The Formula for a Perfect Headline

You spend hours writing exceptionally good content, but how much time do you spend focusing on crafting the perfect headline? Chances are not enough time.

Why? Because 8 out of 10 people will read your headline, but only 2 out of 10 people will read the rest of your post. By crafting a magnetic headline, you’ll increase the number of people that will actually read your content.

Now that you know headlines are important, you’re probably wondering what makes a good one and how to write one, right? Well, today is your lucky day because I’ve created an infographic that will teach you just that.

Click on the image below to see a larger view:

What Makes a Good Headline

Click here to view an enlarged version of this infographic.

Conclusion

The difference between creating a great headline and a mediocre one is huge. When I write a blog post, I typically know if it will be a hit based on the headline. And sadly, even if the content sucks, I know the post will still do well because of the headline.

On average, when I write a great headline, I generate 6,591 more visitors the day I publish the post. I also generate 292 more tweets and 137 more Facebook shares.

If you really want to hit a home run with your blog posts, spend as much time crafting the headline as you do writing the post.

So, based on the infographic, what do you think would be a better title for this blog post?

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Comments

  1. My blog writing and management service takes topic ideation to a whole new level for our clients. Once we get a new client, my team and I have a brainstorming session and come up with a list of topics to run by each client for approval. There’s power in numbers and we manage to come up with some unique and engaging ideas.

  2. Nice infographic, thanks Neil!

  3. Its just another awesome infographic :)
    I always try to make the headline shorter and meaningful. And ofcourse, in your slang – A Magnetic Headline, which can do the magic.
    Anyway thanks for such an infographic.

  4. Hi Neil,

    People crave numbers. It’s like crack for readers, no joke. Especially double figure number headlines because most want more and more. Good or bad, I know not because some of the urge is information overload. Either way, 10 or more type posts rock.

    The 2 out of 10 readers sounds about right. Most people are exposed to our posts but to break that 2/10 ratio to draw in more clicks it takes creativity, and a willingness to use headlines that work.

    Being negative is good – I made a funny – for drawing in more clicks at least, but on a deeper level we must be careful not to draw in readers who dwell on the negative. Seems subtle, but negative folks tend to be poor customers, or at best, non-commital when it comes to following your blog.

    I let my titles marinate. I’ll write a post and let the title sit for a while. On re-reading out loud a few times I may inject a power verb or colorful adjective. My latest post – waiting to publish it on my new blog – integrates blogging and fruit bats here in Fiji. The weird correlation might have enough steam on its own to generate some serious clicks.

    Dead on IG Neil. I dig the breakdown, and vibe with the idea of personalizing too. People want that little extra. If we don’t overdo it, we’ll make a powerful, attention-grabbing point folks just can’t ignore.

    A simple test too; keep doing what works. Don’t use the same exact titles but follow what’s popular on your blog. Too many bloggers ignore what works, trying to reinvent and recreate when simply following a set title strategy and changing adjectives, and power verbs, will work just nicely thank you.

    No need to go bonkers trying to hit a home run each time you publish a post. Slow and steady, growing traffic through proven title selection should be the goal.

    Thanks dude. Tweeting as always.

    Ryan

  5. Hi Neil,
    My headline would be “Magic formula for creating amazing headlines”

    Cheers!!!

  6. Neil,
    Another great post. Its not easy shortening headlines or page titles – thats what separates the great from the good. Dramatising through the use of adjectives and adverbs helps, but I find in need to be in the creative zone in order to acheive this.
    Regards (&thanks)
    Steve

  7. The best headline writing article/infographic I have read. I have read so many that didn’t go into the detail necessary to actually help me, this is a great reference for the future.

  8. Nice infographic, Neil!

    Did Jeff Goins help you co-create it? A lot of this information is word for word from his article: http://goinswriter.com/catchy-headlines/

    I feel like he should get a link in the resources section.

  9. Given that you can create numerous headlines about the same topic via this formula, how do you know which is the best?

  10. Awesome post as always Neil.

  11. Wow, another great article! A ‘how to’ that let us experience its content. Well done and thank you so much!

  12. Hi Neil,

    I am always wonder, how much do you work to write one article ? Once again a great post. Thanks a lot

  13. Matthew Kuehlhorn :

    Awesome formula. Using this in conjunction with online research and study brings a power-house of techniques.

    Thanks for putting this together!

  14. So…what about the metadata? Would your title front-load the keyword? Would you change anything?

    Thanks!

  15. Hi Neil,

    You said

    “On average, when I write a great headline, I generate 6,591 more visitors , 292 more tweets and 137 more Facebook shares.”

    What exactly did you compare? Is it headlines not using the formula you suggested vs headlines using the formula?

    Cheers

  16. Hey Neil, Great Formula for Creating Headline.
    Thank you for sharing this great thing…… ;)

  17. Manu yup creative headline, am sure if such headline delivers. The number of shares will skyrocket.

    For me I could add the magic formula for crafting irresistible headlines

    Neil thanks for the infographic

  18. Hello Neil,

    What do you think about these headlines crafted around 100 words for mainly Facebook and Twitter.

    Long and catchy headlines, Upworthy like if you prefer. ^^

    Cause we tested them (not for the webmarketing niche) and DAMN these can deliver too ! Even if it’s… against SEO rules.

    Cheers !

  19. I love to read your posts. I also want to subscribe your paid plan. Just need to know something more.

    Anyway from now I really want to consider the headline writing for my blog.

    Thanks

  20. Hi Niel, love the infographic, especially the design! :)

    What I wanted to add that another tip that works quite well is the recent article I read on appsumo which gives you another formula on getting up a great article; I’ll quote the formula here:

    Now + “highly desirable thing you can do” + “even if” objection

    i.e.: Now you can run user tests even if you have no budget

    I think it wakes up curiosity and it’s pretty cool formula!

    Find the article here:
    http://www.appsumo.com/copy-hackers-2014

    Let me kmow what you think,
    Matic

  21. Damn that’s beutiful design.

  22. Today is my lucky day! Tnx for this great blog post!

  23. Great and straightforward, thanks Neil. Do you have any thoughts on ‘interesting’ vs strange, uncommon or never-heard-of adjectives?

    Makes me afraid to write weird stuff sometimes.

  24. Hi Nail your advices and topic clarification is the best all your technics working and all I add to my site.

  25. hi neil,

    thanks for infographic. specially last half of that pic.

    thanks again neil for such a nice post.

  26. Glad to know that perfect length for title is 6 words :)

  27. Neil,

    I remember you had a post about headlines where you mentioned Viralnova.com You post really helped me and since then almost 3 months I’m doing great campaigns on Facebook using a curiosity bursting headline.

    This posts is also great. I took notes and when I make the next headline, obviously, I’ll come back to my notes.

    This Post Headline: The 4 Step Formula For a Perfect Headline.

  28. I must say is one of the best inforgraph I have seen and boy i am I going to put this into practice on my blog. I am going to book mark this page now. Thank you for work

  29. Very nice article Neil…the infographic says it all!

  30. I like “Your formula for the perfect headline every time.”

  31. Great stuff, Neil. Question. We write amazing content for our students, but if we include the entire headline on the email subject line, our open rate decreases, so we resort to shorter email subject lines. Any thoughts? What’s your experience with email headlines? Shouldn’t the email subject be shorter, and the blog headline longer? Any data on this at your end?

    Thanks!

  32. Hi Neil,

    I’ve just finished a post and was thinking about the title when I received an email message for this post.

    I plan to add in a ‘negative’ word which i haven’t used before.

    Thanks

    By the way… Do you have set days you post or do you just aim to post 2-3 times on any day of the week?

    Naomi

  33. Hi Neil,

    Thanks for this nice infographic. I usually use number combination for my headline but having read the infographic I have many variations for my headline in future :)

  34. Hey Neil, me and my partner read your every blog post and trust us, it is helping us a lot. I never knew that a headline mattered this much. Thanks. :D

  35. Neil,

    I liked how your infographic stressed the importance of a headline length of no more than 65 characters before getting cut-off by search engines.

    Great stuff as usual!

    Can a drop a resourceful link I found for generating headline ideas?

    http://www.portent.com/tools/title-maker/

  36. Hey Neil,

    Completely agree that you should spend as much time on your headline as you do writing your posts.

    People love provocative headlines for list posts, this is a winning combination.

    Just be sure that they aren’t so ridiculous that they cease to make sense or lose their appeal in shock factor. The world only needs a few sites like BuzzFeed, lol. ;-)

  37. Strongly agree Neil : More and more time should be spent on writing catchy headline because a good headline not only catch the eyes of the readers but it also drags your whole article/blog post all along.

    Niel great tips and great infographic.

    I really admire your easy to digest blog posts.

    Can’t wait for your next post.

    Keep up the good work.

    Regards,

  38. What you said is true. Head line very important for any content, Perfect head line makes others to read your post. I have to thank you for sharing this useful post which worth reading.

  39. Hi Neil,

    Great infographic. One remark: since the redesign of the SERP the maximum length of the title has decreased to max 55-57 characters.

  40. Neil,
    I have read this article about a “Perfect Headline” . I like this infographic and i would love to share this Infographic on my Blog.

  41. Hi Neil, all bloggers or website should learn how to analyze the website from you. Really a helpful article thanks a lot.

  42. Thanks Neil. As usual a great post. I remember a tip that was given to me on preparing a powerpoint slide – A Slide should be like a T Shirt, short and crisp messaging. Not cluttered.

    Same applies to the headlines as well. Small is beautiful!

  43. Hello Neil,

    This is awesome post, but I want to know one thing, we know that Google crawls only 150-160 characters of title tag, so what about title tags for some miscellaneous titles like some project report of something like that?

  44. I studied journalism back in 2007, newspaper and magazine style. It was before the major online boom, really, and now it’s happened all my practice has gone out of the window. Coming up with Google friendly headlines is a nightmare – content I can reel off no problems. The headlines it takes serious thought and frustration.

    Good post though, this will help me along!

  45. Hi Neil,

    I am a subscriber to your mailing list and I must say I enjoy your blog posts. I specially enjoy your infographics, mainly because its faster to read as compared to reading a 500 word blog post. This post was my favorite. I am struggling to get traffic to my website but after reading this post I am sure it will help if I come up with more catchy title tags.

    Thanks again for the wonderful blog posts.

  46. Catchy headlines have to deliver as well. I think you are spot-on with your post on headlines…most people consider them an after-thought.

    “brevity is the soul of wit”

  47. Neil, just want to let you know that this infographic doesn’t load on iPad. It shows up as usual on desktop, but not on iPad (on all browsers).

  48. Hello boss Mr. Neil Patel. I’m your big fn. I face a problem. I can’t open it on my phone. pls help me.

    Thanks

  49. I agree with you. Great headlines always work. It all depends on the headline. Personally, I cover latest technology news on my various blogs.

    While writing every article or story, my major time always goes with fixing headlines and making it work with the rest of the content.

    Great work. :)

  50. Hi Neil!

    I enjoyed reading this infographic. It is true that a catchy headline will get you halfway through your desired agenda. It should be good enough to attract readers, and the content should make them stay. Thanks for sharing these wonderful tips!

  51. WOW, Great Post Neil, These info will really help me to make great headlines. Thanks Neil :)

  52. Really Neil,

    I have learnt something from this blog post, Thanks for the fantastic info-graphic.

    Looking for more information.

  53. Great infographic! It really breaks down the steps to creating an attention-grabbing headline. Love it.

  54. Very interesting Neil. I knew headlines were important but not that important. Thanks for the infographic, I think it make a lot of sense. I wonder why numbers get lots of shares? But interesting.

  55. Love this article! Many people tend to focus too much on writing content when the headline is just as important. :)

  56. Hello neil,

    Heading is one of the main part of content writing that’s we should concern in heading when our article heading will be attractive then it may be good for our blog.

    regards
    kapilheera

  57. Great post as always Neil. Infographic is spot on too.

  58. Hello Neil,

    your blog is awesome. There is really a lot useful guides, blog posts and so on. I have a question:

    – Do you use Keyword Planner (from AdWords) to decide which topic is appropriate?

    Let’s use this blog post for an example:
    http://blog.kissmetrics.com/gender-and-color/

    1. For “color preferences” there is only 70 monthly searches (on average).

    2. For “color preferences by gender” is not provided (near zero).

    Thanks.

    • Nedim, That is definitely one tool I use. Thanks for the awesome feedback :)

      • Thanks for the answer. After reading all these blog posts, I think I can create a really high traffic website.

        In my local language finding link opportunities is a bit harder, but there is a lot websites in English language. So I am going to create a website in English language and I’ll inform you about results in the next few months. :-)

        Now I think it is really worth to create an article with low search volume too, whenever there are link opportunities. Earning high authority links is improving another articles too. If I, in average, get 5 links for 100 articles it’s 500 links. From high authority domains (e.g. >50 DA).

  59. Hi Neil
    Great stuff as usual! Your recent infographics have been brilliant, the only problem is I can hardly keep up with taking in and digesting all the amazing advice! Thank you!

  60. How about:

    Formula for killer headlines that will drive 80% more traffic & 33% more shares per post.

  61. Always, great valued information. Love the infograph, very detailed. Detailed enough for someone like me who’s just starting in the Network/Online Marketing profession to understand. Thank you very Neil!

  62. Thank you for this post Neil.
    You gave me some ideas and changes to make :)
    Once again thanks.

  63. Hellow @ Neil, nice post to write a perfect headline. It is a most important thing in a post. I like the way you shared your data about traffic from a perfect headline …

  64. As always, found this such a helpful post. Sometimes a title just comes to me and feels right from the start but more often I struggle with them – both for blog posts and for fiction. I’m inclined to agree with Ryan Biddulph regarding using negative words, though the one you used in the infographic gives a sense of empowerment rather than actually creating a negative feeling.

    One thing I noticed was that although the ideal title is 6 words, in your “before” and “after” examples, the “afters” are much longer! So I guess great adjectives are more important than short titles?

  65. Hi Neil

    It’s such a great infographic. It encompasses all important tips of making headlines. Your infographic is the most beautiful one I’ve seen recently, can you share how you made it?

    Hope you’ve a great weekend. Thanks.
    Sriteja.

  66. Hi Neil

    It’s such a great infographic. It encompasses all important tips of making headlines. Your infographic is the most beautiful one I’ve seen recently, can you share how you made it

  67. Hey…
    Thanks for this great great infographic !
    Got to learn some new things….if seen not much a big thing, but yes if done correctly may fetch big results!

    Thanks a lot :)

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