It’s such a disappointing feeling to pour your heart and soul into a story or post, release it to the world, expecting huge fanfare, but instead, watching your hard work float in an internet no-mans-land. You find yourself wondering: Has anyone seen it? Does anyone like it? Did it help anyone? Do they hate it? Am I full of crap and everyone knows it? Oh God, I’m a terrible failure!
STOP RIGHT THERE.
You’re a very talented writer and everyone deserves to be blessed with the chance to read your gorgeous words. You’ve put yourself out there, which takes tremendous courage, and you should be commended for that. However, you could be making one tiny mistake that’s costing you the traffic your work should be getting.
It’s your headline.
Headlines sell. When deciding which magazine to buy on the stand, which stories in the paper to read, which articles to click in your twitter feed–the headline makes all the difference, and if yours doesn’t pique interest, your post might as well not exist. Harsh, I know, but true.
Headline Formulas Work
Are you getting sick of seeing the same headline formulas everywhere? Top 10 Ways to Drive Traffic to Your Blog, 5 Mistakes You Could Be Making, The #1 Reason People Don’t Read Your Posts (ahem)… and so on. To be honest, I am, too. People use these formulas for a reason. They work. They’re proven to drive traffic, which is why they get overused. There’s no reason why you can’t be creative with them, though. And there’s no reason you can’t use them to get your work the attention is deserves.
What’s in a Good Headline?
A good headline hints at the content of the post, while preserving a bit of mystery. You want to create enough suspense to click and read the full story. You also want to capture attention and evoke emotion. When writing your headline, ask yourself: What are your target audience’s concerns and challenges? What problems will your post help them overcome? What emotions are they feeling that you can speak to?
Proven Headline Formulas
- How To (example: How to Write Irresistible Headlines)
- Lists (Top 10 Ways to Drive Blog Traffic)
- Alarm (Are You Making This Common Blogging Mistake?)
- Simplicity (The Easiest Way to Drive Blog Traffic)
- Secrets (The One Trick Pro Bloggers Don’t Want You to Know About)
- Free (Boost Your Blog Traffic Without Spending a Dime)
- Weird (See image above)
- Popular (The Game of Thrones Guide to Kicking Ass at Blogging)
Need more help? Here’s a great resource from Peter Sandeen: 101 Headline Formulas That Capture Attention and Get Your Message Read.
The Other Piece of the Puzzle
Now that your headline has done its job and gotten you a click, your content must live up to its promise. A click through is only the first step. If people like what they’ve read, they’ll share your work, and that’s the ultimate goal–to get your words in front of as many eyes as possible, raising your profile as a talented writer, and eventually making you millions and millions of dollars!