People will never read your blog posts if the headline is more fizzle than sizzle.
Even people who've subscribed to your blog by email will read the headline first to decide if they want to read the 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 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 actually 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 overnight, 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 great reason to read it. If you write a hypnotic headline, you'll:
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 pressing need to go ahead and read the full story.
2. Ask Why - Try to solve a common or persistent problem your readers have.
3. How to – Help your readers do something better, faster, in simple steps or with confidence.
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 easily.
5. Best or worst – Make your readers curious and give them a handy reference they'll keep coming back to.
If you've read this far, great! You must have liked the post headline and you deserve to know that I had fun brainstorming 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:
Those are just a few ideas for writing hypnotic headlines. Now you just need to practice.
Lot of practice.
Remember that even top copy writers like Brian Clark, Roberta Rosenberg, and Sonia Simone have spent years practicing 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?"
Remember those top copywriter 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 you will: by practicing it lots and accepting that it's never going to be perfect but can only get better.
1. Come up with 5 headlines for your blog from 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 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 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 favorite 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.
If you like what you see here remember to subscribe so you don't miss out on the rest of the Blog Writing Magic series. In the weeks to come I'll tackle:
I look forward to seeing you here again soon. Thank you for reading and happy writing!