Do you know how to write a good headline or do you have problems even thinking of how to do it so that you will have people reading your content?
Headlines or subject lines are something that many people struggle with on a daily basis and the reason I am writing about this is because after reading Bogdans post about headlines and powerful testimonials, I have to tell you I groaned as this is one area of writing that I struggle with …on a daily basis 🙂
When you think about where you use headlines such as blog posts, press releases etc., its time to tackle the problem head on and lets learn about how to write a good headline that will be effective and get people to want to ready what you have to say!
The fact is a good headline needs have four components to make it work for your readers.
- Headlines should be unique [Tweet this how to write a good headline tip]
- Headlines should be useful [Tweet this how to write a good headline tip]
- Headlines should raise your readers curiosity [Tweet this how to write a good headline tip]
- Headlines should specific to get your readers to want to read more [Tweet this how to write a good headline tip]
I read a formula on jeff goins blog that really helped me a lot and it is
a simple headline-writing formula: Number or Trigger word + Adjective + Keyword + Promise
Example: Take the subject “bathing elephants.” You could write an article entitled, “How to Bath an Elephant” or “Why I Love Bathing Elephants.”
Or you could apply this formula and make it: “18 Unbelievable Ways You Can Bathe an Elephant Indoors”
Well you have to admit this headline example is definitely unique, it is useful, it creates curiosity and if it doesn’t make you want to read more, I really want to know why!
Jeff’s post really is a must read by the way for many reasons and I hope you go in, read and leave him a good comment as he did a bang up job on showing you 5 Easy Tricks to Help You Write Catchy Headlines
What other tips can I share with you about how to write a good headline?
Don’t use all capital letters! I have seen many people write great posts, but because they have made their headlines all in capitals, I feel like they are yelling at me and I really don’t like it. Another thing people do and I confess I am guilty of this is making every first letter of a word a Capital. Keep the headline more natural.
Keep you headlines simple and easy to understand. Using abbreviations, technical jargon or hard to understand wording is not going to get people to read what you have to say and that’s just a fact. Unless your readers are technical geeks, remember that your reader will be skimming your headline for interest, many people who are reading might be people where English is a second if not third language and not everyone has the same level of reading. This does not mean you are going to insult your readers intelligence, it does mean that to think of these things when writing a headline.
Now that you have gotten the basic understanding of how to write a good headline, one last check list to think about…
- Is the headline accurate?
- Does it work out of context?
- How compelling a promise does it make?
- How easy is it to parse?
- Could it benefit from a number?
- Are all the words necessary?
- Does it obey the Proper Noun Rule?
- Would it work better as an explanatory headline?
- Does it focus on events or implications?
- Could it benefit from one of these 10 words? Top, Why, How, Will, New, Secret, Future, Your, Best, Worst.
These 10 Questions to Help You Write Better Headlines written by Matt Thompson is a must read to get the full meal deal on headlines and a great resource for anyone beginner or seasoned writer so head over there and see some great examples.
As you can see writing headlines is something you need to take time with, it is an art and something that deserves as much or more attention than writing your content. How are you writing your headlines?