How to Create Powerful Headlines That go Viral on Social Media

Do your headlines capture the attention of the right people?

Do your headlines get your audience to stop, read, and share your content?

If the answer is NO, you definitely need some great ideas to enhance your headlines!

social media tips

Every marketer is trying hard to find unique methods to get his or her content noticed on social media. This is especially important for small businesses that lack the budget to support every piece of content with advertising and other paid marketing techniques.

In order to capture your audience’s time and attention, you need a strong headline. As the famous advertising tycoon and businessman, David Ogilvy, once said, “On an average, only 1 out of 5 readers go beyond your headline.”

So, what are the factors that make a great headline? Continue reading to find out!

1. Demonstrate Value with Numbers

A good headline includes a number (12 Ways to Make Your Video Effective) and addresses your readers directly (Ways You Make an Effective Video).

2. Address Your Customer’s Questions

Give readers the information they’re actively seeking. In other words, “They ask, you answer.”

For example, post an article to answer a common question from customers interested in making websites. The key information is delivered right in the headline: How Much Does It Cost to Make a Good Website?

Do not forget that you also want to avoid giving away too much information in the headline. The headline should be designed to prompt a user to click on it.

  • Make listicles:8 reasons to…”, “15 tips to…” – Indicating a number of items in your post makes it sound more diverse, practical, and easier to read.
  • Use digits rather than words:10 ways to…” works better than “Ten ways to…
  • Place the number at the head of the sentence: “5 ways social networks are changing the world” will work better than “How social networks change the world in 5 ways”.

3. Brainstorm Potential Headlines for Options

It is easy to treat a headline for your article as something to add later and use the first idea that comes to mind. But, more often than not, your first headline is usually not your strongest. To find the best possible headline for your content, take some time to brainstorm and research on potential headlines.

Brainstorming on potential headlines will give your ample options, thereby enabling you to review your list and choose the best possible headline for your article or content.

4. Be clear

Avoid using an attention-grabbing headline if it will confuse your audience’s understanding of the topic. Disappointing potential readers will make them less likely to actually read or share your content.

5. Use your audience’s language

Based on your marketing and social personas, determine which words and phrases resonate with your social followers and then include them accordingly in your headlines.

6. You and Your

The main goal of your post is to help or assist other people with their queries. This can be proven from the above provided table. Here, “You” is the 5th most popular word, and “Your” is in the list of Top 20 viral words as well. Combined, these two pronouns appear in 16% of all the headlines, according to this study.

So, what does this tell us about viral headlines? It’s simple! They seek to add value for you (the reader), and for your business. In other words, try to make your content about the reader and not about the writer.


  • What Would You Buy With an Extra $12,000?
  • 6 Things You Need to Know to Prepare a Good CV

7. This


As shown in the table above, the two-word phrase “This is” also tops the list. The power of “This is” is in its specificity. When you use this in a headline, the reader’s mind switches to a concrete view of whatever you’re talking about–as if the object in question were imminent and attainable. There is an immediacy to the word.


  • Is This the Technology of the Future?
  • This Woman’s Massive Instagram Following Helped Her Launch a Business

8. What, Which, and When

What do all these words have in common? They are all about questions! While looking for a great headline, try to use a lot of interrogative pronouns as they create a certain level of curiosity in the minds of the reader. This curiosity will prompt them to click, view, and read your content. Social headlines need to create a curiosity gap. Too vague, and nobody cares. Too specific, and nobody bothers to click.


  • Which Country Pays Its Teachers the maximum?
  • Which Old-School Pro Wrestling Legend Are You?

9. Why

“Why” is yet another interrogative pronoun, but it dives deep into individual instances. “Why” promises an explanation. Here are some examples:

  • Why Your Brand Shouldn’t Fear Assigning Authorship
  • Why So Many Creatives Love Working on Trains
  • Why the Best Social Media Education Might Be Right Under Your Nose

Finding out the reason or the cause of something satisfies us because of a phenomenon called — curiosity gap.

10. How To

You’ve probably seen and used this one many times over, and for good reason. “How to” is a popular headline trick because it is highly effective. How to posts generally offer a certain level of education, and provided the subject matter is of value to the reader, you can expect high amounts of clicks.

11. Ask for a Download

According to Twitter, this will increase your clicks by an average of 13%.

12. Ask for a Retweet


If you don’t ask, you’ll never know!

13. Everyone wants to be taught: Use “Introduction”, “The beginners guide”, “In 5 minutes” and “DIY”

After all, we all want to get smarter. A common way to think about it is to create ample “How to” articles. Instead, try changing it to something more specific so the reader knows beforehand what they are receiving.


  • Instead of: “How to write a good blog post”
  • Try: “The 5 minute guide to writing a good blog post”

18,144 blog posts are published every single day on WordPress alone.
Headlines thus become the most crucial element in your posts. They can increase conversions, user-engagements, and even increase sales by a significant amount.

So, create headlines for different social media platforms by making use of the proven strategies shared above.

Have you tried any of those tactics? Do you have an example of a favorite headline you would like to share? What’s your favorite headline tip for attracting attention on social media platforms?

Please leave your comments and questions below!



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