Headlines are the first -- and often only -- factor your audience will use to decide whether they want to click on and read your content. And arguably, that makes them the most critical part of your content to carefully consider and craft.
When I’m stumped for a good headline, I use the following 10 tools to find the right eye-catching phrase. I hope they help you take your headlines to higher levels as well.
Used by Microsoft, NBC Universal and other big players, Optimizely takes headline optimization beyond A / B testing. You can use the tool to conduct multivariate analysis of the combined effects of various headlines and images. Or, alternatively, you can also use it to specialize your headline for a specific goal, such as higher click-through rates, conversions, social media shares or engagement.
2. Inbound Now’s Headline Generator
If you hate coming up with headlines in the first place, this simple tool by Inbound Now is the perfect option for you. Just type in a few words related to your content topic, and it will come up with engaging, SEO-friendly headlines:
Taboola is best known as a native advertising network that’ll help you get your content displayed on other people’s websites, but there’s one tool hidden in there that’ll help you optimize your content and headlines to increase engagement.
Besides promoting content, the service lets users test headlines (among other elements) against Taboola’s custom click-through rate algorithm. The system is based on data from its content recommendation service, giving Taboola unique insights into the kinds of headlines that people are most drawn to.
Headlines, a KingSumo app, is a unique tool for WordPress that will continue optimizing your headlines even after you publish. To use the app, you write as many headlines as possible for a post, and Headlines will use each of them and monitor how well they perform.
Over time, the app determines the best one based on its performance with your actual audience.
Qualaroo is unique among headline tools because it actually seeks out user feedback to create its optimization recommendations.
Qualaroo surveys users about why a blog post caught their interest, providing real data on what works. When analyzing your headlines, Qualaroo will tell you which ones garner the most attention, but more importantly -- why.
6. CoSchedule’s Headline Analyzer
CoSchedule’s Headline Analyzer is based on the real success of past headlines on the web, offering any headline you enter a strength score between one and 100.
It includes factors such as how common the words are, as well as measurements of emotion and power. It will also let you know if your headline is too short or too long, and allows you to input tons of iterations so that you can work toward the highest score possible.
CrazyEgg enables you to take a deeper look at the headlines of your own site and how your audience is responding to them through its use of heat maps.
As you monitor your site’s performance, you’ll see which headlines receive the most engagement -- and which ones don’t -- so you can determine what kind of headlines work best for your specific website visitors.
8. Advanced Marketing Institute’s Headline Analyzer
Any marketer knows that developing an emotional connection with your audience through great content is key when it comes building trust and standing out against competitors. Still, how to actually instill that emotion into a headline is lost on many.
Advanced Marketing Institute’s Headline Analyzer is a unique solution to this, offering an algorithm that measures the emotional marketing value (EMV) of headlines. The tool calculates a headline’s EMV score based on the number of emotional words in the headline, telling you if your headline evokes spiritual, intellectual or empathetic emotions.
Onalytica is a tool developed to help you monitor and build relationships with valuable influencers in your niche, but that’s not the limit of its usability.
Onalytica will easily aggregate the headlines of your influencers and competitors and offers analysis that show which are the most successful. This can inform what direction you should take with your own headlines.
10. Boost Media
If you’re looking for a more human touch to improve your headlines, this is the tool for you. Boost Media offers headline algorithms and multivariate testing as well, but its real benefit comes from its network of writers and designers who can help optimize your headlines for your specific niche.
As an example, if you sell rock-climbing accessories, Boost Media will try to find you a real rock climbing enthusiast to write your headlines. You’re virtually guaranteed to come up with something engaging.
While almost all these tools have some overlap in functionality, each offers some unique features that can bring your content ahead of the game and encourage more engagement.
Have another favorite you feel deserves a spot on this list? Share your recommendations by leaving a comment below.