Importance of quality headlines


Writing your headline is the most important piece of your article; it’s what grabs the reader’s attention and draws them into reading it.

Army Digital Media Division (DMD) sometimes comes across stories that – though compelling – have weak headlines.

In these instances, we edit them to not only better engage readers, but to:

  1. Improve SEO (how search engines rank content)
  2. Obtain a broader reach
  3. Convey HQDA communication goals and messaging
  4. Position – and your articles – as the primary source for Army news

In public affairs, one of your many roles is to disseminate information to the public. The public doesn’t always make this easy, as viewers decide almost instantaneously whether an article is worth their time based on the headline.

TIP: Another way to enhance your article is by using eye-catching photos. Learn more about Selecting quality imagery.

The power of a good headline

According to one study, 59% of articles are shared by people who haven’t even read the article – that is, their share was based solely on the headline of the article.

Your headline is your first (and only) chance at drawing viewers in. Without a great headline, your article won’t be read.

By improving your headlines, the story that you have worked so hard on will get views and leave people wanting more.

Golden rules for headlines

Here are several rules to headline writing for articles that will help improve your article’s chances of being read:

  1. It must be clear. The headline is not the place to be confusing or circumspect. It has to be clear what the headline is saying and what the rest of the article is about.
  2. It must be relevant. The headline must be relevant to the introduction and the rest of the article otherwise you will lose the reader as soon as they see any discrepancy.
  3. It must be concise. A wordy headline will not be read. Keep your headline short and to the point.
  4. It must be exciting. Don't bore your reader - excite them, amuse them, make them curious. (What would make you want to read a story?)
  5. It must refrain from acronyms. If you want your article to get more views, you have to think outside of the Army; will civilians and Families of Soldiers understand what you’re saying?

Example headlines

Here’s an example of a recent headline uploaded to CORE:

“Pushing forward, never wavering”

Though concise, this headline lacks relevance, clarity, and excitement; the reader has no understanding of what the article is about.

Updating the headline to the following makes it more appealing to the viewer, prompting them to want to learn more:

“Escaping urban jungle, man finds ‘perfect fit’ with Army”

(See article at

Headline analyzer tool

CoSchedule has developed a great online resource which will help you develop your headlines:

It gives each headline a score based on common headline types, character count, word type balance, etc. It's not foolproof, but it's useful.

Generally aim for a score of 75 or higher and throw out anything less than a 60.

Need input regarding your headlines? Contact the content editor.

Our support team is here for you.