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Get our your champagne glasses and your funny hats. It’s time for the end of year holiday party. Last year, I had a roundup of posts by topic. Here’s the list:
Ways to Market Your Business on a Small Budget
What Every Marketer Ought to Know in the New Year
Creative Ways to Write Great Headlines
Get More From Your Email Marketing/
Do You Make These Common Marketing Mistakes?
This year, I’m going to do something different. A countdown of my five best posts (ever). Stay tuned for number five on Monday, counting down to number one next Friday. (Hey, why should Casey Kasem – sorry Ryan Seacrest doesn’t count) have all the fun?
Meanwhile, happy, merry, and joyful to all of you.
I took these headlines randomly from Google News this morning.
Hunter Mahan wins Bridgestone Invitational with final-round 64
Rwandan president expected to win election handily
In the Gulf, scientific questions still lurk beneath the surface
The Other Guys’ Captures Audiences at Weekend Box Office
Any idea what’s wrong?
They tell the entire story in the headline. There’s no reason to click on the link or read more. You already know what happened.
Why headlines matter
The headline starts you thinking. A good headline is the flag that waves down passers-by and says, “pay attention, you’ll want to know more about this.”
Five times as many people read the headline as the body copy. Five times. A bad headline equals poor readership and poor results.
Got a headline? Not sure if it’s any good?
Submit it below for a free rewrite.
Writing headlines is hard. You know (cause I’ve gone on and on about it) that the headline is what gets attention. Bad headline, no readers. Not good.
But sometimes your brain is just stuck on neutral. Nothing. Nada. Zip.
Here are a few ways 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.
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/Writer’s/Designer’s] Way to [Better Posts/Write Faster/Get More Clients]
_____ That Wow
On Monday, why these headlines work.
The headline is the first thing that catches a reader’s eye. Nobody (except for judges in advertising competitions) will read your entire post or ad unless the headline does its job. Here are seven headline tips and formulas that make creating headlines easy.
1. Start with a number
People love lists. They promise knowledge, quick help, and understanding of complex problems — in a format that’s easy to read and digest.
2. Ask readers if they make common mistakes
A headline asking if readers made “these common mistakes in English” was a bit direct mail hit long ago. Ask your readers if they make these common design mistakes, or web development errors.
3. Offer a quiz
It’s fun to test your knowledge, especially if it’s a contest. Have your readers see how well they do on common (or uncommon tests of grammar, design, or photography tricks.
4. Make a big promise
Offer to get rid of [horrible problem] once and for all. Or, a quick, easy way to do something hard.: Get a web site that’s impressive and easy!
5. Offer inside information or big savings
Everything you need to know to get cheaper software, or how to (do something that’s usually expensive) on a budget.
6. Make a big list
This is particularly effective in magazine articles or blog posts you want bookmarked or reread. List 21 design tools under $21, or 27 free marketing ideas.
7. List the best (or the worst) examples
“The best software under $50,” or “The worst marketing email. Ever.”
What are your best sources of inspiration for headlines? Share them in the comments.
And how many of the headline formulas did I use in this post?