10 headline writing prompts you’d be stupid to miss out on

headline writing prompts

For some people writing a headline seems a thousand times harder than actually writing the blog post itself! This is because they know it can make or break whether your post gets noticed, read and then acted upon.

In fact some successful bloggers spend more time on their headlines than they do on their content. Many versions are written and poured over and tweaked here and there until they have something which finally satisfies them.

There are many cheat sheets and check lists you can get from blogging gurus on how to write a headline. But I’ve created this Infographic to quickly give you 10 headline writing prompts to set you on your way:

10 headline writing prompts that really work

1. Mistakes

A common headline writing prompt is to focus on the mistakes your readers ought steer clear of. This is because people have this inherit desire not to fail, and are desperate to know what to avoid so to not lose face.

If you really want to make a difference, include the correct procedures alongside the mistakes. This will help towards enhancing your credibility and knowledge.

2. How to

Readers are always looking for guides in how to improve their lives. For example, a how-to post offering something which is relevant, useful and easy to implement. Because your readers don’t know or haven’t thought about it, they will really value your expertise.

Adapting your headline writing prompts to promote educational posts is a great way of showcasing your knowledge, especially if it helps someone to succeed.

3. Shortcut

This follows on from the how-to headline. If you reveal a time-saving tip which improves your readers’ lives, they will love you for it.

Remember readers are always searching for solutions which will make their lives easier, especially in this time-poor world. This could establish you as a go-to-authority in this subject as well.

4. Numbers

People find it very difficult to resist numbers. Maybe they are drawn to the myriad of options which might include the solution they crave. Or it is the power of the list which attracts their attention.

There are particular numbers have a better effect than others, such as 3, 10 and 100. I suggest you experiment to see which number works best for you, especially since list posts are most enjoyable, easy and productive to write.

5. Curiosity

We all know the old saying “Curiosity killed the cat”. Let’s hope none of your readers are harmed in the same way if you use this headline writing prompt!

Who can stop being nosy, if something delectable is offered to you just out of reach? Tips and tricks are always sought after, similar to the how-to posts. However, combining this with promised success always has the desired effect.

6. Secret

Secrecy is a great draw. The concept of being the first to know, a trusted confidant or having the ability to gain from an opportune moment is always irresistible.

Which reader could pass by a headline shrouded in an air of mystery? These things are always attractive, creating a desire to learn what others don’t know in order to steal a march over them.

7. News

Only news which is relevant is applicable to busy people. And this relevancy needs to focus on something your readers can relate to or feel an affinity with, before they are willing to notice it.

Your own news may be thoroughly important to you, but unless you able to twist it so it becomes something your readers can benefit from, they won’t be interested.

8. Bazaar

Use this version of headline writing prompts with care. You really need to know your readers’ humour levels and understand what subjects appeal to their sense of fun before attempting to use this one.

However, interesting combinations of weird and cute cannot fail to attract attention. It’s sometimes amazing which examples will gather in the crowds, so experiment to see which is successful.

9. Inspiration

Everyone aspires to be more successful one day in work, love, finance, recognition, credibility, the list goes on. So promising the answer to your readers’ dreams is a sure-fire method in headline writing prompts.

However, make sure you deliver on your promise in the remainder of the post, otherwise I cannot vouch for the consequences. Readers don’t like being short-changed!

10. Challenge a common belief

Asserting your opinion is always an attraction draw. However, make sure you have to hand a series of well founded arguments and evidence to back up your claim, especially if trolls get wind of what you’re saying.

Readers like controversy, if used in the correct context, especially if it makes them think in a way they haven’t before. And remember to position whatever you offer in your readers’ point of view, or in a way which benefits them, if you want to retain their attention.

How do you adapt your headline writing to succeed?

Take a look at my headline writing prompts, and see how you could weave them into your headline writing activities.

And let me know in the comments below if they make a difference to the amount of readers you get to your posts – not only in traffic, but also interaction from satisfied readers. The latter is always a good indicator that you’ve got it right!

Alice Elliott
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