From time to time we all smash our head against the desk or maybe the keyboard wondering why our posts aren’t read by more people. In our quest to create a headline that will grab a readers attention we often end up create the dreaded “informative” headline that states the facts and leaves the excitement somewhere out on Route 66. Why does this happen so often and why is it so hard to create an engaging headline?
Headlines are either magnetic attraction or sloppy noodle soup, one pulls at your emotions while the other casts a shade of gray over your mind. Just think about what attracts you to click the mouse and read a story, the story could be about a woman eating Hula-hoops for breakfast but if the headline is: A Different Idea For Breakfast as opposed to Woman’s Bizarre Breakfast Routine – You Won’t Believe It! Which one would you click on first? Now be honest, no one will be looking over you shoulder…
I came across a post written by Megan Marrs over at Wordstream the other day that hits the nail on the headline, so to speak. Meagan lays out 19 great headline tips for all of us to consider. I’ve picked just 6 out of those 19 for you to check out and of course these is a link at the bottom to the complete post where you can dive into lots and lots more info.
The most important tip I have is Write You Headline First. If you have the headline staring you in the face you can craft your story to connect with that headline, your readers will love you and so won’t the dreaded search engines…
“3. Demonstrate Your Value
In our post about social media landing pages, we talk a lot about pushing
your value proposition – explaining to visitors why your offer
is valuable. In a way, your article headline needs to do the
same, although more subtly. You want to explain to readers, in
so many words, why your article is worth reading.
Ex. Create an Eye-Catching Infographic in Minutes
The headline above promises a fast (and therefore, probably
also easy) way to crate high-quality infographics. Sounds like
it’s worth reading more about! Promising a desired result
(eye-catching infographics) within a set time period (minutes)
is a classic winning headline writing strategy.
They key is to prove that you are useful and that you are
providing essential info!
4. Breed Distrust
Us humans can be a cynical bunch, and we’ll often jump at the
chance to read about how we are being manipulated, deceived, or
given the run around.
Headline writing examples:
- 6 Lies Your Car Dealer Will Try to Tell You
- Is Your Doctor Telling the Truth About Prescribing Your
- Sun Damage is Bad, But is Sunscreen Even Worse?
6. Readers Should be EXCITED to Read Your
It’s your job to get reader psyched about reading your post.
They should feel like a couple of kids at the entrance of
People aren’t going to read your boring, dry drivel. You are
not on their summer reading list. If a 7th grader
gets to choose between reading Great Expectations or
Harry Potter, you can be sure as hell they won’t need
to sleep on the decision. You’re going head to head with other
snappy headlines, so you best bring your A game.
Where would you spend your summer? The waterpark or the
7. Don’t be Afraid to Embellish
The best blog post headlines aren’t afraid to sell themselves.
Embellish. Exaggerate. Entice.
Is substituting carrot sticks for potato chips a “secret” to
losing weight? Not really, but you can act like it is
in an article entitled “The Ultimate Diet Secrets for
Shedding Serious Pounds.” Don’t be afraid to take a few
liberties in headline writing.
A sense of urgency doesn’t hurt either:
- Make the Most of Holiday Shoppers – Don’t Miss Out!
- Don’t Buy a Home Without Asking Your Real-Estate Agent
These 8 Questions
13. Brainstorm Lots of Different Headlines
Some experts suggest that writers should devote 80% of
their time writing headlines – put your effort into
the most important element. Set aside time to brainstorm a
healthy smorgasbord of headlines. For a headline
writing exercise, try writing at least 10 headlines,
each with a different structure or with verb and adjective
variations. See which feels the most appealing and ask
coworkers for their opinions.
You really need to sit down and brainstorm to get those snappy
headline juices flowing. You might not hit that headline
writing sweet spot until you’re a few headlines in – chances
are the first headline you come up with will never be
15. Ask Questions
Asking the reader a question helps draw them in, and
punctuation helps catch the eye, similar to the way numbers and
- Think You Know SEO? Quiz Yourself and Find Out!
- Do You Want to Build a Snowman? Read This Guide First.”