Headline is the single most important piece of writing in your entire body of work.
You can have the most exciting product or service. You may be offering a $1M giveaway or have the best website on the planet. However, if you fail to capture your readers attention, nobody will know about it.
Creating great headlines is not as hard as you think. With practice, patience and determination, you too can turn into a master headline writer.
Killer Headline formulas that work: the promise and the belief
In the most simplified way, your headline has to accomplish two things
1. You have to make the promise of the specific value to be delivered;
2. You have to make the customer believe in and want to experience the value.
No matter what you do, you must be specific, succinct and powerful in your language.
You job is top position the promise and belief in a way that is appealing and believable. Some of the top magnetic headline formulas you can use
“How to” Posts
“How to” posts are very effective at grabbing users attention, especially if you tune into the big problems or questions that your audience may be facing. It helps you to focus on one core problem and set expectations for an easy solution.
A couple of “How to” formulas to experiment with
- How to do <this> and <also this> – E.g. How to work less and make more money
- How to <simple task> that <delivered benefit> – E.g. How to write killer headlines that convert
Most of the readers skim through the posts rather than read them. List posts set expectations for a quick read that is filled with great information
Try these formulas:
- 10 proven ways to <do this> – E.g. 10 proven ways to promote your event
- 5 simple mistakes to avoid while <doing this> – E.g. 5 simple mistakes to avoid while building your personal brand
- 7 lessons learned during <this> – E.g. 7 Lessons I learned during my first year as an entrepreneur
All gain, no pain formula
Wouldn’t it be great if we could have all of the amazing benefits without having to work for it? Well, readers definitely love quick gains. These are especially powerful if used on landing pages.
- Get this <powerful adjective> power of <solution your product offers> without <describe pain> – E.g. Get the explosive growth of Twitter audience without spending a dime
Simple psychology principles that work like magic
Do you know that our brain makes decisions before we even have a chance to think about? If you use magically persuasive words in your copy, you have higher chances of convincing your readers to trust you. These words are:
Robert Cialdini documented 50 Scientific ways to be Persuasive. The principles of Scarcity, Urgency and “Bandwagon” are great ways of convincing your readers to take an action. People are interesting creatures, if someone else is doing it, they would want to do that too.
This is why the headlines that set the promise of reveling secrets or behind the scenes stories are very successful. Try these proven headline formulas:
- Behind the scenes of <successful group/person> – E.g. Behind the scenes of Techrunch Pitch competition
- Secrets of <successful person> – E.g. Secrets of successful entrepreneurs
- What can <group> teach you about <industry> – E.g. What top angel investors can teach you about building a technology startup
Simple tools that will help you if you are stuck
The hardest part about writing is the fleeting nature of creativity. You may find yourself facing a mental creativity blog. When this happens, you can use some of the blogging tools to help you find ideas.
- Buzzsumo will show you all of the popular blog posts for your particular topic. You can see how many shares each of these received across multiple social platforms.
- Title Maker from Portent and Blog idea generator will create a number of blog topic using the keyword that you provide. It helps to get an idea and a few recommendations using some of the formulas above.
- Blog Title Generator from Tweak your business will create a massive list of every possible blog topic for your keyword.
Key Mistakes to avoid
Hopefully by now you see that writing amazingly enticing headlines is fairly simple. It is as simple to make mistakes while writing headlines. Here are some typical mistakes I see:
Very long headlines
In addition to these being too hard to read, search engines will not display your headline properly. In general, the title length is 71 characters, however, some search engines have different guidelines.
It is very easy to write an amazing title such as “All the tips on writing amazing headlines you’ll EVER need”. Yes, it will give you clicks, however, you must deliver on the promise or your blog will fall short.
Using blog topic as your title
If you are writing about content marketing, do not make put content marketing in the title. Instead try creating something more exciting. E.g. “How to become a Pro in content marketing”.