7 Crucial Rules For Good Headlines

Ever wonder how professional blogs and advertisements all have that enticing “feel” to them? They seem to draw people in with the promise of revealing new information – we feel a compulsion to click ‘Read More’.
It all begins with the the focus of our article – The Headline.

Here are 7 tips for writing attention-grabbing headlines. While being some of the easiest techniques, they are also some of the most powerful when used correctly. A continuation of our series about getting more people to read your blog, These should ignite ideas or at least provide you with a stepping stone to start writing your own killer titles.

1. Don’t beat around the bush.

You can lose an audience right away unless you get straight to the point and keep it simple. Avoid losing readers with the temptation to wow your audience with witty catch phrases or clever wordplay and it’s particularly important with products or services that users are already familiar with, like marketing or computers.

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2. What’s in it for the reader?

Always start with the major benefit to the reader. You only have a few words to play with – value them and treat them as precious. Don’t waste words bragging about your company or trying to be humorous. Target your headline for the perfect consumer or reader you want, and clearly state the benefit upfront.

A headline also has the added perk of introducing yourself to those who had no intention of reading your blog. Give your users credit, they take in a lot of information as they browse forums and other blogs.
Even if they don’t click your link to read more, you’ve still left an impression about what your company does and who you are.

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3. Be a source of self-help.

Most people are looking for empowerment. “How To” headlines are a great way to focus on self-help while getting some work done.
The trick is to try and keep it short and potentially rewarding for readers. It’s about highlighting the benefit rather than the process.

Look at this example:

  • How to build your brand with social media

Suppose instead it read:

  • How to establish your brand with steady repetition over time in only 3 hours a day!.

This clearly misses the point. It’s clumsy and it makes the idea look difficult and unrewarding. People want results, so get to the benefit you’re offering immediately after the opening “How to ..”

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4. Be a useful resource.

You might be surprised to know that most people aren’t looking for information – people are actually looking for control and predictability over their lives. Your headline should promise to deliver just that. Everyone wants a short cut or a cheat code and your headline should display this benefit. These headlines promise to do just that.

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5. Ask the right questions.

A good way to engage your reader is to ask a question you know they will answer “Yes” or at least “Maybe, tell me more”. It must clearly state a reward if they continue reading. Avoid being too random or clever, focus on stating the direct benefit.

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6. Tell them what to expect.

Good sales copy will focus in on what we want our readers to achieve.
People are conditioned to read short bullet point headlines and direct authoritative claims are accepted – whereas in real conversation they wouldn’t be.

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7. Authenticate your proposition with a little something extra.

Years of exposure to traditional advertising has created many skeptics. And who can blame them? People have been bombarded daily with false promises and exaggerated claims. By adding a little bit of flare to your headline that people can instantly relate too, you increase your chance of a click through.

Examine the following headlines and note how the words “Canadian man,” “Bidding War,” and “Savvy web entrepreneur” stand out. Their definitive and uncommon language adds truthfulness that traditional copy misses.

  • Canadian man has locals flocking to social media seminars.
  • Innovative tech company finds niche in big market – venture capitalists in a bidding war.
  • Savvy web entrepreneur develops sure fire method to attract new leads!

These are a few of the many ways to write successful headlines. Don’t be afraid to experiment a bit and take your time deciding on your headline. Try writing a list of your top 10 ideas and then choose the one that best fits your article. Hopefully this helps in your quest to become a better blogger. Feel free to drop a comment below, I’d love to hear from you.