Do I have your attention now?
That headline was pretty grabby, huh. Sort of made you have to click on it to find out how to get good clients.
That’s the magic of a well-constructed headline. It works like a magnet to suck readers onto your blog — and not just any readers, but exactly the readers you wanted. The ones who’re interested in just what you have to offer.
If you know how to write a compelling headline, it can also make editors love your query letter.
It can make businesses read your emailed letter of introduction and give you call.
Great headlines get you good-paying writing gigs.
Then, when other businesses and publications see the headlines you wrote for your clients, they call you up. They can’t wait to have you bring your writing savvy over to their website.
You’re done marketing your writing business. Your strong headlines do the job for you.
Why doesn’t everybody write great headlines?
It’s sort of an art form unto itself.
Lots of us who came up through journalism and newspapers weren’t trained to write headlines. That’s an editor’s job, we were told.
Others have been grabbing titles off content-mill dashboards, where the headline is pre-written by the SEO department.
Bottom line: Lots of writers don’t have any experience or training in how to write headlines. And their careers are suffering as a result.
I have reviewed hundreds of writers’ blogs, and I can tell you, bad headlines are an epidemic. I scan a typical blog, and I can’t even figure out the topic. Nothing makes me want to click through and read more. I’m not surprised when I see there are no subscribers, no comments, and nothing is getting sold.
So if you learn to write good headlines, you can really stand out.
What’s wrong with most writers’ headlines?
Three quick headline-improvement tips:
- Use key words. Headlines like “Watch out for the red flags,” or “Another day” (both ones I’ve recently read) don’t tell me what the post is about, or who it is for. So search engines don’t find it when I search on what I want to know. And I don’t read it.
- Tell me your topic. What will I learn about if I read your post? Your headline needs to tell me, so I’ll want to click over and read it.
- Leave a little mystery. The headline of this post told you there’s a way to write headlines that will bring you great clients, but it didn’t tell you exactly how. You needed to read the post to find out.
I have a confession to make.
I didn’t write that headline — Jon Morrow did.
Jon is one of the best headline writers around. He wrote the Headline Hacks report on how to create sure-to-go-viral headlines that Copyblogger uses as a guide for its writers.
His blog posts often get 1,000 retweets or more. Maybe you read How to Quit Your Job, Move to Paradise and Get Paid to Change the World, or A 7-Step Guide to Mind Control: How to Quit Begging and Make People Want to Help You. Yeah. That guy.
What’s the best headline you’ve seen lately? Leave a comment and share.