There are some days that I just manage to think up what seems to be the perfect headline and the content just pours out of me. But there are times that I start with a subject and curate the content with research before finally coming up with a stellar headline. And yet other times, my headlines just stink, but I write it down anyway!
Some Rules to Keep in Mind
- Your headline has to have something to do with your content, or else you will lose your readers before they get to the second line. In other words DO NOT bait and switch. You are not a used car salesman trying to get the lemon off your lot.
- Remember who you are creating your content for. You are doing this for a specific audience – your audience. What do they want to ready about?
- Be yourself. Find your voice and write in that voice. Be honest, open and forthcoming (if you are the forthcoming type!).
I’m going to write this like I would write an email to my best friends. That’s how it started. That’s how I found my voice – Tim Ferris
So if you are anything like me, you’re going to have posts with headlines and keywords that sit somewhere in the middle of dazzle and refined.
Let’s see some examples of #DAZZLE…
- Upworthy – Seriously, their headlines almost make you feel bad if you don’t read about it.
- Buzzfeed – Again they use razzle-dazzle to hook you into reading what seems to be the most important thing (or outlandish) you have come across all day.
And here are some more refined Headlines in Action:
- The Guardian – Very newsworthy, straight to the point, actionable headlines. You know what you will be reading.
- The New Yorker – Very straight forward, no sensationalism, no emotion, just simple headlines that convey what you are about to read.
I have a tendency to write my headlines somewhere in the middle, not too bland & not too razzle-dazzle. Think of goldilocks when you are writing your headlines. You want to get it just right. So if you’re writing about sensational topics, then by all means your “just right” will tend toward razzle-dazzle headlines. But if you’re writing data-driven articles, then your headline should convey just that.
Just remember ONE thing: Know your audience. What do they want to read about? What are they interested in?
I would highly recommend bookmarking both of these and using those whenever you need them:
The Advanced Marketing Institute has an Emotional Marketing Value Headline Analyzer which gives your headline a score based on emotional marketing value. It also will put your headline into one of three categories: intellectual, empathetic, or spiritual.
Another great tool is the Co-Schedule Blog Post Headline Analyzer which will provide you with an analysis of the overall structure, grammar, and readability of your headline.
But, Kyra I don’t know what to write about….Oh, ya! That’s right! You need some ideas before you can even get to the headlines right…Ok, so if you have that list (from lesson one), of topics and sub-topics ready and good to go, but it you only came up with a few things to write about then I would recommend going to BuzzSumo to get some content ideas.
Alright, there we have it. Now go write some great headlines, and get ready to blog it out!