Creating a good headline for your blog post or article is relatively easy. Creating a killer headline that will make your post go viral is something else. Killer headline isn’t just to “sound good” but it has to attract as much clicks and reading as possible. So as far as writing goes – attractive, killer headline is a major factor.
Experts online have their own tactics and tips on how to write a headline that will instantly grab a reader’s attention. We’ve collected such tips from SeoCopyrighting, where various experts voice their opinions on the subject.
Keep in mind that there no magic recipes for writing great headlines. There are just too many factors to consider. It doesn’t hurt however to read what the experts in the field have to say.
Tips on how to create great, killer headlines:
– Optimize your headlines for social sharing that will generate links and make your article rank high. Months later, after the links have been acquired, visit your old content, make some on-page SEO tweaks.
– Do your research. It’s totally pointless to spend an hour or more writing something and then slap whatever title you came up with off the top of your head on it.
– Research trending topics, select one that you prefer and base your article around the topic. It means – the title of the article comes first.
– Leave a “knowledge gap” to pique the curiosity of your readers; this is why those crazy “You Won’t Believe What Happens…” titles work.
– Keep it short and punchy. Resist the urge to be too descriptive; you don’t want to give away the whole article in the title. Make sure your content delivers on the promise of your title so you can keep that engagement and sharing high.
– Write a fully descriptive headline, it has to tell the reader exactly what they’ll see when they start reading. Content matters a lot, but the headline is the entry point into the larger piece, so I really want to get it right.
– Work to provide a ‘hook.’ That may mean including one of the basic power words: What/how/win/lose etc.
– Keep the promise. Whatever was promised in the ad, link, email or social share should be reiterated in the headline. If the page is receiving organic traffic, the keyword is the promise. Be sure your headline contains the right words for searchers.
– Chase away the wrong visitors. Writing a great headline means knowing who you want to draw in to the page. By definition, this means letting go of almost everyone else.
– “The second…” – Everyone talks about the number 1 rule for things. Rarely about the number 2. That is unexpected. It also suggests that the post will be understated (people get sick of overselling and sensationalism).
– “For 13 years my website was missing one critical ingredient. Is yours missing it too?” – everyone make mistakes. People are engaged by self-effacing headlines or headlines that expose your weaknesses and vulnerabilities. It draws people closer. Plus readers might worry they could be making the same mistake themselves.
– “How Missy Elliot’s hips cured my writer’s block” – the incongruent elements here are a bit surprising (intriguing). The sexual innuendo will get a few people curious.
– Here are the words you have to keep in mind when creating your headline: confronting, unexpected, sexual innuendo, unusual headline approach, understated, self-effacing, expose your weaknesses/vulnerabilities/insecurities / private personality, imply the reader might have the same weaknesses as you, curiosity, counter-intuitive, confrontational/invite argument, incongruence.
– Your headline has to be appropriate for your audience (even if confronting) and it has to match your personality. You have to be able to shock/intrigue/engage without sounding like that sleazy bloke who always snickers about boobs.
– A click-worthy headline beats an SEO-optimised headline every time. Many readers will share a post simply based on its headline, and many won’t have read the rest of the article. It’s people who truly drive the Internet, so if we can suck them in with a winning headline then Google will most definitely follow.
– No matter the headline, make sure your headline quickly and comprehensively.
– Try using a headline + sub-headline. If the headline is quirky, the sub can be more focused. And if the headline is practical, the sub-header can be more conversational.