How To Attract User Attention

Attract Attention With These 8 Powerful Tips For Engaging Headlines



In this post, you’ll find 8 effective and powerful tips for engaging headlines shared from Andrew Smith ,a social media marketer , KissMetrics where you will learn exactly why they are so effective to attracting attention


1. Surprise

  • Surprises in headlines work because human brains like novelty.
  • Compared to expected pleasant events, unpredicted pleasant things “turn on” the pleasure centers in our brains even more.
  • Surprises prove to be far more stimulating and grab our attention much quicker than things we know well and even really like.
  • This explains why people can subconsciously prefer an unexpected experience over something they want.

2. Questions

  • Questions that prime our curiosity are powerful brain influencers.
  • If we already know from the headline what we are getting next, our curiosity may be over before it begins.
  • The best questions are about something readers can relate to or want to know about.

3. Curiosity

  • There’s a psychological phenomenon you can use effectively called the curiosity gap, which is the gap between something a person knows and something he or she wants to know.
  • People start to feel a kind of deprivation when they notice a gap in their knowledge.
  • It’s possible to provoke that feeling by providing just a bit of information.
  • Once a person knows a little, they will want to find out more and fill in the missing information so they can feel better.
  • With this in mind, try to “prime the pump” by giving readers some intriguing (though incomplete) information in your headline, telling them enough to spark their curiosity but not so much that you give your story away.

4. Negatives

  • Everyone knows that superlatives like “best,” “greatest,” and “biggest” are effective in headlines, but sometimes negative superlatives such as “worst” are even more powerful.
  • This is because negatives are unexpected compared with positives and, thus, cause surprise.
  • Negatives are powerful for tapping into people’s insecurities.
  • Using words like “don’t,” “stop,” and “avoid” often work well since everyone wants to know if there’s anything they should stop doing.

5. How To

  • Many advertising writers say if your headline starts with “how to,” it can’t be bad.
  • At the same time, people don’t really want information.
  • What they really want is some sense of predictability and order in their lives.
  • Everyone wants control over their world.
  • That’s why they seek out secrets, tips, rules, hints, laws, and systems that promise to provide order and make better sense of things.

6. Numbers

  • The first reason numbers work in headlines is that people like predictability and don’t like uncertainty.
  • Numbers help readers by providing them with expectation management so that they know exactly what they are getting into.
  • It seems that the larger the number in the headline, the better the post spreads.

7. Audience Reference

  • Basically, referencing your audience means using “you” in your headline.
  • Seeing such a headline, the reader immediately feels known and named.
  • Construction gains attention because our brains are focused on solving problems.
  • Actively searching for solutions to problems is part of our survival instinct.
  • That’s why when a reader is in the precise target audience of some headline, he thinks, “That’s for me!”
  • This tip also feeds into people’s self-interest.
  • When you speak to your readers’ needs, desires, and emotions, you answer the main question in their minds: “What’s in it for me?”

8. Specificity

  • Quantifiable concrete facts, especially those that form images in our heads, are intensely interesting.
  • Figures imply research and add to the writer’s legitimacy.
  • Any kind of specificity works: digits, names, examples, projections, descriptions, titles, results, etc.
  • Specificity in the headline demonstrates your article is in-depth.
  • When you are specific, it provides clarity and assurance to readers about what they will be getting into if they click.



When inserting these elements into your headlines, you may find that one trick works really well for a while but then starts delivering diminishing returns.  Don’t worry.  Just try another, and keep looking for new ways to engage your audience.  Be experimental and playful toward what you are writing and literally ruthless about testing.



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To Your Success,
Joan Harrington

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0 Replies to “How To Attract User Attention”

  1. I’ve used many if not all of these types of headlines. This is the first post I’ve read that explained why to use these types of headlines and why they work.

    When I browse online I think I am most prone to click on the informative headlines to find out what I don’t know or what I’m missing.

  2. Hello Joan, I just love what you have done here with your bog my friend! You sure have been a busy one!

    Now for this post great share, it is so important to get that title right HUH? This is the main draw! Will it be read or not! All 8 tips are spot on..

    Thanks for sharing. Chery :))

  3. Great tips Joan!

    Ironically, I just read a few other posts on this same topic including 10 Sure-Fire Headline Formulas That Work which cover the same points you made. Always good when related information agrees! 🙂

  4. Hi Joan,
    Thanks for this. I definitely need to implement this in my titles!
    Seriously need to analyze my headlines! There are so many things to remember and I’ve been blogging for nearly two years! Whew!

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