Simple Steps to Rewrite a Headline

Post author: Adam VanBuskirk
Adam VanBuskirk
5/12/22 in
AI Article Spinning & Rewriting

Awhile back, I tested wordbot.io as a headline rewriter by rewriting six headlines randomly pulled from the internet. I posted the process in a blog post titled Headline Rewriter | WordBot Headline Rewrites. Wordbot’s AI did an overall good job rewriting the headlines, but got me thinking how good it could be if we implemented a specific feature for rewriting headlines.

To consider designing such a feature, I first have to understand what exactly makes a great headline? This blog post covers some of my research into what makes great headlines. These are some the items I would need to work into Wordbot to create a world class headline rewriter. I figured I would share my research with you in case you too are wondering – How do I rewrite a headline to make it great?

What Makes a Great Headline?

From my initial research, great headlines are easily readable, properly structured for SEO, and have a strong emotional connection to the reader. Let’s discuss each of these in more detail.

Readability

Readability is all about how easy or difficult it is to read something. It’s a measurement often depicted in years old, or age. For example, based on my findings its best to write headlines with a readability score between ages 9 and 15. For Wordbot, this would mean designing our headline rewriter to rewrite your headline into this age group.

To do this, we would likely design the headline rewriter to use the Flesch reading ease test. This test uses two variables to rank a headline between 0 and 100, with 0 being the most difficult to read and 100 being the easiest. The two variables that calculate the Flesch score are:

  • The average length of your sentence measured by the number of words
  • The average number of syllables per word

The score ranges are below.

  • 91 – 100 – Very easy, well understood by an 11-year-old student
  • 81 – 90 – Easy to read
  • 71 – 80 – Fairly easy to read
  • 61 – 70 – Easily understood by 13 – 15-year-old students
  • 51 – 60 – Fairly difficult to read
  • 31 – 50 – Very difficult to read, best understood by a college graduates

Rewrite a Headline To Have High Readability

If we were to put a headline rewriting feature into wordbot, we would need to include logic that allows you to quickly see your readability score on your existing headline. We would also have to include insights and suggested improvements that allow you to improve your headline’s readability score. Below are some items I think we could program wordbot to do automatically.

  • Use plain language
  • Remove unnecessary jargon
  • Don’t wonder or waffle through sentences
  • Cut repetitive words
  • Make use of bulleted and numbered lists
  • Address readers directly with “you” and “we”
  • Explain acronyms or abbreviations
  • Make the content brief

SEO

Considering SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, is important when you rewrite headlines. Excluding offline media such as newspapers, you’re likely creating a headline to be found online. To be found, you need a headline that optimizes well for SEO. If designing a headline rewriter for Wordbot, we’ll need to make the tool produce highly optimized headlines.

Here’s some of the items we’ll need to consider.

SEO Requires Proper Word and Character Counts

  • 5 – 7 words long
  • 80 – 120 characters for LinkedIn headlines
  • 40 characters for Facebook headlines
  • 71 – 100 characters for Twitter headlines
  • 20 characters for email headlines
  • 50 – 60 characters for blog posts, articles, Google Adwords, and other headlines that will show in the SERPS, or Search Engine Results Pages.

Here are some additional SEO tips for creating a highly optimized headline

  • Keep your headlines short. You don’t want them spilling onto multiple lines on your blog or getting truncated in Google’s search results. Remember the readability – it’s harder to read a long or truncated headline.
  • Include keywords that have high volume and low competition. This will increase your chance of attracting organic visitors with your headline. Website such as Ahrefs and SEMRush are great for doing this.
  • Use clickbait. Instead of stating a feature or objective fact, appeal to people’s emotions, such as curiosity. This will improve your click through rates (CTR), which is the number of people that see your headline and click it.

Sentiment

When rewriting headlines, you want to make sure you appeal to people’s emotions. Salespeople have long known this – it’s much harder to sell based on objective facts and concrete features then it is to sell on your emotions. As buyers, we want to know how a product or service will make our lives easier. As readers consuming content, we’re no different. We want to know how reading your article will make our lives easier. This is why our headlines need to relate to emotions. Let’s take a look at some tips to achieve this.

  • As mentioned above, use clickbait. This term can have a negative connotation, but it simply means to write a headline that appeals to our emotions, such as curiosity, ambition, greed, or laziness.
  • Use power words such as Simple, Steps, Easily, Create, Tips, etc. These power words appeal to our emotions by implying time savings, reduced effort, etc.

My Vision for a Headline Rewriter in Wordbot

Using the three pillars of a great headline – Readability, SEO, and Sentiment, I now feel well equipped to design a headline rewriter feature in wordbot. You can already put your headline in wordbot and rewrite it using word class AI. You cannot however have it automatically rewritten and scored using the three pillars.

This is what I need to change. I want to combine readability, SEO, and sentiment with our existing rewriting and AI capabilities to give you a truly unique headline rewriting feature. Doing this research and writing this post has made me realize this is a feature we need in wordbot.

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