What are the first few words every reader sees, scans and synthesizes before reading on?
The headline. The title. The name of your blog post.
So, it better be snappy. And, succulent. And maybe even play on your inner most fears.
Good headline writing is tough. Over the last few weeks I’ve been reading how many bloggers brainstorm as many as 25 headlines per post before they decide which one will actually get the click, read, share and comment.
After all, no writer wants their ideas and advice to fall on deaf ears.
Marketers, content strategists, king-status bloggers and, well, anyone working online seems to have an opinion about writing killer headlines. So, I’ve decided to boil down the top characteristics I see mentioned over and over again.
Writing’s Secret Sauce: Irresistible Headlines
Next time you post to the company blog, update your personal corner of the web or complete a blogging assignment for pay, give these headline hacks a try.
- Entice without giving away the answer. Tease the audience into reading the full blog post by giving just a taste of the topic. Never tell the problem and the answer all at once in a headline.
- Play on a reader’s fears. Everyone wants to be more successful, liked, smart or rich. Any headline that alludes to not being “enough” of one of these will garner interest.
- Promise a lot of information. You know those lists of 37 ways to do whatever or 52 reasons to do that thing. Yeah, that’s a lot of ideas. Everyone wants to know more, more, more!
- Use adjectives and verbs. Descriptive words flanked by action words perk up the eyes and brain.
- Work with emotional words. Use them carefully to elicit feelings of concern or empathy. Words like die, death, kill and killer make people pay attention.
- Use the word ‘you’. Be personal at the get-go. A headline that includes ‘you’ makes the reader feel like you’re reaching out to them as an individual. We all like to be spoken to directly, right?
So, do you find headline writing excruciating OR exciting? Tell me about it in the comments below!