Warning: Headlines that Stink Will Sink Your Site
One 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
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!)
5 Warning Signs That No One’s Reading Your Blog
How Safe is Your Blog from Being Hacked?
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?
Are You Making these 7 Blogging Mistakes?
Do You Recognize these 5 Ways to Ruin Your SEO?
5 Common Social Media Mistakes that Make You Look Dumb
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
How to Boost Your Engagement on Facebook by 25% in 7 Days
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.
5 Ways to Write Better Headlines
27 Tips for Getting More Blog Subscribers
The Top 10 SEO Blogs of 2013
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!