Three Headline Ideas That Are Sure To Work, Work, Work, Work, Work…
Success as a blogger like most things in life, comes down to understanding the basics.
Headlines are the most important piece of content you can write. After all, most readers determine whether or not your content is worth giving their attention to based on your headline. Your headline is what will be shared as the text in a tweet:
It’s the primary visual that is shown when shared on Facebook or LinkedIn:
And it’s what people find in their Google search results.
Fortunately, the number of formulas that you can use when writing a blog post headline are plentiful. People like Kevan from Buffer and Sarah from SumoMe have developed great resources to act as inspiration for your content.
Here are a few:
- How To XYZ…
- XX Reasons/Ways/Mistakes/etc…
- Why XYZ Is/Are/Will/etc…
- The Best/Easiest/Fastest/Smartest Way To XYZ…
- Do You Know How To XYZ…?
When I was thinking about the headline for this article, I tried to mix up a few different ideas and formulas. Here are a couple that I came up with:
- How To Come Up With Headline Ideas That Stick
- Five Headline Ideas That Can Change Your Blog Forever
- Genius Headline Ideas For The Best Content Marketers
- The Best Headline Ideas That Will Change The Game
- Do You Know How To Create Amazing Headlines? This Will Help.
- Five Headline Ideas That Work: You Won’t Believe How Easy They Are
- Five Ideas That Most People Overlook When Writing Great Headlines
- Everything You Need To Know Before Crafting A Great Headline
The folks at UpWorthy suggest that you always write more than 25 headlines:
This recommendation is based on the fact that it takes time and tests to find a great headline.
In this post, I’m going to share with you a few ideas that you can use to create headlines that drive shares, clicks, and engagement. Take these ideas and remix them for your own content:
1) Leverage Popular Culture In Your Headline
Culture can be leveraged to increase your chances of going viral and creating content worth clicking.
Whether it’s a news story, trending song or lyric – there’s plenty of opportunities out there for you to leverage when crafting your headline. I like to call this tactic reactive storytelling. The act of reacting to something that is happening in popular culture and combining it with a brand relevant message.
Some call it Newsjacking which is described as the creation of high-quality content and mixing it with a trending story or topic.
The idea of leveraging popular culture in your headline is similar to newsjacking if you do it quickly.
First, you want to identify something that people are talking about. You can find these topics by watching closely the trending topics on Twitter or what’s trending on Facebook:
Once you’ve identified a topic, you can start writing titles that play off the news. Here are a few examples of content that play off of popular culture or trending topics:
If the topic is trending on Facebook, you create a blog post that references that topic and you share it, the content will actually get additional love from the Facebook newsfeed algorithm.
Here’s an example of what that would look like:
I’ve used this tactic many times over the last few years and it’s helped me land in Forbes and generate thousands of shares.
2) Challenge Common Expectations & Beliefs
Curiosity is one of the most critical motives that influences our behavior as humans.
In the famous study that coined the phrase Curiosity Gap, they defined the curiosity gap as the gap that exists between what we know and what we want to know.
A curiosity driven headline is one that catches your reader’s attention by making a claim that is unusual, remarkable or thought provoking.
People love these articles because they give us the opportunity to learn something we didn’t know before. As found in the study from George Loewenstein, filling this curiosity gap gives us pleasure and satisfaction.
These two articles are examples of headlines that try to capture your curiosity:
While this is a tactic that can work wonders, you need to ensure you’re delivering on the other end. Don’t write a headline that peaks your readers curiosity but doesn’t deliver on the inside. That’s the definition of click-bait.
3) Tell Them How Much Value You’re Delivering
Darren Rowse of ProBlogger talked about the value of long form content back in 2013. The posts that the ProBlogger team has written with more than 2,000 words performed well above average compared with other posts.
In the chart below from okdork.com, you will see that the longer the content, the more shares it generates:
People want detailed and high quality content.
If your headline communicates that the content they’re about to consume is PACKED with insights, the likelihood of them clicking through increases.
When you see a blog post with a headline like these:
- 189 Powerful Words That Convert: Write Copy That Gets Your Customer’s Attention Every Time
- Why Content Goes Viral: What Analyzing 100 Million Articles Taught Us
- The Content Curation Guide That Every Marketer NEEDS to Read
- 130 Ways to Get More Website Traffic: A Sumo-Sized Guide
You’re thirsty to click and see what they’re about.
You’re thirsty to see the value behind the text.
Convey the value you’re going to deliver your readers and then ensure you do exactly that once they’re in.
Creating powerful headlines is just one piece of the puzzle.
If you want to take your content marketing efforts to the next level, you’re going to want to invest time in ensuring that the content you create is high quality and delivers what the readers expected. You need to ensure that on the other side of a click, the content you deliver is valuable.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on this blog post and what tactics you’ve used when crafting your own headlines. Leave us a comment below and don’t forget to check out Crate, a content curation tool that will make it easier to manage your time.