Have you ever had to come up with a headline for your blog post, a Facebook or Google ad – but end up getting frustrated as the blinking typing cursor stays stationary immediately after you’ve written some variation of ‘7 reasons why…’.

I did some reading recently (you know, as you do if you want to stay relevant in the ever changing field of basically any industry you work in) and stumbled across an eye-opening revelation (it was really just an article, but nevertheless it was eye-opening).

A client linked me a ‘headline analyser’ that he had used to come up with some of his headings on his website. At first I thought this was just some cheesy gimmick that would rate whatever you wrote in the text input on a completely unscientific scale of 0 – 💯. Rather than say I was wrong, I was pleasantly surprised that there was a fair bit of scientific research that backed the ‘analyser’ and after some reading, here are some key takeaways to give you an insight in how to craft higher engaging headlines for your content:

  • Punchy headlines are out – longer, informative and contextual headlines are in

Forget the titles of ‘7 reasons why your business isn’t working’ – sure it’s punchy, and might strike a chord with your target audience and get them to click – and to this day I would still be writing blogs with these types of headlines. But hey, you can’t argue with science right?

Infographic by: Sharethrough (http://nativeadvertising.com/contextwords/)

Chinese Takeaway: Write longer headlines for higher engagement

  • Use more context words in your headline

To be specific, 17% of your headline should consist of context words. Yes at this point you’re probably looking at the screen with a confused look on your face as I have yet to explain what context words are:

Context words consist of words relating to insight, time, space and motion – and the folks over at Sharethrough have put together a new kind of dictionary that has every context word from the English dictionary. You can download that here: http://d3tjhdrcpaedmv.cloudfront.net/context-word-dictionary.pdf

In their research, the key finding was that when headlines contained more ‘time’ context words it produced a higher emotional engagement.

So here you are with this new-found knowledge and insight on how to write your own killer engaging headlines. You’re probably dying for the link to the analyser to test how good your headline writing skills are – so here you are: https://headlines.sharethrough.com/

Let us know if this was helpful in coming up with your next blog post headline, or if it increased your ad engagement. We’d love to hear your success stories!

FYI – the headline in this title received a score of 77 on the analyser. Can you do better?


Also published on Medium.