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5 Headline Tips That Get Your Community Clicking

January 16, 2014 | By | No Comments

Writing great content that’s collecting digital dust?

When people come to us for help with their social media and content marketing problems, they usually name of one of two goals they are having trouble reaching: growing their community to a certain size or getting that community to engage in the content.

These problems might seem sequential (grow your community first and then when there’s a big enough community, a percentage of them will probably engage) but we disagree. We think each goal doesn’t have to be separate of each other and you can actually solve both problems — simultaneously.


Well it’s a two-pronged approach: create well-written, amazing and interesting content AND top it off with an attention grabbing headline that’s irresistibly clickable and shareable.

Every time you win a click, you are achieving engagement. With engagement, comes sharing. And with sharing comes growth.

Avoid that fate with these types of headlines that have worked for us:

1. Numbered Lists

No surprise here. With the popularity of all the Buzzfeeds out there, it’s safe to say, people love their lists. By adding a number to your title, you’re setting up the expectation of your readers who might only have a few minutes to consume content and appreciates the concise, easy-to-read, list format.

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2. Negative/Fear-Based

In journalism there has always been a saying (a very morbid one) that goes: if it bleeds, it leads. That’s probably why we have a zombie and vampire obsessed generation on our hands. Perhaps we have been conditioned to this mindset but either way, our numbers show that this tactic truly does garner more attention to content.

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3. Suspenseful

Upworthy and other viral content sharing sites use suspense almost like a voodoo spell. Trying not to click is actually difficult. Just like a book can be a page turner, leaving the most important details out of your title or being abstract/cryptic compels people to crave more information. Instead of a turned page, these days it’s the almighty click.

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4. Controversial

We were always told not to “push the red button.” Nowadays, when people say pushing the envelope, we often wonder, is there much envelope left to push. The internet has become the bathroom stall wall and a lot of crazy things have been said in virtual Sharpie marker. Try not to look away though, we dare you.

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5. Timely Pop Culture References

The internet never sleeps. And neither do celebrities or TMZ. So if you’re keeping a close eye on the goings-on in the world, you should try to create some tie-ins on the most talked about/trending topics. Make sure it’s relevant as no one likes a seedy opportunist but if you can make it happen, you’ll likely be rewarded with some approving nods on your timeliness and clever dot-connecting.

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Test and tweak titles by using your Twitter or Facebook copy to see what works the best to achieve the most click-throughs, shares and comments. Regardless, the golden rule always applies when it comes to content and social media market: provide value every chance you get. Use your titles to entice readership but tackle your marketing goals with the intention to help your community learn, explore and discover something new and different.

About the author:


Renee Warren is the Co-founder of Onboardly, a company that helps entrepreneurial minded lifestyle companies (Saas, E-Commerce, and retail) grow by doing three things: Acquire customers, increase conversions through key revenue-generating channels and turn those customers into brand ambassadors. You can reach her at

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