See what I did there?
I have to admit I spend an inordinate amount of time thinking about my blog, article and press release headlines. I usually want something that entices, clearly connects to the subject matter, uses important keywords for SEO, and often includes some humor. (I have a sick weakness for puns.)
Turns out that, I’m in good company. According to CopyBlogger, some of the best copywriters of all time advise spending half of the entire time it takes to write a piece of content on the headline. But there’s more to it, especially in this age where so much competes for our attention and when 8 out 10 people will read the headline but only 2 out of 10 will read the content. Ouch!
An article today from Elegant Themes has some excellent tips and links to “headline gold” resources, including templates, ideas, formulas, “power words,” and infographics. (Actually, Elegant Themes have many super helpful articles in their blog.)
According to CopyBlogger, some of the best copywriters of all time advise spending half of the entire time it takes to write a piece of content on the headline.
So what makes a great headline?
OK, this sort of thing that the New York Post may not be an example of elegant writing. But I bet it grabs your attention, right?
I do have to say, though, that some of the samples in the sites they link to smack a bit of “click bait.” To my eye it’s a fine line between “grab their interest” and what sounds like shucksterism. Too many sound like How To Lose 80 Pounds in 2 Days, 50 Ways to Making More Money Without Doing Anything, Grow Your Email List/Twitter Followers/FaceBook Fans 5,000 Times Over With These Easy Steps, Don’t Put Up With Annoying Alien Frog Invasions Any Longer.
And yet, *sigh,* I have to admit I keep clicking on all those social media and blogging ninja”how-tos.” I have a gazillion tabs open with articles I’m planning to read; here are a few:
- 25 Examples of Emphasis Applied in Web Design
- Easy ways to get Font Awesome onto your website
- A Handy Guide To Creating & Using The Parallax Effect Within WordPress
- How to Minify Your Website
- Tax Deductions Guide for Freelancers and the Self-Employed
- How To Build Your Own Online Marketplace Using WordPress
- How to Create Custom Taxonomies in WordPress
- How to Build an Auction Site on WordPress
See? Lists, how-tos, and guides to solve problems work. Copyblogger even has a free e-book on How to Write Magnetic Headlines. I’ve downloaded more “how to” e-books than I can shake the proverbial stick at, mainly because the invitation headline was so compelling.
Lest you think this protocol refers only to the tech and social media world, check out some of these compelling headlines from my brilliant writer pal and Doctor Who analyst at WhatCulture, Mary Ogle:
- 10 Reasons Why Doctor Who Is The Right Way To Reboot
- Doctor Who: 10 Most Fascinating Characters Of Series 8
- Doctor Who Review: Dark Water – 7 Ways To Deal With The Devil
- Doctor Who: 5 Reasons Why Daleks Still Matter
So what’s here: Lists, the semblance of advice (do I need to deal with the devil? No, but I might read how anyway), and a sense of urgency and importance (WHY do daleks still matter? I must know. And yes, I want to know the right way to reboot, even if I am not rebooting anything!)
Neil Patel’s excellent and well-shared infographic outlines how to write the perfect headline, but for our purposes here today I’ll share two others I find simpler and to the point (and perhaps a bit more graphically compelling?) from Branding Chloe and Barry Feldman, respectively.
Do you have any tips or tricks for crafting headlines that stick?