Headlines are the only way you can make a reader read your blog post or even make him subscribe to your blog. It is the only impression that you get to create before he closes the tab of the browser your site is open in or continues to read on with undivided attention. Writing a blog post is like telling an interesting short story. You have to build the reader’s interest right at the very beginning and your headline is the best way to do so.
There are certain tried and tested ways to write great headlines that are sure to work. This is because these headlines tickle the psychological trigger factors of the human brain. Good bloggers use these tricks regularly to write great posts that go viral on the social media circles and drive a ton of traffic to their blogs. So even if google’s panda update has forsaken you, your blog can spring back to buzz and overflow with traffic from the social channels. Let us explore the tricks that can make this happen!
1. Using the Swipe File
Swipe Files are cheat sheets used in the field of advertising by copywriters. Swipe files are a collection of tested and proven sales letters and copies. They can be considered a kind of template that is used by advertising copywriters for ideas for their campaigns. The same technique can be used in blog posts and article writing as well.
2. Headlines exploiting the Fear Factor
Every human being has an embedded sense of fear in them. If you can trigger that it will definitely work. Headlines like the ones given below always work.
a) 10 early signs of a failing business
b) 10 warning signs of diabetes
3. Value addition in your reader’s life
Titles that shows how a reader can benefit or titles that says that it will make his or her life better.
a) How to find online hotel deals and reduce travel expenses
b) How to find the cheapest ISP in 7 minutes
4. Earning Opportunities
People always like to make money. The idea of making money with little effort always intrigues people. They are almost always looking for residual income or alternative earning sources. Try these :
a) How to earn even while you sleep
b) How to make money on a holiday
Please remember that these are not hoaxes. They are absolutely real. If you own an online ecommerce portal then you could be making a sale while you are sleeping. If you own a travel related blog then you can actually blog about your holiday and make money from ad revenue on your travelogue.
5. Headlines that talk about Mistakes
Who doesn’t commit mistakes and who doesn’t want to learn from others’ mistakes so that they can avoid them. So here are some examples of mistake related headlines :
a) 10 most common SEO mistakes
b) 8 most common copywriting mistakes and how to avoid them
6. Headlines with Questions
Controversial questions or baffling questions can also provoke interest and trigger high readership. Examples :
a) Are you making the most out of your blog?
b) Is your blog earning enough revenue that it should?
c) Are you utilizing your full potential?
d) What kind of freelancer are you?
The last question is almost always going to arouse interest. This is because almost all of us think that we are not using our full potential.
7. Lazy man’s guide
No one wants to work hard. It is a common human instinct to take shortcuts. Though there are no shortcuts to success but yes there are intelligent ways to eliminate redundant effort. Also there are effective ways to do a job such that it brings more success. So lazy man’s guides are basically those articles which list or talk about intelligent ways to get a job done with optimum effort. Here are some headlines :
a) The lazy man’s guide to 5 figure income
b) Lazy man’s way of writing effective sales pages.
8. X Steps to
People generally scan on the web. They do hardly read unless the writeup is really compelling. So headlines like the ones below are really useful :
a) 5 steps to a better life
b) 6 steps to be an entrepreneur
c) 7 steps to use your time more efficiently
9. Controversial Headlines
Controversial headlines are known to go viral almost immediately. They work like a charm if the controversy has at some time or the other intrigued your reader. Some examples :
a) Is Multitasking a great waste of time?
b) High traffic has no relation to the revenue you earn from your blog!
c) How to break the rules to earn more from your blog!
10. Use rhythm, rhyme and alliteration
Alliteration is the use of similar sounding words repeatedly after one another. Eample : Why analytics always alters the truth. Notice the words analytics, always and alters. You can also use simple rhythm and rhyme. This is for the same reasons advertising copywriters use rhyme and the same is also used in TV or radio jingles.
11. Use of celebrity names
Use of names of famous people in their trade has a great positive effect on your blog reader. A headline like : Learn 5 topmost secrets of magic from Harry Houdini will always allure your prospective reader.
12. Offer Solutions
As I said before a person is most interested in solving his life problems. Take a look at these :
a) Surest way to get rid of hairloss problem
b) Get rid of your extra body weight
These headlines are evergreen and they are like trump cards. They are sure shot winners. Also offering an easy solution to complex problems work very well. Like :
a) How to set up your blog in 24 hours
b) A novice’s guide to SEO
c) A complete idiot’s guide to web designing
13. Offer lists
Lists of useful things are great in drawing attention. Some examples :
a) 15 very useful sites you did not know about
b) 7 emailing secrets to create an impact
c) 9 killer ways to impress others in meetings
14. Must do and must see lists
Must do things and must see places / movies etc. are great. It makes the reader feel that if they do not read the article they will never know what they are missing. Sample headlines :
a) 9 places to visit before you die
b) 5 dishes to try before you die
c) 7 best movies ever made!
15. Take advantage of
This is almost similar to showing how your reader can benefit from reading this post of yours but in a slightly different way. For example :
a) How to travel at 50% cost to any exotic location?
b) How to take advantage of off season discounts while travelling?
c) How to take advantage of freebies on the internet?
16. Length of headlines
Google cuts of anything that is more than 65 characters or approximately 6 to 7 words long. So the perfect length of an headline is about 6 to 7 words. If you can no complete the headline in 6 to 7 words then try to keep the most important part of the sentence within that span.
17. Use of adjectives
There are certain words or phrases that work wonders. For example if you use interesting adjectives like :- great, surefire, awesome, incredible, effortless, essential, strange, unique etc. you shall almost always get better conversion. The human brain reacts magically to adjectives.
18. Highly targeted and specific
Make your headlines highly specific so that your readers get to know what the content deals in even before they read the whole of it. It is best to steer clear of anything that is vague. Try to get straight to the point as fast as possible e.g. “How to design a perfect workdesk:”
19. Call to action
If you ask your readers to take some action and convey the sense of urgency at the same time then it almost always works wonders. For example “10 exercise that you should start TODAY”… Then in your article if you talk about excellent exercises that helps you loose weight then a person who is trying to get in shape will almost certainly read it.
Some last thoughts
Hit them hard with your headlines. Make it impossible for them to ignore your post. Compel them to read it. This is easier said than done. Like every skill writing killer headlines will come with immense practice. If you are a blogger here is what you can do : think of 10 headlines for each blog post of yours. Then filter out the once that are not so good and streamline the list to 3 headlines. Then select the best one using what we just discussed above. Go back to your old blog posts and rewrite headlines that are not so appealing.
Discuss your headlines with fellow bloggers and take their opinion. Study successful blogs and see what they are churning out and how their headlines are related to their blog post. Scout periodicals, newspapers, TV, billboards and virtually every advertising platform that you can lay your hand on. Practice, practice and more practice is the way to go. If you can follow the steps outlined above then success is inevitable.
I would love to hear more great headlines from you. If you can think of something I left out then kindly let me know about it so that I can learn from it as well. Use the comments section to post your views and headlines.
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