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Liza Perstneva

6 Tips for Perfect Headlines

Liza Perstneva
6 Tips for Perfect Headlines

Managing your social media can be a hard job, especially when you’re bogged down with deadlines, high KPIs and all those other things that can kill your creativity. But still, you must produce posts that are effective — and by that I mean interesting, catchy, fresh, easy-to-read and shareable.

The good news is after you work as a community manager for a while, you learn little tips and tricks to help you promote content. One of the most important parts of a great post for social media? A short, catchy headline or meta description promising the reader they will find useful information.

Today, I want to share a list of headline options that will make your posts 100% attractive and shareable. Note: This list will also be very useful for content managers.


In a 2007 eye-tracking study, Jakob Nielsen discovered that including numbers in marketing copy will often stop wandering eyes, even when those numerals are embedded within a mass of words. According to his research, there are two reasons for this:

  • Numbers represent facts, and that’s what users are mostly looking for.
  • The shape of a group of digits is significantly different from that of a group of letters. Because of this, numbers tend to stand out in a reader’s peripheral vision. For example, 5,453 looks different from five, even though both contain the same number of characters.

Example: 5 Local SEO Metrics You Should Focus On vs. Rankings and One Positive Pigeon Result: We Can Finally Ditch Ranking Reports.



Simplicity is best. If an article’s headline is long and complicated, promoting it through social media can be tough. You only have a couple of seconds to attract a reader, so it’s better to use a short, promising headline instead.

Example: 7 Ways to Determine Search Intent vs. What Are They Thinking?: 7 Techniques to Decrypt Search Intent.



There are a lot of newbies in every industry who are looking for information, who want to be taught, and who want a complete to-do list for becoming an expert. And even pros are looking for new ways to improve. Also, if something big is happening in a particular industry, everybody is looking for advice on how to deal with that new reality.

By using the words HOW, WHY, WHAT and WHERE in your headlines, you will always catch the eyes of those who are looking for advice.


There are 3 basics of a good headline: numbers, simplicity and trigger words.

Using different combinations of these three elements will give you a sharp and striking headline. Using the same kind of headline all the time is boring. So if you are looking for diversity, mix it up a little!


There is another way to signal to a reader that they can find useful information in your post. Using the words ultimate, everyone, ought or guide immediately tells the reader that your post is not just a regular post, but a treasure trove of information. So whenever you use these words in a headline, the reader will know they will be able to find exactly what they’re looking for.


Breaking news, disclosures, sensations — tabloids love this stuff.

There’s always room for a little sensationalism, no matter what you’re writing about. Yes, even if it’s not about Beyoncé, but just about HTTPS.

Example: The Real Truth About HTTPS vs. Google’s Push for HTTPS is More About PR Than Search Quality




As you may have figured out, trigger words are essential. But there are other types of triggers that will grab a reader — emotional triggers. Superlative forms of adjectives and emotionally colored nouns can’t be missed. But what kind of festive “sundae” are we talking about?


Have fun with your headlines, and don't worry about using a different article title to suit your promotional social media posts. And of course, be sure to follow SEMrush on social for examples of on-point headlines on Facebook, Google+, and Twitter.

Please share your secrets for creating killer headlines in the comments!

Liza Perstneva is a Social Media Manager at SEMrush and a #SEMrushchat host. Follow Liza on Twitter.

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