The first thing your reader will read of your post will probably be the headline.
And it might not be anywhere near your post. The headline acts as a hook to draw your reader into your blog, and it can be found in a variety of places.
A feature of RSS (Really Simple Syndication) is that it links your post with its headline within social media networks and reader platforms, without any of the post’s content visible at this stage.
Therefore it is vital to get to grips with writing awesome headlines if you want to have any chance of succeeding in creating a perfect post. This Infographic will explain what I mean:
And here’s some code you could paste into your own posts (via the text mode) if you want to share this Infographic with your readers.
Introducing the subject
As I said above the Infographic, your headline can be found in another place other than your blog. This means it is acting alone, without the backup of the post’s content to help it.
So you have only a split second to introduce a subject that may be of interest to a passing potential reader. We live in an ever increasingly fast moving world, competing with thousands of other headlines shouting about the same subject matter.
What can your headline say that makes it stand out above all the noise? What special qualities can you pack into it that makes your subject sound infinitely better than all the others? How can you show your posts contains the most important content about this particular subject that is worth reading?
They say curiosity killed the cat. Aside from mourning the passing of poor kitty, this is a trait you could use to your advantage.
An element of curiosity will help attract attention to your blog. However, the correct form of words will be needed if you are going to promise the answer to the universe.
Offering something that will improve the life of your reader will certainly create interest. Your awesome headlines should be constructed to make them feel special, important, worthy and privileged to have found your post.
Convincing your readers
It is highly likely your reader will see your blog’s headlines amongst a selection of others. Therefore these should be presented in such a way to suggest your posts are the best, far superior than the rest, and should be read first.
This means you need to resonate with your reader’s wants, desires and needs. Are you offering answers to their questions, solutions to their problems? Even if your blog has yet to amass enough authority to rise above the others, the power of your awesome headlines could convince them otherwise.
Remember readers are most likely to be searching for answers and information. Offer this in your headlines clearly and obviously, and you will find you receive a much better take-up.
Recognising problems and solutions
Headlines that acknowledge the sort of problems readers encounter will make them attractive. However, if you can make the subject instantly more relatable, this will have a much better effect.
Combine the problem with the desired solution, enhanced to show off the success your reader could have if they read the post. You could even exaggerate slightly to stimulate the desire a bit more.
Emphasising problems and offering solutions have been around since blogs began, but it is the value your post could bring your reader that will make your awesome headlines stand out.
Honesty and realism
Making appealing promises will certainly attract your readers’ attention. However, it is extremely important that whatever you claim is honoured, otherwise you will lose the respect of your readers.
Therefore if you make any such suggestions in your headlines, make sure you can realistically answer them in the content of your posts. Honesty is the best policy, as if it is obvious you know nothing about this subject, your readers will soon brand you as a fraud.
Any solutions provided should also be suitably actionable, preferably immediately or relatively soon, to make your reader feel they can take advantage of your wisdom and improve their lives accordingly.
There are plenty of headline styles you can choose from, but one that always works well is a list. You could use numbers or add each item to an Infographic just as I have done.
There is something very attractive about a numbered list. I suggest working with a reasonable number, not something unattainable such as 101 or more. I usually find larger lists have lots of repetitions, which can be quite annoying and unnecessary.
Another tip that seems to go down well is listing mistakes. Apparently readers have this dread of doing things wrong, so revealing what not to do or what to avoid, especially if combined with solutions or good practice, will be beneficial to both them and you.
Experiment and practise
Very rarely will you achieve a perfect headline first time around. To create awesome headlines you need to work at them, just like anything that needs perfecting, such as your writing and communication styles.
Remember, you know you have a very short time to attract the attention of a potential reader. So you need to write many examples of your headlines to see which one is the best. It may be the first, the last or even the one in the middle, but you will know ‘the one’ when you see it, as it will hit you between the eyes.
Creating awesome headlines is a life-long process of experimenting and practising. Some blogging experts spend more time writing their headlines than they do on the rest of the post! They know how important it is to get this area of blogging right if they are to succeed.
Readers always know best
And you will never perfect the art of writing awesome headlines if you don’t know who your ideal reader is. Remember you are writing for one person, not the 1000s you think you want to attract.
If you truly understand your audience, they will adapt themselves to what you write. Your headline will reach out to them and they will be willing to mould themselves to suit your subject and message.
Therefore always write your headlines with your readers in mind. Give them what they crave, answer their questions, acknowledge their pain, offer the solutions they are looking for. If they don’t feel an affinity with you and your blog, they will not stay to read what it contains.
Now it’s your turn
Let me know what you think of this post in the comment box below, I would love to hear from you!
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