How you can write emotional headlines

Headlines are the first thing your audience sees when you write a blog or article. It can hook them in, or turn them off – it’s make or break time! On average, 8 out of 10 people will read your headline, but only two of those will read the rest of your content.

These results are based on a good headline, so if you have a bad headline, no one will read your content.

Adding a bit of emotion into the headline

How do you hook your readers in, so they read your content? One good ploy is to add a bit of emotion into the headline. We know that people often buy on their emotions, so the same principal applies. But what makes an emotional headline?

It’s all about the words you use and how you use them. The first thing you need to do, before you start writing, is to know your target audience, what they like and what appeals to them. When you know your target audience, you’ll know what kind of article they will engage with and what words to use to appeal to them on an emotional level.

Do a bit of research      

Do a bit of research into what headlines that popular newspapers and magazines use – what kind of headline would make you read more? Notice the kind of words they use – how are they persuasive, and how do they appeal to your emotions? You’ll notice that words such as death, dying, free, kill, killing, shocking etc., are quite common. Journalists know that these words are an emotional trigger and will draw you into their story. 

I’m not suggesting you use these words, but you get the idea!

What’s in it for me?

Overall, what most people are interested in, when trawling the internet or social media is ‘what’s in it for me?’ It might be a promotional article for your product or service, tips that will make their life easier, something that will help them with their business, help them lose weight or get fit. Whichever business you’re in, and no matter what you’re writing about, you need to convince your readers that you have something that’s absolutely worth their while to read.

Here are a few examples of powerful words that appeal to the emotions. Including them in headlines can help to pull readers in.

Look at this list – what is it about these words that makes them similar?

They all offer a benefit, an answer, an offer, a sneaky peek at something. They all fulfil the ‘what’s in it for me?’ question.

People also tend to share things that make them angry, happy, sad or scared, so again, if your article is something in that genre, research the words you use in your headline carefully to evoke those emotions. 

Provide a benefit to your reader

Once you pull the reader in with your emotional headline, your article must continue to benefit them in some way. Go into more detail and offer as much value as you can, giving as much information as you can on your chosen subject. Also, to encourage your readers to do what you want them to, so don’t forget to include a CTA (call to action) in your post.

How to write an emotional headline

I always write my article first and then write the headline afterwards. I have an idea of what my headline will be, but sometimes once I’ve written the article, something else jumps out at me.

Most headlines are around 70 characters or less, but you can write a longer one, so long as it’s relevant. I usually write several different headlines before I decide on which one is best.  

When writing emotive headlines – or any headline for that matter – numbers also work well, such as ’10 ways to get more customers’, or ‘5 ways to make money fast’. These headlines answer the ‘what’s in it for me?’ question as well as using emotive words, such as ‘make money fast’.

Reading your headline out loud also helps you know how it sounds. How does it make you feel? Do you think it will appeal to your target audience? Would it make you read more? If not, rewrite it, until you do feel it is right.     

Another good word to use is ‘you’. You’re talking directly to your audience if you use this word and immediately have some engagement as it’s personal. Using the same examples as I used earlier, your headline could be ‘How you can make money fast’, or ‘How you can get more customers now!’. By adding ‘now’ to the end of the second example, creates a sense of urgency – do it now or you might regret it!

So, to recap.

  • Think about what your target market wants
  • Appeal to your readers’ emotions
  • Use powerful, emotive words in your headline
  • Help your readers to find answers, solve a problem or think about ‘what’s in it for them?’
  • Create a sense of urgency

I hope this has helped – please let me know in the comments if you have any more tips!

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