Tips for writing catchy headlines and teasers

The team at GottaBe! often get asked for tips on catchy headlines and teasers that can be used as part of a marketing campaign. Whether it’s a leaflet, website, blog, catalogue, brochure or even promotional book, here is what we’ve put together. 

Like any great book title, a great headline is meant to capture the attention of the reader. This is the same for the blurb on the back of a book, written to entice the reader to flip to page one. Whatever you are reading they create the first impression, set the tone of words which will follow and provide clues to the content. When neither are enticing or informative, the reader will put it down and move on to the next, more interesting one.

A standout headline is even more important in the world of search engine traffic, where readers quickly scan their search engine results to find a title to the topic that most closely matches the information they are searching for. Google’s ranking algorithm also places a premium on strong title’s and elevates the best ones to the top of the search results – snappy, short headlines are critical for readers to find your article with ease.

In one or two sentences the teaser must give just enough information to catch and wet the reader’s appetite and continue. These opening sentences appear everywhere, from the top of a press release, on news websites, in books and on social media platforms – with the importance to be eye catching vital.

Creating catchy worthwhile titles and teasers can leave even the most talented of writers searching their brains for the ultimate draw. A little secret is that traditional printed journalists rarely write their own headlines. Instead they leave this to copy editors, who are paid for composing headlines and teasers that are both witty and informative.

Mastering the art of writing headlines and teasers takes practice. As you start to develop these skills, keep in mind the following tips:

  1. Wait until you have finished writing the article before drafting the headline and teaser, as you will have a clearer understanding of what the piece is about and will make it easier to come up with something witty.
  2. What makes the article interesting and worth reading. Make sure this included in the headline and teaser.
  3. Place the most important information or keywords at the beginning. This is a great strategy and not only emphasises the topic and content but also ensure you get the message across to your target audience.
  4. Writing a great teaser is a juggling act. Use words like why or how, which allows you to toss out interesting details without revealing the most important parts of the story.
  5. Make sure the article delivers what’s promised in the headline and teaser as you will lose readers and long-term credibility.
  6. Perform a Google search on the topic of your article. This serves two purposes: You can get inspiration from other writers and discover how your title needs to be different to stand out from the pack!
  7. Your publishing platform greatly impacts the length of your title and article, so make sure you check and understand the rules first. Character length will play a big part of this as every platform is different.

Written by John Stoffel, Business Development Manager