5 Proven Tips To Write Attention Grabbing Headlines That Work

By Bill Pescosolido

Headlines matter!

As a content marketer there probably isn’t a better use of your time than to learn the art & science of how to write attention grabbing headlines.

In fact, one of the biggest mistakes you can make is to crank out a headline as an afterthought…

… after taking the time to write a great piece of content.


Because we live in a world of information overload and instant gratification.

Quite frankly, a poor headline will cost you money.

Think about it… the headline to your blog post or email is the first big thing that everyone sees to determine if they want to take the next step.

If your headline doesn’t grab your reader’s attention right away…

… it doesn’t matter how good the content is behind it because nobody will ever see it.

So as you can see, without a good headline you run the risk of wasting precious…

  • time
  • effort
  • and energy

… on all the content you create that most people will never read.

The good news is, in a second I’m going to share with you 5 simple tips so you can always write attention grabbing headlines.

By the end of this article you’ll be equipped with everything you need to crank out dangerously compelling headlines that grab your reader by the collar and pulls them into your content.

How To Write Attention Grabbing Headlines That Work

Before we get into the 5 tips, lets start by answering the question…

What is a Headline?

To steal a phrase from my buddy Russ Henneberry over at Digital Marketer…

“A headline is a clear, tightly written promise that is made with enough words to make a promise, but no more words than necessary.”

Make sense?

“On the average, five times as many people read the headlines as read the body copy.”    ~ David Ogilvy

Additionally, your headlines need to be compelling without being “hypey” or obnoxious.

Finally, you must deliver on the headline’s promise within the content. 

From a “creating goodwill with your reader” standpoint…

There’s nothing worse than making a promise in the headline and then not delivering on that promise within your content.

So always make sure your headlines are congruent with your content and that you deliver on the initial promise provided in the headline.

How To Use Attention Grabbing Headlines

So now that we know what a headline is, the next question is…

How are we going to use them?

An attention grabbing headline can be useful for improving your email marketing, increasing conversions on your website, and for any other form of content marketing that includes its own header or title.

The headline is the first indicator your reader has to let them know what to expect from your content.

A great headline can act as a beacon of light, guiding your reader towards their desired destination.

The purpose of the headline is to…

  • offer compelling information
  • Solve a problem
  • take away pain
  • help someone achieve a goal
  • fulfill a desire 

So you should always start your content with a killer headline.

Here are 5 easy to follow tips for writing effective headlines starting with #5…

5.) Write a Summary of Your Content

We’ll start with our 5th tip on writing attention grabbing headlines which is to write a summary of your content.

The first step is to summarize the main point of your content in a single sentence.

Don’t worry about how it sounds.

Keep it simple and just write a sentence.

You can play with and edit it to improve the flair of the headline.

For example, this article you’re reading right now is about writing headlines.

So, while the main point is about “writing headlines that will grab people’s attention”…

That’s not the most effective headline.

It still needs some polish.

So after some thought and revision I came up with:

“5 Proven Tips To Write Attention Grabbing Headlines That Work”

See the difference? 

 4.) Use Numbers in Your Headlines

Our 4th tip to write attention grabbing headlines is to use numbers.

Simply put, people like numbers.

This applies to almost any headline.

Whether you’re writing headlines for blog posts, capture pages, or even if you’re writing attention grabbing email subject lines…

Numbers are incredibly effective!

No matter whether you’re…

  • listing steps
  • providing tips
  • creating a checklist

… then consider giving your headline a number.

All you have to do is take your original sentence and see if you can add a number to your headline.

Mini-Case Study:

Which headline do you think is more effective?

“Several Proven Tips To Create Attention Grabbing Headlines”


“5 Proven Tips To Create Attention Grabbing Headlines”

Most people would agree that “5 Proven Tips To Create Attention Grabbing Headlines” is the more effective headline. 


Because you are giving your audience more specificity. 

We know we’re getting 5 tips, which for most people is a digestible amount of tips to consume. 

If you go with “Some Proven Tips…” or even “Proven Tips to Create…” 

… you’re reader has no idea how many tips they’re about to consume or how long it might take to consume them. 

As far as the reader knows it could end up being “92 Proven Tips to Create Attention Grabbing Headlines” and that may take them all night long to read. 

3.) Include Exciting Adjectives

The 3rd tip on how to write attention grabbing headlines is to include exciting adjectives in your headlines.

These are words that grab your attention and help to inspire action from your reader.

Here are a few examples of strong adjectives to use in a headline.

  • Essential
  • Excellent
  • Effective
  • Fantastic
  • Important
  • Mind blowing
  • Proven
  • Valuable
  • Ultimate
  • Simple

Remember, people buy on emotion and justify later with logic. 

Therefore, their emotions are the primary motivating factors for making a purchase. 

When you use emotion evoking words in your headlines you’ll have a much better chance of grabbing your reader’s attention and pulling them into your content. 

2.) Keep Your Headline Short

Our #2 tip about how to write attention grabbing headlines is to keep your headline short.

If you’re writing a headline for a blog post or web page, your headline will also work as your title.

Google recommends a maximum of 70 characters.

Along with the character count, you should pay attention to the number of words.

In most studies, headlines with between 10 and 12 words tend to perform best.

You could go as low as 8 and as high as 14. But, these may not be as effective.

Therefore, your headlines should be short & punchy.

In other words, you need to use as many words only as necessary.  

Don’t be afraid to go back to the drawing board with your headline.

Remember the words of my friend Russ above?

“A headline is a clear, tightly written promise that is made with enough words to make a promise, but no more words than necessary.”

Here’s where the “but no more words than necessary” part come into play.

1.) Be As Specific As Possible

Finally… our #1 tip on how to write attention grabbing headlines is…


In fact, specificity is critical!

(say that 3 times fast lol)

There is nothing worse than a vague headline.

Consider the following two headlines…

  • “Gifts For Dad”


  • “7 Gifts Under $50 For The Dad Who Has It All”

The “Gifts For Dad” headline is about as vague as they come.

However, the “7 Gifts Under $50 For the Dad Who Has It All” headline is very specific.

How many gifts?

7 Gifts

How much do they cost?

Under $50

Who are they for?

The Dad Who Has It All

This one headline has successfully answered three potential questions floating around inside the prospect’s head.

So as you can see, the more specific your headline is, the faster and easier your reader will be able to identify if your content is for them.

Along with effective headlines, you could also benefit from additional copywriting tips here.

3 Types of Headlines

There are 3 main types of headlines you can write, each of them having a unique benefit.

They are:

  1. Social Proof headlines
  2. Threat headlines
  3. Gain headlines

Let’s take a quick look at each one of the headline styles.

Social Proof Headlines:

Social Proof headlines serve to leverage the fact that many other people have already done this (i.e. bought this, wear this, eat or drink this, etc)

As humans, we like to know that we’re not the only one doing something.

Social proof serves as a safety net for us and helps to ease us into moving forward with a decision or a purchase.

  • Here Is A Trick That Is Helping Thousands Of People To [blank]
  • The #1 Secret To [blank] All The Cool Kids Are Talking About
  • How To [blank] Like The Pros

Threat Headlines:

There are two strong emotional triggers that are often cited for why people take action.

The first one of those two is… moving away from pain.

The threat headline capitalizes on the “move away from pain” motivating factor.

  • Do Not Try Another [blank] Until You [take desired action]
  • Are You Making These 5 Blogging Mistakes?
  • The Ugly Truth About [blank]

Gain Headlines: 

Opposite to Threat headlines we have Gain headlines.

In addition to people being motivated to move away from pain…

… they also want to move towards pleasure.

Gain headlines serve to fulfill our desire to get closer to pleasure.

  • How To Build A Business You Can Be Proud Of
  • The Fastest Way To [achieve a specific goal]
  • How To Lose 20 lbs. Without Working Your Tail Off

As you can see, when you write attention grabbing headlines, it will make all the difference when it comes to your reader determining if they want to take the next step and dive into your content.

Write Attention Grabbing Headlines: Final Thoughts

Now that you’ve read the 5 proven tips to write attention grabbing headlines you’re ready to start writing your own headlines.

Once you’ve completed your headline, using these tips, read it out loud.

Does it grab your attention?

Also, does it convey the subject of your content and encourage people to want to read the rest of your content?

Remember, these suggestions can be used for writing any type of headline.

They can be used to…

  • Improve the conversion rates of your landing pages
  • Boost traffic to your blog posts
  • Increase click-through rates on your emails

In addition to these suggestions, you may want to try writing 4 or 5 different headlines.

List them all out and then pick which one sounds best.

Now go out and start writing some headlines and use these 5 tips starting today! 

Also, if you’re struggling to come up with ideas on what to write about check out my free report on the Anatomy of a Perfect Blog Post. 

Until We Meet Again

Cecelia Morris

P.S.,  Your feedback is important to make sure I am providing value and content that you actually want to read.  Please leave a comment about this article telling me what resonated most with you!


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