Write Great Headlines Without Writing

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Image thanks to Mannoobhai

Writing headlines is hard.  You know (cause I’ve gone on and on about it) that the headline is what gets attention. Why is writing better headlines important?

Write a bad headline, nobody reads your article. Give everything away in the headline and there’s no need to read further.

A headline that says, “Fed Raises Interest Rates One Percent” has told you the entire story.  On the other hand, a headline that says, “How the Fed Rate Rise Affects Your Savings” promises to explain how that action will affect your wallet (and your savings).  Big difference.

Good headlines engage your readers’ emotions; they become charged up, excited, curious, and suddenly alert.

They’re interested and they want to read more!

But sometimes  your brain is just stuck on neutral.  Nothing.  Nada.  Zip.

Luckily, there are some tips you can use to write a great headline with very little work.

Have Google do it

Search for your topic and check out the sponsored links and ads.   This tells you if there are a lot of other pages and posts on the topic and if it’s worth pursuing further.

Then, use Google’s keyword tool to see how many searches are made with those words.

Use a headline tool

Try the linkbait generator.  Type in a topic and get a catchy headline. You may have to revise it a bit (it’s a robot and sometimes the combinations it comes up with are a bit silly.  But silly or not, it helps to get you thinking.

Fill in the blanks

(OK, this requires some writing, but very little)

Who Else Wants to _______?

Little Known Ways to ________

Get Rid of [Problem] Once and For All

The Lazy [Bloggers/Developers/Designers] Way to [Get More Traffic/Code Faster/Get More Clients]

_____ That Wow

There! You’ve just written a week’s worth of headlines without writing very much.

On Monday, why these headlines work.


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6 thoughts on “Write Great Headlines Without Writing

  1. Jodi,

    Thanks for the Dr. Seuss quote on the WSL blog.

    -Joshua Black
    The Underdog Millionaire

  2. I use google keyword tool also to help with competitive keywords that are beneficial to the article as well. Great post! Thanks for sharing!!!

  3. Jodi, thanks. I’d never heard of the LinkBait thing, and when I went there, its headline was, “8 ways heroin could help you survive a zombie outbreak”—since I happen to know a lot about that topic, I know what my next post will be about.

    Copyblogger has good stuff about writing headlines too; worth the search.

    • “8 ways heroin could help you survive a zombie outbreak”—since I happen to know a lot about that topic, I know what my next post will be about.

      Er, heroin or zombies???

      How about “8 ways bacon could help you survive a zombie outbreak”?

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