1 Rule About Headlines and Subject Lines

What should you use for your webpage headline, blog post title, or email subject line? There’s only one rule.

The Rule: Make Them Want To Read On

The headline has one main job — get people to read further. That’s it.

The primary job of a title is not to summarize or sell anything. Just entice — with humor, a question, a promise to reveal a secret to success, or anything that brings out a thirst for more.

A Classic Example

The classic enticing headline is to promise a list, such as:

  • “10 Best Ways To Save on Health Care”
  • “5 Quick and Easy Snacks for Picky Eaters”

The list format might be trite, but it’s tried and true. (Evidence: 7 Reasons Why List Posts Will Always Work)

Just One Rule?

There’s only one rule in my book, but I’m adding one recommendation too:

Take that enticing title you wrote and try to include a descriptive keyword (something that captures the topic of your page). Not only is a keyword helpful for readers scanning a list of titles, the title is used by search engines to categorize your webpage.

Most headlines should include a keyword, but you don’t have to include one every time. If you have to choose, be enticing  first.

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