how to write headlines

How To Write Headlines that Earn More Clicks & Reads (Video)

Headlines are a critical step to the overall success of the content you publish, especially blogs.

Here’s something else, though.

The experience of the reader after the headline — what’s in the content itself — is also every bit as important.

Similar to a tasty cake with even better icing, or a great store with a clear, accurate sign.

If a store is awesome, and has tons of of fantastic products inside, but the sign is nonexistent, or, worse — confusing or off-putting, how is the owner going to attract anyone inside?

A headline is like that.

If you’re crafting a headline to get people to read your blog, article, or email, it needs to be clear, well-written, and engaging to earn your audience’s interest and attention.

I’ve got some nitty-gritty tips for you on how to write headlines for your content, hot and fresh for you in today’s video. Let’s get into it!

Learn 3 practical tips for writing #headlines that work from @JuliaEMcCoy on @YouTube 💡 Click To Tweet

how to write headlines

How To Write Headlines that Earn More Clicks & Reads (Video)

Okay, so here are my top three tips for you on writing great headlines.

Ready? The first one is four tips in one, so buckle in!

Headline Writing Tip #1: Draft your headline in three stages.

Let’s look at one of the blogs I’ve written:

How to Promote a New Blog Post: 15+ Trusty Techniques to Try

After 8 years of content creation, and writing thousands of blogs, I’ve learned that multiple process and draft stages are everything to staying ahead of content, producing great quality, and never risking burnout. (I’m 3 or 4 weeks ahead now on more than 20 individual long-form content pieces per month.)

After 8 years of content creation, and writing thousands of blogs, I’ve learned that multiple process and draft stages are everything to staying ahead of content. @JuliaEMcCoy Click To Tweet

When it comes to stages in content creation, this is the secret to success. And this includes stages for your headlines!

Here’s the three stages I use.

Headline Writing Stage 1: Draft a headline that reflects the idea or keyword you’re writing about. My draft for the blog example would look like: How to promote a new blog post: # techniques (because that’s the keyword and the idea). It should not be perfect at this point. Don’t worry about that yet!

Headline Writing Stage 2: After you write the blog, come back to the headline. How many steps or techniques do you have? You’ll know after writing the article. This is super important: Let the content guide your headline. This will mean accuracy to the topic for the reader, if you match the headline to what you’ve written, after you write it. You want to refine and craft a headline you like.

Headline Writing Stage 3: Run the headline through a scoring tool. I like the Advanced Marketing Institute’s Emotional Marketing Value Headline Analyzer. It’s a fantastic tool that gives you a rating for how much emotion your headline will impact, and what emotions you’ll bring up in your reader. Intellectual, Empathetic, Spiritual are the three emotions the AMI tool scores for. 40-80 is a high score. Another good tool is CoSchedule’s Headline Analyzer, which rates your headline from 1-100, dependent on word choices used in the headline, length, etc.

Now that you know the stages of how to write a good headline, which I’d say is the most important part of this video, let’s talk about a few other headline rules of thumb.

Headline Writing Tip #2. Never, ever, ever, clickbait.

Don’t sacrifice accuracy for sensation.

The best wait to avoid this is with accuracy from headline to topic.

Never disguise your topic or be unclear about it. Be upfront and 100% accurate. Accuracy of your headline to the content also impacts Google rankings. Google looks for headlines that sum up the topic of the content. The topic of your content is what ranks well in Google, if the whole piece is topically accurate. This is because of how semantic search algorithm works. We can get all nerdy here — that’s just a summary. For more, I have a guide on semantic and topical search optimization.

Headline Writing Tip #3. Your starter words matter.

BuzzSumo did a study of over 50,000 articles in B2B content. They found that these starter words performed better than other headline starter phrases:

  • “The Future of”
  • “How to use”
  • “Need to” (without “Know”)
  • “How to Create”
  • “Here’s How”
  • “You Need to Know”

Brainstorm topic ideas with these phrases in mind. For example, “what does my audience need to know?” or “what is the future of my industry and how does it affect my audience?”

You can even go back and optimize content that’s not performing well on your blog and add in these header phrases. I go back and optimize my old icky headlines all the time and see more results from doing so!

Go Forth and Write Headlines that Work

Hope these tips helped you.

Here’s to writing catchy headlines that work and earn our readers’ attention — and don’t add to the noise and clickbait crap out there!

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2 replies
  1. Nick
    Nick says:

    Back to the drawing board for me. I’ve just used AMI tool and got depressingly low scores.
    When I see titles that read “Top 10 ways to……” or “The five things …..” it feels clickbaity to me, but I’ve always been told these work well. How do you feel about these types of titles and the psychological ethics of them?

    Reply
    • Julia McCoy
      Julia McCoy says:

      You know what’s funny? Eight years of writing thousands of blogs, and I STILL plug in my draft ideas and get bad scores. Continual practice and refinement is the name of a good writer’s game! Top 10 Ways/ 5 Things — those are cruddy headlines and should be tossed out in favor of more powerful words. If you use a number, that’s great, just use it in a terrific way. IE: 31 Writing Podcasts You’ve GOT to Hear (Best of 2019) (from SmartBlogger) — THAT’S how to use a number in a headline. 🙂

      Reply

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