How to create viral blog titles that captivate

To create blog titles that captivate, your headline needs to have three of these core elements.

But before we get into all that… Why do you think your blog title is important? Actually any headline for that matter?

When you pass by a magazine store, what is the first thing that attracts your eye? The picture? I bet. But what captivates your attention and makes you grab the magazine?

The headline.

create viral blog titles that captivate

The headline is what will make you grab a magazine and flip through it.

Now did you know that 8 out of 10 people who grab the magazine only read the headlines. And only 2 out of 10 buy the magazine to read its contents.

That’s a ration of 4:1. So for every one reader you get, 4 people read your headline and weren’t captivated to go any further. If that doesn’t shock you… Think about this.

For every one person who clicks your ad on Facebook there are four who never took any action.

So how do you write headlines that captivate?

Headlines that have a higher return on investment?

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Headlines that have potential to go viral?

Simple. By making sure you achieve at least 3 of these 5 core elements of a good headline.

Create Blog Titles That Captivate

As with most copy, there is a guideline on how to come up with a great headline. You can even use tools provided online to test the quality of your headline.

To see what emotions you will be evoking and how you can improve your headline.

Topic Element

What is the content about?

You should hint on what your content is about. For example, Antonio Brown, Martin Luther King, Inauguration Day, Gotham, Eddie Long, IEBC.

Hinting on the main topic of the article triggers curiosity in your reader’s brain. It gives a rough idea on who (the person or object or event that your audience relates to and knows) affects the article in general.

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Using the topic element in your blog titles could leverage in using Google trends. Look what is trending on Google and see how you can leverage that topic to what your core audience will be interested in.

How the title headline is used:

  • Trump tweets praise to wrong Ivanka
  • Russia suspected in leaking Sherlock’s finale
  • Mike Pence will be sworn in using Reagan’s Bible

Content Element

What exactly encompasses your content? Apart from the main topic, what else should the reader expect to find.

Sometimes your content is a collection of different opinions. Hint on that from your headline. Maybe your audience is a sucker of infographics or podcasts or even videos. Mention it on the headline

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For example: infographics, quotes, images, facts, slideshares, videos

How the content element is used:

  • 18 cheat sheets that will help you survive Valentine’s [this is a spin between the format, title and content elements
  • 13 feminists quotes to inspire you [format and content elements]
  • Infographic: Jessie Spano’s caffeine intake [this is a spin of the title and content element]

Format Element

As you have seen with the examples in “Content Element”, Format element indicates how the article has been written. Buzzfeed is known for its unique ways of playing around with listicles.

The structure of an article can range from lists to case studies, research reports to insider opinions.

How the format element is used:

  • Dr. Rachel Phalange: Why you should never, ever use Q-tips to clean your ears
  • This is what your post-sex pillow talk says about you
  • 8 Popular beauty myths finally debunked

Emotional Element

What kind of emotion would you like to trigger in your reader?

bushra azhar quote persuasion words

Evoke that emotion from the blog title.

For example paralyzed, outrageous, damaging, overjoyed, enthusiastic

How the emotion element is used

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Download 380 high emotion words to use in your blog titles

Promise Element

And finally to the last element of a good headline.

The promise element is quite direct. It indicates a fulfillment to an agony or solution.

For Example: Penny for the dollar, Save you thousands, Highly effective, A Cut above, Ultimate Guide, Instant Savings, Strongly Recommend, What no one tells you

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Head over to Coschedule Headline Analyzer and copy paste the last ten headlines you have written. They could be blog titles or email subject lines.

Now let me know in the comment section how you scored. Were you using some of the elements I mention on this article?

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You can add more fun to it and analyze your top blogs, emails or magazines you like to read. And tweak their headlines to see if yours scores any better.


You do not wake up one day and you are awesome at coming up with killer headlines. It takes a ton of practice and testing before you can have an open rate of 80%+.
That said, it does not mean you can not follow the lead of industry leaders who are killing it when it comes to headlines. Such as:

Read those blogs, then pay more attention to your dailies in your community. What is the headline? How do they phrase them? The dailies have a years of experience and pay their editors a pile load of money to get it right. Who says you cannot borrow a leaf from them to improve your headline writing skills.