Our Blog

7 tips for writing number-based headlines

Recent research from Spurious has proven that every piece of thought leadership content in the world now has to have a number in the headline or it just won’t get read.  We never let a bandwagon go unjumped-upon, so here’s the Velocity handy guide to writing headlines with numbers in them:

1) Make sure you get a number in the headline.
This is the most important part of writing number-based headlines but, amazingly, some people still don’t do it.

2) It’s often best to start your headline with the number.
“14 Ways to use Social Media for Building Your Brand” is much better than “Ways to use Social Media for Building Your Brand Fourteen”.   Similarly,  S-Club Seven would probably still be together if they were called “7 Club S”.

3) Use the arabic number instead of the spelled out word
People who flock to articles and blog posts with numbers in the headline are busy people.  They don’t have time to decipher words like ‘fourteen’ or ‘eleven’.  Cut to the chase you blithering pedant.

4) Did I mention putting a number in the headline?
Even if I did, it’s worth repeating: your number-based headline just won’t be number-based if it doesn’t have a number in it.  If you take just 1 thing away from this important blog post, take this.

5) Always check what number you used in the headline
If you promised 7 tips, by heaven, write 7 tips.  Trust me: people will check.

6) If you can’t think of the number of tips you promised, make some up
People don’t care about the actual tips, they just want to know that you delivered on the hypnotic promise of your number-based headline.  Get puffing.

7) If you can’t get a number in the headline, don’t write the post
Face it, no one will re-tweet ‘The Gettysburg Address’.  But ‘Six Powerful Ways to Remember the Civil War Dead Without Alienating Half the Country” will set Google’s servers alight.

So that’s it! You’ve written your number-based headline; you’ve cranked out some essential tips to deliver on your promise; now cap it off with “So that’s it!” and don’t forget the exclamation point.

Related Posts

8 Responses to “7 tips for writing number-based headlines”

  1. Roger, Online PR Agency, C&M

    eek – rule 7 openly flaunts rule 3! and potentially rule 4 too. my OCD, list-like sensibilities are floored. 6 strokes at 6am for that guilty (‘Six’ ish) rule, please….

  2. Martin Brablec

    Thank you Doug. In the Czech and Slovak language is using numbers in the headline incorrect (4 ways to…). The correct form is “Four ways to…” But this form is less successful.

Leave a Reply