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How to create killer headlines!

Getting your headlines to be ‘magnetic’ or ‘killer’ is an essential element to getting your blog right according to all the blogging research I’ve been doing this week.

From the feedback I had on one of my earlier posts, perfecting the headlines and first paragraph appear to be major stumbling blocks to prevent you even contemplating starting blogging! In order to keep providing practical tips, today I thought I’d start with ideas for crafting your headlines and then tomorrow look at packing a punch in the first paragraph.

As I’ve found with all my research, there’s an abundance of help and advice around. There are some really helpful formulas to follow of what works.  I found innumerable blogs with “6 Ways”, “10 Tips”, “7 Surefire Ways”, “8 Greatest Tips”.  Clearly providing a list is one route to go.

Bearing that in mind, I found the HubSpot Academy’s six guidelines for what makes a ‘compelling’ blog title useful. They recommend:

  1. Make it Actionable – “How to….”
  2. Remember to be Keyword Conscious – my keyword for this article is headlines!
  3. Be Brief – no more than 90 characters
  4. Make it Clear – “6 Creative Ways to…”
  5. Be Definitive – “The Ultimate Guide to…”
  6. Make it Intriguing – “Confessions of….”.

Templates

I also found a fantastic free ebook, courtesy of Jonathan Morrow, a guest Editor at CopyBlogger. It really does give you practical advice and clear direction on creating headlines. It’s called “52 Headline Hacks – A Cheat Sheet for Writing Blog Posts that go Viral“, obviously following the suggestions he makes. A genuine how-to guide!

Jon’s belief is that you can distill any great title “down to a fill-in-the-blank “template” that works for almost every topic in any niche”. He then clearly goes on to demonstrate exactly how to do this and encourages you to write down a few for yourself as you work through the book.

I’ll summarise just his major themes:

  • Threat Headlines
  • Zen Headlines
  • Piggyback Headlines
  • Mistake Headlines
  • How to Headlines
  • List Headlines

Behind each of these is a wealth of suggestions and ideas on how to develop these for yourself.

I highly recommend this book as a simple shortcut, though there are many other good informative articles and ebooks around, but working through Headline Hacks will ensure that creating a headline won’t put you off blogging. It will suddenly seem easy!

A Final Word

Having a working headline is a great starting point for your blog and often recommended. My first one for this blog was “Help with creating killer headlines” but having finished writing I’ve gone back and opted for a “How to” approach!

Where do you find inspiration for your headlines? Or is it the part of your blog you most dislike?