Headline Writing: 10 Reasons it’s a Pain in the Asterisk*

Headline Writing: 10 Reasons it's a Pain in the Asterisk

Headline Writing: 10 Reasons it’s a Pain in the Asterisk

You have a perfect topic for your next blog post. You go out and take a million beautiful photos, all photoshopped and sized just right for Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest cross-posting. Then you suddenly realize: you don’t have a headline! Has this ever happened to you? Here’s why headline writing is so tough!

Everybody Says to Spend More Time on Headlines

Your headline is the first thing people see. In fact, some people will retweet or report that snazzy article of yours without even reading it. Not convinced by me? Read these articles, then (Copyblogger says to spend 50% of your time writing the headline):

So there’s a lot of pressure to come up with something grand.

A Good Headline Can Help Your Post Go Viral

A Good Headline Can Help Your Post Go Viral

A Good Headline Can Create a Viral Post

If you haven’t read my When Posts Go Viral: Four Lessons, you might want to take a look. A controversial headline (for instance, Is it Time to Quit Facebook?) can spark people’s emotions and cause a small or large furor. Again, no pressure (just kidding!).

Headline Writing: Your Words Need to Be Perfect

Headline Writing: Your Words Need to Be Perfect

Your Words Need to Be Perfect

Like a good tweet, a good headline needs to have all the right elements. It can’t be too short or too long. The important words need to be near the beginning of the headline. And you need to include “power words,” like “secret” and “magic.” And so on. Is that not a pain in the asterisk?

Because Traffic Blah Blah Blah

Because Traffic Blah Blah Blah

Because Traffic Blah Blah Blah

Every blogger wants traffic, right? When that post you wrote explodes all over the Interwebs, your blog gets a boost, you get more followers, and that 15 minutes of fame will follow you from platform to platform. So that’s another reason you have to get it right.

You Can’t Outsource It

Everybody has outsourced everything. I’m surprised we don’t remove our own hair and ship it to the Philippines (no disrespect to anyone in the Philippines–it’s just something I’d prefer to do myself). But if you want your post to be in your own words, then you have to do the work yourself.

Pain Points: Sisyphus, via Beth Scupham

Pain Points: Sisyphus, via Beth Scupham

Pain Points

Your audience experiences pain, just as you experience pain when you try to write a headline. So you want that headline to draw your reader in. The headline has to be magnetic enough so people will want to read it. It might be fun to write, but if it’s not fun to read? Fuhgetaboutit!

I'm Trying to Think But Nothing Happens!

I’m Trying to Think But Nothing Happens!

You Thought You Were Done

You outlined that article, got your topic sentences down, have all kinds of good images, and now you have to come up with a headline? Are you kidding?

The World is A Noisy Place

The world is getting noisier, and more crowded. The Internet has more people competing for the same space. So your headline has to be the juicy, juicy hamburger, and not the bun! It has to stand out.

Headline Writing: Your Headline is the Juicy Meat, Not the Bun

Headline Writing: Your Headline is the Juicy Meat, Not the Bun

When You Try to Think, Nothing Happens

You can only come up with one-word headlines, or headlines that don’t make sense. If you think they’re boring, what will your readers think?

Always keep one eye open. You never know who's lurking.

Always keep one eye open. You never know who’s lurking.

You Come Up with a Perfect Headline and Someone Steals it

It’s not a very good feeling, is it? But if imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, then is stealing even more flattering? I don’t think so.

*And you know what that asterisk really stands for, right?

 

 

 

Comments

  1. Firstly, I love all of the images in this post.
    Secondly, I appreciate, as usual, the humor you apply to a common frustration.
    I struggle with writing a clever headline and one that Google likes (top ten, how do I?).
    Maybe there’s a balance needed.

    • Hi Bridget,
      Thank you so much. The images were so much fun, as was creating the headline for this post about headlines. 😀 The headline had to be good, of course.
      The idea for the post came about because I was commenting on a post in a social media managers group. But then I changed a particular word (ahem!) to asterisk.
      Thank you for your delightful comments, as always!
      Carol

  2. I love this! The worst for me is feeling like I’ve created a click-bait style headline that will make me cringe when I see it again in a few months

    • Hi Heather,
      It’s funny, I rarely go back and re-read, but have been doing that this week. And there’s a lot of rewriting that I need to do! Even the way I labeled photos has changed. Thanks for the comment!
      Carol

  3. I, too, loved the images — especially that last one. I agree that headlines are a pain.

Trackbacks

  1. Why It’s Easier to Be Darth Vader Than a Social Media Manager | ContentMarketing says:

    […] Darth Vader has multiple scriptwriters. Social media managers have to write their own content, including headlines. And sometimes those headlines can be a real pain in the asterisk to write! […]

  2. Why It’s Easier to Be Darth Vader Than a Social Media Manager | AdsenseDashboard says:

    […] Darth Vader has multiple scriptwriters. Social media managers have to write their own content, including headlines. And sometimes those headlines can be a real pain in the asterisk to write! […]

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