5 Headline Styles That Make People Want To Go ‘Click!’

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Crafting a good headline is more important than a brilliant piece of writing. There, I said it.

How so?

Surely writing great content, supplying insanely useful information to your reader, getting all your commas, apostrophes, antonyms, synonyms and onomatopoeia together like ducks in a row is the thing?

Nuh-uh. You know why?

Because unless people are engaged, intrigued or interested enough by your headline they won’t click on it. And if they don’t click on it, they won’t even see how great your content is, how insanely useful it could be to them and how had he been alive, Shakespeare would have had a poetic rival in your good self and we might never have heard the words ‘To be, or not to be: that is the question:”

Headline is king

I wrote in my article 5 Elements of Outstandlingly Good Blog Posts about the importance of headlines are but many, many bloggers don’t recognize this and if they do know it, they often choose not to act on it, feeling that they’d prefer to stay away from controversy, hyperbole or appealing to people’s egos. And they write bland, unappealing headlines. 🙁

But the fact is the most successful publications, and that includes bloggers, employ marketing tactics in their headlines – because they want people to read what they have to say. There is a reason headline writers are paid a lot of money to come up with their creative words. And if you read along, you’re already ahead of the game; if you act on the information, you’ll be in front. 🙂

How to improve your headline writing skills in NET (no extra time)

There is something incredibly easy that you can do to get better at writing headlines. Next time you’re in line at the grocery store, take a glance at the front cover of the magazines. Read the headlines that are there and observe commonalities between them. You’ll soon to see recurring patterns and then you can take those styles, insert your own words to make your own unique, but catchy, headlines.

Let’s look at 5 types of headlines that you might find. I’ve included some examples that might be relevant to you.

Style #1. Threat Headlines

What keeps your readers up at night? We’re all afraid of many things. And we want to find ways to feel safer. If you can provide them with information to help them do that, they’ll love you.

Examples:

How Safe Is Your Child From A Bad Teacher?

7 Warning Signs Your Customers Are Dissatisfied With Your Service

Warning: Terrible Co-Worker On The Loose

Style #2. Zen Headlines

We all have too many responsibilities and too much to do. We all want more peace and relaxation. And that makes us susceptible to messages that make us feel there are ways to control things and feel less overwhelmed.

Examples:

The Zen of Parenthood

Can’t Keep Up? 11 Ways to Simplify Your To-Do List

How to Take Charge of Your Boss

Style #3. Mistake Headlines

“Do You Make These Mistakes in English” was one of the most successful headlines in the history of advertising and while it’s intriguing, it’s not particularly punchy. And, the sentence structure is odd. But the vagueness combined with our insecurities compels us to click on the headline and read the whole article to see if we do make the same mistakes.

Examples:

Do You Make These 9 Parenting Mistakes?

7 Customer Service Mistakes That Make You Look Unprofessional

11 Teaching Mistakes You Don’t Know You’re Making

Style #4. The Oldie But Goodie That Never Fails

How-to headlines almost never fail. These headlines force us to write in a way that provides value to the reader. They get something insanely useful.

Examples:

How to Teach Emotional Intelligence to 7th Graders

How to Be Incredibly Joyful Without Irritating Everyone Around You

How to Meet Your Deadlines (Even If They’re Insane)

How to Manage Your Team While Working From Home

Style #5. List Headlines

People love these because they contain bite-sized content that is manageable for people to consume. I often use these but you can mix your headlines up so that you don’t use one style exclusively.

Examples:

150 Ways To Show Someone You Care

72 Awesome Resources for Managers

The Top 10 Blogs for Children

7 Surprising Reasons Teachers Leave the Profession

Further Reading

This article has links to a whole slew of blog posts on writing headlines that work:

How To Write Magnetic Headlines

Do you have a blog post in progress that you could apply a headline to in one of these styles? Or could you craft one and then write a blog post from that starting point?

If you need help with this – either in crafting the headline or with some sanity checking, please let me know at alison.golden@sixseconds.org. I would be happy to help!

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