How to Write a Headline That People Will Want to Click

How to Write a Headline That People Will Want to Click

How to Write a Headline That People Will Want to Click

Do you get stuck writing your headlines? Here are some things I do to make my blogging life easier! Thanks to Bridget Willard (read her posts if you never have!) for the idea of making this into a blog post!

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You Want People to Read

As bloggers, we all want extra eyes on our posts, whether we’re writing for a brand to gain SEO, or personally, when sharing our stories. Some people, like Ogilvie, believe that a headline is worth 90% of the cost of advertising. So spend some time.

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Pick Your Topic (and Use Your Brand Voice)

What topics would entertain, entrance, or help your audience? Try to stick with those topics. Clement Lim has created the definitive post about branding: Creating a Kick-Ass Brand Identity, which I highly recommend for finding your brand voice.

Plug Your Topic Into a Good Headline Analyzer

My Secret Headline Analyzer

Plug Your Topic Into a Good Headline Analyzer

My first secret is the CoSchedule headline analyzer. Start with anything you want to write about. Go ahead: I’ll wait here. Keep trying different headlines until you get a number you’re happy with. For the blog you’re reading, I tried 15 different headlines. When I first began this method, I had to try 20-25 headlines, by the way. The process gets easier.

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Get a Good Mix of Words

I like to have some common, uncommon, emotional, and power words in each headline. And I like either a B+ or an A+. The CoSchedule analyzer helps with the word balance and gives you the score, too. Since most people will retweet/share your post without reading it, according to The Verge, the headline has to be extra delicious to make people click on it.

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Put the Headline Into Your Blog

I like to write right on my blog. There are always a bunch of drafts, in various stages of writing. So before you forget your wonderful headline, throw it into your blog. You can come back to it later. Spend some time on your headline, though. Having a robust headline can help you whether you plan to post on Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest.

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Write for 15 Minutes

I like to write for a minimum of 15 minutes. Do you have 15 minutes? Sure you do! Write as fast as you can for 15 minutes. You have permission to stop after 15 minutes. But maybe there’s something else you want to say. I like to use an old-school egg timer. For some reason, the ticking sound helps. Sure, you know that writing a headline is a pain in the asterisk, but go ahead.

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And Another 15 Minutes

The writing process is not about correcting yourself. You can do that later! Or you could hire an editor to help you with it. Either way, just get started. Keep writing. And don’t edit yourself.

Read Your Headline (and Article) to a Friend

I am blessed to have an editor friend for when I get stuck. Remember, you can’t call your friend all the darn time to have them help you. Pay them or take them out to lunch, for the love of Strunk and White.

Tweak the Headline

If what you’ve written no longer reflects the headline, go back and tweak it. You might want to run it back through the headline analyzer tool.

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Need Help Writing?

Yep, I do help others with their blogging and social media.

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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?




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