If you ask me, the most important part of any content, whether it’s sales copy or a blog post, is the headline. Without a headline that instantly grabs the reader’s attention and entices them to keep reading, you stand no chance of being successful. Even if the body of your content is perfect, it won’t matter because most people won’t read it if the headline sucks.
So, what can you do to make sure your headlines work? Here are some tips to help you in your quest for the perfect headline.
• Brainstorm multiple headline ideas—What are the chances of the first headline you come up with being the best it can be? Probably not very good. So instead of just going with whichever headline pops into your head first, spend some time brainstorming multiple headline ideas. Once you come up with a pretty healthy list (5 or more ideas), analyze each idea closely to find the best one for your content.
• Try writing the headline last—In my experience, writers are split 50/50 on this idea. Some writers swear by writing the headline first, and others believe writing it last is a better practice. It really boils down to your personal preference, but let me tell you why I think writing it last can be a good idea. A lot of times, when you write the headline first, you start to write the content, and by the time you’ve finished it, the headline doesn’t really reflect what you’ve written about. Writing the headline last can help you come up with an idea that truly matches the message of the content.
• Stop trying to be clever—We’ve all seen the “look at me, I’m so clever” headlines. Cleverness works occasionally, but for the most part, I try to avoid it. Here’s why: 1) Clever headlines offer suffer from a lack of clarity, and 2) Not everyone will understand your cleverness.
• Get the message across—Above all else, your goal with writing a headline should be to get the main point across as clearly as possible. Remember, a lot of times (with blogs, press releases, ezine articles, and other content) your headline will have to stand on its own. If the headline is clear and to the point, people will click on it. If it doesn’t get the message across, you’ll lose the interest of potential readers.
What process do you follow when writing headlines? Share your tips in the replies.