Three Simple and Quick Techniques to Write Better Headlines
Most beginner writers kill the chances of their article’s success before they pen a single word. If you get the headline wrong, your article is toast.
Many writers treat headlines like an afterthought when they are the most important piece of your blog posts. No one clicks, no one reads.
“But I don’t want to write click-bait.” Fine, have fun with no audience and zero chance to make a living with your writing.
You don’t have to write headlines like “10 Easy Ways to Make Millions Like Elon Musk” but you do have to master the subtle art of writing catchy headlines people want to click on.
Here are three super-quick tips to help you.
People Don’t Buy Drills, They Buy Holes
It’s important that your headline communicates the outcome you’re going to provide.
Don’t just tell them what the article is about, communicate what the article will do for them. A few things your headline could communicate about your article:
- It solves a problem
- It helps the reader live up to an aspiration
- It’ll quell the readers fear
- Your reader will be entertained
- It will transform the reader
Bad headline: Musings on my Trip to South America
Good headline: 3 Unusual Ways Traveling Makes You a Better Person
You could use your traveling story as examples to create useful points that help people instead of writing about yourself in a self-serving way. Make sense?
Do the Dirty Work First, Reap the Rewards Later
It’s easier to write headlines that provide outcomes when you know what your reader actually wants.
You want your readers to feel like you’re reading their minds. A headline that taps into the reader’s thoughts will give you the framework you need to write the article itself, which further boosts the effect.
But how do you figure out what your reader wants so you can write headlines that match? Try this exercise.
Write down 10 things your reader is afraid of or frustrated with. Write down 10 things they aspire to be or hope to have. Next, write down outcomes that solve those problems and frustrations or help your reader achieve those aspirations. Those outcomes create the basis for your headline.
Let’s walk through an example.
Fear/frustration: “I can never finish drafts of my articles. I always get stuck while writing them and never feel like they’re good enough to publish.”
Solution: Use mind-maps, outlines, and a simple editing system to finish articles.
Headline: Use This Simple Three-Step System to Publish Articles Fast (Even If You Always Get Stuck)
The One Piece of Advice I Keep Giving Until I’m Blue in the Face
Every month I have a coaching call with my students where we review strategies and I answer their questions. In every single call, I repeat the basic steps required for success because new students always struggle with mastering the basics.
They want to avoid them and skip to the good stuff — advanced strategies. And I always remind them that I built this entire writing empire of mine by doing a few simple things well over and over and over again.
Bruce Lee has a quote:
”I fear not the man who has practiced 10,000 kicks once, but I fear the man who has practiced one kick 10,000 times.”
Want to get good at writing headlines? Write 10,000 of them.
I’ve been writing 10 headlines a day, every single day, for six years. That’s 15,600 headlines. Even if only 5-10 percent of them are good, that’s more than enough to build a catalog of popular articles. My blogging mentor Jon Morrow used to write 50-100 headlines every day to get good at them.
On almost every call a student will tell me they struggle to come up with good ideas. I ask them if they’ve been writing 10 headlines a day. They say no. I shake my head.
There’s no substitute for doing the thing. So, do the thing. These little tips I just gave you are enough to help you come up with content ideas for the next 90 days and write your ass off.
I challenge you to do just that.