If I made you keep reading, then I will consider this headline a success! The power of a strong headline is something that shouldn’t be overlooked. Sure, you’ve got great articles and content but according to recent industry statistics, 80 percent of people will read your headline. Of that, only 20 percent will actually click through and read your article or blog post.

If you do the math, that means your readership may vary by up to 500 percent based on your headline alone. Headlines are what sell the content. They represent it in search engines, in email and on social media.

What elements make a great headline?

Use a Number. The presence of a number in your headline can double your social shares. Data also suggest that including numbers in your blog titles can increase your click-through rate by 36 percent. It’s also better to use the numeral compared to the word when writing a number in the headline.

Use Strong Language. Some of the headlines that get the best results are either extremely positive or extremely negative. Positive keywords include: always, best, fastest, hottest, strongest, most and easiest. Furthermore, testing shows that negative superlatives perform 30 percent better than positive ones. Negative keywords include: worst, never, stop, no one, avoid and none.

Ask a Question. Questions arouse our curiosity. We debate the hot topics in our industry, so who doesn’t want to weigh in on a burning question?

Keep it Short. If your headline is longer than 65 characters it will be cut off in search results. People tend to read only the first three and last three words when scanning a headline. According to industry research from Hubspot, titles performed best for Twitter retweets and Facebook likes when they were 8-14 words.

Offer a List. Lists are always popular. When your headline addresses a specific problem and then you offer easy-to-implement actions, these posts always perform well.

Follow a Tested Formula. There are several different options to follow, and you can change the order of the ingredients in these tested recipes for attention grabbing headlines. In some cases, the keyword and the promise might be the same.

  • Number + Adjective + Noun + Keyword + Promise (ex. 10 Tested Seeding Tips to Improve Your Germination)
  • How to + Action + Keyword + Promise (ex. How to Yield More Without Increasing Input Costs)
  • Definition + Guide to + Action + Keyword + Promise (ex. A Complete Guide to Seed Treatment Application in 5 Minutes)
  • Call-to-Action + Keyword + Promise (ex. Try These 3 Tips to Increase Your Yields)

A great headline will help your audience connect with your post right from the get go. Next time you’re about to hit publish, take a moment to check your opening parlay.