5 Tips for Crafting Online Headlines

In the newspaper business, the above-the-fold headline is a crucial aspect of grabbing a potential reader’s attention and enticing them to pick up the paper and read on. The same is true of online headlines – the hyperlinks that come up in a list when you search for something in a search engine. In addition to page ranking, an enticing headline is an important way to drive traffic to your site. Here are some tips for generating great headlines.

Balance Between Searchable and Enticing

“Unlike intentionally vague titles of great novels that offer mystery and intrigue to readers, writing headlines for the web is an art requiring the perfect blend of searchability and click-worthiness,” says Megan Krause in an article for Marketing Land. “You want to craft headlines that include a keyword or two you want to rank for, but it also needs to be compelling enough to grab clicks.” Writing for online consumption is an entirely different process than writing for traditional print media. In traditional print outlets it’s okay, sometimes even advisable, to be clever or to use compelling, creative language. In the online world, though, copywriters need to use the language that their audience is likely to use when searching for the information they have to offer.

Make the Benefit Obvious

Think about what you would click on if you were searching for something. The benefit in the headline should be obvious to those searching. This means you first need to identify the problem you are hoping to solve: provide general information? A how-to? First-hand reviews? Lists of data? Your audience is always thinking about WIIFM (“What’s in it for me?”); the answer to that question should be front and center in your headlines!


Numbers in headlines can be a great way to drive traffic to your site. Whenever possible, try to quantify your headlines. Instead of telling searchers that employee turnover is expensive, for example, include data and numbers on how much it costs the average U.S. company to replace the average employee.

Use Multiple Headlines

Using multiple headlines, or subheads, can help to break up your copy and lead readers through the content. This form of scannable copy makes your content easier to read than long chunks of heavy gray copy blocks.

Make it Meaningful

And, speaking of leading readers through the copy, think carefully about the content you’re presenting and the best order to present it in. Get inside the heads of your readers and think about what it is that they’re likely to be interested in and how you can best organize that content to catch, and keep, their interest.

For all the technological difference, there are many similarities between online content and print media. The importance of a headline is a great example. A compelling headline is far more likely to drive traffic to your site; the big difference between print and online headlines is that online headlines also need to be searchable. Striking the right balance can do wonders for your traffic, and for your business objectives. Building audience is all about, first, being found and, second, delivering content that connects and compels. (P.S. We can help you with that.)


Stay up-to-date on the latest traditional and digital marketing trends and insights for communication leaders: subscribe to our monthly e-newsletter.

About Us

Strategic Communications, LLC, works with B2B clients to help them achieve their goals through effective content marketing and management with both internal and external audiences. We are adept at evaluating and analyzing communication efforts and working with clients to plan, create and publish high-quality, unique content, through both on- and offline media to achieve desired results. Our background in business journalism, marketing, PR/media relations and online communications makes us well-positioned to serve the needs of 21st-century marketers.

We serve clients who are looking for help creating content for a wide array of channels—from social media posts to full-length manuscripts, and everything in between. We focus primarily on service-related B2B topics and work with a number of independent consultants interested in building their thought leadership through online channels. For ongoing content management, our first step is to fully understand your goals, objectives and the competitive landscape.

Then we’ll conduct a thorough analysis and assessment of your digital presence, compared to competitors, and recommend a communication strategy to achieve your goals. But, we also regularly take on individual projects – white papers, blog posts, contributed articles, etc. If you’re interested in learning more, let us know!

(Strategic Communications is certified as a Woman-Owned Business Enterprise through the Wisconsin Department of Administration.)

Recommended Reading

21st Century Secrets to Effective PR: Tips and Best Practices for Gaining Media Exposure

Tags: , , , , , ,

Leave a Reply

Complete the math problem before submitting a comment. * Time limit is exhausted. Please reload CAPTCHA.