Learn to write better article headlines

How to Write Better Article Headlines Like Upworthy and BuzzFeed

Upworthy, Buzzfeed, Viral Nova, and several others have dominated the Internet when it comes to trending news and stories.

While things like high quality content and great news site design have played a big part in their success, it’s better article headlines that really drove them to the top.

Better article headlines that entice people to click and read what they have to offer.

You and I know that headlines matter.

But how can you create ones that will really draw people in to read your articles? Like most things, it takes some knowledge and experimentation.

There is no one secret formula to write a good headline (Although Hubspot disagrees). There is no one right way to do it.

For starters, try asking yourself questions when coming up with a headline. Ideally, questions that will lead people to read the text that follows.

Learn to write better article headlines

For Better Article Headlines Ask Yourself: What, Who, and Where?

Statistics show that headlines are what people really need to work on when creating content.

  • 80 percent of people read a headline, but only 20 percent of them will read the article.
  • Great and enticing headlines can increase traffic by 500 percent.

What’s the goal?

What do you want to accomplish with your better article headlines?

Of course, you want people to click on it to read the content. However, there can be several other goals to a better article headline.

You may simply want to drive more traffic to your site. If so, you’ll want to spark curiosity. You may want to improve your search engine ranking, and in that case, you’ll want to use long tailed keywords. For conversion, use language that will get consumers excited about making a purchase.

Who are you targeting?

Think about your audience and what they are attracted to when you’re writing a headline.

Does your audience want the latest gossip in your industry? Tell them you have the juicy details they crave. Do they want discounts? Let the headline tell them they are going to save big. You know your consumers best, so use that knowledge to give them something irresistible in the headlines.

Where will you promote the content?

When you promote content on social media, you need to tailor the headline to users.

When you’re marketing content on a blog or email newsletter, you’ll have to use a different headline.

While you may be targeting the same type of consumer, the way you deliver the headline matters. The difference between a Facebook and Twitter headline can be found on this FastCompany article.

Social Media Share - Where to share your better article headlines

Here are some examples for Facebook:

Facebook headlines need to bait people because they have a lot of other posts to look through on their feed. The headline needs to be inviting and make people feel as though they can’t miss out on the information you’re providing.

  • “You Have to See This Person’s Face – It’s Unbelievable”
  • “The Biggest Sale of the Year – Prices Will Never Be This Low Again”
  • “Lady Takes Large Gamble and You Wouldn’t Believe What She Won”

These titles might work on a blog or email newsletter, but you should use keywords to gain organic traffic on a blog.

For email newsletters, people would rather read more about the article before clicking on it, which means you wouldn’t need that attention grabbing headline as much because the snippet you provide should be enough.

Basically, it’s important to keep your audience in mind and what the trend of communication is for whichever sharing platform you use. In other words, I think we’d all be confused and shy away from blog posts that are written like twitter posts.

Types of Headlines You Can Try

Once you’ve answered the above questions, you can use the following types of headlines. They are some of the most used headlines on the Internet today.

Ways to Make Your Life Better

This is a normal headline. It serves the purpose of letting people know what they will learn from the article.

How Can You Make Your Life Better?

The question headline works well because people read it and then ask themselves the question. This makes them wonder what the answer is, so they follow the link to the article.

How to Make Your Life Better

Internet users love how-to articles because they are instructional. With this headline, people will think they will be able to make their life better if they just follow the steps.

5 Ways to Make Your Life Better

Number headlines are popular too because it provides a set number of tips. People enjoy being able to scan the list of ways and get the information they need quickly and easily.

Ways You Need to Make Your Life Better

The power of the word “need” is amazing. People feel compelled to click on a linked headline with this word in it. It’s as though they all of sudden feel the need to know whatever the headline tells them. Most people think, “Really? I really NEED to know this? Let’s see.”

Use Keywords in Your Title

Using the main keyword of your blog post in your title and throughout the post helps search engines find the post and the presence of the keyword in the title will draw in readers who are looking for that topic.

Avoid a Vague Title

While writing a title you may feel the urge to be creative, but when writing a blog post title you need to actually state what the post is about.

If you are writing about planting flower bulbs in springtime, you want to make sure that the title conveys that. A blog post title about that subject that is vague and poetic doesn’t communicate the subject of the post.

Which would be you more likely to click on if you were looking for that information? The best way to plant flower bulbs in the spring? or The foundation of a rainbow of flora.

Being able to tell from the title what the post is about is a key factor in a reader being drawn to your blog.


Give these headlines a try! You will likely see a difference in social media engagement or web traffic.

Just keep in mind, you may need to go through some experimentation before you find exactly what your audience likes in headlines. Once you figure it out though, you’ll feel as though you’ve hit a gold mine.

Got any tips for writing great or better article headlines? If so, we need to know about them! Let us know in the comments below.


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