What digital copywriters must know about creating headlines

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When someone lands on your piece of copy – or sees the headline to your article on the social media feed – the first thing that they’ll do is read your headline. Unless this grabs them straightaway, they’ll move onto the next article. In fact, statistics show that five times more people read the headline as opposed to those who read the body copy of your copy.

The average Internet user will only read 80% of headlines. However, only 20% of these people will read the article.

Scary, huh?

This means that you need to spend far more time on making sure that your headline captures the readers that you want to be reading your articles. Luckily, there are certain formulas that digital copywriters can use in order to make sure that they come out with a winning headline.

How to create winning headlines with enticing content

The 4Us

Copywriting greats – Michael Masterson and Bill Bonner – came up with a  way to test the effectiveness of your headlines. They say that all headlines should tick the boxes of the 4U’s. These are:

  • Urgency
  • Uniqueness
  • Ultra-Specificity
  • Usefulness


For a headline to qualify as urgent, it needs to prompt a reader into taking action immediately – whatever this action is, such as making a purchase or signing up to a newsletter. Copywriting techniques that can be used include adding text – to your headline – that includes:

  • One Day Only
  • Expiring Soon
  • Limited Time Offer


Your headline must be unique to your body copy. In other words, it must not be lifted off another promotion. It must perfectly encapsulate what the body copy says so that the reader is left in no doubt that the headline refers to the promotion being offered.


Related to the paragraph above, the headline must detail – exactly – what the reader will get when they read the body copy. So, for example, if you make a promise in the headline – such as “10 Ways To Get More Customers for Your Business” – you need to tell the reader how to get more customers for their business  in the rest of the article.


Lastly, your headline must be useful to the reader. Using the example above, if they do want to find more customers for their business they will indeed read an article that promises to tell them this secret. Making your headline useful is a good way of weeding out the people who really are your target audience from those who may show a passing interest in your business but – at the end of the day – won’t commit to what you’re selling.

Headline Swipe Files

It’s a common practice, among digital copywriters, to keep a headline swipe file. This is a file of tried-and-trusted headlines that they have seen work in their work. Other copywriters have also published their own personal headline swipe files on the Internet for others to download if they are looking for inspiration for their own headlines.

The swipe files of others are great as a source of inspiration but be careful of using these too much. Some of these headlines may work for your particular environment but others won’t work at all. This means that you need to exercise caution when choosing headlines to adapt as you’ll need to tailor make these for your purposes.

Blog headline tips

Make use of simple and powerful language

The language you choose influences how many people will click through to your article based on your headline. If you use words that are bland, uninspiring, or not known to most, your potential readers will be turned off.

Instead, use language that is simple and powerful. For example, why not turn your headline into a call-to-action with words such as “Try” or “Click”. Address the reader directly by using “You.”

Target a Keyword with Huge Search Volume

Every headline written must target a specific keyword. And this keyword must have a significant search volume. This not only makes sure that your headline is optimised to stimulate targeted traffic through organic or paid search, but it shows that people are actively looking for information linked to the subject. Is the keyword that you’re targeting something that people are searching for? If the answer is no, then it’s ineffective.

Create a Bold Statement

Adding a shock factor to your headline will nearly always secure high click-through rates. Consider about ways to spice your title up. Word it in a way that immediately draws readers in. Producing a strong, opinionated or provocative statement is a sure way to do this.

Consider Adding Numbers

Readers are naturally attracted to numbers and lists. This is because they are easy for the brain to process. In addition, numerals and lists ensure your prospective reader that the post is going to be easy to digest.

Prepare Your Competitive Research

  • Have your competitors penned articles or run ads about the same topic you intend to cover?
  • What pages that are now ranking in Google?
  • How can you get yours to be better?

These are the categories of questions you should be suggesting in order to create more compelling headlines. If your headline doesn’t stand out from the already crowded Internet, then the chances of grabbing high click-through rates are low.

Google your keyword. Look and see what leaps out in that #1 ranking. Furthermore, utilise content-curation tools like Buzzsumo to search for your keyword and/or topic. See which associated articles have received the most shares. Ask yourself: Why was that? A great headline usually prompts people to reshare it with their audience. Make sure that you can you craft a headline that’s even more enticing! Research is critical!

Get in touch with the Digital School of Marketing

The headline is the most important part of your copy which means that you need to spend a great deal of time putting this together. To learn more about the art of digital copywriting, check out the Digital School of Marketing’s Digital Copywriting and Content Marketing Course. It will make you into a digital copywriter that people will be clamouring to hire! For more information about this and our other online digital marketing courses, please visit our website.

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