“Yes, I need to write better headlines! But HOW do I do that?”
After I posted “Cool Kid” Secrets to Getting Social Network Traffic to Your Blog Posts last week, that was most popular response.
So, let’s chat about headlines today. And firecrackers.
Think about firecrackers. They catch your attention. They’re loud. They’re flashy. They’re beautiful.
How can you make your headlines like that?
Here’s my process for writing headlines (everyone does this differently and step 5 in my process is the most helpful one):
- choose my post topic and put a somewhat boring headline in the box to get started, like “tips for writing better headlines” for this particular post
- work on the post while watching for any cool or catchy phrases or analogies that come to mind as I write
- once the post is written I go back over it and review what the main benefit someone will get out of reading my post is (because deceptive headlines might get clicks but they’ll really annoy your potential readers–no one wants to spend 5 minutes reading my post only to find I didn’t tell you how to do what the catchy headline promised)
- then I start brainstorming and run title ideas through my head
- narrow it down to the one I want to use, then work on the wording, aiming for something short (I want it shared on Twitter!), simple, and catchy that includes a number (10 ways to, etc.) or “power” word (something that paints a visual like “firecracker,” an action word, or a bright descriptive) and the benefit
- when I’m really stuck, or when my headline ideas just aren’t clicking, I pull out the always handy resources I’ve come across online (I’ll share them below) and use that to brainstorm around — this always gets me unstuck
- pop the new headline into the headline box and re-read several times to be sure it makes sense and doesn’t include innuendo or double meaning, unless I intended it to
- hit post and see what happens!
Most of my headlines take more than a minute or two to write… sometimes I sit with a good post for a while before I come up with the right headline. Why put time into headlines like this? Because no matter how awesome my post is, it won’t get traffic if the headline doesn’t get clicked!
My secret resource file for better headline writing:
- Headline Hacks (this is the newest addition) – http://headlinehacks.com
- How to Write Magnetic Headlines – http://www.copyblogger.com/magnetic-headlines/
- Trigger Words – http://www.copyblogger.com/trigger-words/
Tomorrow I’ll share more tips for you on how to brainstorm and write headlines that get clicked. You can subscribe to my blog via email or RSS reader to be sure you don’t miss it. The box is up there in the top of the right hand column.
What’s the best headline you’ve seen (or written yourself) recently?