The Art of Writing Great Headlines - Len PenzoPresentation Transcript
Len PenzoLen Penzo dot Com
They’re the most important part of your article! Blog visitors take 8 seconds to decide whether they are going to stay or leave (LorelleOnWordpress.com) Fact: On average 4 out of 5 people read a headline, but only 1 out of 5 will read the rest (copyblogger.com) Great posts with bad headlines don’t get read Well-written headlines greatly increase the odds of getting your post read
You never get a second chance to make a first impression!
Here are six recent blog headlines. Would you clickon any of these articles? On Opportunity Being Rich Managing or Paying Off Debt Stories of the Unemployed We Have to Eat Healthier Did You Know? If your headline doesn’t communicate the benefit you’ll deliver to the readers, most of them won’t bother to give you their time.
1) MSN New stunning images from Hubble2) Space.com Astronomers discover new spiral galaxy3) Fox News Hubble space telescope spies a UFO
Convey a messageGet out of debt fast, no matter how much you owe! Are compelling20 Ways to get richer in 1996 – without even trying! Painless way to save thousand$ -- with ease! Are specific Cut mortgage payments IN HALF! Cut income taxes IN HALF! Take charge of your finances … TODAY! Are intriguing The secret fortune in your garage!
They build your authority as a blogger They get right to the point They’re usually quick and easy to read They encourage dissenting opinions Large lists dare the reader to verify your claims They make a specific promise to the reader about what they are going to learn
Like it or not, a headline is a promise If people think you can’t deliver, then they won’t read your post Words like “almost” or “some” increase credibility When it comes down to writing good headlines, credibility is king
“You are an idiot. Youhad to use the lawnthree times in order toget to 21 reasons.Also, you say there isno privacy, lots ofpedestrians and cars,but then you go on tosay that it is morevulnerable toburglary? At leasthave legitimatereasons if you aregoing to criticize. I justwasted 3 minutes ofmy life.” – Tim Sanders
The easiest way is to write a “How to” headline Remember, it’s virtually impossible to write a bad “How to” headline “How to” headlines work because they focus on benefits the reader will receive if they read the post Examples: How to Avoid Being Audited by the IRSHow to get the Most from Your Gym Membership How I Save $1400 Annually by Eating Leftovers How to Become a Millionaire in 28 Days!
Using “why” at the beginning of your posts (as a declarative statement) allows the reader to focus on the benefits of reading your article Some Examples: Why You Should Never Cosign a Loan for Anyone Why Not All Debt Is a Four-Letter Word Why Lazy People Shouldn’t Automate Their Finances Why Miracle Whip Doesn’t Belong on a Tuna Sandwich
Good: 4 Truths You Must Learn Before You Can Be RichBetter: 4 Surprising Truths You Must Learn Before You Can Be RichGood: 9 Financial Tips for Teens & TwentysomethingsBetter:9 Indispensable Financial Tips for Teens & TwentysomethingsAdjectives are a great way to make your headlines stand out in the crowd.
General words and vague phrases make for boring headlines The more information you can convey in your headline, the more interest you generate Personal finance headlines with precise dollar figures perform very well on my blog (but your mileage may vary) Instead of “Save Money Eating Leftovers” try: “How Eating Leftovers Saves Me $1400 Annually”
My 5 All-Time Most Popular Black Coffee Columns…1. Threesomes, Facebook Stock & Other Dubious Ideas2. Why Sex and Personal Finance Don’t Mix3. Why I Never Tweet Suze Orman4. Kim Kardashian, the Federal Gov’t & Other, Um, Big Stuff5. Shoplifting Tips, Poor Financial Decisions & Schweddy Balls The moral: Sexy headlines sell – even in the world of personal finance.
Formula Headline Example1. Say it simply and directly The Ultimate Tax Shelter2. State the big benefit Get Out of Debt Fast3. Appeal to the “how to” How to Make Money Working from instinct Home4. Pose a provocative Do You Make These 7 Common Tax question Mistakes?5. Bark a command Become a Famous Blogger in 60 Days!6. Offer useful information The Best Kept Secrets in AmericaSource: Copyblogger.com, “9 Proven Headline Formulas That Sell Like Crazy” by Dean Rieck, 19 June 2009
Placing keywords in your headlines help search engines help readers find your article Long-tail keyword phrases often write themselves: “How to Get a Free Credit Report” Avoid minimalist keyword titles ( be specific!) Instead of “Car Loans” try: “Car Loans: How to Find the Lowest Rates”It’s one thing for search engines to find you, but if you don’t write headlines that grab the readers’ attention, your posts will never get read!
The headline is the most important part of your post; so spend at least 15 minutes on each one Try to keep your titles to 65 characters or less Pithiness counts; being concise is a virtue when it comes to writing headlines Don’t be afraid to use a thesaurus Speak the language of your audience Don’t shy away from being provocative Whenever possible, be painfully specific Don’t be a bore! Use adjectives to your enhance headlines and make them stand out. Like it or not, sex sells Writing headlines for search engines gets you discovered, but writing headlines for readers gets you page views – and hopefully, loyal fans! Don’t feel pressure to hit a headline home run every time