One of the best skills you can learn as a content creator is how to write better headlines for your content. It can be a blog post title, a YouTube video title, a title for your Twitch stream. The headline you give content is vital to grabbing attention and then letting people quickly know what your content is about, and why it is interesting.
When I first started blogging, I wrote horrible headlines. I’m fair to middlin’ now, as we say in the South. At first, I would write my post, then when the post was done, whip up a short headline that basically summarized what the post was about. The problem with this approach is that the headline is often the only thing someone sees about a post when it is shared on other social media sites. So as sharing on social sites became a more important way to boost awareness for your content, I began to get more serious about crafting better headlines.
What you want to do with your headline is give readers the most interesting parts of the post so they are compelled to click that link and read your post. If you write a boring headline or one that simply summarizes the post, your content can quickly get lost in a sea of links on social media homefeeds.
Let’s look at a few post examples and then talk about bad and good headlines you can write for that post.
1 – You are writing a post on the last decade in college football.
Boring headline – A Brief History of Modern College Football
Great headline – Rising Tide: How Alabama and the SEC Have Dominated College Football For Over a Decade
See how specific the second headline is? The first headline is pretty bland, it gives you a general sense of what the post is about, but by adding specifics, you can spark greater interest. Also note that with the second headline, we are honing in on a story within a story; we’ll look at recent college football history, but more specifically how Alabama and the SEC have dominated. This will interest fans of Alabama and the SEC, but it can also interest fans of programs like Clemson, who may think their program should be talked about more.
2 – You are writing a post financial planning.
Boring headline – Creating a Retirement Plan From Scratch
Great Headline – The Four Things Financial Experts Say You Can Do Today to Increase Your Retirement Nestegg By Up to 500%!
Again, the second headline is much more specific and gives the reader a better idea of what content they will be reading if they click the link and go to your blog. With the first post, you really have no idea how in-depth the post will be or how helpful. The second post tells you there’s four things you can do, and doing those four things can increase the amount you have for retirement by up to 500%. A slightly less effective version of this headline could be “Financial Experts Say Doing These Things Could Greatly Increase Your Retirement Nestegg!” That’s better than the boring headline because it’s slightly more specific, but the ‘great’ headline is even more specific, so it works better.
Now, the one thing you don’t want to do is go overboard with your headline and make it too ‘interesting’. You never want to make a promise with your headline that your post can’t back up. There’s nothing worst than clicking on an amazing headline, then finding out that the post itself is an ad for a product or a post that’s completely different from what the headline promised. That’s the quickest way to ensure that I never click on your links again.
So when you’re writing headlines, look and post and ask yourself ‘why is this post interesting? What’s the HOOK that will grab readers attention and make them want to click the link and read the post?’ Again, make the headline as specific and interesting as possible, but make sure your post delivers on the big promises that the headline makes. Do both those things, and you’ll see your content getting more views and more exposure!