Person eating chile pepper - spice up copy to hook readers

We spend hours writing copy and then, with little thought, write a headline that does nothing to lure readers in. Readers scan headlines first to look for things that interest them. A good one attracts readers, while a bad or uninteresting one prompts them to turn the page without another thought.

Great headlines are short, intriguing and entice people to keep reading. Here are four tips to help you write engaging headlines:

  • Speak to your readers—Think about what employees most want to know about the topic and write the headline accordingly. Will it help them do their jobs more effectively? Make life easier? Speak directly to employees by using “you” and you’ll have an even better shot at grabbing their attention.
    Samples:
    Redesigned intranet portal helps you prioritize information
    Six health discount programs you probably didn’t know you had
  • Use powerful, lively verbs to drum up interest.
    Samples:
    Success! Grueling product launch pays off big for consumer division
    CEO: Devastating first quarter puts XYZ in fight for its life
  • Tell readers what they’ll learn—Use the headline to explain why your article is valuable to readers. This type of headline often includes the word “how” and is commonly used in consumer and service magazines like Real Simple or Prevention.
    Samples:
    Five ways you can help our company reach its goals
    Saying the right thing: How to deliver excellent customer service in sticky situations
  • Appeal to people’s emotions or senses—These headlines work best with human interest stories, but be careful not to make them too saccharine.
    Samples:
    Opening of new Michigan plant brings hope to those hardest hit by recession
    Florida employees rebuild homes in wake of disaster
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