How to Write Blog Headlines Your Readers Can’t Resist

Warning:  Headlines that Stink Will Sink Your Site

How To Srite Better Blog HeadlinesOne of the fastest ways to kill off your readership is to write blog headlines that stink. You might have all the SEO and social media tactics in the world, but if your headlines are awful, getting people to find you in a search won’t do you any good if no one wants to read your content.  And a poorly written headline can do that, I’m sorry to tell you.

Great headlines can save mediocre content. Mediocre headlines can absolutely sink great content before it ever has a chance if people don’t want to read it!

How to Write Better Blog Headlines in 5 Easy Steps

1.    Copy

If my students at the local college saw this, they’d choke. Heck, if many of my former professors saw it, they’d choke too. One wouldn’t though – the one who regularly reminded us how much great authors borrow techniques, literary conventions, and themes from the great writers of the past. 

Great headline writers do too. I’m not joking. And you can learn this from an illustrious publication of style known as Cosmopolitan magazine.  Or Enquirer. Or whatever. Look at the headlines and, if you can get over the lurid content, look at the formulas. Chances are, you’ll begin to notice a pattern.  There are some really well paid copywriters who came up with those headlines. Borrow the formulas and write your own.

2.    Tap Into Fear

Remember that scene in Indiana Jones where he was in the pit of snakes, trying to escape? It’s amazing what he was physically capable of when motivated by his terror of snakes (a terror we share)!   

Fear is an incredible motivator. Some headline styles that tap into fear include fear of the future, fear of losing something important or precious, and fear of secret information that you don’t know.  Here’s a few ways to use that fear to write a compelling headline

Warning:  [Fill in the blank]  (Warning:  Boring Headlines Can Kill Your Blog!)

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3.    Tap into Common Mistakes

Describing common mistakes in your field works. Your audience wants to know if they’re making them. But it also positions you as an expert, because only experts know this kind of stuff, right? 

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4.    How-To Headlines

It’s boring. But it works. People want to know how to do the stuff that is going to get them ahead in their business.  The more specific you can be, the better (as long as it’s believable).

How to Blog Better

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5.    List Headlines

List headlines are another trusty tool that seems incredibly boring. But again – they’re effective. People like knowing just how many ways to improve their ______ you’re going to give them.

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What’s also fun is that when you write specific headlines like these, not only do you have a much better chance of getting people to read your article, but it also becomes much easier to write the thing in the first place. A strong headline gives you a framework for your article and gets you started the right direction.

What kind of headline will you use in your next article and why?  Leave a comment – we love hearing from you!


  1. says

    Hi Elizabeth,

    My first visit to your blog, and am glad I caught your catcy title on Triberr and headed right over :)

    I couldn't agree more with what you wrote. If your title isn't catchy enough, it's rare that anyone will also open your link or visit your site. I guess a catchy title is the first step to get visitors to your blog. 

    Thanks for sharing, and have a nice day ahead :)

    • says

      Thanks so much for stopping by and visiting! Yes Pauline and I have had a great deal of fun playing with headlines for posts! She is a master at it! You are right.. If you don’t catch them with your headline then you can kiss that read good bye!

    • says

      Thank you Barbara! I loved your post too! I’m trying to enjoy the moment.. and have faith! I’m so glad we are connected and I met you!

  2. says

    Great topic, Elizabeth.  Headlines was one of my challenging topics.  I've learned so much and still have a lot to go. Thanks for providing such helpful and useful info. It's greatly appreciated!

    • says

      Thanks Norma, the targeting of the emotion or intellect are great ways to attract readers. When you have a target market you can decide which that market are most affected by and hone your skills!

  3. says

    Excellent reminders and I chuckle when I got so many great comments at a couple of my "unsexiest" blog titles…I''m good at the "how to" and list ones…not so much at the others. Can you come write mine pretty please (smile)?

  4. says

    Great post Elizabeth! I find that if I don’t have a clear title before I start, then it is really hard to write the post.

  5. says

    Love this: Warning: Headlines that Stink Will Sink Your Site. Thanks for the easy instructions on how to write better headlines so my site can avoid repeating the disaster of the Titanic.

  6. says

    Elizabeth, You bring up a great point in this article. Sometimes I feel like I am contemplating my headline more than I should, but in retrospect, it is probably best this way:)

  7. says

    You’re right, Elizabeth: if you can’t get them to your post in the first place, it’s a no read. And if they bounce because your headline is a real snooze, again, no read. Thanks for five good filters I can turn to when I need more spice in my headlines. (Some are real snoozes; glad some people like my content enough to know it’s worth pushing forward regardless!)

  8. says

    as a newr blogger I am excited to try some of these ideas. My next post headline will now be; Warning: do not read this article if you do not like soda pop or beer!

  9. Sarah says

    Thanks for the tips Elizabeth! I have yet to try #2 and #3, but will consider in the future. I’ve had a lot of success using a headline tool to help me generate ideas. It’s helped me drastically reduce the time it takes me to come up with a headline.

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