Friday Fun: End of Year Holiday Party

Champagne and pate on Thanksgiving.

Image via Wikipedia

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.

Top 10 Most Popular Posts. Ever.

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Image via Wikipedia

Here they are.  They certainly are a varied bunch (everything from fishing to sins to target practice, well sort of).

What Every Marketer Can Learn From Fishermen

Are You Reading These Blogs?

102 Great Headlines

Announcing a Painless Way to Stretch Your Marketing Dollars

A Marketing Mistake You Should Never Make

Is Your Marketing Missing Its Target?

Secrets of Successful Email Newsletters

What a Giant Squid Can Teach the New York Times About Publishing

How to Write Headlines Your Readers Can’t Resist

7 Deadly Web Copy Mistakes

Actually, this gives me an idea.  Stay tuned for tomorrow’s post (your input needed).

OOPS:  Thought I posted this hours ago.  Apparently I never hit publish!

What’s Wrong with These Headlines?

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Image by Mat Honan via Flickr

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.

Get Great Headlines Without Writing

magazine stand imageWriting 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.

Image thanks to Mannoobhai

7 Secret Shortcuts for Writing Great Headlines

headline_rabbit

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?

Image: autiscy