How To Pique Reader Interest with Your Headline

When It Comes To Crafting Your Headline, Would You Say That It Piques The Interest of Your Reader?





“Your headline is the biggest factor determining the number of social shares your content gets: The fact is most people don’t read your content, no matter how good it is”…….says Neil Patel (from his blog post “Stop Writing Boring Headlines: 11 Types of Headlines That Pique Reader Interest”)  Around 80-85% of people will read headlines, while only about 20% will read the actual article.  Based on the headline itself, people make the choice of whether or not to read on.  This is one of the biggest reasons why a great headline is so important.  But there’s one reason that’s even more important:  Most people will share content based on the headline alone.



[tweet_dis]Before I share the 11 best types of headlines from Neil, there’s one thing that you need to understand about headlines……Even if your headline is the most impressive headline ever written, that doesn’t mean you’ll get thousands or millions of shares.[/tweet_dis]




Because there are two other factors at play:

  1. Your topic/niche
  2. The number of people who see it


The reason why understanding these factors is important is to help you keep your expectations realistic.  Your goal should be to get as many shares as possible (based on your headline).  If you do this well consistently, your site will grow. While going viral is nice, consistently maximizing your shares and traffic is what will bring you reliable success.




Here are the 11 best types of headlines to write as well as ways to use them effectively as shared from Neil Patel (


1. The “Ultimate Headline”

  • The idea behind this formula is that it can describe just about any highly effective headline.
  • There are five main parts to it:
  • Number – You know what a number is.
  • AdjectiveA word that describes a thing (noun). For example: best, adorable, surprising.
  • Keyword – A keyword or short phrase that tells us what the content is about (possibly also for SEO)
  • Rationale – The main way that value is delivered in the content. For example: reasons, ways, secrets.
  • Promise – What will the reader get from reading the content?


2. “X” Reasons why list headlines are amazing

  • List posts are not only highly readable but they are also very handy when it comes to writing an effective headline.
  • You automatically have a number of items in your list to add to your headline.
  • In an analysis of about 1 million most popular headlines, it was found that list posts are by far the most shared.
  • These types of headlines make a specific promise, and the reader knows what to expect going into the content.
  • Lists are much easier to read, and readers can skim them, moving quickly from one section to another to see if there’s anything they’re interested in.


3. “How to” write a descriptive and interesting headline

  • The general format is:  How to + Action (do something) + Unique benefit
  • The real selling point comes from the unique benefit.
  • It has to be something desirable.
  • Why it works: There are a few reasons why more bloggers should be using “how to” headlines when possible.
  • First, they’re simple to write.
  • Break it down into the two main components:
  • the action
  • the unique, desirable benefit
  • The action is usually pretty straightforward, but spend a few minutes looking at different ways to incorporate it into the headline.
  • Second…Make a list of all the potential benefits of the action you’re telling the reader to take.
  • Try to focus on it from the reader’s point of view.
  • You could come up with a list of 20 headlines pretty easily, composed of different benefits and different ways to describe them.
  • It still takes practice and experience to be able to create and pick the best option.


4. Three common mistakes of headline writing

  • What this is about is incorporating the word “mistakes” into your headline.
  • It’s a magical adjective that draws the attention of just about any type of reader, which makes it versatile.
  • In general, people are afraid of making mistakes.
  • So, when you see a headline with the word “mistakes” in it, you want to make sure that you’re not doing something that might be considered foolish.
  • What mistakes should you write about?
  • The good news is that you have one word in your headline already decided for you: mistakes.
  • The part that requires some practice is determining if your audience is interested in a certain type of mistakes.
  • It’s a good idea to consider this before creating the content as well.
  • And to do this, you need to answer one major question: What do your readers care about but are uncertain about?
  • While you can write articles about a single mistake your readers might be wary of making, you’ll often create content around multiple mistakes.
  • You can combine using “mistakes” in your headline with the number of elements in your list


5. What is the secret to a great headline?

  • One type of headline that can help you get more social shares is a question headline.
  • You ask the reader a question that they would be interested in learning the answer to, and it’s implied that your content will provide the answer.
  • Social media is a great platform for headlines like these to spread because they are all about the user.
  • It makes sense that they see headlines asking them questions on social media.
  • One key note to include: The best question headlines are the ones that speak to your reader directly.
  • It forces them to answer the question, and if it’s “no”, it often makes them seek an answer.




6. This is the best type of headline EVER!

  • When people have a feeling about your content, positive or negative, they will take action.
  • It could be a comment, share, or anything else.
  • Typically, it’s something that you want to encourage.
  • And most of that emotion will be stirred up when they read your headline.
  • This is why you should focus on making emotional headlines.
  • The EMV index: The emotional marketing value (EMV) index was created to try to quantify the emotional impact of words in a sentence (or headline).
  • To check your headline, use this EMV headline analyzer.
  • Type in your headline, select a category, then submit it for analysis


7. Can’t explain complex topics? Here’s how to write headlines like…

  • One of the most difficult parts of crafting a great headline is figuring out a way to stand out from all the others who have written about your topic.
  • There’s only one key to using brands in your headlines: This is a very simple, but effective technique.
  • However, you’re probably wondering which brands to include in your headline.
  • It’s crucial that the brand is well-known among your readers.
  • And not only that, it should be related to your topic.


8. One simple way to cure your headline problems forever

  • There’s no simple way to become an expert headline writer overnight.
  • This technique, in particular, is to say that you have a simple way to solve a fairly complicated problem that your readers have.
  • It’s no secret that if you want to add value to your readers’ lives (and get the rewards of that), you need to solve problems in their lives that they care about.
  • However, what’s just as important is the way you solve them.
  • The vast majority of people want a simple solution.
  • And that is why using “simple” in your headline is a great way to capture attention.


9. A way to combine headlines and subheadlines

  • The reason why creating great headlines is so difficult is because your goal is not only to induce curiosity but also provide clarity.
  • If you read about copywriting, you already know that being too clever is a bad thing.
  • At the same time, a certain level of cleverness is how you create the intrigue.
  • So, you need a bit of both.
  • One of the best ways to accomplish this is to write a really short clever headline and include a more traditional subheadline, all in one.




10. Social proof works everywhere, especially on social media

  • Here’s a very simple way to write a good headline.
  • Start your headline with “Who else wants…”.
  • The reason why it works is because it shows that at least one other person wants something already.
  • Most people follow others, so if they’ve approved an idea or product, most readers will give it a chance.
  • The second reason it works is because it asks the reader to join a group.
  • Do they want to join this group of people who want something?
  • People are social creatures and like belonging to groups, which draws even more attention to your headline.


11. Make your headlines SHINE with this method…

  • A final check that you can do to make sure your headline covers all of its basis is to see if it meets every point on the “SHINE” list.
  • SHINE is an acronym often used for headlines.
  • It stands for:
  • Specificity-Is your headline specific? It should be clear that your content is about one specific topic.
  • H: Helpfulness-Does it display helpfulness? At the heart of every piece of content, there needs to be something of value to the reader.
  • I: Immediacy-Is there some sort of urgency? There should be something that encourages the reader to read the content right away.
  • N: Newsworthiness-Does it need to be said? All content should have something new in it, no matter the topic
  • E: Entertainment value-Does it sound fun, even a tiny bit? Unless you have extremely motivated readers, no one looks for content that bores them.



Your headline is the most important part of your content when it comes to getting traffic and social shares.  But creating a great headline isn’t easy; it takes a lot of practice and knowledge.



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To Your Success,
Joan Harrington

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26 Replies to “How To Pique Reader Interest with Your Headline”

  1. It’s always a challenge to write the perfect headline, it was a lot of trial and error for me until I figured out what types work best. I’ve never heard of the shine method before, I’ll definitely give it a try. Thanks for writing such a helpful post! 🙂

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