How many blog posts do you read, on average, each week? 20? 50? 100?
How many headlines do you see between your inbox, reader and at random?
The number of headlines you scan is phenomenal and with the distractions we all face, it takes something special to hold our attention. Do you ever consider why you choose to read a particular blog post? What is it about a headline that causes you to read further?
Learning and applying the elements that are effective in capturing reader attention will significantly improve your own headlines.
Following are the 5 best headlines published this week* and notes on why they worked:
#1. 9 Things You Never Thought You Would Buy From a Vending Machine – Entrepreneur
Come on now. Be honest. Who can resist a headline like this? You just have to open it and see what’s inside. Does it feel as though the headline is challenging you? It’s like a kid being told not to touch something. It’s guaranteed to happen at the first opportunity.
The beauty of this headline is it also includes a number so readers assume the post will be succinct and easy to follow (read Debra’s post on the topic). Something they can read during their crazy, busy day without guilt.
#2. How to Pay Down Big Debt Without Resorting to Ramen – Everyday Bright
There are three factors in this headline that make it extremely effective. To begin with, it includes the phrase ‘How To’ which has one of the highest search volumes on the Internet and clearly indicates the intention to solve the reader’s challenge.
Second, it refers to debt – one of the key fears individuals and organisations have. Finally, the author has employed excellent symbolism with ‘resorting to ramen.’ The grand majority of the Western populations would at least understand the reference and possibly have experienced it at some point.
#3. Full Disclosure: 10 Community-Building Lessons & Mistakes I Wish I Knew Before I Started – Live Your Legend
As much as many of us may try to deny it, there is a certain fascination with the mistakes of others – especially when a ‘behind-the-scenes’ look is on offer. Also, by learning from the mistakes of others, readers can fast-track their success. Readers appreciate the transparency offered by the author.
#4. More of This…Less of That – An Affirmation for (Overworked) Visionary Women – Tai Goodwin
This headline grabs attention by speaking to the overwhelm the target audience feels and by recognising the contribution they make. It gives women permission to let go of guilt and acknowledge emotions they might otherwise push aside. Further, ‘more of this…less of that’ suggests a solution will be provided.
#5. The 100 Best Free SEO Tools & Resources for Every Challenge – The MOZ Blog
Does this headline scream ‘I’m the ultimate solution to every SEO problem you’ll ever face’? Similar to the Entrepreneur headline above, the number in the headline suggests an easy-to-follow resource. In addition, noting the quantity helps you believe there really aren’t any problems the list couldn’t solve. Finally, of course, everyone loves a bargain and you can’t beat “free.” What’s not to love?
Although these headlines didn’t make the final cut they are certainly attention-grabbing and likely to evoke a response from readers.
How To Make Millions On A Handshake Deal – Entrepreneur
What reaction did you have when you read that headline? Shock?Intrigue? Did it make you want to read the post because you couldn’t imagine doing something of the like? This heading works because it defies everything we are taught such as protecting oneself, covering our position and ensuring we aren’t harmed if a deal goes pear-shaped. It presents an alternative approach most of us wouldn’t normally consider.
I’m broke (and I don’t care) – Tad Hargrave
This headline is effective in creating two emotions for readers. One is the feeling of ‘oh thank god I’m not the only one struggling for money.’ The other is it offers relief or escape from the hardship. Whether or not the reader should care, the headline gives hope that not caring is acceptable or excusable.
Which headlines have captured your attention this week? What was it that made you sit up and take notice? Share your favourites in the comment section so we can all learn from more examples! I’d love to hear from you. Thanks.
*OK, if you are going to be technical here’s the truth. The five headlines were chosen from approximately 800 I’ve read this week. No, that isn’t all the articles published in the previous seven days.
About guest blogger, Caylie Price: Caylie is the owner of Better Business Better Life. She is currently working her way around the interwebs with her 21 day Blogging For Growth tour. She is also co-author of How To Host A Swingin’ Blog Challenge. Download the first chapter FREE to learn more.