cases, your content can do all the talking for you.

Your goal is to get more and more people to read your content.

If the article is good enough (which it should be), you can use the main benefit of your content as your headline.

Like I mentioned earlier, only use specific tactics if you can back it up. It will negatively impact you if you're creating headlines like:

  • 300 Awesome SEO Strategies
  • How I Invested $3 Million into Social Media & Got $10 Million Back
  • Shocking Things This Celebrity Said About This Celebrity

If you're not able to back up those claims with facts.

What to Take From This Guide

The one thing that I want you to leave here understanding is that headlines are crucial to your consumer growth.

It will be hard to consistently come up with headlines that incorporate all of the types that we have discussed today, but if you try to use a combination of 2 - 3 of them, then you will have a compelling headline.

If you use the headline analyzer from Coshedule, they would recommend using headlines with a score above 70.

Personally, I would recommend to split test your headlines and track which type of headlines are best for your business.

What works for Buzzfeed or Business Insider may not work for your brand.

Extra Note: You can use a different headline for social media & your website than you do for your Google result. Take that into account when optimizing your content for SEO.

I can only give you the guides and tutorials. It's up to you whether or not they work. You have to keep testing headlines against each other and triple down on what works.

Feel free to comment down below if you have any questions or would like to add to this guide on how to create a catchy headline; I always get back to those of you who leave a comment.

Check out the box below for all the tools I would recommend to help you.

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  • Furkan says:

    I think using better headlines is just a must for bloggers and I will start using numbers more since I did not try that much. However, I wondering what a good click-through rate per impression is? Since if the headline is not performing well I can change it and try another one.

    • Editorial Team says:

      That depends on your niche; I would say anything over 20% is fantastic, anything between 20 – 10% is excellent, anything between 10 – 5% is average & anything under 5% you should probably take a look at how you can improve that headline.

      Hope this helps,
      Anthony

  • dreamgirl93 says:

    Thanks for the article,

    I have already read some of the tips provided here; however, there were some tips I hadn’t seen before so thank you. I think that a good headline has a significant impact on social shares. I haven’t used split testing before so I will have to try it out.

    I don’t have much experience doing a split test, is it difficult?

    • Editorial Team says:

      Thanks for the comment, Dreamgirl.

      Most of my content is targeted towards complete beginners; I will be making content that advanced users such as yourself can benefit from shortly.

      Hope this helps,
      Anthony

  • Ed says:

    Hi Anthony,

    Great tips on how to create a catchy headline. Lots of information that I didn’t know before.
    Absolutely agree with all of them and will be trying to add the ones that I haven’t tried so far.
    One thing I do is to make sure my keyword is in the headline and check it for traffic and QSR on Jaaxy or another keyword tool. Otherwise, the headline can get buried so far back in Google that no one sees it no matter how catchy it is.
    Thanks for the tips.

    Ed

    • Editorial Team says:

      Glad you liked the guide, Ed.

      Let me know if you are still finding some trouble increasing your CTR.

  • Furkan says:

    My click through rates are so low and I think that I don’t use good headlines and that is the reason. You said that split testing will help however I could not find a good guide for how to do it. They seem incomplete. Can you give me point me some directions?