When so many are trying to make viral posts or become Web or YouTube stars with content marketing, the fundamentals of headline writing have been lost in the rush to be (in)famous. Here are five essentials that will help you create better headlines:
1. First and foremost, try to get self-interest into every headline you write. Not YOUR self-interest, the audience’s. Make your headline suggest to the readers that here is something they want. This rule is so fundamental that it would seem obvious. Yet the rule is violated every day by scores of writers.
2. If you have news, such as a new product, or a new use for an old product, be sure to get that news into your headline in a big way.
3. Avoid headlines that merely provoke curiosity. Curiosity combined with news or self-interest is an excellent aid to the pulling power of your headline, but curiosity by itself is seldom enough. It becomes clickbait. This fundamental rule is violated more often than any other. Almost every content marketing website contains headlines that attempt to sell the reader through curiosity alone.
4. Avoid, when possible, headlines that paint the gloomy or negative side of the picture. Take the cheerful, positive angle. That’s rare in today’s gloom and doom Internet.
5. Try to suggest in your headline that here is a quick and easy way for the readers to get something they want.
In using this last suggestion be sure to make your headline believable.