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4 “How To” Headlines That GRAB Attention
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You know that your article is not really what draws readers in, don’t you?


Imagine this–a potential reader is doing a Google search for a certain type of info, or they’re on an article directory searching in a particular category for an article on a specific topic.

They are greeted with a large list of titles that they quickly scan through trying to determine which ones to click through to and which to pass over.

Your real first chance to grab a reader’s attention is the article headline–your title.

You can have the most eloquent, helpful, insightful article in the world, but if your article title is not making the grade, then you will not lure in those readers.

What is the purpose of your title?

Your article title has the purpose of drawing a person into reading the first lines of your article.

After that, your article must keep the reader’s attention and deliver on what was promised in the title.

The Art of the “How To” Headline

“How To” articles are some of the most frequently clicked, read and searched for content on the net. Most people who are searching for info online want practical information on how to do something.

I am always looking for ways to improve my article titles, and I was pleased to find this very helpful post at Copyblogger on how to write ‘How To’ headlines.

I had never really thought of there being different types of “How To” headlines, so that post has opened up a new world to me (since my bread and butter are “how to’s”).

Let’s go over some different types of “How To” titles:

1) The title that solves a problem (or conveys a benefit)

First off, your “how to” title should always explicitly convey the benefit. The more clearly you state things the better.

This is your basic how to title: How To [do a certain task]

For example:

“How To Write Quality Articles Faster”
“How To Hold A Newborn Baby”
“How To Install A Kitchen Faucet”

The benefit is what you are teaching them–writing quality articles faster, knowing how to correctly hold a newborn, installing a kitchen faucet, etc.

These types of titles are not flashy or frilly, but that’s okay. They get straight to the point and tell the reader what benefit they will receive from the article. Straightforward “how to” titles are very effective.

2) Even more powerful–a title that conveys a double benefit:

If one benefit is effective, two are even better.


“How to win friends and influence people”
“How to save time and make more money”
“How to lose weight and get toned”
“How to bring more readers to your website and increase sales”

This is a type of “How To” title that I’m looking forward to giving a try–the double benefit!

Or here’s a different ‘How To’ title template…

3) How To [everyday task] that [benefit]

“How to create a budget that saves half your income”
“How to create a budget that will cut your spending in half”
“How to find a house that costs half what it’s worth”

Or try this approach…

4) Drop the “to”–Just use the “How”…

“How I got washboard abs while still eating ice cream”
“How I improved my productivity by sleeping more”
“How I found a hairstyle that made me look 20 years younger”
“How one tiny change can transform your life”

Or a more personal variation would be to use “you” instead of “I”:

“How you can get washboard abs while still eating ice cream”
“How you can transform your life with one tiny change”

For pretty much all of these, it does help to create the title before writing the article so that you can be sure that your article delivers on what you promise in the title.

I’m looking forward to trying these different “How To” titles. Sometimes just having a new type of title is gives you inspiration for article topics.

What do you think–will you try any of these?

NOTE: Please be aware this content may now be outdated. For the latest quality content on how to build massive publicity for your website, please go to The vWriter Blog - Helping Businesses Grow Traffic, Build Engagement, and "Be Everywhere"

23 Responses to “4 “How To” Headlines That GRAB Attention”

  1. Elwood Lee says:

    Great Info as always. I’m guilty of not using the Power of “How To” myself. Guess I got lazy and forgot how effective they are. Thanks for the Reminder.

  2. Annette says:

    Thank you for good advise.I will use your information wisely.


  3. [...] went over several different types of “HowTo” title variations recently, so for your next HowTo article, try one of those [...]

  4. Shannon says:

    You went over great how to titles. Thank you for your advice.

  5. You’re absolutely right! You only have a short time to entice the reader, play upon their curiosity and make them want to read your work. A bad title, and the reader will pass by your work without a second look. Thanks for the advice.
    Annette Colby

  6. Chuck says:

    The title is the most important thing because if they do not like it enough, they will never read the article. Also one expert in writing sales letters says to also write unusual things that create curiosity. Also the title helps to get someone to buy a book.

  7. kevin says:

    I agree the title is the most important part of the article. If you can’t get there attention then isn’t any point of writing the article. Great article thank you.
    kevin Smith

  8. DonnaB says:

    Excellent perspective. Thanks for reminding and tweaking the imagination about the Hows and How to titles. Just in time for some writing tonight!

  9. Swapan Kumar says:

    Thanks for great post. Title is a explosive way to increase your brand awareness. So title is a most important parts for promotion.

  10. I try to get keywords( usually long tail if possible) in the title. It might be difficult to place keywords in a double benefit how to article title. would a subtitle work here?

  11. Steve Shaw says:

    Hi Maurice,

    Yes, it seems like it might be a little tricky to fit a long tail phrase into a double benefit article title. If the long tail keywords don’t fit naturally into the title, I wouldn’t press it. By ‘sub-title’, did you mean putting your keyword phrase, then colon : , then the double benefit? It’s hard to say without seeing how the title looks, but just generally speaking, that seems like that could end up with a very long title. Let me know what you come up with!

  12. Once again, your suggestions for writing good quality articles are great. The title really does need to grab the reader. Thanks!

  13. David Kamau says:

    Great article and tips. I wish you could put this information (and perhaps all your articles) into PDF format for easier reading, saving and printing. This is the kind of information one wants to refer to regularly.

  14. Cherille says:

    When you say article writing, what does that mean?
    I have never seen such pages. If you write anywhere like your blog will it be picked up as an article?

  15. Steve Shaw says:

    Hi David,

    Glad you’re finding these useful. Thank you for the suggestion about the PDF. We’ll look into…

  16. Steve Shaw says:

    Hi Cherille,

    Thanks for your question. When I say “article writing”, I’m referring to article marketing. Article marketing involves a website owner creating articles on the topic of his website (not about his website, but on the same general topic), then submitting the article to article directories and other online publishers and allowing website owners and ezine editors to publish their article for free. What you get in exchange is a free one-way backlink to your site (this helps your search engine ranking), as well as traffic from the places where your article is published. It also helps establish your expertise.

    For more info, please see our Squidoo lens:

    The Ultimate Guide To Article Marketing

    I hope that helps!

  17. Thanks Steve,
    Great advice as always. I will DEFINITELY use this suggestion more in my future travel blogs on travel in Australia.

  18. Another good pithy article. I’ll definitely take that on board and use your suggestions for future article titles

  19. Hi Steve,
    Thank you for the nice topic. How do I write a topic of my website without talking about my website? Could you have a look at my website and advise how to write about it?

    Thank you for your help!

  20. Steve Shaw says:

    Hi Charles,

    Sure, let me give you an example.

    My website is for my service

    Yet I don’t write about my business or my website–I write articles about article marketing, link building, writing, writing productivity, creativity–all sorts of subjects related to my overall topic of article marketing.

    I save all promotional info about my site, my business, and my service for my resource box. That is the appropriate way to do article marketing.

    This resource may help you:

    How To Write Articles For A Product Based Website

  21. Elda Titus says:

    What insightful information! Thanks so much for all the great tips.

  22. Bissell Bob says:

    Just what the doctor ordered and very timely, thanks for sharing.

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