People will never read your blog posts if the headline is more fizzle than sizzle.
Even people who’ve subscribed to your blog by RSS feed or email will read the headline first to decide if they want to read the whole post or not. Sadly, if your blog headline doesn’t seem to help with their problem or doesn’t arouse their curiosity they’ll never read the whole post at all. You can put those violins away though and make sure your blog posts get read by learning how to write hypnotic headlines that people click on.
I can’t teach you how to write good headlines, give you any set formulas or wave a magic wand to turn you into a top writer over night but I can give you some ideas, resources and motivation so you can learn the art of headline writing for yourself.
A blog headline should immediately tell people what the blog post is about and give them a reason to read it so compelling, newspaper style blog headlines are what you need. If you write hypnotic headlines at least some of the time to begin with then you’ll:
- Get more readers
- Win incoming links
- Gain new subscribers.
Hypnotic Blog Headlines to Get You Started
Some of the most popular types of blog posts and are easily translated into great headlines. Here are a few ideas to get your creative juices flowing:
1. Ask a question – Questions are a good way to arouse readers’ curiosity, make them want to find out more and give them a need to read the full story.
- Is starting a blog the hardest part?
- Are anti-wrinkle creams all they’re cracked up to be?
- Confused by affiliate marketing?
- Would you Travel 1,846 Miles for this Man?
- Do you know why networking’s crucial for blogging success?
2. Ask Why – Try to solve a common or persistent problem your readers have.
- Why you need to write killer headlines for your blog
- Why I got headhunted for a vacation
- Why do people love to travel?
- Why time management is dumb
- Why I’ll always back up my work from now on
3. How to – Help your readers do something better, faster, in simple steps or with confidence.
- How to work out what your dream is fast
- How to break the blogging rules with panache
- How to sleep soundly
- How to stay focused in 9 words
- How to use Twitter as a motivational tool
4. Numbered lists – A popular staple for a reason because people love numbered lists. I was scathing of this when I started blogging and wrote 101 ways to feel happy as a joke because I hated the idea of list posts. The joke was on me as it went on to become one of the most popular posts on my blog at that time. List posts are also a great fall back plan if you’re in a hurry. Compared to other types of blog posts they can be written quickly and can easily be written bit by bit work if you can add a new point when you have 10 minutes to spare.
- 10 ways to get the life you want
- 3 keys to living your dream life
- 101 ways to feel happy
- 5 instructions for better writing
- 7 good reasons to go for a walk
5. Best or worst – Make your readers curious and give them a handy reference they’ll keep coming back to.
- Best and worst things about living in Australia
- Worst blogging mistakes and how to fix them
- Best blogs to go for blog writing tips
- Worst blog designs ever
- Best ways to network using social media
Advanced Headline Honing Techniques
If you’ve read this far that’s great news. You must have liked the post headline and you deserve to know that I had fun brainstorming by myself and wrote over 30 headlines before picking the one I thought would work best. Here are a few other headline techniques I’ve experimented with:
- Court controversy with your headlines – Why time management is dumb.
- Experiment with rhyme – Don’t delay, subscribe today.
- Use alliteration – Best business blogs.
- Use buzz words like ‘killer’ or ‘awesome’ that will appeal to your readers – Killer ways to travel for less.
- Cite celebrities or popular culture – A surfer’s guide to success or In bed with Seth Godin.
Those are just a few ideas for writing hypnotic headlines, now you just need to practice. Lots. Remember that even top copy writers like Brian Clark, Roberta Rosenberg, and Sonia Simone have spent years practising and improving their writing skills.
If you want more ideas for writing blog headlines I recommend Copyblogger’s Magnetic Headlines series.
Another great resource is Sean D’Souza‘s report: why do most headlines fail?
Last Word on Blog Headline Writing Tips
- Focus on creating headlines that show you provide useful value to your readers.
- Get in the habit of scanning newspapers and magazines to see which headlines stand out. Make a note of great headlines and see how you can customise them to make them work on your blog.
- Plan your attention grabbing headlines first then write the post to fit them.
- Try to keep your blog titles short but if they have to be long don’t worry, just bear in mind that people may not see the whole headline so get the most important words in first.
- Make sure the font size for your headlines is big enough so people know they’re headlines. You’ve spent time creating headlines you can be proud of, now make sure people can read them.
- Finally the most important tip of all is have fun writing your blog headlines.
Remember those top copy writer I mentioned before ~ Brian, Roberta and Sonia? They didn’t get good at writing by reading about writing. They didn’t get good at headline writing by thinking about writing. They got good at headline writing just like we will: by practising it lots and accepting that it’s never going to be perfect but can only get better.
Blog Headline Writing Practice
1. Come up with 5 headlines for your blog from each of the styles above: How to, why, question, numbered list and best or worst. If you’ve got categories on your blog come up with 5 titles for each of the headline styles above that you could actually use on your blog. For example, if you have 5 categories on your blog that will be 25 headlines. Don’t worry if you don’t have all the information you need to actually write the whole post. Just try to come up with titles your readers should find interesting. Have fun with it, channel you inner tabloid newspaper editor and concentrate on writing as many titles as you can. You can always edit and refine them later.
2. Go back through your blog archives and see if there are any boring headlines. If you find some improve them or come up with better headlines on the same topic that you can write about another time or just change the headline so more people read it.
3. Leave a comment with your favourite headline from your blog and or any other blog or if you need help with a blog post headline tell us the original fizzer headline and we’ll see if we can come up with ways to make it sizzle. Let’s use the comments to workshop blog headlines and help each other hone hypnotic headlines.
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