I ran into this wonderful article that gives some great advice on how to write the perfect headline. You won’t find the list of 100 perfect headlines that get conversions, but you will find some fun advice.
Here’s a snapshot of the tips that made me smile and will help you NOT take your headline writing too seriously — also scroll past these tips in the original article to find the best sources for great headlines you can swipe.
Here are some tips to get you started in the meantime.
- Feel free to pull out your hair. Stressing over the perfect headline might seem like something you should avoid. It’s only a title, right? Relax. Wrong! The title is everything; it is the first impression that is hopefully going to get people to click on your article, and read through it. Of every step of the process, that is the one you should be stressing about most. Even mediocre content can squeak by with a catchy title (ahem, Buzzfeed).
- Write your title, walk away, then write it again.Don’t settle on your title the first time around. Write the content, come up with a working title, get up and do something else. Come back to it later. Is it still perfect? Chances are, it has lost some of its? shine. Rework it, get up, go do something else. Do this until you come up with one that doesn’t make you cringe when you read it.
- Keep the tone of your piece in mind.You wouldn?t title your dissertation ?10 Totally Cool Stuff You Didn?t Know About The Genome?. Even if you want to catch the eye, it needs to be done in a way that doesn’t detract from the content itself. Match the tone; if it is more casual, feel free to include that. But if the tone is serious or professional, you don’t want to risk netting the wrong audience by being flippant.
- Pander to your audience. Some people will say never to pander, but this is the internet. Of course you want to pander. Not every bit of content will give you the opportunity. But if it has, take it. Customizing it to appeal to the a specific group narrows your focus, rather than casting too wide a net that won?t catch anything.
- KISS is not always the way to go. One of the most common bits of advice you hear about headlines is KISS (Keep It Simple, Stupid). Why not break the rules for a change!? Breaking rules often leads to something truly outstanding! Complex headlines actually manage to strick a cord, and act as a mini form of content all on their own. Go to Upworthy and see yourself! One of the reasons they get so many clicks is that they go nuts on their headlines. For example, this was on their front page at the time of this writing: A Camera Captures Something A Man Does All Day That Might Even Surprise Him?. What in the world could it be?! You kind of want to know, don’t you? That is the power of the complex headline.