If you’re doing research on almost any topic you will find a large number of headlines incorporating numbers, usually at the beginning. Why is that and how should we go about using number well? Let’s find out more about using numbers in headlines.
I’m going to start with the reason why you should (use numbers in headlines, that is). The simple answer: because it works. Numbers were used in headlines to attract readers long before the internet, when we received the written word through newspapers and magazines, even books. Journalists and writers found out very quickly that numbers are a good way to attract the readers’ attention. They stick out visually and therefore attract the eye. So they used them, and why not?
Wouldn’t you rather read an article that says “The 7 tastiest slow cooker recipes” or “Some slow cooker recipes”. With a number, you know what you’re about to receive: 7 recipes in this case. And you can start planning that you’re going to use them over the next 7 days. Menu planning for a whole week sorted. Or “30 Tips to improve your SEO” – great, that’s one tip to implement every day for the next month.
So, let’s have a look at how to best deal with those pesky little numbers.
How to use numbers in headlines
- Odd numbers work better than even numbers. They seem to be less contrived than, say, “10 tips …”. For some reason, and please don’t ask me why, the number 7 works particularly well. So if you can come up with 7 points for your article, go for it.
- Generally speaking, lower numbers work better. They promise a concise article, with easy to digest content.
- Higher numbers can be good if you want to go for a comprehensive article. Use those sparingly though and don’t overdo them. You don’t want people dreading to read “999 ways to …”.
- As always, it’s a very good idea to create your blog post first, then come up with your enticing headline. This way you know how many points you have discussed, or how many tips you have given and you can craft your headline accordingly.
- Whichever number you choose, make sure you cover as many points in your article. Keep your “headline promise”. Trust me, people will check.
Over to you
I have a special treat for you today, a collection of 150 headline templates (a lot of them with numbers) for you to download for free. This should make your headline creation easy as pie. If you would like this treat, simply email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will send it straight to you. No strings attached.