This is a guest post by James Tayo of Entrepreneur Blog'r.
One day I was shopping for groceries, and as I walked through the magazine section, I was stopped in my tracks. A title on one of the magazines had caught my eye and it read, “One Wedding secret Prince Charles must take to his grave.” I just had to stop to pick it up to find out what they were on about. If you live in the UK, you always are interested in some crazy thing the royal family does. This moment reminded me of how powerful a great headline can be.
The Power of a Headline.
In a previous post, Pat explained why an incomplete headline will help you get more traffic to your blog, and this post is a follow-up to expand on that idea. In the age of social media and millions of other blogs competing for your audience's attention, it has become a noisy world out there. Today, it is not who shouts the loudest that gets the most attention but who shouts the smartest. Especially if you are a new blogger, you could write all the great content you want, but to get that content read, you need to have a great headline that pulls people in from the RSS readers, Twitter or wherever you may be promoting it.
How to Learn to Write Great Headlines
Writing great headlines is not hard at all. You just need to know what works, the psychology behind why it works and put that into practice.
In this post, I am going to share a great resource with you. It's from the marketing guru, Jay Abraham and it is called, The 100 Greatest Headlines ever written. [Editor's Note, 2023: This post is no longer active.] I will choose 3 of those headlines to analyze and show why those headline work so that you can be able to craft your own super headlines. I will also give you alternative headlines I could have used for this post.
The Secret of Making People Like You
This is first one one the list. This headline clearly wants to convey how you can achieve a specific result, in this case, getting people to like you. Highlighting a benefit a reader will get from reading your content is an effective way of getting that person to click over. The other component that makes this headline even more powerful is “The Secret”. We all want to know what our competition doesn't, so that we can have an edge over them. In this case people want to click over and find out what it is that isn't common knowledge and will make people like them.
Let's see how I could have swiped this concept to create an alternative headline for this post. A good title for this post could have been, The secret of cutting through the noise and getting more people to click on your links on Twitter.
A Little Mistake That Cost a Farmer $3,000 a year
As Jay Abraham noted under that title, “People will fight much harder to avoid losing something they already own than to gain something of greater value that they do not own”. This title will draw you in because you would like to know what mistake the farmer made so you don't end up making the same. Also, the word “little” is trying to convey the message that the mistake was avoidable but it still cost the farmer $3,000. This title like all the other titles in this post plays on the curiosity angle. You only want to give away so much information in the title to arouse that curiosity so the person reading it will want to find out more.
Swiping from this title, I could have titled this post. A Little Mistake that cost a Blogger half of his Subscribers.
Why some People Almost Always Make Money in the Stock Market
This title is best used when you address a problem that most people have but only a small section of the community seem to be able to have a solution for. In this case, it is making money on the stock market. It is widely known that only about 10% of investors gain from the stock market and the other 90% are the ones funding these gains. The element of credibility also comes into play with the words “some” and “almost”. It acknowledges that not everyone will be able to find the solution they are seeking but when they do find it, their chances of success are greatly increased because it “almost always” works.
A good title for this post could have been, Why some Probloggers always get tons of traffic from Twitter.
I'm sure you now recognize the power of a headline and how these headlines work behind the scenes to make you take action. Your headlines are the entry points to your content, most people coming over to your blog will see your headline first, the more people you can convert into coming over to your site, the more you will convert later into subscribers, clients, customers or whatever you want them to be later on.
I have a challenge for you, can you think of a headline for this post that is better than the 3 I have illustrated here? Please leave a comment and let me know.
James Tayo shares tips on how you can become a successful entrepreneur at Entrepreneur Blog'r [Editor's Note, 2023: This site is no longer active]. On his blog you can find out how you can kick start a profitable business online by building an email list of prospects and turn them into raving fans.