Lazy bloggers need great headlines too!
The ability to write great headlines is what separates a lot of bloggers. They are one of the most important elements of any piece of content you create. And they are the first thing readers see, no matter where they find your content.
Think about it.
On Google, social media or any platform, the title is prominently displayed. Readers make a split second decision to read, share or move on.
The success of bloggers (or any marketer) is being measured by pageviews. Because of that, titles are getting bolder and more sensational, so you really need to step up your game if you want to stay relevant.
Just be sure you don’t write a headline that you can’t deliver on in the article.
Demian Farnworth says he hates being “let down by articles that are long on headline, short on content.”
Demian knows how to follow through. Be sure to check out his post so you learn how too.
Writing bad headlines is one thing – writing a headline to trick people into reading crappy content is another.
You’re just going to piss people off by wasting their time. And those people aren’t likely to come back. Would you?
Having someone waste your time is like sticking your hand on the burner. It’s painful and you remember it forever.
I’m confident that everyone here is on the up n’ up – and is capable of writing stellar content that delivers on the headlines promise. So let’s move on and work on getting more eyeballs to your first paragraph.
Ready, let’s go!
Twitter is like a proving ground for headlines.
You can bet your ass if your title sucks it will go nowhere on Twitter.
The opposite is also true. If you’re putting out great titles you’ll be able to tell.
One of the best ways to test your titles with Twitter is to change things up. Try tweeting stuff about the same topic, but from a different point of view.
This will give you an idea of what your audience likes.
Once you’ve found that, try tweeting the same articles with different titles.
This will give you a pretty good idea of what your next several posts should be about and what titles will work best for them.
A few months back, everything I tweeted about FaceBook got wildly more engagement than anything else. That told me what my audience as in the mood for at that time.
It doesn’t mean I had to write about FaceBook, but it was helpful to know. Maybe I could write something like, “Are readers leaving your blog faster than teens are leaving FaceBook.”
Okay, that’s a terrible example, but you get the point right?
Topsy has the biggest index of Tweets on the web going all the way back to 2006.
You can use Topsy to see what’s trending, find influencers and see what’s getting the most engagement
You can even see how a specific piece of content is being shared using the URL.
Let’s say we want to know which buzzword is getting the most engagement. SEO, content marketing or blogging? You can measure them against each other using the “social analytics” tab.
You can do this with anything, even URLs.
It’s a great way to find a killer headline for your next blog post.
One surefire way to find great headlines is to ask someone who loses money if their headline’s suck.
You know those little ads you see on the right side of Google?
Well, somebody pays for those to be there.
Not only are they paying or the ad to show up there, but most of them hire professional copywriters to write the ads.
We’re talking about a few hundred bucks or more for just a few words. So you know those are powerful headlines. Use them.
Here’s how you find the best ones.
Do a Google search for your topic.
Usually the ads in one of the top 3 spots have the best titles. You’ll have to decide which is best for you. The information you gained from your past tweets and using Topsy should help you here.
If you really want get a great title, watch those ads over the course of a few days. If one stays there longer than all the others then that headline is a money maker.
Just like anything else you do, practice makes perfect.
If you continue to try to write great headlines for your posts, you’ll get better as time goes on.
But if you’re like me(lazy and impatient) you don’t want to write great headlines a year from now. You want to write them today!
Well, thanks to Garrett Moon we can speed things up a little.
In his post on Today Made, Garrett says to write at least 25 headlines before you publish.
The theory is that somewhere around the 25th try, you’ll have a killer headline that you would’ve never thought of otherwise.
Because I’m lazy(as mentioned above) I haven’t tried this every time.
But the times I did try Garrett’s method, I got double the engagement of my normal posts.
hmm, I’m starting to think it doesn’t pay to be a lazy blogger…
And last but not least, the technique often referred to as “The Alphabet Soup method.”
This one is really simple but it packs a lot of punch because it puts you directly into the minds of your readers.
Basically you just go to Google and start typing something in the search bar. You may want to start with something relevant to your blog, but you can get a little creative here.
For example, you can type in “how to” and then run through the alphabet one letter at a time. This will tell you every popular ‘how-to’ search known to Google.
I’d say that’s pretty powerful information to have on your side.
What worked for you
Think about some of the articles you’ve shared. Or better yet, think about the one’s you actually read.
If they got your attention then chances are they probably have a pretty decent headline.
Try to go back and check the titles of some of the most recent stuff you’ve read.
Check your bookmarks.
If you bookmarked then it’s probably got both, a great headline and useful content that delivered on its promise.
“Great artists steal.” ~Steve Jobs
If you see a great headline, steal it. There’s nothing wrong with that.
It’s a great way to get a headline for your new post quickly. And it teaches you a little about what a great headline actually is.
Don’t be ashamed, some of the best bloggers you know have admitted to doing it.
So now that you’ve got some easy methods for writing great headlines, go put ‘em to use.
Share your headline tips below. If you have an example of a great headline you wrote, feel free to share that too!
Thanks for stickin’ around,