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How To Write Headlines Your Readers Can’t Stop Reading

When I’m sitting down for any project, headlines are one of my favorite things to write. They’re a chance to make a powerful statement and, with that, there are endless ways you can play around with your message to make it even more powerful, impactful, and memorable.

Now, you already know that headlines are pretty darn important. They’re what (hopefully) grab your reader’s attention and gently (or in some cases, not-so-gently) nudges them to continue on reading. So they’ve gotta be convincing and relatable enough that your readers feel like they simply must keep reading.

Depending on the kind of headline you’re writing — a blog post title, a homepage header, an email subject line — there can be a whole lot of pressure surrounding which direction you ultimately decide to go with. The fact that headlines have so much influence on whether or not someone keeps reading your website, or email (or whatever it is the headline’s for) can be intimidating! 

But it really doesn’t have to be. If you’re feeling stuck on where to start with writing your headlines, there are several strategies you can use to draw your inspiration from and play around with!

The Basics of How to Write Headlines

Before you dive into all of these strategies, though, let’s go over some of the important guidelines to follow when writing headlines. But remember, these are only just that — guidelines. One of the coolest things about copywriting is that you can always break the rules — as long as you know why you’re breaking them. That’s always the key!

Here’s what you need to think about first when writing headlines:

Concise – When possible, keep your headlines short and sweet. For instance, an email subject line that’s no more than 6 words is 👌

Clear – Your headline should make sense right away. No making your readers read it and think “huh?”

Targeted – Because you want to show how well you know your audience, it should speak to your ideal client perfectly

Accurate – Everything in it should be 100% true. (We never do scammy here. Not that I have to actually have to tell you that!)

Brand voice – It should be consistent with your brand voice you’ve infused throughout the rest of your copy!

And The Strategies

Use those numbers!

People love a good numbers moment. Numbers feel concrete and definitive, and they’re more likely to pop among a sea of copy, so they can make for an easy way to quickly grab someone’s attention.

Here’s how to use them:

  • To highlight superlatives. Like “The 16 Best Tools For Your Business,” or “The 3 Worst Mistakes I Made In My First Year Of Business”
  • To highlight a list or a how-to guide. Think: “5 Ways To Grow Your Business,” or “The 15 Books You Need To Read As A Business-Owner.”
  • Think about using odd numbers. We can be so inclined to use whole, round numbers. But when we see an odd number, it leads us to trust the list even more, because it has more of an authentic feel.
  • Incorporate statistics can make headlines more compelling. By saying “60% Of Small Businesses Are Making This Mistake,” people can’t help but wonder if they fall under the 60%. But there are so many directions you can take this one!
  • And for headlines, make sure that you use the actual number instead of writing it out so it really pops!


I don’t think I know anyone who doesn’t appreciate solid how-to info. As humans, so many of us are always looking for ways to learn how to do something new, do something better, do something quicker, etc. (Honestly, probably 78% of my search history is probably how-to articles 🙈)

When we see the words “How to” we already know we’re in for learning something informative and helpful. We can clearly see the benefit of opening and reading the content because there is a very obvious end goal outlined.

Here’s how to do this:

Be Action-Driven 

Starting your headline with a verb is an excellent way to make it more dynamic and inspire action. We will always gravitate towards sentiments that are more action-driven vs. ones that are more static.

As much as we want something to make our life easier that doesn’t require a whole lot of work on our part, action-driven headlines feel motivating

Here’s some examples:

  • “Get really serious about your client experience.”
  • “Grab your free Notion template here!”
  • “Take control of your free time.”

Ask a question?

When we’re posed with a question in a headline, we can’t help but respond to it in our heads.  A headline that reads “Want to get more inquiries?” will likely have us answering “Ummm, yes!”

By shifting your messaging into a question, it creates a moment of engagement with the reader, which makes them more likely to click “open,” or “read more.”

Here’s how to use them:

  • Focus on the feeling that they’re after: “Want to feel more confident with your email marketing?”
  • Get them really thinking and imagining the “What If”: “How would you spend your time if you didn’t have to respond to unaligned inquiries?”

Incorporate social proof

We’re all social beings (even if, like me, you’re maybe more on the introverted side), and by making mention to a community of people or referring to the fact that other people love working with you too, people are inclined to engage because they want to be included too! 

Plus, this makes you more credible, and trust is always something we wanna cultivate.

Whenever we see elements of social proof, we’re more likely to think “Oh, other people have worked with you and love you? Great, count me in!”

Here’s how you can do this:

  • Make mention of your community: “Join the over 4 thousand other business-owners who have loved this course.”
  • Using a testimonial or a quote as a headline to highlight certain elements of your offering.
  • Referring to what other adjacent audience members are doing or liking “Here’s what every other web designer has on their wish list.”

Get Slightly Controversial

“Unpopular Opinion” or “Hot Takes” catch our attention for a reason. When something is just the right amount of controversial, we wanna know all the tea. 

But it has to actually be something you stand behind and aren’t just using for the sake of getting clicks. People will be able to smell that a mile away and it’s also just kinda icky?

These also doesn’t have to actually be controversial. Here’s some examples:

  • “The reason why morning routines don’t actually work.”
  • “Hot take: DYing your website is the best starting point.”
  • “Why I don’t send out cold pitches and what to do instead.”

What’s so fun about all of the different angles you can take is that every headline you write has endless possibilities. And like I said earlier, it’s just a chance to get all kinds of creative.

Try writing multiple headlines using one strategy, or try writing one headline for each strategy. The more practice you get in, the more comfortable you’ll feel writing them. Whenever you approach your copy from a no-pressure, light-hearted, exploratory place, you can write some pretty incredible things!

Make sure you save this post and refer back to these strategies to inspire you while writing your next bit of copy. 

Hey, I’m Kristie! And besides writing website and email copy for the best businesses, I also help business-owners like you feel grounded and less chaotic. 

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So glad you’re here! XO

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