I have a confession to make. Although if you’re a regular visitor to this blog, it may not come as much of a surprise to you. The fact is, I’m an awful headline writer and I don’t have a clue what to do about it.
For a long time now I’ve had the sense that my blog post titles aren’t doing me any favours. I know the theory inside and out. I’ve read and experimented with all of the tips over the last few years. I’ve even taught people how to write great headlines and (enviously) watched them succeed. Give me an hour and I could teach you!
But when it comes to writing blog headlines of my own, I struggle. I mean, really struggle. There are times I’d rather castrate myself with a blunt, rusty knife than write another post title.
You’d think that someone who’s been blogging regularly for six years would have the art of headline writing down by now, wouldn’t you? Be a master at drawing their audience in with just the right balance of intrigue without over-promising? Well, not me.
I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve published posts thinking “no-one’s going to read this with that headline” but been unable to come up with anything better. In fact, it’s rare that I’m happy with a blog post title.
And this paranoia has now got to the point where I wet my pants every time it comes to putting the headline to a post I’ve written. It’s costing me a fortune in trousers.
Take my last post about the threat to the PR industry from SEO companies, for example. For that post I tried about ten different headlines…and I still dislike the one I ended up using.
The Power of Headlines
The thing is, headlines are vital. Your title is probably the most important part of your entire post or article.
Research shows that, on average, 8 out of 10 people will read the headline, but only 2 out of 10 will read the rest of the copy. Or, to put it another way, 80% of readers will never make it past your title.
[Tweet “80% of your readers don’t make it past the title”]
When you consider that two million blog posts are published every single day, it’s not really surprising that this is the case, or that a really good headline can spike traffic by up to 500%.
So listen, I want your help.
First, let me know below how you find headline writing. Does it come easy to you, or do you struggle with it as much as I do?
And second, I have a post sitting in my drafts covering advice on writing great headlines (yes, I know it’s ironic. Shhhh…). I want you to title it.
I could call it ‘How to write great headlines’ or ‘5 top tips for writing great headlines’ but, you know: yaaaaawn! Drop a comment below if you’ve got a better idea, I’ll pick the one I like most, credit you and we’ll see how it does.