What makes a headline a successful one?

I came across this SEO-guy on medium. He is explaining how to write good headlines when everyone is doing lists, emotional titles and the stuff viralnova and the other platforms do. In his article he comes to the question:

So what are the key points of a “successful” headline?

He answers straight away:

1. First and foremost, to get the viewer to read the copy (now to “click” on the link)
2. Secondly, spreading the word — talk about the ad and tell your friends about it (now, its share-ability on social networks)
3. Thirdly, discoverability — what used to be throwing it on the largest ad spot you can find (now more about making it search-friendly and trying to get it featured on the strongest publication you can)

In my opinion, the first point should be called „get the user to take an action“ – could be reading the copy, could be clicking a link, could be scrolling down … You get it!

And furthermore, I am missing the point to „arouse emotions“. What we definitely learned from viralnova (or heftig.co in Germany) is, that emotionalized headlines work not only to get more clicks and shares – they can help to stay in minds which is very hard to achieve nowadays.

What is your opinion on headlines?


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