Why Is Creating Headlines So Darn Hard?

By: | Updated: August 27, 2014

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Writing catchy headlines is both an art and a science.
On one hand, there are tons of writing principles you can use to catch attention, to get people to read, to build connection and to stand out.
On the other hand, the great blog names subject lines you write ultimately have to come from you. They have to stand out because they’re an expression of you and your brand.
The best way to learn how to write a good title for a blog post isn’t to copy other people’s titles. Instead, use other people’s creative blog name titles to learn what works. Then use those same principles to help guide you in writing your own titles.
With that in mind, here are ten blog subject line tips, along with examples to illustrate them.

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Tip #1: Have a Clear Benefit

People should instantly understand why they should read your article just from the title.
Vague and mysterious titles that don’t tell people why they should read are generally a bad idea.
Direct response marketers and newspapers have tested this principle time and again. Shocking titles, newsy titles, curiosity titles and other types of titles that don’t have a benefit in them almost always get lower readership than titles that imply a benefit to the reader.
For example, readers who see this guest post on Smart Blogger will clearly know that they’ll learn how to improve their writing, just by reading the title:

Both Jon Morrow and his guest posters come up with good blog titles each time!

Tip #2: Add a Power Word

A power word is a word that adds emotional punch to your title. Sometimes all you need to turn an otherwise dull title into an eye-catching title is a power word.
Take this article from Adrienne Smith, for example. Without the power word, the title would just be “The Seven Deadly Sins Of A Website A nice benefit, sure, but nothing to write home about.
But with the power word added in, the title now has some real juice. Most bloggers would have a hard time seeing a title like the one below without clicking on it, even if just out of curiosity.

Tip #3: Use Numbers – And Use Big Ones!

People love numbers. Blog post titles with numbers tend to get more clicks. Why? Because numbers are specific and tell people how much information they’re about to get. It suggests that they’re about to learn several things, and not just one.
Large numbers in particular, suggest that people are about to learn many ways to solve a problem in their lives.
Take our popular post on the “51 Steps To Launching A Hot Blog”. If the title were just “Steps To Launch A Blog,” it’d sound pretty dull. But the title “51 Steps To Launching A Hot Blog” sounds infinitely more interesting.

 

Tip #4: Boldly Add Your Personality

There are enough “me too” blogs on the web. Why not really let your personality shine on your blog for a change?
People who really let themselves out on their blogs tend to stand out. They tend to draw a crowd.
People will often come to read your posts not because they need to learn what you’re teaching, but simply because they want to get a dose of your personality.
Take “The Middle Finger Project”. Just one glance at the website’s header image and you know you’re in for an interesting read. Every post title on the blog is similarly interesting and attention catching.

Tip #5: Be Controversial

Say something that shocks your audience a little. Say something that gets people a little riled up, or a little defensive. Say something that risks alienating a small part of your audience. Do so while taking a stance on something you believe in.
Be controversial. When you go against the curve, people listen.
Take the post below from Firepole Marketing. The title proudly proclaims: “Why You Can’t Create Epic Content Every Single Time And What To Do About It” The premise of the post is to get bloggers to just write a post, instead of getting it perfect.
There were a ton of different ways Danny Iny could have worded his title. He deliberately chose a title that could make people a little defensive. And it works. It catches attention.

Tip #6: Put Relevant Information First

Just like Beth Hayden’s post, the good stuff is in the first part of the title. “Peppy Podcasts For A Winter’s Day” could be shortened to “Peppy Podcasts” and you already know what the post is about.
Even her book on Pinterest (Pinfluence: The Complete Guide To Marketing Your Business with Pinterest) explains the title in the first word !

Tip #7: Pose a Question

Asking your audience a question is one of the best ways to get a ton of comments. It helps you build more of a relationship with your audience by making your blog a two-way communication channel.
You can use this as a one-time title for a specific post, or you can make a habit of asking your audience a question every month or so.
For example, in the post below, Bryan Harris of VideoFruit asked his audience if they want to have an expert write for them. Who wouldn’t, right?

 

Tip #8: Try Going Negative

You don’t always have to promise a positive benefit. Another avenue you could take it to help people avoid something they don’t want in their lives instead.
Talk about common mistakes. Talk about pitfalls. Look into how you can catch attention by addressing the don’ts instead of the do’s.
For example, from the “Social Media Explorer” blog:

 Tip #9: Use the Right Amount of Jargon

What’s the right amount of jargon?
If you use too much jargon, people might have a hard time understanding you. Newbies who’re new to your industry but still fall into your target market could get turned off.
On the other hand, using jargon allows you to speak in the same language as your market. People feel like you’re on the same side. Jargon also often allows you to get more specific than if you had to use generic words.
In this blog post, Danny Brown illustrates it perfectly. To a non-blogger, this headline makes little sense. 
Yet it doesn’t use so much jargon as to turn people off. Instead, it makes you feel you are “in the club”.

 

 Tip #10: Give Real World Data

People love getting real-world data. If you’re in the health niche, share your exact meal plans and your before and after photos. If you run a blog about weight loss, share your real case studies and what the results were.
When you give real-world data, people get more of a sense of what it’s like to be you. It also seems more tangible than just tips or lessons extrapolated from your experiences. It also helps build your credibility, by showing people that you’ve actually done what you’re talking about.
For example, in the post below, Matt Woodward shows exactly what he earned in a month and how he earned it:

 
These ten blog title tips will help you write titles that get people to pay attention, titles that get your audience excited and titles that help you stand out from the noise. Which is your favorite?

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by Brett Helling
Brett has been starting, growing, and monetizing websites since 2014. While in college, he began to learn about digital marketing. After graduating, he continued to build a diverse portfolio of websites while working a full time job. After years of building the portfolio on the side, he made the jump to run his websites full time.

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