Creating Headlines That Go Viral On Social Media

Social media headlines

There’s one element of writing that requires great effort to give your content the visibility it deserves. It is also an element that is constantly overlooked. What does a social media user see first?

“It has been found that the less an advertisement looks like an advertisement, and the more it looks like an editorial, the more readers stop, look and read.”
David Ogilvy

You’ve guessed it. It is the headline. If a headline is not compelling it will not attract anyone’s attention. Your content will not be spread. If your content is tagged under a compelling headline, it will be bookmarked, clicked on and shared by the user on their social media networks.

Let’s look at how to create spectacular headlines.

Attention Grabbing Seeker – your first task is to determine if your content is going to hold the reader’s attention. To do this, get as many people to read your content to identify if it grabs attention in whole or in part.

Targeting a Particular Audience – readers as a whole are driven by self interests with our brains wired to listen to a message that addresses us directly and benefits us. If the headline targets a group with an affinity to their requirements, you can be certain they will give it a second glance.

Specificity Matters – instead of creating generic and vague headlines, stringing together specific approaches draw better attention. Unspecific statements lack in trustworthiness.

Generate Curiosity – what is going to get the reader to not just listen but to also act? You need to make readers curious enough to get past the headline. The content should be good enough to grapple readers by their feeling and encourage them to move onto the next step.

5 Types of Headlines That Matter

Newsy Headlines

Breaking news is a popular headline that is geared at grabbing attention of the reader. Share some gossip, announce an unexpected bit of news and you will find people flocking to your doorstep wanting to know more. Traditional news has been made to look dated in the face of social media blowouts simply because the news is spread ten times faster than on traditional media.

Affirmative Goals

Offer affirmative goals that seize the reader’s attention through the use of words such as, be more powerful, be more attractive, be wealthier and healthier – the trick is to use more this and more that. For instance, if there is a headline talking about the 10 tried and tested dating secrets to get your crush to like you, you can be certain you would have not just your target readers but also people from different demographics, ethnicities and backgrounds wanting to read it!

Selling Fear

Just as much as goals offer perspective on the positives, you must know that fear sells too. Whether it is on health, money, the economy, global politics or terrorism you can be certain you will have an equally large audience gobbling up your content.

How to Content

And there’s a niche group that just loves the how to technique driven content. Whether it is a recipe, building a model boat, tutorial or formula it adds an edge to the content by making it an achievable reality. The entire context aims provides practical steps to achieving something that is within reach of everyone.


Entertaining content will attract large crowds of disproportionate sizes. Whether it is a cute video, funny anecdote, hilarious joke or sentimental picture this is what social media, coffee break hour originated from.

And above all you need to hit the emotional button. Remember, you are not just focusing on their interests, you are also expecting action from an audience. When talking about the emotional hot buttons show empathy and get your audience to connect whether it is to laugh till their sides hurt, cry or throw things at the screen.

Emotional Hot Button Topics

Boost and slam the best, worst, least or most. Compare and contrast the most engaging, the least engaging, the best engaging or the worst engaging piece of content you can offer an audience. Nothing riles up people more than hitting their emotional buttons especially in the instance, you are taking sides on a hot topic.

Emotional hot topics strike a chord amongst people. Pulling at their heartstrings to release a host of emotions whether it is to make them cry, laugh, cheer or even snigger.

Righteous indignation, outrage and anger are also hot button topics that have people taking different sides of the aisle. Radio and television talk show hosts are the best at getting their audience all pumped up and outraged at whichever current topic that is being discussed. Now, here is a headline that will have the entire world at its feet!

Looming disasters, fears and problems will also bring a large audience to the fold. When people are afraid they gobble up any bit of content related to a particular topic.

Shocking your audience is another way to grab attention. This is similar to putting out outrageous news. It takes someone by surprise but it is that element of surprise that has the audience in the palm of your hand.

And the most important tip. You are a human writing for another human.

In short,

  • Avoid keyword stuffing
  • Never be boring
  • Incorporate psychological triggers
  • If you like to read it, write it!

Writing compelling headlines is a skill; never underestimate the power of it!

A leading Digital Marketing Company in Dubai which specializes in services such as: Search Engine Optimization, Google AdWords Management, Social Media Management and Website Design and Development.

About Carson Derrow

My name is Carson Derrow I'm an entrepreneur, professional blogger, and marketer from Arkansas. I've been writing for startups and small businesses since 2012. I share the latest business news, tools, resources, and marketing tips to help startups and small businesses to grow their business.

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