Blogging, like most human activity is an inside-out process.
If you’re inspired and excited then your target audience will be too.
Believe it or not I get excited when I write a nice simple-to-follow guide to creating an image gallery in WordPress, or share a way that any blogger can add a simple newsletter sign-up form to their site.
Right now I have about a hundred draft posts waiting to be worked on. And every single one started with:
I always write rough headlines first. It defines the focus, direction and target audience for the article.
Most people do it other way around and then get disappointed when their posts lack a sense of focus.
The good news here is that it’s not your fault. It’s the process you’re using.
One of the best copywriters in the world, John Carlton says that he spends at least fifty percent of his time on the headline. Brian Clark at Copyblogger recommends that you always write your headlines first.
The purpose of a headline is to get the first sentence read. ~ Joe Sugarman
How to supercharge your blogging efforts
1. Write headlines that excite you
If you’re excited by the ideas in your headline you can say goodbye to writers block.
2. Write headlines that compel your target audience to click
Put yourself in the position of your ideal reader and ask “what would I want to read about if I was them?”. Better yet find them via email or social media and ask them personally!
On the average, five times as many people read the headline as read the body copy. When you have written your headline, you have spent eighty cents out of your dollar. ~ David Ogilvy
3. Write headlines that scare you
If your content is uninspiring you’re not stretching yourself enough. If the idea in your headline pushes you to explore your topic more courageously and creatively, that can only be good for your publishing and your readers.
4. Write headlines using topics within your field of expertise
There’s no point in even starting to write if you can’t fulfil the expectations you create with the headline.
No matter who you are and what area of life you’re comfortable in, there will be well-worn topics, and ones that most people are afraid to approach or haven’t bothered to explore.
If you want to inject some fresh excitement and inspiration into your blog here’s what you need to do:
Sit down right now (after finishing this article) and jot down 10 rough headlines that fit the above criteria.
Once you’ve done this I guarantee you’ll find it much easier to start creating the content itself.
Some common headline mistakes to avoid
- Too vague
- Being cute
- Too short and lacking specifics
- Failing to suggest a benefit
- Not appealing to any specific target audience
Some examples of great headlines
- 10 relationship strategies so obvious that people forget to use them
- How to get the most out of every advertising dollar you spend
- Why you need to unsubscribe from 60% of the emails you receive
- Why sugar is killing you and how you can beat the addiction
- How to use the power of psychology to win over your next date
- Why thinking about other people’s needs is a dying art in marketing
More resources on writing headlines
- The 100 Greatest Headlines Ever Written by Jay Abraham
- How to Write Magnetic Headlines from Copyblogger
- 5 Tips to a Perfect Headline by David Ogilvy
- 21 great headlines from trashy tabloids (for a bit of fun)
John Carlton on Copywriting: Perfect Headlines
Invest some time right now and write down 10 headlines that get you excited.
What other creative ways could you used headlines to boost your productivity?